Friday, April 29, 2011

More Rocks

We love big rocks, and especially love scrambling around on them. Besides the actual hiking trails at City of Rocks, you can walk anywhere in the rocks. We spent a couple hours doing just that yesterday, and this morning took a short hike around before the 48 mph wind gusts came.
It’s like going through a maze in places.
This is actually a tent site, and there is a picnic table under the balanced rock. How cool is that?
We are fortunate that our site is somewhat protected from the wind, and with all the rocks and vegetation, we haven’t had the blowing dirt like we did at Rockhound.
We had a nice visit this morning from Jerry, who is the owner of the red Lazy Daze. He’s an interesting fellow who's been fulltiming in a 22’ 1990 model, with two cats, for the past 6 years. He recently had to replace the engine in his RV, and he said he intends to keep traveling in it for the foreseeable future.
I forgot to mention that there is no dump station at this park, which means if you stay long enough it’s a 30 mile drive to the nearest RV park in Deming to dump tanks. They do have nice showers at the restroom by the Visitor Center, though. And we have pretty good Verizon cell and internet, but TV reception is not great. Now if this relentless wind would let up we would be much happier.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

City of Rocks State Park, NM

We finally left Rockhound for City of Rocks, a very nice state park 30 miles north of Deming on the way to Silver City. After a few scattered farms, the scenery along the drive is rolling hills and grasslands.  As you enter the park, these rocks come into view. It is much more impressive in real life. The pictures just can’t capture it.
The view out our window. They have staggered the power sites and spaced them far enough apart that we can’t see our neighbors.
The rocks look like they were just dropped in the middle of nowhere, and the park has been built around them.
The rocks were formed from volcanic ash and sculpted by wind and water over millions of years. The park has done a great job incorporating the campsites among the rocks. This is an old red Lazy Daze in one of the primitive sites tucked in the rocks. We haven’t met them yet, but they have a nice private site.
We decided to take one of the hookup sites, since we are in store for more big winds tomorrow, and it is nice to be able to run the air while everything is shut up to keep the dust out. Monday and Tuesday at Rockhound, we were pretty much homebound, with 30-40 mph winds and gusts to 50. Tuesday was a complete brown-out, and when it was over we were coated with dirt, inside and out. They are predicting the same for tomorrow, but we’re hoping with the rocks and vegetation, maybe the blowing dust won’t be as bad here.
Yesterday we hiked the trail around the perimeter of the park, and up to Observation Point, for about a 4.5 mile walk. It’s fairly flat here so it was a nice easy hike. After two days of being holed up in the RV it felt good to get out.
Some views from the trail and lots of rocks.
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The Visitor Center has an interesting walkway that appears to be a continuation of the road. It made for a good photo op.
Time to go for another hike since we may be stuck inside again for the next couple days. At least it is warm and dry, and no tornados like some other parts of the country.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good News


We found out yesterday that we’ve been accepted as camp hosts at Lake Wappapello State Park in southeastern Missouri, about 20 miles northeast of Poplar Bluff. We will be hosting at the Ridge Campground during the months of June and July. That will offset our gas costs as we make our way to Pennsylvania in August, and it is something we’ve been wanting to try. Should be an interesting summer!

We did drive to Palomas, Mexico yesterday, but didn’t even think about it being the week before Easter. All the optical shops were closed, so Jim couldn’t get his sunglass lens replaced, but the pharmacies were open so I picked up a couple things. They have cleaned up the border crossing and the town, and it actually wasn’t as bad as we remembered from 2 years ago.

We forgot our camera when we went to Mexico, but if we stay and the optical place is open Monday, we may make another trip. Jim normally gets his glasses from Zenni Optical online, but it takes 3 or 4 weeks and he doesn’t want to wait that long.

Today was a long day for us. Took a short hike this morning, then went into Demming to the post office, laundromat, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and came back and dumped our tanks. Funny how it takes us all day to do things we used to do before and after work when we were living in the real world. I like this pace much better!

This is a bad picture I took through the window, but this beautiful Bullock’s Oriole (we had to look it up) stopped to check out the hummingbird feeder this morning. The cats just love watching all the action.


Hope everyone has a great weekend.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Rockhound State Park

We’ve had a nice week here so far, visiting with our friends, hiking, and riding bikes. We have decided to try and do some camp hosting this summer so we’ve spent a lot of time researching, talking to different parks, and sending in applications. We hope to find something out this week, but if we get a volunteer job it will be at a state park in Missouri.
A few days ago, Andy gave us a 3 hour demonstration of his iPad, and it is quite an amazing computer. Too much money for another toy, but it can do some unbelievable things.
Yesterday we had a visit from another blogger who had been in contact with our friend Jim Melvin. We were sitting out after a hike and Barney (aka The Old Fat Man) pulled up. He’s been fulltiming for 4 years, and likes to explore the backroads in his 4WD truck. He’s from Texas, and gave us some good ideas on places to camp there.
We’ve hiked the trails in the park a couple times and tried to get up to the top of the mountain behind the campground but didn’t quite make it. Our fear of falling down a mountainside keeps us from doing anything really stupid, but we still find it fun.
Looking down on the campground.
Today we went back to Spring Canyon and managed to make it all the way to the saddle, quite a treacherous climb up a steep trail of loose rocks. We were lucky we all made it down without falling.
Our friend Jim walking up the trail.
When we got to the top, I made a comment about being glad we made it, and just then we spotted a large bighorn sheep running away from us. If I had kept my mouth shut he probably wouldn’t have heard us and maybe we could have gotten a better look and a picture. It was pretty up there, anyway.
Tomorrow we’re planning to take a drive to Palomas, Mexico, so Jim can get a cheap pair of prescription sunglasses. The wind is supposed to get bad over the the next several days, so we may just hang around and spend the upcoming Easter weekend here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rockhound State Park, Deming, NM

We arrived here at Rockhound State Park yesterday after a very windy 130 mile drive from Willcox. Luckily the wind was out of the west and we were heading east, but it wasn’t much fun setting up in the blowing dust when we got here.
We decided to buy a New Mexico State Park pass for $225 so we can camp for $4 a night with hookups, or free for dry camping. We are planning to stay in the state for a month or two, since Jim spent all our gas money on healthcare this year.
We were happy to see that our friend Andy Baird was here, and today another Lazy Daze friend and fulltimer Jim Melvin arrived. The wind was much lighter today so we took a hike in the adjacent Spring Canyon area of the park. We forgot how pretty it was.
The two Jim’s looking down from Lover’s Leap.
Tonight Andy and Jim came over and we had a nice time chatting over ice cream. Will probably hang around here for at least a week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

We are spending a couple nights at Fort Willcox RV Park, a Passport America park off I-10 in Willcox. It’s a good place to stay for a day trip to Chiricahua National Monument, about 35 miies southeast of here. Chiricahua is a beautiful, remote national monument with only about 60,000 visitors a year. There is a pretty campground, but they limit RV length to 29’ due to a big dip in the road. When we drove through it didn’t look like there were more than a couple sites that would even fit a 29’ RV. It looked much more suitable for van and truck campers or tents.
We drove the eight mile scenic drive and stopped at Massai Point at 6,900 ft for lunch and a hike recommended by the ranger.
The monument is made up of formations created by a volcanic eruption that occurred roughly 27 million years ago.The huge rock pinnacles and hoodoos reminded us of Bryce Canyon with gray instead of red rock. We haven’t seen anything like this in awhile, and we were in awe as we hiked the 4 mile Echo Canyon Loop.
Many of the rocks are covered with green lichen.
Along the way we came to the Grottoes, a cave-like area of rocks.
We had a few wildlife encounters. These Mexican jays were hanging around the water fountain at the Visitor Center, and around our picnic table. Jim “accidently” dropped a piece of potato chip and carrot, and you can guess that the jay picked the junk food and ignored the carrot.
We also saw a beautiful orange, black, and white ringed snake which we think was an Arizona king snake, and a couple of wild turkeys. Unfortunately they dldn’t hang around long enough for Jim to get a picture. This is a great park with spectacular scenery and few people. It’s well worth the drive to see.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Leaving Tucson

Jim saw the eye doctor this morning and she said everything looked good. His vision is still fluctuating some during the day so she advised him to wait until that settles down and then go to an optometrist to get checked for new glasses. So he got the green light to leave Tucson, yeah!
The weather was crazy here last week. We went from highs in the 90’s to a couple days of strong winds, then it barely got to 50 on Saturday with rain and  some sleet. The higher elevations got snow and they even opened the ski resort at Mount Lemmon on Sunday.
A snow picture from our Sunday morning hike.
Yesterday afternoon we took a ride to the Dairy Queen near Picacho Peak, about 35 miles away, to meet up with Debbie, who is staying in Casa Grande. We inadvertently kept a couple of her levelers we borrowed and forgot to give back before we parted ways last month. Plus we wanted to say goodbye before we go our separate ways for the summer. We hope to meet up again in the fall.
This afternoon we took one more hike in Catalina State Park. We didn’t quite make it to the Romero Pools a few weeks ago, so this time we drove to the trailhead so we would “only” have a 2.8 mile hike to the pools. Unfortunately about 2.5 of those miles are uphill on a very rocky trail.
Since Jim’s gall bladder surgery we haven’t done many really strenuous hikes, and we both did a lot of heavy breathing going up. The views were great, though, and we got to the point where we could see the pools and decided we were close enough.
Look closely, there is water down there.
There were even a few blooming cacti.
Tomorrow we are leaving for Willcox, Az to check out Chiricahua National Monument. It will be nice to go somewhere new for a change.