Saturday, October 6, 2007

Six days of posting, sit back and settle in, with your favorite beverage

Day 30, 60 miles east of Socorro and 4
miles west of Carrizozo NM

I am here at the Valley of Fires Recreation Area, a BLM campground. Just finished dishes and watched a beautiful orange sunset before that. The lights from Carrizozo are twinkling in the dark to the east of me. I’ll be here a week.

The Carrizozo lava flow came from vents in the valley floor 5000 years ago and is one of the youngest flows in the continental US (the youngest is near Grants NM at 3000 years ago). It flowed southward down the Tularosa Valley, burying everything in its path except the older sandstone hills of where the campground is located. There is a walk around the lava flow and in addition to plants and animals that have made the flow their home, you see pressure ridges, formed as the lava surface cooled while the lava underneath was still hot and continued moving down the valley. There are examples of gas bubbles that collapsed and lava tubes. It’s pretty interesting to see the little ridges and swirls that froze as the lava cooled.

My friend Sherry, from Dodge City, gave me a french press for making coffee. I did get a few days learning to make coffee but unfortunately it fell off the counter and broke. Sorry Sherry. I was getting pretty good too and really liked the coffee and said I would get another one but with a plastic or stainless steel container. It is tight quarters in here and it’s easy to knock something off a table or counter. It’s why I have very few breakable items. When son and I were in Albuquerque, we stopped by a coffee house as he needed some coffee beans. We both like to fresh grind our beans. I asked about a french press non-breakable container and she showed me a “traveling french press”. So I bought it and now make my french press coffee in it - thank you Sherry. You got me started. I get to enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning and not worry about breaking the container now.

Day 31, Corrizozo NM
Had a good night’s sleep. Was a bit chilly this morning, but am at a bit higher elevation now. Thanks to son’s giving me a memory foam mattress pad I put it on top of the regular foam pad I had. My regular foam pad has developed a bit of depression it seems where the hips are. Hmmmmm. He had gotten one of those air mattress’ for his extra bed and had the memory foam left over. The air mattress is really comfortable and I slept very well on it. The first couple of hours of the first night I kept worrying about falling off the bed.

Today I pretty much enjoyed the sights and sounds around me. I walked the nature course thru the lava fields again, this time without the camera so I could walk without interruptions. I also went into Carrizozo to get some gas, ice and newspapers (more on that in a bit). While there I explored town. Very quaint and Mexican style of buildings. Many attempts at fixing up and restoring have taken place. Layout is like a lot of small New Mexican towns - enough to drive an organized city planner crazy.

I did find an interesting business that sells old and new Mexican wood and wrought iron items. There are heavy wood doors and gates, furniture, benches, plants and animals. It is located on the corner of US-54 & US -380 in a bright red building, if interested. It is interesting to go thru but bring the $$$$’s if you are going to buy.

The reason why I bought newspapers is to soak up the olive oil in my rug. One of the ways to park my trailer next to son’s home, is to come thru a very rough, makeshift alley. Well, and since the cabinet above where the microwave wasn’t fixed yet. . . . . . . We even took the rug to the car wash when we washed Eggcarto and soaped and sprayed it, but there is still oil. I should have taken it to a laundromat with those large tumble washers when I was there; but, oh well, the newspapers underneath are doing good. Okay, some of you are wondering how I get newspapers under my carpet since Casitas come with carpeting on the floor. A previous owner put laminated wood flooring down.

When I got home from my little trip to town it was in time to “batten down the hatches” as the wind had picked up and we went thru several rain squalls the rest of the afternoon. I read and am now all read out!

Day 32, Corrizozo NM
I witnessed the most gorgeous sunrise this morning.
As I mentioned, the little town of Carrizozo is east of here. To the northeast of town lies the Lincoln National Forest and Carrizo Mt, as one of it’s highest peaks, at about an elevation of 8,000 ft. The mountain range extends in a northwesterly direction from Carrizo Mt. The mountain peak and it’s range were extensively covered in clouds rolling up the east side of the Tularosa Valley almost swallowing up Carrizozo. You cannot even see the mountain range, even now about an hour after sunrise. As the sun was rising, there were the most beautiful colors of orange, pink, and yellow around Carrizo Mt. Fortunately, I had my camera handy but the pictures do not do justice to what I saw with my eye. I am not that good a photographer to make all those adjustments that would have been needed to capture what I was seeing. The mountain range just southeasterly of Carrizozo is not covered in clouds, so the contrast is awesome. In fact now, about 90 minutes after I took the initial pictures, the clouds have reached such a height that an anvil head is forming over the top of the mountain.

Finally around 10:30 I was ready to leave and go exploring. I headed south on US-54 toward Alamogordo. My intentions were to stop at the Three Rivers Petroglyphs and go to White Sands National Monument and return back to camp.
The petroglyphs were some of the most fascinating and interesting and I ended up spending more time there than I had planned. In fact, it was one of the more interesting assortment of petroglyphs I have seen on this trip and other sites I have been to in the past. Over 21,000 have been documented and recorded which took over 6 years to do. You climb up several mounds and they are just all over the place. For those interested, these were made by prehistoric Native Americans that archeologists refer to as the Jomada Mogollon whereas others are known as Pueblo Indian and Mesoamerican Indian symbols.

There is a very nice BLM campground there with 2 spaces that have electricity and water, the others are for dry camping. Very new restrooms and there is a camp attendant in residence there. Also, 8 miles further up is a FS campground.

While climbing up the first mound I saw a bee on my right shoulder and I brushed him off and continued my climbing and exploring for the next 90 minutes. When I got back down and was taking a drink of water, I felt a sting in my right shoulder. Upon looking I saw something dark sticking out of where the bee had been. This very nice gentleman, who had heard me say “that @#&#*@% bee did sting me!” pulled out the stinger with tweezers from my handy dandy super first-aid kit and his wife swabbed the area with alcohol where upon they heard me sing a portion of an Italian opera in Spanish - something like Aye chihuahua! We then put an ice cube on it until the cube melted. Funny never felt anything until I got back down off the mounds.

I continued on down the road to White Sands National Monument and took their loop drive out into the dunes. That sand is really white. I could see it from atop the mounds at the petroglyphs site. By the time I finished that, it was almost 4:30 and I hadn’t had lunch yet. So combining lunch and dinner for the day, I stopped at Applebee’s in Alamogordo and had a Fiesta Lime Chicken dinner and topped it off with a blondie brownie and ice cream. Shouldn’t have done that. . . . . but it was so good and I was so hungry; but oh was I miserable when I got home. I don’t eat much while traveling and even when I am sitting like now and so when I do consume a big meal, ohhhhhhhhhh. I turned in early for the night.

Day 33, Still at Carrizozo and a day of frustration, starting with WATER, WATER
I needed to empty my holding tanks, so what should have been a fairly easy but laborious task and one that shouldn’t have even take an hour - took 4 hours! I pretty much had to get Eggcarto ready as if we were going somewhere else, but not as much detail as I only needed to pull him 1/4 mile to the dump station and back and set him back up again. I got everything unhooked and was just going to leave my hose at the faucet and re-connect it when I got back. Nope, couldn’t shut the water off, it kept coming and coming and spraying me until I was soaked from head to my shoes. I dogtrotted over to the office and the park resident took one look at me and said: “You got a water problem!”

While the help was trying to shut off the water, I was finishing up my getting hitched up. Finally got that done and drug the trailer over to the dump station. Thank heavens it’s one without a curb. These low to the ground trailers are require more work to get that last little ounce out of the holding tank when you have a curb. It’s bend and pick up the sewer hose and run your fingers along chasing the “liquid” down the hose, up over the curb and into the dang sewer hole. Okay, I put blocks under the wheels and tilt the off side up a bit higher, It just sounded better making you think I was really struggling. It’s still yukkie ole work.

I got back and started to set up again and they still didn’t have the water faucet fixed yet. Okay, now it’s ready - opps all 3 of us got drenched. Back to the shop they go for more thingies. Meanwhile, they are #%$&* the Dept. for not giving them the money they need to fix all the faucets in the Park. Okay, now I have it fixed (keep your fingers crossed) and we have a faucet splitter on, this way when I leave I can turn my spigot off and undo my hose and leave. Nope, the pressure didn’t like the splitter and here we go again getting wet. No remember I don’t pack much in the way of clothes.

Okay, now we are going to use the faucet at the next campsite and put the splitter on it (somehow they got the water turned off). Now the splitter won’t fit because there is some dumb OSHA thingie on there and they can’t take it off because they never know when OSHA will come along and they are a governmental entity, etc. etc. etc. So with an extra thingie, they hooked up the splitter (so someone using that campsite could have water too). Yea, nothing happened. I get my hoses (40 ft) hooked up to Eggcarto and stretched as far as 40 ft would go. Opps, not enough hose. So off to the maintenance shed to get another hose. Hook up the hose and lo and behold it has a hole in it! Off to get another hose. Opps again we are short by 5 feet, off to the shed again and FINALLY I get water. Now, since the guys worked so hard I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I could have done without the water hookup. I could have done like I do when boondocking. But, I was nice and we stood around soaking wet and had a good laugh.

The rest of the day was much quieter. Fellow Casita owner Bruce showed up around 5 p.m. and after he hooked up we compared trailers and funny stories. Gad, I hope tomorrow is better. Good night.

Day 34, Lincoln and Capitan NM
Today Bruce and I went to see the famous Lincoln NM - home of the Lincoln County War and stomping grounds of William Bounty, aka Billy the Kid. A lot of restoration has been done and there is a good museum walk. We learned a lot more detail than one learned in school or general readings. You got to actually see and touch and walk through the buildings that played a role in the Lincoln County War, see where Billy the Kid made his daring escape. The State Museum took you further back in time with history of the Apaches, who were originally in the area, the settlements established by the Mexican families, about their families and role in NM history, the need for Fort Stanton and it’s eventual role in the Lincoln County War. It also included bios of the individuals involved in the two sides of the War. All very interesting.

After lunch, I told Bruce we had to stop at Smokey the Bear’s final resting place in Capitan. There is a small State Museum there. I was more interested in the story of Smokey. We walked around the “zone” forests in the back and saw where “the Bear” is buried. As I remember, he lived to be 25 years old and spent all his life in Washington DC at the National Zoo. A lot of dignitaries of the time attended his internment service there in Capitan.

When we got back to Carrizozo, we stopped off and had good old fashioned malts at Roy’s. I mention that for a reason.

Day 35, Carrizozo NM, Mile 3377
It was not a good day. Apparently the ice cream base used for the above mentioned malt, had a strong soybean content. I am allergic to soybeans. I can take them in moderation as I have built up some resistance to them and other things I am allergic to. I don’t usually have the typically thought of reaction any more but my body at 3:30 a.m. let’s see how do I delicately say this. . . . decided to flush it’s self of everything including the allergens. It left me weak, tired and somewhat dehydrated. So all today, was just taking it easy and getting myself back on my feet for the trip to Trinity Site tomorrow.

Day 36, Trinity Site
Bruce and I took our own vehicles as I wanted to run over to Socorro and pick up some more cookies that I like (sorry am spoiled) and have a late lunch of my favorite pizza - stone fired pepperoni with green chilies. And, hopefully be able to upload all of this blog and pictures.

Am sitting here in Socorro at one of my favorite places to eat - Socorro Springs - eating my favorite pizza and checking all my email. Need to stop at the grocery store to pick up some things I don’t see at home then will catch my son at work before heading back to Valley of Firest campground. Tomorrow moring I head home and will be there probably on Tuesday.

Trinity Site was packed with people. Bruce and I spent about 90 minutes there. It was special for me since that is where dad was 57 years ago to help set off the first test. I’ll have more on it after I get home, along with a few pictures. Right now need to finish eating and get all this up loaded to my blog site. Time to sign off as my battery is getting to the limit I set. Finished my delicious pizza, finishing off with a pumpkin roll for desert. Until Later.

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