Welcome to our Travel Blog!

Hi, and welcome to our RV Travel Blog! We hope you enjoy our writings. If you are a camper, I hope you find them helpful. The posts are list in order from recent back to earliest.... so if you want to read in order that they were written, scroll down or click the "Previous Posts" on the right. Also look at the "Archive" links on the right. Our trip and family photos are in the Dotphoto.com site in the links section on the left.
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Saturday, October 22, 2005

We Are Home!

Over the past 6 days we have traveled from New Mexico back home by way of Austin Texas. Some of the highlighes are:

  • Traveling from Las Cruces to Carlsbad Caverns via El Paso
  • Seeing the bats (300,000 of them) leave the caverns at sundown
  • Walking down into the Carlsbad Caverns and through the "Big Room"
  • Traveling through central/western Texas to Austin Texas
  • Visiting the Lyndon Johnson boyhood home in Johnson City TX
  • Drive through east Texas to Shreveport LA.
  • Drive through Philadelphia Mississippi and the Neshoba County Courthouse, sight of the "Mississippi Burning Trial"
  • Night in Tuscaloosa Alabama that just happens to be the night before the Alabama/Tennessee football game.

I am not going to write the complete trip report for this week, but here are some of the pictures we made along the way.

Here we are at a roadside picnic table in west Texas with the Guadalupe Mountains in the background. This is on Highway 62/180 between El Paso Texas and Carlsbad New Mexico.

The Guadelupe Mountains span the border of Texas and New Mexico. Our route will take us over these mountains and on toward Carlsbad Caverns NM.

Here is the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns. The 'theater' in the foreground is where we sat to watch the 300,000 bats exit the caves at dusk. These bats make their way over the desert to the Pecos River miles to the south to feed on insects, then return at dawn to their roosting place inside the caves.

Monday night's camp spot in the Rio Conchos State Park just north of San Angelo Texas

This is the homestead of the grandfather of Lyndon Johnson in Johnson City Texas. I visited LBJs boyhood home near this site.

Headed back east, here is the Mississippi River and I-20 in Vicksburg MS.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

One More Day in Las Cruces & Road Trip To White Sands

We woke up this morning with rain pounding on the coach roof. It was really coming down, and it continued until about 10:30. Even after that the sky was covered with heavy blue looking clouds and it continued to drizzle/rain off and on. With all that going on we decided to stay here another day and see if it cleared up a little later. Then maybe we would take the Civic over to White Sands.

I went to the office and paid up another day and soon after that it began to clear a little. It was really warming up some too.

By about 11:00 we were in the Civic headed up Hwy 70 toward the Organ Mountains and San Agustin Pass. Then we head down into the Tularosa Basin. This vast desert is surrounded by mountains to the east and west, and is the site of the White Sands National Monument, and the White Sands Missle Range.

White Sands is a 300 square mile area of gypsum sand dunes in the middle of this desert. There is a paved road that turns off of Hwy 70 at the visitors center where you can see exhibits of the geology and history of the area.

The paved road goes a couple of more miles into the edge of the dune area, then the roads are hard packed white sand. The reason for that is the sand dunes are constantly shifting and moving through the area. The roads are continuously scraped and cleared. The white sand piled on the roadside looks like snow that has been plowed onto the roadside.

Here is a picture of the Civic parked in a picnic area in the middle of the dunes. The little picnic shelters have a cover over the tables.

What really looked wierd is all of the standing water after the heavy morning rain. The gypsum sand is so dense that water stands in flat areas and in the parking pull offs and picnic areas.

We went as far into the dune area as the road took us , and then got out and walked up to the top of one of the large dunes to take a look around. There is white sand as far as the eye can see. Thats Pam coming up from the parking area.

There were families playing on the dunes, with kids and those little saucer shaped sleds sliding town the dunes.

After we left White Sands, we continued north on Hwy 70 to Alamogordo. Sitting at the base of the Sacramento Mountains towering over it, Alamogordo is home to Holloman Air Force Base. It is a neat town with a large park in the center of town.

We stopped at Blake's Lot-o-burger for a quick lunch, ( I finally got a green chile cheeseburger) and then rode a little further north before turning on Hwy 82 toward the mountain town of Cloudcroft. It is a very steep road that winds up into the mountains. There are numerous pullouts so slower traffic can get out of the way of faster traffic. We got out of the way. At the top just before entering a tunnel through a part of the mountain, there is a scenic overlook with an awesome view back toward the west. From there you could see all the way across the Tularosa Basin back to the west and the peaks of the San Andres Mountains. You can also see the huge field of White Sands dunes streching miles and miles in the distance.

Over the pass and into the mountains we soon get to the small town of High Rolls. Up ahead we see red lights of emergency vehicles flashing. There has been a rock slide and the westbound lane is completely covered with slabs of large boulders. Several sheriff deputies were there directing traffic. Slowly we moved through and continued.

That area remided us a little of the NC mountains. There are plenty of green trees in the area, and valleys with ranches. Apples are grown in the area and there were numerous apple stands and antique shops. After going over the pass, we thought we had seen enough and decided to turn back. This area of high desert and rugged mountains is very isolated with few roads through the area, so it is difficult to make a "loop" back to your starting point without traveling hundreds of miles. So we turned back to retrace our track back to Las Cruces.

Back past the rock slide area, we see that they are still waiting on some heavy equipment to move the giant stones. (We did meet a large truck with a bulldozer blade on the front heading up as we were on the way down.)

Back down on the desert floor in Alamogordo, we had a sweet attack and stopped at Sonic for some ice cream. Then it was back on the road to the RV park where we arrived about 6:00 PM.

We did a couple of loads of clothes in the laundrymat, and I put the tow bar on the Civic so I wouldn't have that to do in the morning.

Dinner tonite was leftovers from La Posta last nite.

I don't know when I will have internet access again, so this may be the last post for a while, possiby even until we get home. I have heard that some of the rest stops in Texas have internet access. Our plan is to leave Carlsbad on Monday and go through west Texas about half way to Austin, then get to Austin on Tuesday afternoon. While Pam visits and shops with friends on Wednesday, I want to visit the LBJ Ranch and Homeplace near Johnson City TX. Then we plan on leaving Austin Thursday and getting back home sometime Saturday. That way if there any delays, we will have Sunday as a extra day.

My real goal, is to try some authentic Texas briskett BBQ and see what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Las Cruces all week

We are in Las Cruces NM now. We arrived on Monday afternoon and are staying at the Hacienda RV Resort. This is a beautiful place and one of the nicest RV Resorts we have ever stayed at.

I am working from the RV. Hacienda has on site phone, and wireless high speed internet. I work on Eastern Time to be in synch with those that I normally work with, so I start my day at about 6:30 AM. The commute takes about 6 to 8 seconds depending on traffic. We do get out in the evenings, so if there are things of interest about which to write, I will keep this post updated by labeling an additional section of this post with the day of the week.

Our Parking place at Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces NM.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Today is the last day we plan to stay here in Las Cruces. We have really enjoyed the weather which is much milder than it was up in Santa Fe, and this location. This RV park is nice and it is close to everything of interest.

This evening the RV Resort has their weekly "Margarita Party" reception on their common area patio. It was nice meeting some of the others here in the park.

There is a retired couple in an Alpha 5th wheel trailer that we met Monday while we were doing our laundry. They call Jacksonville Texas home, but have not lived there in 2 years. They bought the trailer to live in while they found the perfect retirement community, and so far they are still looking.

Another couple have Safari Trek motor home and are from California near Los Angeles. They dont full time, but do go on extended trips. They are 3 weeks into what they think will be a 3 month trip.

There are several RVs here with rather large satellite dishes on top that I could only assume were some sort of 2 way hookup. One couple in a 2001 Airstream trailer have such a dish on top. I asked him about it. He is an engineering consultant and the dish is a TV and Internet service called Data Storm. Anywhere he is with a open view to the south to connect with the satellite, he has high speed internet.

After that we went back to La Mesilla to La Posta resturant. This is supposed to be one of the best spots in the city, so we saved it for Friday night. We should have realized that others would be there on the weekend to, including a lot of students from NMSU. The place was PACKED, and they told us it would be an hour and a half wait! We talked about leaving, but what else do we have to do so we stayed.

La Posta is in an old building that was built back in the 1800s and was once a stop on the overland stage route. It was a restaurant and boarding house then. Now it is the resturant and several shops. The waiting area was in the old courtyard area, and has a tree growing in it with several large enclosed cage type areas with large birds and a parrot.

The wait was only 40 minutes, so I am glad we stayed. I decided to go for a Mexican steak, which was ground beef patty with green chilies on top and cheese. Pam ordered a chimychanga with beans, cheese and red chile sauce. We ended putting over half of all that in a take out box so I guess we'll have it for lunch tomorrow. Since its our last night, we decided to splurge on desert. I ordered Flan; a custard type of pudding covered with a caramel sauce. Pam ordered the Sopapilla, which is a fluffy flat bread type of tortilla that you put honey on. (At most of the "mom and pop:" type places we've been to, they have a jar of honey on the table for your soppapilla.

We waddled back to the Bounder and began to think about what we'll do tomorrow. The forecast says rain, but we will wait and see. I would like to go over to White Sands and then head to Carlsbad.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Nothing much to report today. I worked all day while it was overcast and a little rainy. Not enough to make the water stand anywhere, just cloudy.

It's really nice working from the Bounder. I actually think I get more done here than in the office; No one to drop by and chat with, no need to walk around to the other side of the building to go the bathroom, and no need to go out to lunch. And there is no other buildings to walk to for meetings.

And I do have a pretty good view from my office window looking out over the computer screen at the big rigs coming and going.

And the big rigs do roll through here. As I sit and see new arrivals pull into the office lot here, most are large diesel pushers, with the occasional gas coach. And a lot of them are towing full sized pickups or SUVs. One big Country Coach was even towing fully enclosed trailer with their Infinity SUV inside. I think our Bounder and maybe 2 other coaches here are gas, with the rest being diesel pushers or large 5ers. There are two hugh 5th wheel rigs here towed by by Freightliner tractors, customized with 4 doors, rear seats and a storage area behind the cab. It also seems like most of the diesel coaches that come through here are Monaco. They must have a very good value for the dollar compared to the other brands, because there sure seem to be a lot of them on the road.

Pam went out today for a couple of hours to ride around this end of Las Cruces, browsing through some neighborhoods and checking out some more shops. She bought Bobbi a cat toy that hangs from the ceiling and has a fuzzy toy on the the end of an elastic string. Of course Bobbi totally ignores it and prefers a balled up paper towel.

When 6:00 PM rolled around it was time so shut down the office. We went for a short walk around the RV Park then took a ride over to the New Mexico State University. NMSU is just around the corner from where we are staying here. They have a pretty but urban campus. They don't seem to have any high rise housing or classroom buildings, but quite a lot of small flat roofed apartments for student housing.

We passed the "Green" where the band was practicing. It reminded us of all the times we went to band practice, football games, and marching band contest with Addie and Tristan.

Marching Band Practice at NMSU.

We drove a little north of the city and turned back through some nice neighborhoods back to the RV park, and had dinner in the Bounder.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pam went back to some of the shops in La Mesilla today, but didn't spend too long there this time. I think (from the looks of the bags she brought in, she ended up at Wal-Mart... surprise, surprise.)
Speaking of Wal-Mart, I know I'v been making a big deal of the "Free" camping in the Wal-Mart parking lots. But I did get on-line today to do a little personal bookkeeping, and checking our bank accounts. Y'all know that we almost exclusively use debit cards for nearly everything now. Even when you use a check at many places, they convert it to a debit transaction so that is immediately transferred from your checking account to theirs.

Anyway, what I see when I check our account activity is Wal-Mart: $67, Wal-Mart $104, Wal-Mart $46, Wal-Mart...... Well you get the idea. So much for "FREE" camping at Wal-Mart.

Tonight after work, we drove up Hwy 70 East of Las Cruces. Hwy 70 connects Las Cruces with Almagordo and the White Sands NASA Test Range. Several thousand people work there and live in Las Cruces. Hwy 70 crosses the Organ Mountains. This is a mountain range just west of Las Cruces that kind of sets the tone somehow for the town. What I mean by that is that these mountains are awesome in their size and their ruggedness. They were named Organ because the hugh rock spires and pinnacles look like the pipes on a pipe organ. I'll try to make some pictures later.

Hwy 70 crosses the San Agustin Pass at about 5710 feet and is part of the old Chisholm Trail. At the top of the pass, there is a turnout where you can stop and take a look. It is an unbelievable view across hundreds of miles olf desert toward Alamgordo and White Sands. Here is a view from San Agustin Pass.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005.

Pam took the afternoon and visited historic La Mesilla. She spent a few hours walking around the Plaza and visiting some of the gift shops and scoping out the restaurants in the area. There are several that come highly recommended, so we may give them a try.

She also took a drive out through the country checking out the pecan groves. They flood the groves with water from the Rio Grande to irrigate the trees. This looks kind of strange, like a grove of pecan trees in a swamp. Apparently they flood with just a few inches of water, then let it soak in giving the trees a good drink on a regular basis. We are not sure how often they do that, some of the groves would be completely flooded, while others are just damp looking or completely dry.

After my work day was done, we drove back down through that area and then continued south toward El Paso TX on NM Route 28. This is a small road that runs down the Rio Grande valley roughly parallel with I-26 several miles to the east. We crossed the Rio Grande 3 or 4 times, through fields of red chilies, cabbage, lettuce, cotton, and pecan groves.

Everyone here seems to have a horse or two, and seem to keep them in rather small fenced in areas.

We kept going until we were in the town of Anthony, then saw a small sign "Welcome to Texas". Route 28 approaches I-25 at this point, so we got back on the interstate to quickly make the 20 miles or so back to Las Cruces. Getting off at the La Mesilla exit we went back to the plaza and had dinner at Peppers Cafe. Peppers is a kind of upscale place serving Mexican/New Mexican dishes in an old supposedly haunted house. It actually shares the house with the Double Eagle restaurant. Our table was in the old court yard area of this southwestern style house with a fountain in the center. Chile Rellenos and a veggie enchiladas were ordered and thoroughly enjoyed.

Monday, October 10, 2005

To Las Cruces

We reluctantly broke camp this morning...barely morning as it was nearly noon... but we only have about 50 miles to go to get to Las Cruces where we will stay for the next 5 days. Leaving out of the main entrance from Elephant Butte Lake State Park, we took the state road down to Truth or Consequences New Mexico, just 4 or 5 miles away.

Truth or Consequences (T or C as it is referred to locally) was called Hot Springs when the Elephant Butte Lake Dam was built. But in the 1950s, the Truth or Consequences TV show came to town. Ralph Edwards, the shows founder and host, offered to do the show live from any town in the country that would change its name to Truth or Consequences. Obviously, this was in a time where TV was a new novelty, and doing a TV show remote was a hugh deal. So after consideration by the citizens and a referendum for approval, the show came to town. T or C still has a Ralph Edwards day each year with a parade and other events.

We rode through the main street of the town in the hills a mile or so west of I-25, then turned south.
I did notice a Blakes Lot-a-burger restaurants.

Tristan and I stopped at one of these on our trip out here in 1999. We had never seen one before, but they are all over the place in NM. Pam and I are enjoying this trip as our 30th anniversary present to days other, but so many times we are looking at things and thinking about how much Tristan and Addie would enjoy it. Both love to travel and see things. Maybe they'll have a chance to do some traveling ont heir own.

I remember when Tristan and I were on the first leg of our 1999 trip alone, we came through this area, Carlsbad and Roswell and he was using the video camera to make movies set to the latino music he could find on the radio. What a trip that was, seeing all of this for the first time. Seeing these Blakes Lot-A-Burger, brought back many good memories of that and other camping trips with Addie and Tristan.

In fact, we were talking to a retired couple from Texas that full time in their 5th wheel trailer. They were talking about going up to Yellowstone park and looking for bears, and saw none. When we were there with the kids, we could not see any bears either. So on the way back as we approached Rapid City South Dakota, we started seeing signs for an attraction called "Bear Country USA". We decided to stop and see the bears there. It was a drive through attraction.. a large fenced in field that must have had 500 bears in it. We drove the old Coachmen RV through it, we got our fill of bears.. finally.

But no bears to be seen here in the New Mexican high desert.

When we were in the Sante Fe area we saw signs at farmers markets and roadside stands advertising Hatch Green chilies. We didn't know what that was, but soon, here north of Las Cruces in the Rio Grande valley we come to Hatch: Chile Capital of the World. We decide we need to take a closer look so we get off the interstate and go through the small town with a Chile vendor on every corner...actually it didn't take a corner, just a wide spot on the shoulder of the road. Red and Green chilies everywhere. Ristras hung all over the place. (Ristras are those hanging chili bunches that you see in some of our pictures,, they are everywhere in NM). We even saw one store that had the roof covered with chilies drying in the sun.

My apologies for not getting any pictures, but I had left the camera in a bag in the Civic. Maybe we'll get back up there sometime later in the week to get some fresh Green and take a picture or two.

Speaking of Green, you have to get used to that down here. Everything comes with your choice of a Chile sauce made from either Red, Green or Christmas (Red and Green). Honest. I thought someone was pulling my leg when they told me to order a Christmas Cheesburger, but you hear that everywhere out here. Even MacDonalds here has a Green Chile Cheesburger on the menu!

Down through Hatch we turned south on NM Hwy 185 and began a trip down through the Rio Grande valley with large irrigated fields full of lettuce, chilies, and groves of Pecans and pistachios.

Soon we are in the vicinity of Las Cruces and begin to see sub divisions and stop lights.

Soon we rolled into Las Cruces, made the turn on I-10 west for a couple of miles, and then to the Hacienda RV Resort that will be our home for the next 5 days.

The Hacienda is a very nice place, set up to be a resort similar to a hotel. They have a breakfast each morning, a spa, and exercise room. They also have wireless high speed internet access.

Las Cruces is a border town, but also very much a college town. New Mexico State University is a very large school and there are lots of students everywhere. And wherever there are lots of students, there will be lots of good and reasonably priced restaurants.

A young lady named Emily checked us into the RV Resort. She is a recently graduated student from NMSU with a major in Psychology, and was looking forward to going to work at a local hospital. I asked her where is the best place in town to get a good Chile Cheeseburger. She recommended Dicks Cafe which is just down the way from the RV Resort.

We completed the check in and Emily escorted us to our parking site. After getting things set up, we go explore a little. Historic La Mesilla is just down the road less than a mile from the Hacienda RV Resort and it has a dozen or so restaurants, and shops with local and southwestern art, pottery , and gifts.

We found Dicks Cafe, a very small down home type of place that reminded me a little of gin's Cafe in WIngate. I know I came in there with the idea of a green Chile cheesburger, but the burritos and enchiladas looked great. I decided to get a roasted chicken enchiladas "smothered green" meaning covered with green Chile. I wasn't disappointed. Pam had a veggie burritto that was filled with green chilies, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and other veggies and cheese. I think we'll need to walk back to the RV resort.. ...matter of fact, we'll probably have to walk back to North Carolina after all these tortillas we've been eating this week.

And we have another week to go! Addie and Tristan: do us a favor and hide the bathroom scales!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Elephant Butte State Park

Sunday dawned with the sound of rain pounding on the Bounder. I lifted the window shade just a bit to look outside to see a welcoming warm glow rising on the horizon. It said "Wal-Mart Supercenter - Lower Prices Every Day".

The trucks that were sharing the parking area with us were all gone now. Only a couple of coaches and a pick up truck with a 5th wheel camping trailer, along with a few early shoppers. I decided I'd wait until the rain stopped, then got up to make coffee and plan the day.

When I walked out to check on the Civic, I was shocked.. It was covered head to toe, bumper to bumper with mud, muddy water and dirt. I guess the little trip up the muddy road construction last night was rougher than I thought, and I didn't notice it in the dark.

Fortunately, there was a car wash next to the parking area. After coffee and breakfast, I went over to wash some of the mud off, and re-hitched the Civic. Ready to go.

I had originally planned to to down through the country to the Acoma Pueblo, but found out that they are closed for tribal ceremonies of some sort one weekend each year, and that happened to be now. And with the rain added to the experience of the road construction last night, I was a little concerned about taking any backroads. So we backtracked east on I-40 to I-25 and headed south toward Las Cruces.

I-25 is quite different from I-40; not as wide and not nearly as heavily traveled, particularly with regards to the trucks. As we moved south, we began to encounter steeper grades up over hills then down into canyons. In fact, several we went through had a airport style wind sock so you could be forewarned about any strong winds that may be rushing down the canyons across the road. Here is a picture, but I'm not sure you can spot the windsock at the bottom of the hill.

Also you can see in the picture that the road is still wet. We did continue to encounter showers off and on all day. While I am responsible for the driving, Pam provides occasional navigation assistance. Here she is busily navigating:

It's so flat here, that you can see the thunderstorms and showers miles away. As in the picture on the left, with the cloud dumping its water several miles up ahead.

Lunch time found us near Socorrco NM. We pulled into a rest stop for a quick pit stop, then back on I-25. Pretty soon it was time to feed the Bounder, so we found a fuel stop, a small truck/auto fuel stop/convience store at exit 156. It had big lanes for the trucks, but only one lane that would be easy to get the Bounder and Civic through. I decided I'd better walk all the way around just be sure it was clear, then pulled around and back through the fuel lane. 46 gallons later we were underway. I'm keeping in mind the lessons of our elders on this stop: never leave a town in the desert without a full tank.

I had been hearing about the quality of the New Mexico State park system, so we decided to spend the night at Elephant Butte Lake State Park near the town of Truth or Consequences NM. This proved to be a real oasis in the desert.

Elephante Butte Lake, New Mexico

We paid our $14 for an "electric" sight for the night at the entry gate. The ranger told us to pick any site that was open. Since this was off season, there were not many campers here. I didn't want to have to unhitch the Civic to back in to a campsite, so he directed me to an area containing mostly pull-through sights. We made a couple of passes throught the area and decided on a spot with the best view. (Picture Right)

The open spaces in the desert really seem to compress the distances. Looking at the picture you can see Elephant Butte in the distance. It's about 8 or 9 miles to the butte from here, and about one mile to Lions Beach, the beach just below our campsite.

We decided to walk down to the lake to take a look. Elephant Butte Lake is a man made lake on the Rio Grande river. It was built in the 1920s in order to provide irrigation for the farms in the fertile Rio Grande valley, and for flood control. It is one of several lakes on the Rio Grande in this area. Other than the campground, there are several very large marinas on the lake, but no lakeside development as we are accustomed to seeing in our part of the country. I think part of the reason is that there is just not the population in this area for lakeside homes. And the opposite side of the lake is protected by mountainous terrain so rough that there are just no roads in the area.

Lions Beach, Elephant Butte Lake New Mexico

Much of the state park consist of primitive camping areas with no water or electricity hook ups. You can camp anywhere you wish in these areas. It was obvious from the sandy roads and tracks that a lot of campers in the area use this during the summer months. Here are a couple of RV's camped right on the beach.

After our little hike, we fired up the grill for a couple of Bubba Burgers, and a fake chicken (Veggie) patty and watched the sun set behind us providing a beautiful setting here in the desert in South Central New Mexico, followed by one of - no make that THE quietest campsite we have ever had.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Navajo Country and beyond (UPDATED)

All of the pictures we made over the past few days are on the photo site. CLICK HERE to see them.

We left Sante Fe on Saturday morning and drove to Grants NM found a campsite, then took the Civic to Canyon de Chelly Arizona. Pronounced Canyon de SHAY, it is located about 70 miles northwest of Gallup NM.

Grants NM is in the middle western part of the state of NM about 50 miles east of Gallup. Grants is a cross roads for rail traffic. We saw freight trains on a regular basis. Of course, you can see for ever in that part of the country. It wasn't unusual to see a entire train, locomotive to caboose, miles away moving across the desert with the red rocks as a backdrop.

We were going to stay at either Red Rocks State Park, or at Blue Water Lake State Park. Both are nearer Gallup than Grants, so we decided that instead of driving all the way over there in the Bounder (at 7mpg) we would find the next available campground and take the Civic. We sere just approaching the exit with campgrounds when lo and behold - a Wal-Mart Supercenter appeared. Looked like a nice place to park to us! There were already a couple of other RVs and a few trucks there. I went in and asked permission from the manager and again were welcomed with a smile.

I guess its a good thing we did not go for the Red Rocks State Park. Later I talked to another RVer that did stay there. He said the park is located between 2 rail lines and approximately 100 trains per day pass there.. all blowing their horns.

With the Civic quickly unhitched we headed west to Gallup. This is really Navajo Country. Hwy 264 runs north and then west out of Gallup. Soon we are officially in the Navajo Nation. The next town, Window Rock, just across the border in Arizona, is the Tribal Headquarters for the Navajo Nation. We passed the tribal offices and kept going west toward the Hubbell Traiding Post. This trading post was one of the first trading posts in the area, established to sell general merchandise to the Navajos. In fact, Hubbell was one of the first to recognize the skill of the Navajo weavers, silversmiths, and potters, and encouraged them to make items for trade.

After passing the trading post, we turned north on Hwy 191, and began a 6-7 mile climb up to the top of a large mesa, where it runs near the eastern edge of the mesa top. In several places along this road, you can catch a view off of the mesa top out into the broad desert valley below. I have no idea how far you can see across this area, but in must be many, many miles. The top of the mesa was green enough that we saw areas where sheep were grazing. Once we saw a flock of sheep atteneded by a lone Border Collie.

Eventually we reach the mesa end and begin a quick steep drive down into the valley below and before long we are in Chinle Arizona, near the visitors center for Canyon De Chelly.

We arrived there just before 5 PM (they close at 5) so we were able to get in and pick up a map. I also wanted to avoid returning around and re-tracing our 60-70 mile route from Gallup, so I asked the park ranger about the road that loops around the north of the canyon and then heads back south toward Window Rock. Tribal Route 36 runs along the north rim of the canyon, then connects with Tribal Route 12. The ranger assured me that these were both scenic drives and good roads. There was some road construction on Route 36, but other than that, we would be fine.

We drove several miles down the south rim of the Canyon de Chelly stopping at a couple of the overlooks. This place is awesome: Sheer red rock walls several hundred feet high. Just as with the Grand Canyon but on a much smaller scale, it is a large gorge carved out of the flat desert by the Rio de Chelly.

On the canyon floor is peaceful green farmland watered by the river, farmed by the Navajo families that have lived there for generations. You can hike down into the canyon using several trails, or if you have a 4X4 vehicle you can hire a Navajo guide to take you for a tour.

Here is a picture of Canyon de Chelly. Those sheer rock walls are about 600 feet straight down.

It had been raining most of the day, so the canyon farms looked very green and peacful as we viewed them from our purch way up on the rim.

In some of the cliff surfaces you can see areas where the rock had been worn away, forming a kind of shelter. Inside some of these were ancient cliff dwelling ruins. These were not built or occupied by the Navajo's but by a tribe that lived there thousands of years before the first Navajo's moved into the area. These first occupants were the Anasazis. Anasazi means "the ancient ones" in Navajo.

We decided we needed to move on before it was too late, so we headed east on Tribal Route 36. About 20 miles down that road, we saw a sigh up ahead warning about the road construction the ranger had mentioned. Then we saw another sign that said "Pavement Ends". Then another sign that said "No Pavement next 11 Miles"! Well, that shouldn't be too bad, maybe just a little bumpy? But the heavy rains earlier in the day had turned it into a quagmire! Cars were comming through from the other direction, so we kept going. I was thinking that surely this would not be this bad the whole 11 miles. But the further I went in the little Civic (about 8-9 inches of clearance over the road), the worse it became. We could see ruts that had been pushed in by large trucks, standing water in some places...what a total mess. About a mile of this and we had to do a U-turn. Fortunately the Civic has such a small turn radius we were able to get turned around and get moving pretty quickly, without stopping any of the cars behind us. So here we are 100 miles from our Bounder forced to return down the same road we spend the entire afternoon comming up.

By the time we got back to Chinle it was dark, and by the time we got back to the Wal-Mart in Grants it was 10:00 PM. Man, what a day!

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Turquois Trail

Due to internet connection problems I may not have time to finish this posting. I could not convince this laptop to talk to the wireless connection at the campground at all last night, so I am trying to do a brief update this morning before we leave the Trailer Ranch here in Santa Fe.

Just in case the connection does away again, here is the link to all of yesterdays pictures: Click Here.

First thing was a trip back to the Honda dealer to turn in the rental Taurus and pick up the Civic. The were able to get the part yesterday afternoon and had it all fixed up and ready to go. The folks at Premier Honda in Santa Fe were very accommodating and did everything they could to get us back on the road quickly.

We took a little time yesterday to go back to the Plaza in Santa Fe. That is where a number of Native Americans sell there art and craft work. We wanted to buy a few things but also wanted to be sure that it was work that was done by real Indian craftsmen. A couple of the shops we visited had pottery and other items that were made in India or Mexico.

On one side of the Sante Fe Plaza many Indians from the area spread their paintings, jewelry, and weavings on blankets on the sidewalk for sale. We talked to one Native American that was selling his paintings. They were abstracts of southwest and Indian symbolism. Colors were absolutely beautiful. He was proud of the fact that he was going to have a show at the Santa Fe Art Institute. These shows are usually reserved for art students, and he was self taught. But his work was so good that they had invited him to a showing.

We bought a couple of sand paintings from a Navajo lady named Nancy Price (sounds like a Union County gal doesn't it?). She picks up various colors of rocks in the desert, grinds it up into a very fine powder, and uses a paste solution to make "paints" out of them. Then she uses these colors to paint her pictures.

Later we took a drive down New Mexico Hwy 14 from Santa Fe to a little town east of Albuquerque. This road runs to the east of the Sandia mountains that we rode the tram up to last Wednesday.

It is called the Turquoise Trail because of the Turquoise mines located along the route. We pulled off the main road to visit the town of Cerillos. It has one paved street and the rest are dirt. A few artists shops, saloons, and a gift shop interspersed with the old houses and mobile homes are scattered among the pines and aspens. Cerillos was at one time a very important mining town with 21 saloons and 4 hotels.

Next we climb up into the mountains, and come to the town of Madrid. (Pictures on right and below) It is pretty much an artist haven now, with galleries, shops, cafes and coffee shops in the old houses. Madrid had a large coal mine that produced thousands of tons of coal for the railroads. After WWII when most of the railroads switched to diesel, the mind shut down and most of the town was abandoned. In the 1970s many of the artist and others moved in, refurbished many of the old shacks and took up residence. It is an interesting little place to say the least.

Further up the road we went through a lengthly section of road construction where the pavement had been removed. We were forced to slow down to 15-20 mph through this rough section. In front of us I saw something small crossing the road. As we got closer I could see it was a giant spider! It may have been a tarantula, I'm not really sure. I have never seen a spider big enough to see as it is crossing the road. Possums, Frogs, Chickens crossing road, but NEVER a spider that big.

On the way back we passed the site of the Albuquerque balloon Fiesta. The weather has not cooperated this week with the balloons but there is still quite a crowd there! We didn't see any but we sure saw the traffic.

After a stop at the grocery store on the way back to the RV park, we decided we needed to catch up with our laundry. The facilities at this RV park are very well maintained and absolutely spotless. We rounded up enough quarters to wash and dry 3 loads, so I guess we'll have fresh underwear to explore the desert. Here's a picture of Pam outside the laundry mat at Trailer Ranch RV Park.

As soon as I save and publish this post, we'll pack up, hook up the Civic and head west. Tonight we'll probably be in Grants or Gallup or someplace in that general vicinity.

I am not sure when I'll get Internet again. It may be as late as Monday so If you don't hear from us for a few days don't worry, we are just on the road.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The High Road to Taos

We woke up this morning to the sound of wind and rain beating down on the roof. During the night a cold front moved in and it really chilled things down. All the way down to 39 degrees. We had the electric heat on in the Bounder so we didn't realize that it was so chilly out. But here in Santa Fe it begins to warm up as soon as the Sun comes up.

I began the day at the local Honda dealership to get the Civic checked out. The Santa Fe Honda dealer is just down the street from the RV park in a large auto park that has about 5 or 6 dealerships in it. They were very accomodating and got me right in. Before long they had diagnosed a bad temperature sensor on the radiator fan. It wouldn't take that long to fix, but the part had to be ordered and would not be there for about 4 or 5 hours, then another hour to install it and check it out. They could be done by 4:30 or so.

It turns out that the local Hertz rental agency has a desk in the dealership, so I proceeded to get a 2006 Ford Taurus at the special rate of $25 per day. Looks like we'll make it to Taos after all.

All set with the car and back to pick up Pam and off we go. I had planned to call Maria, the daughter of Huey Simpson's Army buddy that lives here in Santa Fe. Jim had been kind enough get her phone number for me prior to our departure. I tried a couple of times to call her but there was no answer. Jim had said that she was ill, so maybe she could not get the phone. Later she did call and leave a message, and her son Andrew called too. I was finally able to connect with Andrew later in the day. It's nice to have a connection in town in case we need recommendations or directions.

Instead of taking the quick route to Taos, we decided to take a series of back roads that go up through the mountains and part of the Carson National Forest. This "high road" (Picture on left) takes us up through a couple of small towns and pueblos.

Soon we are in Chimayo. (Picture right) This small town is known for its weaving crafts people and as the location of the Santuario de Chimayo.

The Santuario de Chimayo. is a small church was built in 1813.(Below Left) It is known worldwide for the healing miracles that have been done there. The small area is covered with shrines, crosses, and other artifacts that have been left there by thankful worshipers.

Nearby is a little cafe, Leona's Resturant. It is a small place where you place your order for home made Mexican food at the counter. After our tamale, veggie burrito, and a slice of banana bread, we were back on the road.

Up through the mountains through Truchas, Las Trampas, Picuris Pueblo, and Penasco. These small villages include some awsome scenery on the way up and down. At higher elevetions, the Aspens are beginning to change to their fall colors. Some sooner than others. We could see areas of the bright yellow in the high mountains.

Soon we were in the town of Taos. This high mountain town is surrounded by ski slopes and ski resorts, and is a center for art galleries, shopping, and resturants for the skier and the visitor.

We walked through the historic Taos Plaza (Picture Above) going through some of the shops looking at the art, pottery, and jewellry.

Back on the road we take US 64 to the west. Yep, its the same US 64 that runs through the heart of North Carolina from Murphy to Manteo. Pretty soon we are out of the mountains and back in the high desert. Its a long straight road across the desert.

A few miles down the road we spot a bridge in the desert. Why is there a bridge in this flat, flat desert. Obviously you can see many miles past the bridge and the landscape is the same. Wrong!

Can you find an 800 foot gorge in the picture above?

We are getting ready to cross the Rio Grande River Gorge. Here the Rio Grande River has cut a gorge through the desert that is over 800 feet from the desert to the bottom of the gorge. The bridge was designed with walkways across its length with several places along the way to stop and look our over the rail down to the river below. The river rapids can barely be heard so far above.

Here is the view from the bridge. You can see the flat desert floor on each side with the river 800 feet below.

Continuing our way west on US 64 to Hwy 285 south headed back to Santa Fe. We pass through the high flat country and begin to descend down to the Rio Grande Valley. For several miles the road runs through the valley along the river. Finally we begin so see homes marking the outskirts of Santa Fe.

On the way back to the Trailer Ranch, we stop at Adelitas Mexican Resturant for dinner. You'd think we would get tired of Mexican food, but not here!

Pulling into our parking space Bobbi greets us by pawing on the front window of the Bounder. I guess she slept all day as usual and is ready to roam around the RV all night.

Tomorrow I'll have to get up and take the rental car back, pick up the Civic, and decide what to do on our last day in Santa Fe.

All of todays pictures are available if you CLICK HERE. And remember, when you are viewing the pictures you can click on a picture to make it larger.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Albuquerque and Sandia Peak

It looks like the car may be ok. I still don't know exactly what happened, so I call Ronnie at the Honda Doc in Monroe and ask his opinion. He says it may be a sticking thermostat, and as long as the temp gauge is ok, keep some water handy and keep on going. I filled a gallon container with water and we move along. I decide to stop by one of the mechanics that the RV park owner recommended just for safety.

George, the mechanic, was happy to provide some consultation on the subject. He listened and said it didn't sound like anything internal and concurred with what Ronnie said. So we moved on to Albuquerque.

Albuquerque is quite different from the areas of Santa Fe we have seen. We stopped at a Subway for a sandwich for lunch, and decided to check out the Sandia Peak Tramway.

The Tramway is the worlds longest and highest arial tram. It travels from the valley where there is a visitor center and resturant near the parking area, up the mountain to nearly 12,000 feet at the top of Sandia Peak. The Sandia Mountains overlook the city of Albuquerque to the west and also have a ski area that is accessed from the east side of the mountain.

We purchased our tickets and waited about 20 minutes for our boarding call. The tram carries 50 people each trip. There are 2 cars going opposite directions: one going up, the other going down, and meeting in the middle.

Pam ususally does not like altitude or motion, so was a little concerned about getting on the tramway, but she really enjoyed it and had no problems. Here is a picture of Pam taking in the awesome view from Sandia Peak.

Click Here to check out all of our pictures.

We walked around the peak for about 45 minutes then got in line to go back down. Standing in line, we talked to a local Albuquerque couple. They had WALKED up the trail from the valley to the top of the peak. It had taken them 3 hours and 45 minutes. They said that there were several trails to the peak and a number of people actually run up the trail a couple of times each week.

We also talked to the wife of an artist from Colorado that was selling her husbands watercolors at the Albuquerque Baloon Fiesta this week. It attracts a large crowd and was the reason we had to wait in lines for the tram... so many folks from the fiesta sightseeing.

Back toward Santa Fe, we decided to eat in tonight. We had planned to ride up to Taos tomorrow, but I am still worried about getting stranded in the Civic. I think I'll get up and get to a Honda shop and get it resolved one way or another. If we have to rent a car for the rest of the week here.. then thats what we'll do.

Touring Santa Fe

We decided to take it a little easy this morning, but our bodies are still on Eastern Time, so we were awake at 6:00 AM. We made coffee and took a little walk around the RV park. It is an interesting little place tucked here on a main highway on the way into Santa Fe. Daily RVers are located in the front of the park. We are about 50 feet from the street separated by a adobe type wall, but we could still hear the traffic during the night and early this morning.

The back part of the park is all full time residents or retirees that spend part of their time here. Most are double-wide or park type trailers, but all are very well kept, clean and neat.

The bus stops right in front of the RV park, and many of the retirees use it to get to the mall or to get downtown to the historic plaza area of Santa Fe. It was suggested that we use the bus, but we decided to drive and take our chances on finding street parking. We found a parking place but only had enough quarters on us for an hour, so we fed the meter all we had and took off on a walking tour of the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

But we may have a little problem on our hands. When we parked, I smelled coolant from the Civic radiator, and sure enough, the overflow resivoir was spewing out on the street. We decided to let the Civic have its little fit and go ahead and walk around. It was kind of confusing because the temperature gauge on the Civic showed nothing abnormal, and there appeared to be no leak other than the water overflowing from the overflow resivoir. We'll just handle that problem when we get back.

Santa Fe is an interesting place. It is a strange mixture of artists showing their work in high end galleries, Native Americans hawking their crafts (weavings, jewellry, and art work) on the street, and the history of one of the oldest towns in the USA. All that added to the fact that it is the capitol of New Mexico with all of the government offices, make it an unusual place. We made several pictures of the area CLICK HERE to see our picture album web site.

There also seems to be a lot of homeless types on the streets. The desert landscape gives things a sort of unkempt appearance. But on the other side of the coin, there are a LOT of resturants serving all kinds of food, but many specialize in the New Mexican food that includes green and red chillies.

Even the hamburgers get a dose of chilli, either red, green, or "christmas" (both red and green).

Back at the Bounder for lunch and then back downtown to finish our walking tour. The afternoon included a trip to the St. Francis Cathedral, the Chapel with the "Miraculuous Staircase" and a visit ot the Oldest House. It is really the oldest structure in the USA.

The Oldest House was built originally in the 1640s, but it was built on the foundation of an old pueblo that was built in 1200 AD.

The "Miraclacuous Staircase" is an interesting story. The staricase is a double spiral with no support in the center or on the outside spirals. The legend has it that when the church was being built in the 1800s, the builders had no skills to build the staircase going up to the choir loft. They held a prayer service to ask for devine intervention to provide help to complete the job. The next day an unknown carpenter showed up at the site with a bag full of tools and began work on it. He worked for weeks to complete this structure, then left without asking for pay, and was never heard from since. It is called a Miracle because it has no support but still stands and has been used for 200 years. In recent years it has been analyzed by engineers, and supposedly is an engineering marvel and should be "Impossible" to stand on its own.

After completing our walk around the plaza and a short walk out to Canyon Road, an exclusive art gallery area, we went to Maria's New Mexican Kitchen. This must be one of the hot spots in SF. We got there a little early and still were seated at the last table un-reserved for the evening. And it was a hoppin' place. After a combination plate of Tamales, Chili Relleanos, beans and rice with both red and green chili sauce, we were ready to call it quits til tomorrow.

Back at the Bounder, the wind started blowing and the temp began to fall. Warm days and cold nights seem to be the norm here in the high desert.

Monday, October 03, 2005

To New Mexico

Moving across West Texas past Amrillo, things really begin to change. You move from rolling farmland in OK, to the cattle country east of Amrillo, into the high plains west of Amrillo. And it is a steady climb up to the high plains.

Mid afternoon we crossed the NM State line noted by the big "Welcome to New Mexico" sign on I-40.

Here the road is long and straight, and it begins to go over long ridges, with the view at the top spanning out across the broad valleys and plains for miles. Here is a picture of I-40 heading west.. it just keeps going and going, and going...

Grain elevators mark the towns on either side of the hwy, with the old "Historic Route 66" visible as a weed covered access road with old motels and gas stations that look like a ghost town from the 1950s. Looking at that narrow road, it is hard to imagine the traffic from the 1930s through the 60s using that road as a major highway. The highway that Steinbeck called "Americas Mother Road", that carried thousands of dust bowl Okies from their failed farms in the midwest to a "better life" in California, is a mere afterghought to the busy I-40.

Finally, at exit 218 in New Mexico, we pull off the coast to coast highway, and follow NM hwy 285 (picture on right) toward Santa Fe. Still climbing this 2 lane road takes us through some of the open ranch lands of this part of NM. Passing dirt roads with elaborate signs overhead with "Cross Bar Ranch" or other ranch names. Look as hard as you can, you cannot see the end of the dirt roads or anything that looks like life down them. But there must be something.

Getting into the outlying areas of Sante Fe we begin to see sub divisions and houses. But not what we are used to in NC. No, these are flat roofed, adobe looking houses with no yards. The desert brush grows right up to the house. I think I'd like that aspect of living here.

Finding our campground, it is right in the middle of town. It is not so much a campground as an RV Community. (Entrance pictured below)

No self parking here, you have to be assisted by the manager. And I see why; it is very tight. They have made every effort to get as many people in here as possible. The place if full though thanks to the Baloon Fiesta going on in Albuquerque this week. (We forgot his name so we just call him Mr. Parker.) Mr, Parker directed us into our spot perfectly.

By the way, on the way out to the resturant we were in a hard rain storm with some lightning. Wouildn't you know it, its the desert but we are here in the rainy season. And its cool and breezy too, temps in the 70s day and 50s at night.

So after 3 long days on the road, we have arrived! We'll find some New Mex food tonight and take it easy tomorrow morning before going into the Sante Fe Plaza to explore and see the sights.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Across Arkansas and Half of Oklahoma!

Ok, so I let the cat out of the bag (not Bobbi) with the title of this post. I started to call this one "Across Hell and half of Oklahoma", but I didn't want to offend any Arkansans that might read this.

Actually Arkansas was pretty interesting for a while. Cross the mighty Mississippi first thing this morning, and then through RICE FIELDS!. I should have known more about our great country, but I didn't know Eastern Arkansas was a major rice producer. Miles and miles of I-40 through the rice fields.

Little Rock was our first little issue with regards to missing a turn and having to make up for it. The intersection of I-40 and another freeway was under major construction, with a very small sign pointing to the temporary ramp to stay on I-40. No problem, we just proceeded until we were able to get out of the construction, exit and re-enter the other side, then watch CLOSELY for the I-40 West marker.

Back on track and to Fort Smith trying to figure what mountain range this is we are passing through and finally realize it's the Ozarks. (The town of Ozark was a dead giveaway.) For some reason though I was thinking Branson MO and the Ozarks were further east.

We stopped at a Flying-J Travel Plaza in Russellville AR for fuel and some lunch. Flying-J is relatively RV friendly with many of them having large parking areas for RVs separate from the truckers areas. This one had a separate fuel pump for RVs from the cars, but the parking area was kind of small. Flying-J is supposed to have cheaper fuel prices but this one was $3.05 9. The Citgo across the street was 10 cents cheaper but I didn't notice it till we pulled out.

On across Arkansas and into Oklahoma. Moving west out of the Ozarks things began to change to more rolling farmland, cattle and grain production. So what kind of time are we making today? Pretty good it seems. No traffic to speak of and no unplanned stops or slowdowns like yesterday.

Stopping for a mid-afternoon break we pull out the CG guide and notice that there are several options for the evening depending on how far along we get. El Reno OK just outside OK City has a Best Western Hotel with a RV lot. Some of you know that Pam has a preference for Best Western's when it comes to staying in a hotel/motel. Then another 30 miles west in Elk City are several campgrounds right on I-40.

We get to OK City at about 7:30 PM and decide we need to make the closer stop in El Reno. But going through OK City we pass by a super Wal-Mart that is right off the exit ramp for I-40, and it is full of big-rig RVs.

Moving on toward our exit 20 some miles away, we get there and see that there is a Wal-Mart there too, with another large motorhome already parked in the outer portion of the lot. It is in a nice area with several restaurants around it so it seems safe. And after our experience from last night at that so called "campground" the Walmart looks great.

We pulled in next to a Monaco coach with a mini-van in tow and park. I went into the store to ask permission to park for the evening. Once in customer service I find the manager on duty, and ask if its ok that we park in the lot for the evening.

"Of course" she said with a big smile, "help yourself." And with that she began to give me a tour of things to do and see in the area as if we were going to be there for several days. She even indicated that if we got "tired of looking at their parking lot" there was a free city park with several RV hookups nearby.

Sounds good, so back in the RV, Pam is defrosting a couple of the casseroles that she made last week. After eating and getting take another trip back into the WM for a few grocery items. While we were in the store, we were joined in the parking lot by a big 5th wheel rig with Michigan plates.

With the windows cracked open for ventilation, it was nice and cool. It's breezy here in OK with cooler nights even thought he temperature earlier in the day was in the upper 80s. During the night I woke up when I heard a lawn mower outside our window! Peeking out, I see that it is not a lawn mower, but a parking lot vacuum cleaner. It looks kind of like a 0-turn radius mower but he was cleaning the lot,,, and from the length of time it took, he must have done a pretty good job.

Other than that, no problems. We awoke with the alarm clock at 6:00AM and found that another Motorhome had joined our little "Camp Walton" sometime in the wee hours. So we started the Bounder, pulled on the street, started the generator, turned on the coffee maker, and were back on I-40 west bound by 6:45 AM.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

We're Rollin'!

Saturday: 7:40 AM.
Here we go. Everything was loaded up last night, the Civic was hooked up and ready to go. We were aiming to leave at 7, but this is not bad for all the preparation we had.

Hwy 601 - Hwy 218 - I-485 - I-85, Hwy 321 North to Hickory, then the exit ramp to I-40. I-40 will be our home for the next 3 days or 1200 miles, which ever comes first.

Asheville rolled by at about 11:30, then the Maggie Valley exit, and finally some new territory for the Bounder. Progress was slow pulling up through the Blue Ridge Mountains and at times it seems like the fastest thing moving is the fuel gauge heading toward empty!

We made a quick lunch stop at a rest stop on I-40, and kept on trucking.

By the time we hit Lebanon TN, it was time to stop for fuel. I almost waited too long, and not knowing what was ahead I was forced to pull into a small Citgo station with barely enough room to get in to the pumps and out again. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to stop at the Taco Bell, we decided to pull straight back out on I-40 and keep going.

Nashville and a big traffic jam was next. In a construction zone there was a wreck on the eastbound lane. But of course it had our westbound lane backed up for miles. It took about 45 minutes to get through the next few miles.

Memphis is a LONG way from Nashville, and Tennesses is a LONG state to go through. Its getting dark and we are tired. Bobbi has spend most of the time on Pam's lap wrapped up under a blanket. I think it is Pam's idea to do that as much as Bobbi's. We start talking about where to stay, and I should have planned this stop more carefully. I was so focused on the New Mexico part of the trip that I am caught not sure of what to do our first night out. Yes we had talked about stopping at a Wal-Mart, but I was thinking we would be farther along than we are now.

Out comes the campground guide and I find a place East Memphis Campground. Looks pretty close to I-40. Its about 9:00 PM now so I follow the directions off the interstate, down a very narrow secondary road marked with a couple of very small signs (almost missed them) pointing to the campground.

Pulling in I see that the office is closed but there is a night registration box. Pick your site and leave money...no help necessary. (Kind of like staying in a Wal-mart would be without the money part.)

Fortunately all the sites were pull-throughs so I dont have to unhitch the Civic. Pull in, hook up and crash.

Next morning, I go to the office to settle up. $26.50 thank you very much. Tomorrow I will do better.