Saturday, November 18, 2017

Scenic drives, lost Engle, and more state parks.....

Our Location: Elephant Butte State Park, Elephant Butte, NM

Awake this morning at 4:30 am, no going back to sleep. Other days I've managed to turn over and get some more sleep but not today. The coyotes were having a yapping good time and continued off and on until about 5:30 am. They sound pretty close to the loop here in the park. 

Cactus grow everywhere here....much like dandelions back home.

I finished reading the blogs I follow about 6 am and was outside looking for pics of a sun rise, in a pair of heavy track pants and a fleece sweater. It was definitely chiller this morning than it has been so far here. A few pics but nothing spectacular in the sun rise department. 

A couple of house boats in the Rio Grande on the opposite side of the island as Elephant Butte State Park.

The temps only reached 62F/16.6C for a high and the low tonight is supposed to be 39F/3.8C. So much cooler than it has been. 

The water is muddy but the scene is inspiring.

Back inside I decided to do something quietly productive. I cleaned the inside of the windows in the main part of the Igloo, and washed the screens as well. That leaves three more windows and screens, along with 2 vents (all inside) that need to be washed  before I can say I'm finished. 

Elephant Butte Dam which is on the Rio Grande River.

By the time I was finishing the windows Riley was awake and heading off to the shower. I managed to get the screens back in and things cleaned up before she got out. 

The Rio Grande just past the EB Dam.

We then discussed lunch, and made a new weekly menu for the upcoming week, along with a grocery list for the upcoming week. We find it much easier to plan for the whole week. 

Our first tumbleweeds.

That accomplished we decided we'd head out for a drive and check out the east ridge we can see from our front drive. We've been seeing a sign that says Engle just past the cutoff for T or C and decided that was in the right direction to find this ridge and the views. So we turned left and off we went. We found a small park which allows dry camping and provides covered shelters for picnic tables, etc. It's right on a little river and has about a dozen sites. I would definitely park there but the turn seems to be a bit tight in my opinion, but I think we could make it work.  This area is called the Elephant Butte Dam Recreation Area and according to Patricia is part of the state park we are currently in.

Heading toward the town of Engle, or so the sign said.

A bit further on we took a different road with the same name as the one above and after a bit of a hair raising road we came to a restaurant, which over looked the Rio Grande River and at least a half dozen house boats. We could also see the marina from this vantage point. A small RV park is located off to the right of the parking lot, and while I'm sure the views are nice, the park itself is very small, hanging on the side of a mountain with a very steep drop should one take a wrong step. It had a dumpy, shabby feel to it and there appeared to be some permanent trailers at this location. There are numerous places with no guardrails of any kind and they make me very nervous. 

The mountains surrounded us at this point in our drive.

From this spot we ventured further around to find the Elephant Butte Dam. We managed to get some great pics of the area, except we missed taking a picture of where they've cleaned the rock slide off the roadway. You could see the marks on the pavement but everything was pushed to the side.

This cut away river bank beside the road we were taking to find the elusive Engle, NM.

We followed this road around, over, between and pretty much everything except under, a number of smaller hills, mounds, or very small mountains. Take your pick. ~laugh~  It was a very scenic route with steep guardless drops on the passenger side. We did note the many cactus, yucca, mesquite and other forms of growth up and down the sides of the roadway. Deep chasms and slashes in in the hillside made the few miles very interesting in deed. 

We were near Caballo State Park.

We reached the end of the snake like road and came to a long flat area on the valley floor. We followed it thinking it would take us to Engle. We found the road to the some trail heads, and a ranch but we never did find Engle. Not sure if it moved because it knew we were coming or if we managed to miss a sign but for whatever reason, we couldn't find it. We didn't get the GPS out to look for it either. Instead we opted to head back to T or C, or at least in the direction.

I think this is the same home made 5'er that George (Our Awesome Travels )might have seen. It's now in Caballo State Park.

We headed thru town, getting on I-25 at Williamsburg, which we both thought was T or C, but turns out it buttes right up against it. We journeyed south even though we are heading that way on Monday, we wanted to have a peek at a couple of parks a bit down the highway. 

I thought this was an odd shape, like the back end had been cut off and it was made smaller. It was at Percha Dam State Park.

We found Caballo State Park just off of the interstate and did a little tour of it. Great views but the sites have no privacy of any kind. Some sites had full hook ups, others just water and electric. The rates were $18 and $14 respectively. In what looked like a parking lot we noticed one older RV with solar panels set out, and I believe it would be a boon docking area. We chatted with a couple that were there and inquired about things to do at the park. The answer was fishing, boating or hiking. So we can at least enjoy some good hiking if we decide to go there. 

Heading home from Caballo State Park.

Next we toured Percha Dam State Park. I must say it is the first state park that I would consider to be shabby. It just looked unkempt. I can't really say why but it's the impression I had. The sites were fairly big and all pull thru but no privacy of any kind. They were quite literally one on top of the other, no space between entry and exit of each site. The entry and exit driveways literally touched the one next to it. They also had a boon docking area off a bit from the rest of the park. It was also shabby in appearance with only a few spots. Not our kind of park.

I believe that might be T or C in the distance.

From there we went back past Caballo (pronounced Cab-i-oh) State park along a back road toward T or C. We enjoyed this drive immensely with the spectacular views. It was a short drive to T or C, about 25 minutes. Since we hadn't used the GPS all day we decided we could find Walmart with out it. We did, eventually. ~laugh~ I can tell you we enjoyed seeing some beautiful homes in a variety of neighbourhoods in T or C. We knew the general direction we needed to go and proceeded to make the appropriate turns. Some streets dead ended, some were just too rough, and others appeared to go in the wrong direction but we finally found the street we were looking for and knew exactly where we were. Good for us. So after a quick stop at the Walmart to get some moisturizing cream and face wipes for Riley, a few groceries from our list and we were off home. 

Some views from the back road we took to T or C from Caballo.

Back home we managed to put the groceries away, prepare, cook and eat lunch by 3:15 pm. Lunch today was a green salad, beans-mushrooms & asparagus, and stuffing. I can tell you I haven't eaten a bite since. ~laugh~

This morning's sun rise.

A walk around the park after lunch brought us to Lions Beach where we managed to get invited to sit down and chat with a couple of ladies who had just recently arrived. I am so sorry but I can't recall their names, I think one was Julie but I don't recall the name of the lady from Texas. We discussed things to see and do in the southwest area, chatted about various places to visit, and so on. We chatted for about a half hour. Very nice ladies.

Some southwest flavour in this house...

Riley and I kept going on our walk, finishing the loop at Lions Beach and heading along the gravel road that leads across the park to the boon docking areas along the entry road. From there we turned on Sumac Road and came back home, checking out the dump station near by for our Monday departure.

Are you tired of seeing the mountains yet?

We were home about 4:45 pm, and I grabbed the camera , headed to the handicapped spot that is empty and proceeded to wait for the sunset. I knew it wouldn't be much since there wasn't a cloud in the sky anywhere. I called oldest daughter Courtney but she didn't answer, she did however call me right back. Seems she had just walked in the door and hadn't taken her phone. We chatted for about 20 minutes. Son in law Matt will be home from Switzerland on Nov 29, only a week and a half away. She is very excited as she came home in August. Courtney is working at upgrading her teaching certificate  as she's been away for a year and Matt has received a research grant from York University to continue his research in the neurology field.  So we are looking forward to seeing them both in the spring when we get back to Ontario. 

Cactus growing through a fence in one of the neighbourhoods we drove through today.

After that it was back to the Igloo and time to settle in, edit some pictures, write my blog and so on. So as you can see it was a full day for us. We enjoyed it greatly. 

What long ears you have......Mr. Rabbit.

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment.

Until next safe, take care....

Friday, November 17, 2017

Cleaner windows, lazy afternoon, and an almost univited visitor.......

Our Location: Elephant Butte State Park, Elephant Butte, NM

A nice night for sleeping things were a wee bit cool this morning inside the Igloo but it warmed up quickly as we opened the night shades allowing the sun shine to heat us thru the windows. With vents open last night we had a nice occasional breeze, as the night turned into morning the breeze felt more chilly than warm. ~laugh~ A shirt over our t-shirts and we were good to go.

Mr. Road Runner was hoping for an invitation to come inside.

This morning right after breakfast I headed outside to remove the BlueBoy from the ladder and to remove the step ladder as well. Have you guessed it yet? Yes I managed to clean the outside of the windows this morning. Of course it didn’t take long, after all how long can it take to clean 9 windows the size of a postage stamp? 

Next he checked out what I was cooking on the BBQ.
I then brought the big step ladder inside so I could clean the ceiling vents, the A/C filter and the ceiling lights. I will admit I didn’t clean the two vents in my end of the Igloo, my bedroom and bathroom vents will be left for another time but at least it’s a start. I will also clean the inside of the windows another day. By the time I had replaced the step ladder and BlueBoy to the Igloo’s ladder I was feeling as if I had accomplished enough for one day. The morning was passing quickly it was already pushing 11 am. Riley vacuumed our humble little Igloo and washed the kitchen floor, straightened up a bit and we both figured that was enough for one day. Don’t do everything today ‘cause then we’ll have nothing left for tomorrow. ~laugh~ 

The afternoon sun casts different shadows on the mountains in the east.

I’m keeping well hydrated but still felt a bit off this morning even before I was outside cleaning the windows. My sugar was fine and so I wonder if it has something to do with the increase in medication. I’ll have to keep an eye on that.  

See the various shadows? 
After reading for about an hour I headed inside to start prepping lunch. Again we have our green salad but today we added a squirt of orange zest/juice to it, just a bit. Gave it a wonderful hint of something tantalizing sweet. Of course our salads vary from day to day with ingredients. We enjoy trying new things in our salads as it keeps them from being boring. We’ve changed from green onions to sweet white onions and that also gives it a nice change of flavour. 
My Weber and the wind block.
Once again we had mixed veggies on the side. Mushrooms, green beans, spaghetti squash, carrots, celery, asparagus, red and yellow peppers, along with a hint of orange. We enjoy these mixed veggies and often times change them up as well. Adding different spices and different vegetables too. We toss the packet on the Weber on low for about 25 minutes or until it’s soft (depends on the type of veggie you put in there) and then just enjoy!!
My green salad.  I added home made Thousand Island's dressing on top of this.
Today we also added some turkey dogs to the menu. We don’t use regular bread buns, we use wraps instead. I find there is too much ‘bun’ for me to enjoy. Of course I like to load up my wrap from time with tomatoes, cheese, onions, relish, etc. However today was a plain jane type day so it was a simple almost naked turkey dog, a little cheese, relish, and mustard. ~laugh~ I made two but couldn’t eat the second one, however Riley enjoyed it. ~laugh~ 
Could only eat one of those turkey dogs. 
I’m glad I was able to make a wind breaker for the Weber. It works great the few times we’ve used it. I used all recycled material for it, except the paint. ~laugh~ The rack from a big bbq, a small piece of sheet metal, and a couple pieces of wood for the feet. Add a string of fine wire to hold the metal to the rack and there you have it. The feet come off, the metal comes off and I have three flat pieces of things to store.  Dad laughed at my invention but it works and that’s all I care about. ~laugh~ The wind has picked up steadily from this morning and the gusts are now big enough to rock the Igloo a bit but due to the angle it doesn’t seem to be bothering the toppers on the slides. 
A different set of shadows on the mountain now.
We opted to stay home this afternoon instead of taking our walk. We both think perhaps a day of rest is a good thing.
The beginning of our sunset tonight.
We had a visitor again today. Mr. Road Runner was at the bottom of the step waiting for someone to open the door and invite him in. ~laugh~ He was just waiting there as I was at the picnic table bbq’ing lunch. He seemed put out that I dared to take his picture. He hopped up on the wall near the BBQ and gave me the ‘eye’ before he strolled off into the bushes. He’s a brave little guy!!
Then things turned almost a rust colour.

Enjoyed my book for a while this afternoon, put some tent pegs into the ground to hold the outer edges of the carpet in this wind, even managed to do a little tidy up in the outside cubbie. 

And then they started showing some yellow again.

I wrote a bit this afternoon, edited some pictures and basically just goofed off until it was time to catch the sunset. Not much of a show today but it was still pretty to see first hand. The pictures just don't pick up the intensity of the colours. 

At the end it was dark reds that took over.

The campground loop is full tonight, only the two handicapped spots are empty. It's an amazing collection of 'campers', a small red car, a truck camper, a couple of vans,  numerous motorhomes, travel trailers and 5th wheels of all different sizes, shapes and vintages. A huge diesel pusher pulled in a few hours ago to take up what I think is the last spot. 

One more glimpse of the different shadows.

We're enjoying the weather here, it reached 81F/27.2 C this afternoon. It was hot in the sun but nice in the shade. So I alternated from one to the other occasionally. 

A somewhat productive morning, a bit of a lazy afternoon but that's how we like it. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment.

Until next safe, take care.... 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A litlte productive, a quick visitor, and feeling welcome....

Our Location: Elephant Butte State Park, Elephant Butte, NM

This morning dawned wonderfully warm, since we had closed all the vents and left a couple of windows open just a bit. The amazing blue skies and fabulous sunshine certainly are the best way to start any day. 

Dryers, whole wall of 'em.

Sorry for the fuzzy pic, washers at the T or C laundry.

We had big plans for today, lots of things we wanted to get accomplished. We made an excellent start at least. ~laugh~ 

Not sure what these are but they are very abundant heading toward the lake.

The list went something like this: change of linens as we knew we were going to do laundry for certain. My list also included a good sprucing  up of the inside of the Igloo and the windows are looking more like films of dust than panes of glass. The beetles and flies have been hard on them as well, they definitely need attention. We also wanted to go to the bank in T or C to get some cash. On top of that was of course regular things such as cooking lunch, and getting a walk in as well. 

Walking down to the water of the Rio Grande.

So you see we had good intentions, good plans, and a long list. We did get the linen's changed and the laundry sorted. The Dogsled was eager to get going this morning and so off we went to T or C with me holding him back to keep him from getting us into trouble. Guess what? We managed to get the laundry washed, dried and sorted in just a bit over 2 hours. The nice little laundromat is connected to the U-Haul building, very clean, very reasonably priced and lots of front load washers and plenty of dryers. The big machines are $6.50 for a cold water wash. The medium size machines are $3.50 a load, and the smaller washers are $3.00 per load. Dryer costs are 7 minutes for $0.25, or if like us you use the bigger dryers, it's 40 minutes for $2.00. More than enough time to dry the entire load with no damp corners at all. 

A closer look at the Rio Grande.

From there we headed to the Walmart for a couple of little things that we needed, having forgotten them yesterday. We found the few things we wanted, paid and left the building. We headed home. Of course the bank is in T or C not at home. Hmm...oh well, we'll catch it another time. 

Pretty isn't it?

Unloaded the Dogsled, brought our groceries and laundry inside, put them all away and started to make lunch. Now as you know the kitchens in these rigs aren't very big so it's usually a one person job, while the other person sits around and watches. ~laugh~ Today I was head prep chef and Riley got to laze around.

Our green salad

A nice green salad, orange zest mixed veggies (mushroom, sweet white onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, peppers, green beans, asparagus, and spaghetti squash), garlic dill potatoes, and turkey burgers on English muffins. I'm still full. 

My potatoes always come from the bottom of the packet, and they almost always need to be pulled off the foil.

We enjoyed our salads while the rest of lunch was cooking. Sitting in the shade reading our books was an excellent way to pass the time. We were eating lunch just before 3 pm inside with a nice breeze coming in the window.  Time to clean up after lunch and one would think now would be the perfect time to get those other chores accomplished, right? Wrong. As of the writing of this post they still aren't even started. Instead we took a very long walk down to the water of the Rio Grande and made a circle by taking the other road back home. Very nice walk, not too hard walking as most of the way was packed well with just a little bit of loose sand closer to the beach. 

Rock art on the walking path

We didn't know you could dry camp down at the beach. I wouldn't do that because I'd worry about getting stuck in all that sand, but it would be an amazing spot to park. We noticed at least one tent, two vans, and one travel trailer  in various locations on the beach. No hook ups of course but some johnny's were evident for their use. 

A tree along the walking path

So after our walk I was too tired to work and decided it was time to start my blog. Now I know some of you would get to work when you finished writing and get those chores accomplished but I'm lazy. ~laugh~ I'm going outside in a few minutes to catch the sunset and then I'll work some more on this post. I will not be doing chores tonight, I assure you!!!

Taken tonight while watching the sun set off to the right of this tree.

So we've pushed our 'to do' list back a bit, but not to worry, we'll get them finished tomorrow. Really, we will. I see you aren't convinced but you will be. ~laugh~ And if we don't get them finished tomorrow, well there is always Saturday, right? ~laugh~ 

The temps reached about 80F /26.6C today. A nice cooling breeze kept things perfect. I'm telling ya folks, I could get used to this weather. ~laugh~ It wouldn't be hard at all. I'm already thinking...when I come back next year....~laugh~ 

We did talk to a fella (we were both looking at the RV goodies in Walmart) today that has a house in Albuquerque, and another here in Elephant Butte, only two hours between the two of them. He also has a motorhome, that he said they were taking to Tuscon tomorrow for some party with some friends. He gave us a few ideas of things to see, complimented us on our 'gutsy nerve' in doing this kind of adventure by ourselves, and told us to come back often! You just have to love folks, always helpful and interesting to talk to as well. 

  The sunset was less than spectacular but still nice. In a different part of the sky tonight as well. I can tell you I will never tire of the sunsets out here. 

Back inside I returned a call to my best friend Linda. We chatted for a half hour or so and then said our good byes. Always enjoy chatting with her, she's truly a gem!! I'm fortunate to have such a wonderful woman to call my best friend. 

Now it's time to finish this post and get to bed early tonight. I'm tired. Not sure why but I'm truly weary. The time zones are playing havoc with me and waking up at 4 am MST is fine, except I don't go to bed until 10:30 MST either, which means I'm not getting enough time with the sand man. I may have to resort to an afternoon nap one of these days. ~laugh~ 

A quick note to add. Today we had a visitor, Mr. Road Runner walked casually past the tree in our front yard, up our little driveway and was heading for the open front cubbie door when Riley drew my attention to him. He didn't seem one bit concerned that we were sitting less than 10 feet away. When I moved my feet he sauntered slowly off while still strutting his stuff. This guy was bold. ~laugh~ I've always had the impression they were kind of elusive and hard to catch for photo's. This guy must be a model or something. ~laugh~ He seems to love his picture being taken. 

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you've had an excellent day where ever you may be. Feel free to leave a comment. 

Until next safe, take care...