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....


  1. It is a wonderful area to explore, we did that drive a few years ago.
    That is the same trailer that was parked just down from us at Lion's Beach thanks for the shout.
    Keep enjoying the southwest that area will be be getting much colder in a while.

    1. We're moving on Monday morning, heading for City of Rock State Park for a few days. We want to explore that area a bit. We are enjoying our first time visit to the area. Thanks for the heads up about the weather, it's very much appreciated.

  2. Looks like you are enjoying exploring the area either on wheels or on foot. There certainly are some strange looking trailers out there. We all have our own requirements and it amazes me how so many do well with much less than us. I applaud them.
    that is the jack rabbit I was chasing through E.B.S.P. last year! You got a good picture of him where I only got his back side. :) I wish I could get on the ball and plan supper that far ahead. We would definitely eat better if I did.

    1. It was the same one, he asked about you! We love to explore and it doesn't take a lot to amuse us, we can always find something of interest even if it's just walking through a store to check out the different product brands, etc. I applaud those that make do with less as well. Makes me wonder how much I'm hauling around that I don't need to haul with us. Actually the meal planning is easy, and it's something of a new thing for us. We picked Sunday as the day to start the meal plan. Saturday we simply get out a piece of paper and decide what we want to have EACH night, then the shopping list is made up from that menu, plus whatever else we know we need. It's easier to shop because we know exactly what we NEED, and you'd be surprised how much easier it is to plan 7 meals ONE day, than 1 meal for 7 days.
      Plus we can often prep our meals in the morning before we head out for the day and that way when we get home everything is ready to cook. We take out tomorrow's mealtime meat after clean up today, leave it in the fridge to thaw. So far it's working well for us.

  3. Glad you are enjoying the area with all its natural beauty.
    The one thing we have learned is that you can't see everything at once. The Elephant Butte area is beautiful and we have plans o heading back there some day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Oh we aren't trying to see everything, like you we plan on returning to the areas again. However we do like to have an idea of what's in the neighbourhood to ensure there is something more we want to see. We will definitely return to the area or at least near by if not right here. We like it.