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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Roswell to Palmetto Island State Park

 First I have to tell you about an important happening I missed on the last post.
Turn around point
We have been happily following Google maps for our directions and to keep us off the main interstates as much as possible.  You just do not see much on the interstates going 75 mph (ok I generally keep Furgy to about 65mph or the gas consumption is mean).  Having to watch for big trucks, wind gusts blowing us around and drivers that cut in to your lane to soon after passing, watching the landscape is not high priority.  But back to Google maps; the whole trip to date has been an adventure and Google has made sure we have had one.  As we have seen quite a few things we may have otherwise missed, we did not think anything about following it up Hwy 126 from Cuba NM to Hwy 4.  

So we drive up and up into the snow and to the top of the mountain until we hit a cattle guard and the pavement ended.  We sat there looking at each other thinking really, now what.  Thankfully a truck with a couple of hunters came along that I flagged down to ask how far the pavement was out.  One got a sour face and said about 10 miles, the other piped right up and announced that "I wouldn't drive that up there".  We thanked them profusely and promptly turned Furgy around and back down the mountain...... just another adventure.
Local artist

Back to Roswell.  We had fun wondering around for 2 days.  Stopped at a local pub and chatted with the locals.  Went to the Roswell Museum and Art school; a beautiful building and quite a nice surprise.  The museum had local artists featured with everything from contemporary to landscapes, mixed media, and an exhibit of the work shop of the first rocket scientist of New Mexico, Robert H. Goddert.
Rocket exhibition

We also had to see the UFO Museum and Research Center.  What fun displays and news articles, and signed affidavits. It would take a normal person days to read everything. 
UFO Museum

Although the Spring River Estates and RV park was pretty bad (new bathrooms that had not been cleaned since they were built I swear), not a tree on the site and on unlevel gravel pads, it was walking distance to downtown so easy for us to see everything.

Feb 16/18 Then, off and running again we decided to lengthen our driving time and head to New Orleans.  Leaving New Mexico we ran into miles of dust storms being blown by quite high winds.
Dust storms
Our first stop for the night was at the Sam Wahl Recreation Park on Lake Alan Henry.  Water... and lots of it so we pulled out the lawn chairs and sat with a cocktail watching the ducks and smell the water.  Decided to stay for a extra day to enjoy the area we woke to cold, blowing, weather.  From a balmy 25C the day before to 9C the next morning. 
Lake Alan Henry

In the night the live trap they had chained to the garbage cans had caught a young raccoon.  

Feeling sorry for him we rode the bikes up to the park entrance to let them know.  Only to find out that they charge $12 per person to use the park and that did not include the $10 the sign had explained to camp there.  So for a primitive camp (no hook-ups at all) it ended up costing us the same as if we had stayed in a full hook up one.  No wonder the place was empty.

Feb 18/18 Heading south east again in the morning lead us through little towns and lots of twists and turns.  

Driving to another state park that we never got to because as we were driving over the berm at Aquilla lake I noticed a rest area just below us. 
Aquilla Lake
Perfect spot, had washrooms a nice park and we ended up staying there for the night.  The park had a sign stating the Army Core of Engineers but we could not figure out if it was built by them or for them.  Lots of fishermen in the creek and was a haven in the middle of nowhere for us.

Feb 19/18 We woke to fog, and thick fog that lasted almost all day.  
Morning fog

Green and lush
Ending just before we reached Village Creek State Park.  Beautiful country as the dry Texas landscape changed from brown and dry, to green and lush.  
Our site at Village Creek State Park

Village Creek State Park was almost totally covered in feet of sand and mud during hurricane Henry last August.  So although the trails were all closed the bathrooms were clean and the site lovely.  $3 per person and $15 for the site which included water, electricity and a sani-dump (on the way out). 
Tyler on poop duty. lol

Feb 20/18 The drive along the Gulf of Mexico along Holly beach was beautiful.  
Holly Beach

We stopped to play in the sand for a bit and look at all the sea shells, of all kinds.  The beach road was almost deserted sunny, windy and over canals, draw bridges, and even a ferry ride.

Terry Holly Beach

Tyler Holly Beach

Houses on stilts 

Mississippi River
Then wouldn't you know it; as we were registering for our night at the Palmetto Island State Park (another affordable and well kept park) they were towing out a motor home that had mechanical problems and I felt so bad for it. After registering we get back into Furgy, start her up and the battery light came on.  We cuddled in for the night (after riding our bikes around the park) in our beautiful site with fan palms and lots of green, thinking we would worry about it in the morning.  Sure enough we get up and she starts but the battery light is still on.  Finding a ad for a mechanic on the park map headed over to have it looked at.  
2 hours later and $450.00 we had a new alternator and on our way again.
Louisiana Swamp

 After a 100 miles of teeth chattering roads and 12 lane highways we made it into our new home site for the next week.  The Pelican RV Park in New Orleans.

Thursday 15 February 2018

From Sedona to Roswell

After a wonderful 7 day stay east of Montezuma's Well we headed out for the next part of our adventure and on our way to Roswell NM.
One last look down the canyon

Sedona was beautiful and red and very busy even in mid morning when we drove through.

Going into Oak Creek
The road after Sedona to Flag staff was windy, narrow and a little frosty at times.  Just enough pull outs so not to hold out so much traffic.
We stayed at Black Barts RV park in Flagstaff.  Showered (much needed) and caught up on on the laundry.  Staying in the red desert, everything we covered in red dust.  So even the blankets had to be washed.
Just leaving Sedona.

Heading out of Flagstaff we found the Sunset Crater Volcano National Park.

Lava fields all pilled up

Walked up to the top of the smallest volcano (took a few stops) The wind was howling and tried to push us off the mountain.

Had lunch and took the loop around the back side to the Wupatki National Park.  It was beautiful and what a difference in landscape from Ponderosa Pines to a vast painted desert.

Standing at the top of Locus Volcano
The drive from Wupatki National Park to Navajo National Park was windy and like most USA road bumpy and teeth chattering.  Even things we though we all tied down had a way of shaking themselves out of spaces.  We cant complain though as the desert has a beauty all of its own.  As we were driving to our next spot you could see the black clouds building in front of us and I was glad that we made it to the spot for the night.  About 15 min after we arrived at the Navajo National Park it started to blizzard.

15 min after arrival
And got cold.  We watched the temperature drop over 10 deg in an hour.

The next morning temp.

Although it did not snow more than an inch and the sun was bright in the morning it did get a bit chilly at -10 C.  But up and at it early we walked down the path to the lookout to see the cliff dwellings.

Early morning path
The cliff dwelling were pretty spectacular and well worth the stop to see.

Cliff dwellings across the canyon

Close up view

Hoping to head to warmer country we left early
which was to bad.  The campground here was free (and one of the cleanest we had stayed in to date) and we could have stayed for 14 days.  It would have been nice to explore the trails down to the bottom of the canyon.

The four corners monument was next and although the road there had a few spectacular views......

Baby Towers

Painted Hills

The Four Corner Monument was a disappointment (in the words of bugs bunny "I think I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque") and we should have turned north one more time to see the Canyons of the Ancients.  But we did not and got sucked into the one and only tourist trap we haven't avoided.  Run by the natives, it had port-a potties for washrooms and the entire center monument was surrounded by kiosks trying to sell Native Indian wares.

FYI the actual 4 corner marker is about 20 miles up a
Forest Service Road NW of here.

So instead of seeing the canyons and towers it was flat and blah.

I was a little disappointed. 

So off to the next spot and Tyler found this absolute gem of a spot called Angel Peak Campground.  Another BLM area just south of  Bloomington NM.

Angel Peak

A great spot that had white rock paths all over the top of the cliffs.  It reminded me a lot of the Drumheller area in Alberta.

360 deg of Angel Peak
Another cold night and a early start to Roswell, through the desert that went on forever.

We were lucky enough to see 2 herds of antelope on this highway as well as a buzzard, rabbits, and quite a few hawks.

So aliens of Roswell coming up. lol

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Canyon Camping

We have been at Beaver Creek Camp Spot (that is the official name) for 5 days now and what a spot.  We are 25' from a canyon that is about 300' straight down below us.  What a view.

our morning window
The kitties have had a chance to go for walks without getting to freaked out,

Tyler walking Sam
and we have had a chance to lay back and do what we love to do.

Our camp all set up

But I should start a week before when we visited  Montezuma's Castle and Well.

Montezuma's Castle National Park

Cliff dwellings Montezuma's Castle

Dwellings at Montezuma's Well

Tyler on path to the bottom

Montezuma's Well a water spring in a volcano
The well was interesting and we had the chance to talk with a Park Ranger that filled us in all the details.  The water is arsenic high and only has 3 forms of waterborne life in it.  Water scorpions, amphipod, and leaches.  We had quite the discussion about what life may have been like living around the well.

Then we met another ranger that was kind enough to tell us about the open camping just 5 miles away.....and here we are.

Our first camp for 4 days was next to a hill in the open desert.  the sun sets were spectacular as they always seem to be in Arizona.
Cocktail hour... time to open one of the growlers we bought
at the Barnstar Brewery a few weeks ago.

We took one day to walk up to the V-V Ranch to see the petroglyphs. It was a pretty good hike that took us all morning but we got in our 10km for the day (or two days).
Huge wall of petroglyphs.

Old gate at V-V Ranch

Then it was off to Cottonwood to stock up on groceries and we ended buying a couple of cheap bikes in Walmart.  We thought it might be a bit faster of a way to get around to some of the spots we wanted to see without packing up the whole RV.  Then a stay for a night, get showered, do laundry and have diner out for a change.  We found a nice RV spot against a creek called Page Spring Resort.  An older RV spot with a bit of a road to get into but clean washrooms.
Back to the Beaver Creek Camping Spot and found the amazing spot on top of the cliff we have now.  The bikes have been fun and wonderful.  Yesterday we biked 7 miles yesterday up the Bell trail about a mile from here.

 Today we thought we would follow our FSR to see where it gets to and ride out some of the soreness from yesterday. 

Other things to note:
We found a cave under the cliffs below our canyon camp site that was pretty cool. 
cool find
The cats are setting in and happy.
Carl - What?

And I am still in awe over the spectacular sun sets.
From our first night at camp 1.
We have enough water for 3 to 4 more days and then will have to say by to the canyon and continue our journey.  Sad but things to look forward to at the next stop.