Escaped Doodles

August 1, 2019 - Sayonara New Mexico

We left you hanging when we got to Jemez Falls CG. Nice Forest Service camp but reservation only. Stayed one night and were able to stay for a second. Nice area in the mountains. An interesting formation called Soda Dam was just down the road.

We wanted to visit Bandelier NM but found out we can't go there with the dogs. Can't even drive in the gate with dogs in the car. So we blew them off.

From Jemez we went to Santa Fe. There are two campgrounds just outside the city, one National Forest and one state, and the plan was to head to one of these and spend two days around Santa Fe. However, it seems all these campgrounds are reservation only and even mid-week they were full. So much for planning. We ended up staying two days at Ranchos RV, an old defunct KOA. You can tell these "used to be KOAs" by the distinctive A-frame buildings. It was an old park but OK for a short stay.

We spent a day looking around Old Town Santa Fe. It is very art and tourist oriented. We have no place to hang or display art, and couldn't afford it anyway. The pics below show an interesting statue, but we don't remember who it memorializes. The second pictures shows a few large turquoise pieces in one store window. The large stone is a bolo tie, you can see the size in comparison to the ends of the bolo just below it. The stones on the left form a belt.

Denise loves the Santa Fe style architecture. For some reason there is a lot of it here, go figure. On paper Santa Fe looks like a good retirement town/city. However, from our very brief visit, it was very busy and hard to get around in. Nice but not for us.

From Santa Fe we traveled east and north to Storrie Lake SP outside Las Vegas. Not "Vegas Baby" but the Las Vegas in New Mexico. We found a nice non-reservable site but lucked into a non-reservable electric site the second and third nights. It was busy over the weekend but most of the activity was down near the lake shore. Not too busy for the local Heron to come for some fishing.

Back into the mountains towards Taos. We stayed at a small national forest camp, Comales CG, about 20 miles from town.

Spent two days in the area. One day touring around Old Town Taos. It was very similar to Santa Fe but on a smaller scale. Very much a tourist town. The second day we did the Emerald Trail, a loop through the mountains north east of Taos. Very beautiful scenery but too grand for good pictures. Highly recommended drive though. On the way going west we stopped at the canyon of the Rio Grand. Pretty spectacular canyon which they run float tours through.

The plan was to move on to Navajo SP and go to Farmington for haircuts, laundry, and to see Salmon Ruins. These looked better for, us with dogs, than the Aztec Ruins to the north. Then two nights at, and one day to see, Chaco Canyon. There turned out to be a couple of problems with this scenario. First it was farther than initially thought from Navajo Lake to Farmington. (It was only about half an inch on the map, what's with that!) Second it was going to be too hot at Chaco and way too hot at Navajo Lake. Lastly, it would have been too busy, too much hurrying. So, instead we went only to Heron Lake SP and stayed around for the weekend.

Since early July we were introduced to monsoon rains in New Mexico. It tends to be severe clear in the morning but clouding up around midday, about the time it gets too hot. From there it varied from threatening showers to drenching rain late afternoon, sometimes through the night. It may be little net rain, could be evaporating from the ground in the morning and re-raining afternoons. Just recycling the same water day after day. Interesting weather pattern, we usually don't like rain but here the cooling effect was mostly worth the wet.

Then saying sayonara to New Mexico we went north to Pagosa Springs in Colorado, and ran smack into mountains right at the boarder. We have to come back to New Mexico to see some of the things we missed, mainly due to the heat. Carlsbad and Chaco Canyon are certainly on that list.

Approaching August we traveled to Durango then north to Grand Junction. This took us over the Million Dollar Highway from Durango, through Silver City, to Ouray. We biked this route in 2000 and the scenery in amazing. This time it was cloudy so not as awe inspiring but still a very nice drive. Slow and curvy though.

We stopped at our friends Justin and Kelly in Ridgway. Good visit but Justin was off fighting fires in Oregon. All these towns, Silverton, Ouray & Ridgway are touristy but nice small towns. Finally on to Grand Junction, Fruita SP, to round out the month.

We're now on the fast track to Klamath Falls for Hugh's 50th high school reunion. But more on that next installment.