Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yipee! On the road again!

"Granted ruts are comforting, but one must stretch, explore, and look for new adventures. There is no way to explain the joy of the open road, the wonder of the beauty of nature, and the adventure of new places and new people," wrote travel author Barb Thacker.

Tuesday (October 25, 2005)

After a somewhat hectic morning - checking and double-checking lists and fussing with a refrigerator that for a while seemed unwilling to do its job - I was ready. I put Cat, along with the last of my necessities and refrigerator items, into my Winnebago rolling home named Jeremiah, promising to organize stuff later. At 2 p.m. as I headed south on I-25, I kept reminding myself to "breathe, Carol."

I'll be gone about 7 weeks, part of the time in warm weather and part in cold and the first two weeks out in the sticks (20-plus miles to the closest small town, laundry, and groceries), so the packing required a lot of thought.

Once I left the Albuquerque area, there was hardly any traffic on the interstate. An easy drive - it seemed like my private road! Even though I don't need a compass for this part of my trip, I'm grateful for the one that my friend Jesse installed yesterday. Unlike my last trip, I will be able to keep track of direction.

My destination was Caballo Lake State Park, 170 miles south at the foot of the Caballo Mountains in southern New Mexico. It is one of my favorite places to stay.

Caballo is one in a series of lake parks created by the damming of the Rio Grande. In 1930 an earth-filled dam was built to catch and store water released by Elephant Butte Dam (25 miles upriver) during electrical generation. When full, the lake is 18 miles long. Caballo is New Mexico's third largest state park.

In my opinion, the river-side portion, which is more secluded than the lake portion of Caballo, is the best. It has cottonwood, black willow, green ash and Arizona sycamore trees. It is a great bird-watching area, and last spring I saw the Vermillion flycatchers migrating through.

I arrived about 5 p.m. and settled into Riverside RV site 55. The park had a few other RVs, and one tent. I was thankful for a level site that made setting up easy. Cat looked longingly out the window, but obediently stayed inside while I got plugged in and water hooked up. I told her she could go out in the morning.

I walked around the park, stopping to visit with the park hosts, Roy and Patty, then settled in for the night. Cat snuggled on my lap while I read. I was glad to climb into bed. It had been a busy day. I'm looking forward to two weeks of what I'm calling a "personal retreat - an oasis for my soul."