Friday, May 04, 2012

Life is great at Santa Rosa Lake State Park

By noon on Sunday, April 29, Jeremiah and I arrived, parked, leveled and hooked up at the Host Site for the Rocky Point Camping area. For new blog readers, Jeremiah is my 2007, 30-ft Winnebago Aspect. I’ve also brought along Bucky, the ventriloquist dummy I bought in Ohio a year or so ago. During the day he sits proudly outside with one of my NM Parks visors on.

The park
Trees are primarily Juniper and Piñon pine. The lake level is exceedingly low and barely visible from my campsite at sunrise. There are lots of wildflowers – whites, yellows, blues, pinks mostly. There are some cholla cactus and dried up remains of some prickly pear.  So far, except for birds, I’ve only seen one small rabbit, a coyote and numerous lizards.

The Host Site is in a central location – between the 27 electric sites in Loop A and 23 primitive sites in Loop B.
Typical of Sunday afternoons and weekdays, the park was sparsely occupied. Good time to get acquainted with the campground. My “job” here is to be a “presence” – putting tags on reservation sites, helping campers as needed and picking up any stray trash. Once summer is in full swing and the park has more visitors, I’ll be doing some interpretive bird programs. No restroom cleaning, no money handling, no dealing with reservations! What a life!

The weather is wonderful.
Nighttime temps are perfect for sleeping - in high 50s to low 60s, afternoons have heated up to the high 80s and of course, the famous – infamous – New Mexico wind blows.

The park’s rangers are super nice and will be a pleasure to work with.
Manager is Shank Cribbs – tall (another inch and he would not have been able to stand up in Jeremiah), raised on a ranch in the area.
Ranger and park volunteer coordinator is Chris Baca, also raised in the area and formerly on the Santa Rosa PD. Billy Velasquez is a park tech.
Summer seasonal park workers will arrive May 12.

The “nuisance” visitors – Miller moths
While they are not harmful, Miller moths are pesky. They fly in semi-swarms, dive bombing people who get in their way. Somehow they manage to get into my motor home and each evening I’ve killed at least 20 of them. They are hardy; they often just shake off the blow and keep flying, requiring two or more swats to kill them. The Western Kingbirds are having a feast on them.

Speaking of birds
I have bird feeders out, including a hummingbird feeder. The birds have discovered all of them except the window feeder on the motor home. The park recently built a bird blind near my campsite for bird watching. Last Thursday was a day for “blue” birds – first to show up was the Western Tanager, then the Lazuli Bunting and lastly the Western Scrub Jay.

People – it takes all kinds
  1. Two “good old boys from Amarilla” are here for a week of fishing. Ronnie and Tommy say they are both 70 years old and have known each other since age 8.
  2. Was dumping my bucket of trash when the man from site 11 walked up with his trash. I commented that here sure were lots of cigarette butts around campsites. He proudly said he didn’t throw his butts on the ground; he put them in the fire grill instead. My response was, “that’s doesn’t help me at all since I also have to clean out grills.” And then he said he would go clean them out before he leaves and he did.
  3. Met two gals – Merrilie and Dede – from Florida and North Carolina. They were on Day 5 of their first ever RV trip in their first ever Roadtrek RV. “Visit us anytime in the early fall at our North Carolina house” they said. Hmmm! Let me add this to my possibilities for another year.
  4. Another couple with “genuine English accents” were here for a night – traveling with their German Shepherd Koby; Interesting couple on their way to the Grand Canyon and points beyond.
·        Just when I was thinking that I was picking up more water bottle lids than beer lids, I found a cache of the beer ones. Cigarette butts still outnumber the lids, though.
·        My first day here gifted me with my first sight of a V22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. It flew relatively slowly right over my head at a low altitude, giving me a good look. At the time I didn’t know what it was, but the folks I was talking with did know. Then I went to the Internet and got more information.
o       It was manufactured by Bell Boeing
o       First one flew in 1989
o       First used by the Marines in 2007
o       The Air Force used it starting in 2009
o       As of January 2012, the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force have a combined 110 V-22s in service
o       Length is 57 ft 4 in (17.5 m)
o       Rotor diameter is 38 ft 0 in (11.6 m)
o       The propellers can tilt to suit the flying need. The aircraft is capable of operating like a helicopter as well as flying straight. 

My usual day
During the heat of the afternoon, I read and write. Late afternoons and early evenings are for walking the campground, visiting with campers, more reading, writing, and occasionally piddling with watercolors. I just finished reading Skeleton Coast by Clive Cussler and started Journey by James A. Michener. 

Another birthday has passed - and this quote seems appropriate:

Youth is a gift of nature; age is a work of art –Helen Carrall