Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 2 Carol’s BIG Trip

My past adventures are the magnetism that pulls me back again and again to the open road.

150 miles to drive today. The roads that took me to Bottomless Lakes State Park were not wonderful: Hwy 20 looked freshly blacktopped – and it felt like the surface was applied directly on a dirt, washboard road. Hwy 380 had holes big enough to swallow a tire.

And now being leery of tunnels, as I approached the underpass at the community of Fort Sumner and saw the dimensions - I knew I would fit just fine (I pay attention to these things now).Also I noted that it was built in 1938 – my birth year – and happily report that both the bridge I are holding up well!

A Big Surprise
When I was at Santa Rosa Lake, I was disappointed because I did not get to see Ranger Shank Cribbs. Then 150 miles later, when I was camped at Bottomless Lakes, who should get out of a park truck but Shank! He was at this park to help with an inventory.

Bottomless Lakes State ParkNew Mexico’s first State Park, founded in 1933.
The road to the park drops down from some bluffs and loops around eight lakes that are actually sinkholes ranging in depth from 17 to 90 feet. Friends of mine are park volunteers here.

 The lakes were formed when circulating underground water dissolved salt and gypsum deposits to form subterranean caverns. Eventually the roofs of the caverns collapsed from their own weight, resulting in sinkholes that soon filled with water from underground aquifers and springs. The lakes do have bottoms, contrary to the “bottomless” name. The illusion of great depth and the greenish-blue color are created by algae and other aquatic plants covering the lake bottoms.

Even though the lakes and soils are mildly salty, making it impossible to grow most plants, cowboys herding cattle through in the 1800s used this area as stopover. The only plants that grow here are the tamarisk (salt cedar), mesquite, bush muhly, saltbrush, snakeweed, creosote and salt grasses. So far all efforts to successfully plant other trees have failed.

I was here two days and the winds blew fiercely both days! And because of that, I spent a lot of time inside Jeremiah Junior reading. I didn’t see any of the roadrunners, meadowlarks, turkey vultures, rabbits, small rodents, raccoons and lizards are some of the critters that call this home. I did watch a sparrow that was trying to build a nest; a lot of nesting material blew down as fast as the bird could get it put up.

My next camping spot was going to be at Big Spring, Texas, but I called RV parks near there to discover that they had no vacant campsites. Same thing when I called parks in San Angelo, Midland and Odessa. I was told the lack of vacancies were due to the many oil workers that are there..

Time to re-route myself. I would drive south, through Artesia and Carlsbad (NM) across the Texas border and stay at Fort Stockton. When I arrived at a park with vacancies there, it was a dreadful-looking facility.

After consoling myself with a Dairy Queen treat, I continued east on I-10 – 200 more miles to Junction, TX. Along the way, I stopped for gas and paid $3.99 a gallon! Yikes! I got just enough to get me to Junction with a bit to spare.

I-10 is a great road and I noticed that men were still working on a new network of power lines. Towers were in various stages of being complete and in some areas the power lines were not up.

That day I ended up driving 400+ miles. I was so glad to see the lovely RV park in Junction and to get hooked up. I was pooped.

I really like the RV park there – and the two-legged residents greeted me.

 After a good night’s sleep I walked around the town. Here are some interesting sights in this area that attracts lots of hunters:

As I walked the bridge over the Llano River, I could see Jeremiah Junior nestled under the trees at the park

I kept hearing a helicopter and then discovered that men were working on the new power lines there. They were attaching the large colored ‘balls’ that go on the lines over the highway. As the helicopter hovered, I could see the pilot inside and two men tethered and standing outside on a platform. Absolutely NOT a job I would do!

 After a second night’s sleep, I drove the 140 miles into San Antonio, and found friend Maria’s new retirement apartment. You’ll recall I helped her pack for the move when I visited in January. This time I would help her sort through all the stuff left behind in her house. So far we’ve worked on it for three mornings. Tomorrow should wrap it up so I’ll head on to the Dallas area to visit friend Viola.

Maria is in a lovely retirement complex. The residents here are very nice and the food is plentiful and delicious. Jeremiah Junior is parked in the parking lot and I stay there at night. One thing about hanging out with folks in their 80s and 90s, I sure feel young!

Food For Thought
Every morning, when you look in the mirror, you plant a seed for that day and for the future. The growth of those seeds will show you how well you live and love. Just by loving yourself, the whole world opens up. Each of us has the choice to be what we see in the mirror.        Quote by Ardath Rodale in Prevention Magazine

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Carol's BIG Trip, week 1

An RV is more than a "thing." It's a magic carpet that takes us on grand, memorable adventures. RVs provide an ongoing source of wonder to those who own them. And unlike most of the miscellany in our lives, the passion an owner feels for an RV rarely dims. No other possession of mine continues to provide me with such great pleasure and satisfaction year after year.

            ---Chuck Woodbury, RV travel newsletter

Wheee! I’m on my way! And if all goes according to plan, my “magic carpet” will be my home on wheels while I travel the USA for the next six or seven months!  

After a week in Rio Rancho – and getting some service on Jeremiah Junior – I’m camped at Santa Rosa Lake State Park in New Mexico. The day is lovely and the birds are singing! I’m a happy and contented lady. After a busy time in my old stompin’ grounds, it is good to sit back and count my many blessings.

It was a sweet treat to spend time with friends and my daughter and granddaughter. Friend Jesse again let me park in his driveway and loaned his spare care so I could get around. What a blessing!

Santa Rosa Lake State Park
Those who read my blog last year will remember that I was the volunteer campground host here for two months.

When I arrived at the park, I noticed an RV and vehicle that looked familiar – and before I even parked in a site I stopped to see who it was. Imagine my surprise to find Carol and John (fellow campground volunteers from McDowell Mountain Park). I parked at a campsite across from them and we had a super time catching up on our lives. And they invited me to have supper with them! After a walk along the lake shoreline, it was picture taking time. They are on the way to a summer volunteer time at Smithville Lake in Missouri – which is now on my list of places to visit. 

PHOTOS, top to bottom: Me with Carol Pletz, Carol and John Pletz, and Jeremiah Junior at SRLSP.

It seems strange to not to be the campground host. That doesn’t keep me from walking around and meeting campers; they all have interesting stories.

Finally I get some nice warm temperatures – days in the mid 80s, nights in mid 40s. I’m definitely a hot-weather person. The drought continues and the lake level is too low to even launch boats. The “lake” is pretty much just a “river”.

Book I’m reading: Lee Child’s “A Wanted Man”. Before I left home earlier this month, I read Hey Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America? By John Siegel-Bottener. A true story and grear read. The author, a junior high social studies teacher from California, and his wife take five 12-13 year-olds across America on bikes – with no sag wagon or other support vehicle!

Looking forward
Thanks to many of you who have sent suggestions for places to go and things to see, there are many adventures to experience. I keep refining my “rough and flexible” travel plans and will continue to do so throughout the entire trip. I did mark my plan on a map and here’s a photo of it. As I go along, I’ll mark another map to show my progress.
Remember, you can double-click on photos to enlarge them.
I’m still open to suggestions – the states I have on my list are: New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Northern Arizona, Northwest New Mexico (Navajo Lake State Park), Rio Rancho, NM, and then back home to Prescott Valley

That’s it for this time. Email me with suggestions, etc. My cell phone number is 928-830-6271.

Today I’ll drive to Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell, New Mexico. The hosts there are friends of mine so I’m in for some more sweet visiting time.


Oldness happens when a person loses sight of dreams, regardless of the number of years they have lived. – Ardath Rodale in Prevention Magazine