Journal – March b

March 10

The weather forecast for today was to be hotter than yesterday so I decided to do my shopping and move on down the road.  I drove about 165 miles to Lordsburg, New Mexico where the weather forecast is for it to be very nice with a high in the low to mid eighties.

I decided to spend the night at an interstate rest stop here in Lordsburg, very nice.  I was able to locate and obtained permission to spend time in a city park where I might spend four or five days.  I found the public library also, where I may spend some time and have Internet access for my computer and tablet.

March 11

I left the rest area at about 11:00 PM last night because of the horrendous road noise from traffic and trains.  I went to the city park and spent the night very peacefully.DSC04824

I cleaned up a little bit of trash around the place.  I checked the water level in my house batteries and checked the air pressure in my tires.  I went for a walk two different times today.

March 12

I added stops on my route going to Benton which will have me driving shorter distances per day and not having to spend so many days sitting in just one place.

I’m still keeping an eye on the weather forecast for Benton, trying to make sure I don’t get their while it is still cold during the night.

March 13

I am normally an early riser and generally just drink one cup of coffee of a morning.  This morning I was up earlier than normal and was finishing the last half of my second cup when the sun finally rose.

I wanted to go to the library to do some work using their wifi so as I headed out I decided to do a little investigation for other nearby camping spots.  I didn’t find anything very appealing.

As I was looking at other BLM Land I noticed a sign for Shakespeare Ghost Town.  I had to investigate so I followed the signs.  I ended up in a parking lot next to a group of buildings that were inside a fence.  A sign was posted with a phone number stating that tours were by appointment and if you didn’t have an appointment call and if they were not busy they might come out and give you a tour.  Needless to say I did not call.  There were only four or five buildings and they did not look to be abandoned.

I went to the Hidalgo Lordsburg public library to use their wifi.  While there are I met and spoke to the librarian about various things including interesting camping spots.  She recommended an area close to Portal, Arizona.  She said the area was unique in that it is a coming together and overlapping of two different mountain ranges and two different deserts that have a wide and sometimes different varieties of plants and animals yet offering some beautiful scenery.  She said that I needed to visit the Chiricahua National Monument and be on the lookout for a chupacabra.  I suggest that you google “chupacabra”.DSC04827

March 14

Well, I had to go back to speak to my librarian friend today.  Her name is Alice, and I’ll tell you more about her shortly.  I wanted to talk to her about the chupacabra because I finally remembered that it is a mythical beast and wondered why she had spoken of it.  I also knew that I wasn’t wearing my hearing aid and may have misheard her.  I had misheard her and she told me that she had been speaking of the Coatimundi.  I’m now the proud owner of a bumper sticker stating that We Brake for Coatimundis.

Now I want to tell you a little more about Alice the librarian.  Alice is very friendly and helpful in her role as a librarian.  She is also an artist and a fellow blogger.  She is a painter and offers original artwork for sale on etsy through her blog. Her blog address is: www.whatercolorit.blogspot.com   Pay her blog a visit and look around.  I think you’ll find some very beautiful things.

I moved about 45 miles further east and am going to spend the night at a rest stop on I-10. This will give me a little shorter drive tomorrow.

March 15

I made an early start this morning as I was already awake.  I got back on interstate 10 and continued east recrossing the continental divide and the Rio Grande river on my way to Las Cruces, New Mexico.  At Las cruces I picked up U.S. 70 to start north and east.

That particular route took me past the White Sands National Monument, so I made a stop and made about a 10 mile round trip driving tour through the dunes.DSC04828

Today I had a natural high. A lot of my driving today was at an elevation greater than 5000 feet which means that I was kind of “high” most of the day.  I even saw snow on the mountains today.

When I arrived at what I had picked for a camping spot I found that it had been through a fire in the last few years.  That did not make for a very good environment for camping so I moved on and found a different spot.  Thanks to the National Forest Service for posting signs along the highway identifying national forest roads.  I ended up still in the Lincoln National Forest but on National Forest road number 102 where I found a camping spot with what I considered good scenery and a much different landscape than what I had been camping in while in AZ.DSC04830

The sun went behind the hill at 6:20 PM which means that I lost my sunlight for solar power much earlier than what I have been used to.

March 16

When I got up this morning it was pretty cold, 38°.  I think that was due primarily to the higher elevation and the fact that the hills around the camp site give me more than an hour less of sunlight.

I decided to move as I am willing to trade for more comfortable at night over prettier scenery.  While on the move I saw a small memorial park for Billy the Kid so I had to stop. As I was reading the postings at the park I saw that Lincoln, NM, the area of the Lincoln County Wars and an area large in the life of Billy the Kid was just 10 Miles off my route and decided to visit.

Lincoln, NM turned out to be a state historic site visited by tourists but populated by normal people. Some of the old buildings have been restored and can be visited. There is a lot of “Old West” history in this small town. It will remain a town of infamy rather than a famous town.DSC04835

I traveled through Roswell, NM today but did not see a flying saucer nor, that I remember, was I abducted by aliens. I stopped at the Roswell Office of the BLM and purchased a map while gathering information about dispersed camping in the area. I got some good information that pointed me to what became my camping spot.

I ended the day on a dirt road about three quarters of a mile from the highway. To get there I turned off the highway ( no road sign), drove through an open gate, drove through a cattle pen area, and beyond to open prairie consisting of lightly vegetated sand dunes where I found a wide space next to the road where I could park without blocking the road.  I am more than 1500’ lower here so I expect warmer temperatures.

March 17

Well, so much for my plans for controlling things, I awoke this morning to 36 degrees. Brrr!  Haha, laughing at myself.

I didn’t do much today. I did take a nice walk, did some reading, and played some solitaire.

March 18

I moved about one and a half miles farther from the pavement into the dunes.  I found a spot close to the top of a ridge line of dunes and set up camp by leveling the van and putting out my awning for shade.DSC04839

I didn’t do much today. I did take a nice walk, did some reading, and played some solitaire.

March 19

Well, I got a haircut today. More to the point, I gave myself a haircut. I am not near as fast as a barber nor am I as good but I do feel better. My haircut might be compared to what you might expect from a blind barber who doesn’t know what he is doing. But, I feel better.  Then of course there was the necessity of a hair wash and shower following the haircut.  I cannot stand cut hair around my collar.

I enjoyed quite a bit of time sitting in the shade of the van with a nice breeze today.  I sat in my lawn chair quietly and was able to observe different insects and lizards going about their daily lives. I haven’t really observed animal and insect life in a long time and I found it interesting, enjoyable, and calming.

Organ Pipe Cactus

I recently visited Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  It was a very interesting side trip for me.

I stopped at the visitor center upon arrival and purchased my senior pass.  That pass gives me free access to most national Parks and Monuments.  That pass costs me $10.00 and the access I got that day that would have cost me $2.00 and I got 4 gallons of drinking water for free that would have cost me a dollar.  So, I saved $3.00 of the $10.00 that the pass cost me in just that one day. If I had wanted to camp there I could have saved half that fee. the normal fee is $8 per night. If I had stayed two nights my pass would have been more than paid for. HAHA.

I decided to take a 21 mile driving tour that was listed as a 2 hour trip.  I spent over 3 hours on the tour and could have spent most of the day.

This is the welcome sign upon first entering the national monument. This is just past a Border Patrol check point for those going the other way..dsc04741

This picture is of first entering the driving tour. The tour goes into those mountains in the background.dsc04742

Some beautiful scenery.dsc04744

Not all of the landscape is flat. Notice the Organ Pipe cactus.dsc04758

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Can you see the double arches at the top? This picture doesn’t show it well, but those two arches are complete, one above the other.dsc04763

This desert has some water in it as well.  This picture actually shows a waterfall back in the rocks.  It appears just as a white streak in the middle of the picture.dsc04767

This is the view as I was looking back, coming to the completion of my driving tour.dsc04774

I thought this was a very interesting cactus.  It is a “chain fruit” cholla cactus.dsc04774

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I enjoyed the trip very much and could return to to take a different driving tour.

 

Rock Climbing – Aborted

As I was walking today I decided to explore the cliff facing my camp site.  I did a little rock climbing, very carefully, to gain a different perspective. I got onto a ledge just above the green colored boulder in the right forefront of the photo. I then decided that I wasn’t being very smart since if I injured my self I would be in trouble as there is no one around to provide assistance if needed. With that in mind, I carefully aborted my rock climbing and returned safely to camp. Camp is at Saddle Mountain near Tonopah, AZ.

I would enjoy the exploring under different circumstances.

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Walking

I went for a walk today. I try to walk regularly now as I know I need to. It used to be that a long walk for me was when I went to Walmart shopping. Not that I went that often.

Now I try to walk some every day the weather permits with no specific distance in mind. I try to walk away from camp for 20 minutes and hopefully the distance increases each time I walk. I start out uphill if possible so that it will be easier coming back downhill. I also try to tighten my abdominal muscles as I walk. I think this helps as my waist is smaller and my pants have to be held up by suspenders and my belt seems to go around my waist a time and a half.

The walking is not like normal terrain. I am in a desert region camping on the slopes of Saddle Mountain near Tonopah, AZ. The footing varies from small gravel to stone and boulder strewn  areas that are not level and often cut with gullies or washes that must be crossed. There are also small trees and bushes that have to be navigated. All this while watching foot placement to avoid snakes (in hibernation now?), animal holes, ankle twisting rocks and uneven terrain just so I won’t fall and hurt my self to where I can’t get back to camp on my own power.

I did go up the mountain today. I went up the grassy slope on the left side of the picture to where the grass and the rock cliff kind of run together. It took between 15 and 20 minutes to get there and I stopped a couple of times to look back and catch my breath. While I was there I took some pictures and enjoyed the view. I was looking down onto a valley along which runs Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles with mountains visible in every direction.

It didn’t take long to get back to camp. I think I could have rolled down the mountain into the wash which is less than 50′ from the van.dsc04661

The photo is taken out the side door of my van.