A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, April 30, 2021

We Came For The Showers


Valley of Fires Recreation Area, Carrizozo, New Mexico

Absurd!  It is a Federal agency so what else can you expect besides absurdity?

So too were closed the restrooms but the pit toilets were open.  COVID-19 cannot survive a pit toilet building. Nor can it survive on the numerous water faucets scattered about the campground.  Oh the things you can learn on this blog.

Nope.  No COVID-19 here.

Camp fee for hookups was $12 ($18 with water and electric).  Day use fee is $3 for one person in vehicle, $5 with two people.  So it stands to reason that being denied the pleasure of taking a shower and flushing a toilet that one can deduct $3 or $5 from their camp fee, no?

We grumbled a lot after successfully getting two of the only five non-hookup sites.

But Beans likes it here, so that’s okay.

Be careful sweetie.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Our Old Friend the Rio Grande


We are very near (about one hundred yards) the Rio Grande again here at Bosque del Apache.  Unlike before where the river was somewhat clear edged with slimy goo and green yuck here it is fast moving and muddy with silt.

This could be why for in the opposite direction about a quarter mile away is an irrigation canal.

Somewhere upstream the water is being siphoned off for farmlands.

There was a lot more bird life to be seen at our other camp.  Here we’ve seen just a few squawking ducks. Evidently the water will get so low that one can drive across in a ATV for there is a pathway through the trees on the other side.

I was standing by the water’s edge when a coyote came out from the brush unaware of my presence.  He trotted right out onto the mudflat coming directly at me and then stopped at the edge of the water.  Only then did he see me.  We just stared at each other for a long time.  It wasn’t until I slowly raised my phone to take a picture that he turned tail and ran back from where he came.

I am so used to seeing scrawny desert coyote that I honestly thought “Is that a wolf...no, it must be someone’s dog.”  He was a very healthy full-bodied coyote.  They are beautiful animals but most people don’t see them in that way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Beans News


Seeing our new site had a table was one of the first things I noticed.  I could now rewrap Beans’ scratching post.  The rope doesn’t quite hold up for a year.  She’s brutal on it.

It takes fifty feet of rope to wrap the pole.  I mistakenly bought 3/8ths inch rope this time instead of half inch.  We will see how long it lasts.

It takes awhile to wrap the pole and Beans was going through withdrawls.  She went right to it when I put it back in under the table.  This is a pole that I bought for Sinbad when I first got him back in 1999.
He went through the carpet in no time and from then I redid the pole with rope.

Beans isn’t much for cat toys so I cleared them out from under the table.  We gave three to Louie that were like new and had feathers on them.  Louie likes feathers we’re told.  This cloth packet of catnip has been around since early Sinbad days.  He never showed any interest in it.  Neither did Beans.  I took it apart.  Well no wonder!!  The catnip was in a plastic bag inside the cloth bag.  That was stupid.

Later that day I went outside for my cup of tea.  I forgot about the catnip leaving it on the table.
I came back in to this.  Oops.

There is a story behind this photo that Amanda took.  Back at Rio Grande River camp Amanda saw a gopher pushing dirt out from a new burrow.  I took Beans over there hoping she’d see the dirt moving.  Well I should have stepped more lightly as the gopher sensed the vibrations in the ground and stopped his work and Beans never saw it.  Here I am setting her down close to the hole.

These are the husks from the seed pods that open up revealing the purple flower (center of photo) of the Rio Grande Cottonwood trees around us.  The husks are sticky and cling to the bottom of flip-flops and cat paws.  The cats walk along shaking their paws trying to dislodge them with little luck.  Back inside I got Beans down to remove these sticky things.  She is NOT happy about it.  Lots of growling and some hissing erupts.  Rather than risk serious injury (to myself, not her) I gave up.  We don’t walk in the leaves and brush anymore.  We stick to the dirt roads.  She’s not happy with that either.  Tough!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Our Woodland Camp


I left Exit 92 Camp early as I needed to go into Socorro (still in New Mexico) an hour north for supplies.  Meanwhile Amanda left soon after to look for a place to stay in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge just south of Socorro.  This is what she found for us.

This is so nice.  What a change of scenery.  Look trees!!
Even a picnic table made in 1999 by the Youth Conservation Corps.

Back in there above that post are three deer bedded down.  
They stayed there for a long time until Louie ventured in a bit too close.

Yep, Beans likes this place.

Going to sleep with crickets chirping and waking up to woodpeckers pecking is simply lovely.

A wonderful change for us.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Exit 92


We left Boat Ramp Camp returning to the little town of Elephant Butte and the State Park nearby.  Why?  One last refreshing shower.  After becoming confused three times trying to locate where the propane place was that Amanda had used when we first arrived here, I finally found it and filled up the tank.  She met me there and we then headed north to our next destination only twelve miles away.  The wind was really whipping, not making for a pleasant drive.  We pulled off at Exit 92 and drove down the dirt road in search for a camp spot.  It was a narrow one-lane track and the only three spots available were taken.  I had her stay back and I went ahead to see if anything else was to be had.  After nearly two miles the road deteriorated and nothing looked promising.  I texted her I was coming back, having to back up all the way.  This a prime reason why I would not tow anything.  I am good driving in reverse.  Amanda had parked in the wide spot just off the Interstate and I pulled in behind.  This would work well for the night.  We never saw the owner of the car near us.  He could be dead, stuffed in the back for all we knew.  We never looked.

Desertholly Saltbush

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Dead and the Dying

 A dead fish

A dead turtle

A dead fishing reel

A dying lake

While updating my journal which will be come this year’s eBook I looked up Elephant Butte Reservoir for some additional facts.  I was surprised to learn that it was constructed back in 1915-16 and would be the largest man-made reservoir in the world when filled.  It held that distinction until 1970 when the Aswan Dam on the Nile River in Egypt was completed.
Today it is just a puddle of its former self.

Friday, April 23, 2021

No Parking


In the morning I walked around a little and came across this.  Why is there a No Parking sign?

I continued up the slope and took in the view of the various lake water levels of the past.

I looked behind me from where I had walked and it then became clear to me why the sign.
See the sign back down there?

We are camped past the base of the old earthen boat ramp!
Back in the day they didn’t want people parking where they launched boats from.

The boat marina down the slope from where we are parked hasn’t been used in probably decades.  The house boat there has tumbleweeds on it.  Off to the right high and dry is a pontoon platform with a water slide and another platform with a high tower that I suspect a lifeguard once sat in.  
Long ago this must have been a popular water sports play area.  
Never again.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Our Quest For a Lonely Beach


You can see where we were camped by the mark at the bottom of this satellite image.  The upper mark is where we are now.  See the nice sandy beach just below that?  Well from where we were we could see someone camped there in a SUV towing a small teardrop trailer.  How did he get there?  That is how we ended up at the upper dropped pin. 

A ranger with zero on the personality meter came by and gave me directions how to get over to our coveted all alone by ourselves beach location.  Once there access down to the water looked iffy and Amanda wasn’t too keen on getting stuck that day.  We tried several roads but nothing looked safe.  Going back to the road junction for lunch a local came by to drop off his trash in the dumpsters marked NOT FOR RESIDENTIAL TRASH.  He gave us directions to a better location and that is how we ended up there.

We are not any closer to the water than before plus the water looked different-milky and not as clear.  I finally figured it out.  The water is so low that there is now a land bridge across to the right from that beach in the satellite image.  Elephant Butte Reservoir is now a chain of small lakes cut off from one another by land bridges.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Beach Camping Sort Of


After our most refreshing shower we continued on into the park, away from the full hook-ups crowd to the dispersed beach camping electing to stay up on hard ground.  

After letting the cats out for a walk (Beans does not like it here and wasn’t interested in exploring) we walked on down to the shoreline.  Some had driven down close to the water but taking a heavy RV down into this just didn’t seem a wise thing to do.

So this is what we come across.  That is a brand new self-standing tent from Walmart.  The nearest tent model I could find online for Walmart was the Gazelle pop-up tent priced at $279, only difference being was the color.  It appears the people used it once, could not figure out how to fold it up and pack away so they just left it.  The red thing off to the right seems to be the rainfly cover that fits over the top.  Amanda said we can use that to sit on in the sand.  While doing so I notice the tie down cords on the rain fly were still coiled up, never undone.  Brand new.  I suggested to her she keep it and use it as an additional sunshade off her awning.  And so at the end of the day we rolled it up and stuffed it in a nylon bag she found nearby.  
I was so curious about setting the tent up to see what it was like and then try to fold it away myself.  How hard could it be?  I went back down there the next morning.  The thing was heavy and unmanageable by myself being all twisted up and all.  It would be just my luck the ranger would come by and see me messing with the contraption thinking it was mine so I didn’t linger about for very long.

It was such a wonderful feeling to walk along the sand barefoot.
It’s been a very long time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What Are They Thinking?!


After our Mexican food lunch we were planning on going a dozen or so miles north to another free camp area.  While eating Amanda suggested paying the day use fee to go into Elephant Butte State Park.  She really wanted to sit along the shoreline and enjoy the day since it was just a short drive to our next planned destination.  She had yet to fill up with gas so she left and I suggested she swing by the park entrance and see about the day use.  I stayed back and finished my meal.  Soon I got a text from her:  I just paid $8 for dispersed camping and apparently the showers are open!

Unbelievably the New Mexico State Park system had decided to live on the wild side and let people disperse camp along the beach and opened up the restrooms and showers despite their COVID fears.

This restroom has been deemed COVID-19 safe.

The shower was sooooo nice.  Warm water too after you let it run through a couple cycles at the beginning.  Most definitely worth the price of admission. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Casa Taco


Elephant Butte, New Mexico

We left our Rio Grande river front camp to do errands in Truth or Consequences and would meet up after. I stopped at Walmart for a few grocery items.  The parking lot there was covered with solar panels.

Unable to find propane in T or C Amanda had to continue on to Elephant Butte to fill her tank.  Nearby she found a Mexican food place, Casa Taco (what an imaginative name) and I met up with her there.

The place was expanding with soon-to-be upstairs dining.  That’s one way to keep people from going up there, leave the bottom half of the stairway incomplete.

I had the two taco (carne asada) meal with rice and beans.
This meal was the very same price as...

...as the combination plate (with four items plus rice and beans) at Benji’s in Deming.
Which would you choose?