It is June 21st 2018 and we are off to Moses Lake to watch our grandson Tyler play in a base-ball tournament. In the previous weeks we had done some minor maintenance on Bertha. Mostly just cleaning and polishing, but also revised the undercarriage lighting, replaced the hide-a-bed with a table so we would have a little more working space inside, and removed a lot of unnecessary stuff that had accumulated in all the places I find to put it. I figured that if I hadn’t needed it I likely didn’t need to have it in my way. I am, however, sure that Mr. Murphy will find an inconvenient time to prove me wrong.
As you can see we arrived in good condition and got set up. It proved to be a good thing that we came as do to a scheduling change our son could not get a motel room for Friday night and would have had to drive back home. Instead they stayed with us so we got to have a lot more time with them.
Tyler did a great job a the plate.
And on the mound. Grandpa didn’t get any pictures of his awesome fielding.
We spent four nights had a really fine time visiting, sight-seeing, and watching baseball. The park was nice, the neighbors Friendly, and the sky was blue. What more could we ask for on a weekend with son and grandson?
From the City of Rocks we decided to head north and check out Albuquerque, NM so there will be a few more days for us enjoy New Mexico.
Don’t believe the “Resort” in the name but the park served our purposes as a base of operations for exploring the area.
We did a little trail walking at the Petroglyph National Monument where we saw many but by no means even a small portion of the 24,000 images that were pecked into the stone. Most of them are 400 to 700 years old, though some are believed to date from 3,000 years ago. The high desert landscape made walks majestic.
One of the days there, I went to a meeting of the local wood-turning club which I enjoyed a great deal. This is one of the bowls that was done by the meeting’s demonstrator. I thought it was extremely nice. Elaine and I also did a lot of just “looking around”, had breakfast at the landmark Owl Cafe. You simply haven’t really been to Albuquerque if you haven’t eaten at “Owlbuquerque”, and shopped the Old Town District. We also went to the Albuquerque Fiery Foods Festival which was a lot of fun and the samples left us with tingling lips. Soon it was time to actually “turn the corner” and start heading in a homeward direction, so it was back to Tucson, AZ with a stop over in Deming, NM.
We spent a night here as Albuquerque to Tucson would have been a very long day, we wanted to get some more chorizo sausage at the El Rey Carniceria, and we have always enjoyed the palms as it is an immaculately clean park run by friendly folks. We just stayed one night and went on to Tucson.
Justin’s was good for us on the way down so we decided to give it another shot on the way back. It was great place to rest up and get set for the long haul back to Port Angeles. When we looked at the weather in the mountains where we had planned to travel we decided it was a bit too wintry treacherous. We altered our route to go through the central valley of California and then running highway US 101 all the way home. I am sure we will see rain and wind, but ice and snow should be minimal. Our first stop after short days drive was Gila Bend.
The next morning, and a more ambitious drive to Bullhead City, AZ where we have stayed many times. They have new management and seem to be making some nice improvements,
We are off to Mojave, CA which is on the western edge of nowhere, before going over the mountains into the central valley.
The picture makes the park look much nicer than it actually was. The park was easy to get in and out of, quiet, and had pleasant managers making it a good stop. We left in the morning in a light rain heading to Rancho Cordova the next day. It was our longest day in a very long time, 350 miles over mountains and through some heavy traffic in blustery winter weather so we were very happy to get settled in for the night.
Wet rainy weather (absolutely pouring down on the coast) all the way to Eureka, CA.
We ate at the lodge and met some nice folks, but once again in the morning we were off, now turning north to Florence, OR.
What a gorgeous park! By the way these two pictures were taken during a few moments of non-winter weather. Gordon got his birthday dinner at Chen’s, a nice Chinese restaurant where we have eaten before.
North to Tillamook, OR and a chance to get cheese and ice cream at the Tillamook Creamery and some sausage at Debbie D’s. The weather turned rather nice for a few hours. What a relief!
On across the Columbia River to Longbeach, WA where we hope to get cinnamon rolls at the Cottage Bakery.
Fortified with cinnamon rolls we are heading north to our last stop, Copalis, WA.
Being blessed with a little bit of sunshine when we arrived made us very thankful. We will hide out here for a day before making the last 170 mile leg home. It was a good trip. We made some new friends, saw some new things and learned a little more about this wonderful place we live. We drove nearly 10,000 miles with over 5,000 of them towing on our 4 month winter adventure.
Your random rover, Gordon, still keeping the shiny side up and the dirty side down.
Absolutely amazing! I was walking by the garden near our front door and spied a plethora of morels! I immediately stopped what I was doing and harvested over half of a pound of these glorious mushrooms in five minutes. You can bet I will be keeping a close eye on the flowers from now on. My mushroom hunting friends will be envious.
The scene above greeted us from Bertha’s rear window on a morning a few days before we left. I do believe the park was doing its very best to wish us happy travels. We are done with our latest stint as camp hosts. Overall it was another good experience, but we both feel it is time to move on. I’ll leave you with a few previously un-shared tidbits from our stay.
Every year The Pink Store in Palomas, Chihuahua Mexico hosts a customer appreciation day. DJ’s, bands, dancers, food and drink for all day. We waited for party day to shop on this trip and had a great time along with a huge crowd of revelers.
We decided to bring one of Elaine’s orchids along. She has nursed and cared for it regularly. So now some 3 months later she has been rewarded with blooms!
All the known petroglyphs found in The City of Rocks State Park. It took a while to find them and a number of attempts to get clear images to enjoy. The cross on the upper right can be attributed to either the conquistadors or possibly to early Spanish shepherds. The other four were left by various Indian tribes.
Elaine took this picture of a spectacular cloud over Deming, NM as I was driving one morning.
Now we are on our way to the big city (Albuquerque) where we plan to relax, shop, and see a few sites.
From the land of chile peppers, New Mexico, the only place that believes pain is a spice.
One day we decided to take a drive north just to see some new sites. We stopped at Lake Roberts for a little walk. It was a very pretty day and we talked to a fisherman who stated that though the catching should be good he really did not care as he was simply out for the fishing. We were kindred spirits as we were just out sight-seeing and the bonus was that some of the sights were really good.
In the Gila National Forest’s Whitewater Canyon the Catwalk Recreation Area has been built, maintained and restored since 1933. We have been here before, maybe 16 to to 18 years ago and decided to revisit as we are less than 60 miles away.
When gold and silver were discovered in the rugged Mogollon Mountains above Whitewater Canyon prospectors flocked in. A pipe line was suspended over the creek to power a mill and the prospectors walked precariously on the pipe to get to their claims. The mill closed about 10 years after it was built. The Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the catwalk in the mid-1930’s. In 1961 the US Forest Service again rebuilt catwalk system making it much safer, It lasted until it was washed out in a flood in 2014? after the Whitewater-Baldy Fire of 2012. Luckily for us, it has now been rebuilt and is open to enjoy. Approximately .5 miles from the parking lot, the first portion of the trail, the portion we walked, is wheelchair accessible.
It was quite chilly on the January day we visited so we were very happy to get back to the warm truck after enjoying our little hike.
We are camp hosting here for the months of January and February 2018. This park is the most remote state park in New Mexico and if you know rural New Mexico you understand that we are a long way from anywhere. Dramatic, grand, spectacular, you can pick the adjective, they all fit this magic land of boulders. They all originated about 35 million years ago from a multi-year volcanic eruption that was 1,000 times larger than the Mount Saint Helens eruption in 1980. Hot volcanic material compressed and solidified and then as it cooled and shrank vertical cracks formed. From there eons of erosion has widened the cracks to make individual boulders.
The views from our campsite.
I think that you will have to agree that this is a very awe inspiring place to park our tiny house for a couple of months.
Some of the sights in the park.
The Apache Crown Dancers are an important part of the tribal spiritual rituals.
This is one of the two Kokopelli petroglyphs in the park. Kokopelli in this form is the bringer of music that changes winter to spring and brings rain for the crops.
There are at least 5 known and documented petroglyphs here. They are fun to find and see, but please do not touch them or do anything else that could damage them. And of course do not enter occupied campsites while you are searching.
We often saw people climbing the rocks. In order to protect the rocks only free climbing is allowed.
I am not patient enough to be a wildlife photographer but sometimes opportunities do occur. This Desert Cottontail just sat patiently and kept a wary eye on me. Coyotes, Blacktail Jackrabbit, Rock Squirrel, and Spotted Ground Squirrel are other park residents.
Sorry no pictures of the raven or even of the owl that borrowed the nest after the raven was done with it, but the park does have over 100 kinds of resident and visiting birds depending on the season. Butterflies, Dragonflies and over 20 varieties of reptiles can be found in the summer.
While it is certainly impossible to define the park wth one picture, for me this one comes the closest.
The welcome center’s architecture fits well in its surroundings. Do stop in for area and park information from the real friendly folks there.
With the trails around and through the park for hiking and sightseeing, many species of birds to see and photograph or paint or draw, many desert plants and animals to discover, a very nice visitor center with helpful staff and a library of geological, botanical and biological information, and a botanical garden, New Mexico’s City of Rocks is a must see stop in the desert southwest.
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to drive across the country coast to coast without seeing anything.” This quote from Charles Kuralt was brought to mind by the fact that we are only about 30 miles north of that great set of asphalt paths with dashed lines that criss-cross this beautiful, immense country of ours. The freeways bring convenience and are needed but we do need to get off of them regularly.
We will be here for another month or so before heading on. Which direction? Well now that just depends on the weather.
On a day while hosting at City of Rocks state park, when we needed to go into town for necessities, we took the long way around to stop at the 3 Questions Coffeehouse for breakfast. It is located in the Mimbres Valley approximately 2 miles north of hwy 152 on hwy 35.
This place had been recommended by a number people and their council was as excellent as our repast. They offer a very nice all you can eat buffet style breakfast, a muffins and coffee style meal, or just coffee or tea. I would advise coming hungry and having the full meal deal. Oh, do buy a loaf of their own bread to take home. They also sell “jammly” (somewhere in between jam and jelly), local coffee, muffins and other treats.
This is a Christian business but all are welcome and I believe would be comfortable. They do not push their way of living onto their customers though it is evident.
And they do have a sense of humor.
By the way, be aware it is cash or check only, no plastic money.