City of Rocks State Park

Can You See the Giant Rock Creature Behind the Sign?

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.

Campsite City of Rocks SP
Our Campsite at City of Rocks

The views from our campsite.

A Thumbs Up Sunset
A Thumbs Up Sunset Looking South
And Looking West
And Looking East
And Looking North

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.

A Petroglyph of an Apache Crown Dancer

The Apache Crown Dancers are an important part of the tribal spiritual rituals.

Kokopelli

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.

013 Boulders3
Some Balanced Boulders
Rock Climbers

We often saw people climbing the rocks. In order to protect the rocks only free climbing is allowed.

Some More of Natures Balancing Acts
One of the Parks Multitude of Rabbits

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.

A Raven Nest Way Up in the Rocks

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.

More Rocks

While it is certainly impossible to define the park wth one picture, for me this one comes the closest.

The Welcome Center

The welcome center’s architecture fits well in its surroundings. Do stop in for area and park information from the real friendly folks there.

The Colonnade at the Visitor Center
Desert Camouflage
Geological History
Ancient Inhabitants
Early Inhabitants Mural

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.

Your Random Rover,

Gordon

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The Three Questions Coffehouse

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.

Parking Lot and Entrance

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.

A Look Inside

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.

A Sign In The Restroom

And they do have a sense of humor.

By the way, be aware it is cash or check only, no plastic money.

Your Random Rover, Gordon

 

South to New Mexico

And We Are Off!  (This picture is of us on the road in front of our home in Port Angeles, WA)

We are heading to New Mexico to do a couple of months of camp hosting at The City of Rocks State Park.

Day 1: Off to Corvallis with a day to see brother Stephen. We left around 8:00 AM to mixed fog and drizzle which persisted most of the day with a few sun-breaks.  Overall it was a long, lackluster day.  Arrived at a typical KOA, definitely less than ideal, site had huge and inconvenient puddles and I had to back out as it was impossible to pull through.  We spent our day in the area just looking around, catching up with Stephen, and doing a little shopping (found a couple of Larry McMurtry novels at Browser Books that I had been searching for).

Albany/Corvallis KOA

Day 3: On to Red Bluff Elks Lodge for a night.  On the long drive over the Syskiyou pass, the weather was warmer and drier so we arrived safe and sound after a resplendent day.  The Elks Lodge here is easy for an over-night but freeway noise is a bother.  Please do note Gordon’s wondrous under-carriage lighting.

Red Bluff Elks Lodge

Day 4: Up and over Donner Pass to the Desert Rose RV Resort in Fernley, NV.   We lost a trailer tire on the way while Elaine was driving.  Luckily it occurred at as good a location as such things can happen and a Good Samaritan helped me change it.  Les Schwab Tire was only 6 miles down the road so all was well.   While they were fixing us up E&I walked into town and got lunch.  On the road again there was snow (not on the road) at the pass,

Roads bare but lots of snow at Donner Pass

7,227 feet above sea level, but none a few miles later as we passed through Reno, NV.  We arrived safe and sound to good clean level sight.

Desert Rose Resort, Fernley, NV

Unfortunately, noise from the adjacent highway again interrupted our sleep.

Day 5: On down highway 95 to Tonopah, NV.  A desolate drive that is bereft of perturbation and gloriously majestic.

008 Hwy95
Desolate Highway 95 north of Tonopah

At Tonopah I found yet another book I had been looking for at Whitney’s Bookshelf, a wonderful little used book store where we have shopped before. (Need more time to read – the books in the “to read” stack are growing at an alarming rate).  Even though our RV site was behind the Casino, car and truck noises interrupted our sleep regularly. Oh well happier nights are sure to come.

Tonopah Casino RV

Day 6: The never welcome and always a little too exciting drive through Las Vegas.  Nothing really bad just lots of traffic, construction, and congestion.  Ridgeview Resort, Bullhead City, AZ where we are relaxing for a few days in a quiet park under a blue sky with temperatures in the mid 70’s.  Could not ask for more right now.

Ridgeview Resort, Bullhead City, AZ

It turned quite windy and cool while we were here but we managed to have a great time.

Day 9: Off to Pioneer Resort north of Phoenix, AZ where we will meet up with old friends from Wyoming that we met in Texas while we still lived in Arizona. Who said this retirement stuff was simple?

Notice that beautiful December sky at the Pioneer RV Resort North of Phoenix

 

One of the many saguaro in the park

It was definitely worth the stop to catch up with old friends and to see the north end of Phoenix.

Day 11:  We are off to Tucson, to see brother Bill and sister Nanette, and also will do a little shopping for products we can’t find up north.  Weather again a bit windy with blowing dust for the short drive down.  Not sure how long we will spend as we still want to spend a while meeting up with old friends in Sierra Vista and to get over to Columbus and Las Cruces, New Mexico before it is time to begin our hosting duties.

Justin’s Diamond J RV Resort

The Diamond J is a resplendent, quiet park out near the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and Old Tucson Studios.  We stocked up on Tucson’s local Poblano Sauce, chile powders and spices from the Santa Cruz Chile & Spice Company (in Tumacacori, AZ), and of course lots of fresh tasty tortillas.

The Sonoran Desert (Looking east from Justin’s)

 

We also took a walk in the desert.

Christmas In Tucson’s Winterhaven

After a splendid dinner at Nanette and Bill’s we strolled through their neighborhood taking in the dazzling Christmas displays. (That’s Elaine and Nanette walking ahead in the bottom right picture.)

Day 18: Rolling again, this time to Sierra Vista where we took care of some business matters and caught up with some old friends. We weren’t able to catch everyone we would have liked to but hopefully will on our way back through in the spring. We camped just outside of Tombstone, AZ, the town to tough to die, which is still quite the tourist attraction, but having seen it more than once we did other things. By the way, we did drive by our old house and the new owners have made some nice improvements.

Tombstone Territories RV Resort, Tombstone, AZ

Day 21: This just might be our shortest road day ever, GPS says 11 miles to Kartchner Caverns state park where we plan to rest for a day.  Well there is Mary Ann’s Mostly Books, a quaint used book store in Benson, AZ, that we will most certainly visit.

Site 3, Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson AZ

Yes the ground is wet. It has been raining off and on for the past 16 hours. This to shall pass. After all we are in Arizona.

We hiked up to the visitor center during a break in the weather.

The Trail to the Center

Where we visited the gift shop and learned about limestone cave formations and bats.

Eat Your Heart Out Mr. Spock

The next day we went for a “2.5 mile” hike.  I put the distance in quotes as it sure seemed a lot longer and Elaine’s pedometer indicated 3.5 miles.  The trail went up and down some steep hills and my poor legs complained  but the views were worth it.

The Foothills Loop Trail
The San Pedro Valley from the trail

Day 23: Finally off to New Mexico! Heading to Mesilla and Las Cruces. Another easy drive. Elaine drove the middle part which seemed to go by a lot faster than the beginning or the end.

Sunny Acres RV Park, Las Cruces, NM

We spent a week exploring and shopping the Las Cruces area.

Christmas In The Plaza at Old Mesilla

In  Mesilla we found many nice things but nothing said “take me home”.  Even though it was cold and windy we lunched on “chocolate chip chocolate” ice cream from the Chocolate Lady.  It was a wonderful bit of decadence.

Las Cruces Saturday Market

Lots of great vendors here, we did buy a new tortilla warmer and had a great green chile pizza from a wood fired oven for lunch.  Christmas Eve we walked through the park.

Decorations at Sunny Acres

The farolitos were nice and a few people had decorated their sites.

The Rio Grand at Las Cruces

Not quite the river from the movies but still a nice walk on Christmas, our last day in Las Cruces.

Day 30:  We are headed to our last way-point, Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, NM.  Vacation is almost over. Lovely blue sky and sunshine for my no freeway route. Traveled south through the pecan orchards past Anthem and almost to the Mexico border before turning west on New Mexico Hwy 9 where we saw many hawks perched on poles and trees. It was a very quiet peaceful drive.

All set up at Pancho Villa

Pancho Villa is a great place with a lot of history and definitely worthy of a stop.

A view of the park from Coote’s Hill looking south toward Palomas, Mexico. We are parked down there someplace.

While at Pancho Villa be sure to visit The Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico, a 3 mile drive south and a short walk across the border for great shopping and a fine meal.

The Pink Store

Do see the park’s museum at the visitor center for many interesting exhibits pertaining to chasing Pancho Villa across Mexico and the beginnings of US military mechanization and the use of airplanes.

Camp Furlong Museum at Pancho Villa State Park

The Depot Museum across the road from the park will also peak your interest.

The Railway Museum, Columbus, NM

If you can find the time the Luna Mimbres Museum in Deming (30 miles north) is outstanding.

Day 33: This was supposed to be the final leg to City of Rocks but traveling is never without surprises.  When we arrived at the park we were told they did not know we were coming that day.  This in spite of the fact that we were given that arrival date by the park ranger.  As there were no hookup sites we dry camped because a hookup site was to be available the next day.

Site 19 City of Rocks

Day 34: I walked down to the visitor center and verified site availability for later in the day. We had breakfast and waited around. It was nearly noon when the park staff came to our site and told us that they had made another mistake and our site would not be available for another day. Well I only figured for one night so we were very low on water and would have to tie everything down and hitch up anyway just to get water so with this somber news we told the park to give us a call when our site was empty and available and promptly left for Temperate Zone RV Park about 16 miles away where we would have a full hook-up.

Temperate Zone RV Park

Very nice quiet park with a very friendly and accommodating owner/hostess.

Day 36: Good news our site is available so after 2,451 towing miles it is now January 2, 2018 and we are in our host site at City of Rocks State Park near Silver City, New Mexico and looking forward to a couple months here.  I plan to record our adventure here in another post before we leave.

Keeping the shiny side up, Your random rover Gordon.

From Summer to Fall

We sort of let the summer slip away while taking care of other matters.  We also wanted to take Bertha out once and to check on the mechanical work we’ve had done on the truck before our next extended trip which will be coming up soon.  So on the very last day of summer, in a light drizzling rain, we headed south down Hoods Canal and then southwest through Raymond and North Bend to Long Beach, WA. for an adventure in familiar places.

Pacific Holiday, Long Beach, WA

We lost the wet weather somewhere near Hoodsport, WA and were greeted with sunshine at the ocean where Elaine really enjoyed her walk on the beach.  After breakfast and a stop at the Long Beach bakery to purchase cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow we toured the peninsula up as far as Ocean Park and then went in search of fresh crab in Chinook. After cleaning the crab, eating lunch, and another beach walk we headed back into town to check out the Long Beach Farmers Market where we purchased fresh feta, and vegetables.  (Note for friends and family — LindaLook was vacant but still looks cared for.)

The Long Beach Farmers Market

The next day we went to the Ilwaco Saturday Market where Elaine found a few small things and Gordon enjoyed sunshine and talking with some of woodwork vendors.  From there we headed on down to Astoria/Warren to obtain fuel and supplies so that we could head south the next day.

The Ilwaco Saturday Market

South to Neskowin, OR with a couple of stops on the way.

First Rockaway Beach where we stopped to stretch our legs, shop, and check out the steam train that was in town.

The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

And then a health food, translation – ice cream, lunch at The Tillamook Cheese Company.  (Elaine took this picture before it was all gone.)

Tillamook Ice Cream

On through Hebo to Neskowin where we will spend a few nights in our nice quiet pull-thru site

Neskowin Creek RV

A great day of sight-seeing begins with a walk on the beach.

Neskowin Beach

Then a drive down the coast.  I have often meant to stop and take a picture of these rocks and trees at the mouth of the Siletz river but never did until this trip.

Siletz Bay

And a little further down the road I decided to stop at a place that I remember from childhood.  This was the first stop at the aptly named Cape Foulweather that we haven’t been rained on!  And another great picture.

Cape Foulweather

We also spent a day just shopping in Lincoln City before heading back north to Copalis where we hoped to spend a couple of days just being bums.

Copalis Beach Resort

It was nice when we arrived but soon turned to cold wet rain so we decided to cut it short 1 day and head home where the weather was supposed to be nice.  Except for the very beginning and end of the trip we had exceptionally warm dry days. We had a great time on our short 8 night adventure to places we have been many times before.  We did see some new things on the way including the new Astoria Mo’s Restaurant. (just as good as the rest)

Keeping the shiny side up, your Random Rover Gordon

It won’t be very long until we are off on a new adventure.

Hosting at Rasar State Park

4/24/17

Off again.  Left this AM for a volunteer stint at Rasar State Park. The first leg of 40 miles took us to the Port Townsend ferry dock where we had a reservation and were the first “Big Rig” in line.

In Line at the Port Angeles Ferry Terminal

We got the front row on the ferry “Skagit” for the ride across to Whidbey Island.  Bertha seamed stoic about her very first boat ride but the sky was blue, the water smooth, and Elaine and I enjoyed the crossing from the cab of the truck.

View From The Drivers Seat

Second Leg, up Whidbey Island across the bridge at Deception Pass onto Fidalgo Island and on to the Camping World at Burlington to pick up out new mattress. Old mattress out and new one in we headed back westward to Bayview State Park and set up camp. We plan to do a little sight-seeing tomorrow and then on Wednesday will proceed on to Rasar State Park

.

Bayview State Park

4/25/17

Did the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and all I can say is: “Wow, why have we waited so long?  Actually it was a wintry day chilly, windy, and cloudy but none of that put any damper on the display.  I skipped taking pictures of the fields of tulips, those are available on the web, done by some very gifted photographers, and yes they are so brilliantly colored that they look like they were painted into the scene with millions of gallons of very expensive paint. We also shopped La Conner, WA where we found interesting craft and art items including The Wood Merchant where finely crafted wooden items from pins, bracelets, bowls, boxes, carvings, intarsia, inlay and furniture abound.

One of many tulip Gardens

4/26/17

We are off to Rasar State Park, 30 road miles up the Skagit river on scenic Washington Highway 20.  Unfortunately the new concrete pad at our site had not been poured due to rainy weather so we are temporarily on another site.  Sort of dark and dismal way under the trees but we will make do.

First Site at Rasar

We moved to what will actually be our site when they get it done. At least we have sunshine and we are in the group camp area.  That is a plus.

Second Spot at Rasar

Finally they will be pouring concrete so we have moved again.

Third spot!

When we weren’t busy being camp hosts:

We hunted mushrooms

Oyster Mushrooms with Conk below
Oyster Mushrooms

I cleaned and sautéed a few pounds of oyster mushrooms most of which we ate right away with a few still in our freezer.  It was very late in the season but still in nice shape and very tasty.

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms
Fresh Picked

We did a lot of sight-seeing

Mtn and stream near Baker Lake
On the way to Baker Lake
Thunderbird Totem at Newhalem
Thunderbird Totem at Newhalem
Suspension Bridge Across the Skagit River at Newhalem
Suspension Bridge Across the Skagit River

Carved a few more spoons

Wooden Spoons
More Spoons

We also explored all the nearby towns – Translation shopping and eating out.

They poured the concrete but we still had to wait two full weeks before moving onto it but we are finally settled in with only a couple of weeks to go.  Have to admit it is a beautiful sight with large concrete patio on the edge of the forest.

Fourth and final site for our 5 week gig hosting here.

6/01/17

Finished with our camp hosting here.  Met some great people and got to know the Skagit Valley area but it is time to hit the road.  Next stop Cashmere, WA over the mountains on WA Hwy 20.

There Is Still Snow In The Pass
E&G In Winthrop
Cashmere County Fairgrounds

It was a very nice days drive.  We saw lots of snow in the pass, but the roads were clear.  Took a long break along the way shopping Winthrop, a quaint tourist town.  And shorter breaks for lunch and finally a fruit stand and market where we resisted all except for some fresh asparagus.  Spent most  of the day traveling 221 miles at our pace.

Rocky Reach Dam
Leavenworth, WA

We spent 3 nights allowing us time to tour Rocky Reach Dam, explore Wenatchee, shop Leavenworth, and catch up some old friends that we had not seen for 35 plus years.  We were to early for the area’s fruit crops, but found some great local produce.

6/04/17

177 miles southwest to Randall, WA

Cascade Peaks, RV

We only spent one night here.  It has been many years since we stayed at this park and then it was under different management.  Appears to be  a bit run down, though it is still nice.

6/05/17

One more night for this trip and only 52 miles from home we drove 156 miles to Brinnon, WA so that we could go to the Whitney Gardens, famous for their rhododendrons.

 

Dosewallips State Park

We had a great trip with new and old adventures. Dosewallips is as nice as ever and the gardens were interesting.

Keeping the shiny side up,

Your random rover

A Little Dancing – A Little Sight Seeing

A new year and a big tickling urge to go somewhere.  Some friends had mentioned going to the Port Townsend Elks to dance and taking their coach to spend the night.  It sounded like a great new adventure especially when there was going to be a west coast swing lesson involved.  Off we went. One day early so we could spend a whole day taking in the sights and shopping at historic Port Townsend.

Our Site at the PT Elks Park
Our Site at the PT Elks Park

After we got settled in and did a little foray to Eden Saw, a must stop for any woodworker, Henery’s Hardware, a modern hardware with that old-fashioned feel that has almost everything, and a thrift store or two we went for the fish and chips dinner (very good) at the Elks Lodge. We enjoyed the next day of shopping and walking the town and had dinner in Bertha before going dancing.  A pretty good time.

The next morning we were off to Ft Flagler and Marrowstone Island.

A Beautiful Site at Ft Flagler
A Beautiful Site at Ft Flagler

The views from the back window were amazing!

Port Townsend
Port Townsend

We spent the first 2 nights just across the water.

Sunset
Sunset

Doesn’t get any better than this!

Of course a bit of beach combing was on the list.
Of course a bit of beach combing was on the list.
Whidbey Island Ferry
Whidbey Island Ferry

The next day we took the Ferry over and spent the day exploring / shopping the Island.

Looking at the Cascade Mountains
Looking at the Cascade Mountains

This is where we ate lunch in the middle of our sight-seeing.  It was a great day and another great trip (well maybe a smidgen too short).

We plan to be out and about for the month of May and have big plans for next winter, but in the mean time it is work, work, work on the new homestead.

Keep smiling, Your Random Rover,

Gordon

 

A Short Trip To Get Away From All The Work!

It was our 41st Anniversary so we decided it was time to get away for  a few days,  revisit some old haunts, reconnoiter a few places we had never explored, walk on some sand, pick a few mushrooms, but mainly just relax.  The weather was neither all bad or all good it was September/October on the Washington coast.

Our site at Pacific Holiday -- Long Beach, WA
Our site at Pacific Holiday — Long Beach, WA

The drive down to Long Beach was pleasant along well-known scenery and well-traveled roads. We got great cinnamon rolls at the Long Beach Bakery walked the beaches, took a drive through Cape Disappointment State Park where we camp hosted a number of years ago, did a little shopping in Oregon, and just relaxed.

On The Beach
On The Beach

We took some walks on the beach. (E takes more beach walks than G does) These pelicans and seagulls acted like they owned the place, imagine that.

What kind of mushrooms are these?
What kind of mushrooms are these?

We did some shopping at Ocean Shores and Astoria on the really wet and rainy days. (The Astoria Sunday Market is definitely worth seeing for great produce, baked goods, and crafts.)  But we also found time for mushroom hunting which was fun but not productive.  I have not been able to ID these guys but they are certainly different.

Some Slippery Jacks
Some Slippery Jacks

And found many Slippery Jacks, which are supposed to be good,but with all the very wet weather, I could not bring myself to trying the slimy things, yuck!

Elaine in the wind and rain
Elaine in the wind and rain

It was wet, cold, and windy but I got my sweetie and she is smiling because she is on the beach.  Life is good.

Grayland Beach SP
Grayland Beach SP

Moved to our next stop, Grayland Beach State Park, just a few miles north of Long Beach but 70 or 80 miles drive because of the bay in between. We made a number of trips to Westport, WA, just north of the park.

Westport Lighthouse
Westport Lighthouse

Mr Snail thinks this is his beach.

Mr. Snail thinks this is his beach

many sand dollars
What will we ever do with all these sand dollars?

In addition to the snail we found sand dollars.  We also saw many mushrooms but they were not in good condition for eating.

Sunrise Resorts Copalis Beach
Sunrise Resorts Copalis Beach

From Grayland we again headed north through Aberdeen and Hoquim to Copalis.

Gordon Finds Boletes!
Gordon Finds Boletes!

One of the worlds great gourmet treats.  I found a few pounds of these marvelous King Boletus in perfect condition, so of course had to collect, cook some, and dry the rest.  Will enjoy these guys for a while.

Amanita
Amanita

The very poisonous Amanitas were in abundance.  Fun to look at but don’t mess with them! We enjoyed a few days here walking the beaches and shopping in Ocean Shores.

Bogacheil State Park
Bogacheil State Park

From Copalis north to our last stop a little way south of Forks.

More beaches to enjoy!
More beaches to enjoy!
This tree is barely hanging on
This tree is barely hanging on

And a day hiking the Hoh Valley

A Natural Arch
A Natural Arch
Awesome scenery everywhere we looked
Awesome scenery everywhere we looked
Looking UP
Looking Up
And Down
And Down

It was a crisply chilly but bright and beautiful day at the Hoh Rainforest.

Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach

On our last day we went to Rialto Beach west of Forks, WA for one more dose of sunshine and surf.

I have been remiss, I did not realize that I never published this post from September / October 2016 and it is already mid February 2017!

Busy keeping the shiny side up, your Random Rover,

Gordon