Thursday, September 26, 2019

Monday, September 23, 2019

Part 2

Here is another picture from the Petrified Forest.  It may be in the Painted Desert part, I'm unclear about that.  This is after it had just rained in that area.

Once I got up to I40 I pretty much just drove on to the Route 66 Casino.  The loop that Sandie had suggested started with the Wolf Sanctuary but it was closed on Mondays so I postponed the entire loop. Later I tried to do a blog post but the size of the pictures stopped that again.  I didn't want to pull out the computer and hot spot in the parking lot of the casino, so my intention was to find a New Mexico State Park with showers and  cell signal for the second night.  That first night I slept in the car in the casino parking lot.  I've done this before and I have so far never had an issue.  I just plan such that I enter the car after dark, and leave before daylight.

Around daybreak the next morning I left the casino and went to the Flying J gas station on the east side of town.  I get a discount on Pilot and Flying J gas, so I try to stop there if there is a station any place on my trip.  They usually have decent coffee as well.  While there I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go next.  I decided to follow the Turquoise Trail as I've wondered for years what the signs were talking about. It is a state highway that runs from Albuquerque to Sanata Fe.  I stopped at the ranger station on the south end of the route and had a nice conversation with the ranger there.  She made some suggestions on places to stop, including a thrift store that sounded interesting.

The thrift store was not interesting to me at all, it turned out.  I am a thrift store junkie, but this one didn't cut it.  In fact, nothing on the route seemed very interesting to me.  Madrid, a usual highlight(?) of quirky art shops and restaurants just seemed like a crowded, junky town.  Nothing seemed to tick any boxes with me on the entire drive up to Santa Fe via this Trail.  I found a Taco Bell once into Santa Fe and felt a bit better after eating. 

Next box to tick was to find a place to camp for the night.  I chose Hyde Memorial State Park as it is just outside of Santa Fe.  The reviews were outstanding.  Google Maps took me through downtown Santa Fe to get there.  I would not want to take an RV on that route.  I later found no good direct route that did not include narrow busy streets on the way to go in or out of the park.  The park is in the middle of Santa Fe  National Forest, which makes it a great get away for the town folks.  For me, it didn't work well as there was zero cell signal and no showers, or any water that I saw.  The vault toilet was clean, and the site was nice, but I was in a grumpy mood so just crawled into the car and slept for many hours.

The next morning I decided to head up to Los Alamos and Bandelier National Monument. In Los Alamos I enjoyed a tour through the Bradbury Science Museum, but there isn't much that I could find in the town otherwise.  tI looked like a cool place to live, but not any touristy places.  I had been to Bandelier about 10 years ago.  My Golden Geezer pass came into play again, so it was free for me to enter.  I got over heated in the sun on the walkway, so headed back.  It is a cool place that has cliff dwellings that people can actually go up ladders to visit inside.  I did a lot more of that 10 years ago.  Here is a picture that you have to zoom in to see the people.

I decided I was too grumpy and tired to do any more site seeing.  I headed for home.  I'm concerned that I am becoming too jaded to enjoy running around like this.  I live in an area that folks come from far away and spend big bucks to have a weekend to enjoy.  Amazing scenery is part of my daily life.  I even have a herd of elk that I am almost on a first name basis with here around the small RV park where I live.  What other folks find exceptional doesn't look any different to me that what I see out my window.

I am starting to wonder if  I need to see a doctor again.  I go on Medicare in December so I will get everything checked out.  I think this jaded/hazy mood can be a sign my thyroid medicine needs to be adjusted.  I truly hope I'm not this old and grumpy permanently.

 On a related note, I leave Wednesday morning for a week in Moab, again sleeping in the car.  This will be a meetup of on-line friends from a forum I hang out on.  I was asking myself a lot of deep questions when I got home (in between naps...).  I decided that the reason I hang with these folks, and the reason I need to push myself off the couch and go, is that I need to hang with folks so many years younger than I am to keep from being that grumpy old person.  The forum keeps me a bit in the loop of what 30-50 yo folks are doing and reading and thinking about.  I'm hoping I can absorb some of their  energy that seems to have left my life currently.  I won't try to keep up on hikes, and may just hang at the campground or go off by myself .  Last year I put my back out after a short hike in Arches National Park.  I will most likely put it out again this year.  I'm hoping I can hang for most of the week anyway.

Wow, this got long.  Hopefully I'll post more often so it isn't such a wall of text.  I do need to figure out a way to do the posts with pictures from my phone again.  I'll have to find a smaller resolution to use.  Testing will commence in a beautiful area of the world at least.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

After trip review

I was (am?) in the end of summer spinning in circles.  I feel like doing Something but it isn't time to move to the Valley yet.  My trip down where I visited Jim and Sandie, on the excuse I came down to buy coffee, helped.  I decided to take a trip East.  On my trips there are places that I keep thinking "I should stop and check that out sometime".    Since the weather is cooling off now seemed like a good time.  Sandie gave some excellent suggestions of places I didn't even know about.

I left last Monday.  Unfortunately the Wolf Sanctuary is closed on Mondays.  Ok, I'll stop there on the way home.  I took the long way towards Albuquerque, heading on the back State Highways to check out a couple of free campgrounds I found on on the way.  First up was going back to the Fish and Wildlife campground at Concho Lake.  I decided to go through Snowflake rather than Show Low as it looked like it was a more direct route.  It was, right up until the sign said that that State Highway 277 ended.  Turned out, after a McDonalds stop to confer with Sandie via text and much staring at Google Maps, that a road does indeed head on out, it just isn't 277.  Snowflake is larger that I thought, so it was a detour that showed me new things.  The campground at Concho Lake is ok for smaller rigs, as in vans or tents.  The lake is almost not a lake anymore.  The boat ramp ends in weeds, far from the receding water line.  No pictures as I couldn't figure out how to take one that wasn't a bit depressing given the state of the lake.

On to Petrified Forest.  I stopped at the museum/gift shop/campground located before the actual entrance to the park.

The campground looked fine for larger rigs.  The reviews at mention NOT to try to camp if you aren't self contained.  The on-site manager gets almost psycho on folks who think they might just car camp.  Electricity is available for an extra charge, again according to the reviews. 

Also mentioned are the several cars parked outside that all have flat tires.  Apparently it is to make the place look popular.  Until the condition of the vehicle is noticed it works.

On to the actual park.  I got in free with my Golden Geezer pass.  As I was walking the loop behind the south Visitor Center I noticed a very large dark cloud in the distance.  The workers were packing their tools and leaving.  I, of course, decided that there were probably some dramatic pictures to be had from the higher points ahead on the trail.

About this point I made some realizations.  Not about safety.  I realized that I am not an exceptional photographer.  I also realized that there are many, many bloggers who have given wonderful trip reports with pictures that eclipse anything I choose to do about anywhere I might visit.  So, no iconic pictures from this, or probably most other, parks or public gatherings places.  I also realized that with the approaching rain this would not be an in depth visit, but I live close enough to come back pretty much anytime I want.  With that, I got back in the car (after buying a nice top in the gift shop...) and drove through the rain to the other end.

This picture shows the storm back in the middle of the park that I drove through.  It also shows that not a lot of folks were visiting that day.

I need to get moving today, so I'll do the short version of the rest of the trip tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I Tried

I tried to give an update on the trip I'm currently on but I failed doing it on my phone.  I'll set up my computer later and give it another go.  I'm in Albuquerque right now contemplating options on where to go next.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Temps are dropping!

I am waking up.  I went down to the Valley yesterday since I was very bored.  My "excuse" was that I need coffee, in a week or so, and I drink coffee I buy at Costco.  So, I needed to drive 75 miles one-way to get a can.  Yeah, I was bored.  I get into trouble when I'm bored.  So, I figured it was the lesser of a couple of evils. 

While I was down there I stopped in and visited with Jim and Sandie Dixon.  Jim is looking almost back to normal, although he is too skinny.  He is talking about going fishing again now, once it cools down, so he is almost back to his old self.  He is amazing.  Sandie is not called the group's Social Director for nothing.  While talking about how I want to get out and see some of the things there are to see in the Phoenix area this winter, she started asking where I want to go.  The upshot is that she is now tasked with figuring out the logistics for her and I (and Jim if he wants to join us) to tour around Phoenix and surrounding towns.  My small red car is easier to get into places and park than Jim's big truck so after November 1 when I move back down there it is all systems Go!

I have been waffling on what I want to do for a trip during the rest of September and October.  I have a trip to Moab scheduled with an expensive (relative to my usual mode) campground reservation for me and the car the last week of September.  I also want to get back to the area around Albuquerque and Santa Fe that I drove through this summer on my trip.  Sandie has the first couple of days of my trip East penciled out.  My job is to get my act together and get on the road and learn to travel slowly and stop and see the areas I'm traveling through.  I was going to cancel the Moab trip.  It will be a lot to do to do both.  At any rate, my current to-do list is to be ready to head somewhere by Monday.  Laundry and packing the car are the main items.  My neighbor will take care of Bosley (he like Bosley more than he likes me which works for me...).  I'll also clean the place since someone other than Bosley and I will be here.

The sorting and getting rid of stuff continues.  I took a load of EMPTY storage totes up to Mike this week.  The small storage unit is mostly filled with these empty totes.  I plan to be out of the small unit by the time I leave for the Valley.  I have an on-going box of stuff to donate, and I am even trashing some things.  One of the (sob!) things today is a couple of 8" floppy disks that are Digital Research CP/M x86 disks.  I think they might be worth something.  To someone.  But I don't want to take the time to research.  I may donate them, actually, now that I ponder it.  Maybe someone will buy them.  Earlier this week several disks of various types of media with Windows 95, 98, Office 2000, and a lot of Dell computer setup disks hit the trash.  I used to be a Dell service tech, so a lot of work disks also were trashed.  Progress?

I made a comment to someone on an online forum I read, forgetting that the link to this blog is in my signature line.  He responded that he had spent time reading the blog.  I always find my heart stops for a split second when my worlds collide like that.  It had me going back yet again to read some of my past entries.  It also had me re-reading some comments.  The folks who have commented here are greatly appreciated and I'm amazed at some who seem to stick with me even when I am (usually) boring.

Sandie Dixon is going to 'help' me work through a project to go to National Monuments and take photos and make blog posts.  I may have some interesting things to blog about.  I'm sure she will keep me 'encouraged' so I don't get too bored in the next year.