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.