Should you get the desire to see some really neat pictures of the Grand Canyon get on over to the blog of Geogypsy and get an over dose of great pictures. She is a part time National Parks Ranger and posts lots of pictures. http://geogypsy.blogspot.com/
As for the OFM Team, we were productive but not active today. The die$el fuel outlay was given a respite today by the Truck making one trip to Wal- mart and them late in the day a very short trip to the American Legion Hall for a chicken fried steak dinner. But there was research on more places to go for a meander and some of them look exciting. We will see in the future.
The Castle had its skylights painted about three years ago. This was reported in blog entry http://ofmadventures.blogspot.com/2008/11/more-comfort.html . They had become somewhat beat up with impacts from several branches and hail and other miscellaneous things.
The latex paint is doing a good job but last year a new to me paint for plastic was noticed in the stores. It is designed for plastics that usually shed normal paints.
The choice was made to give it a try on the skylights after seeing how well it performed on the plastic kayaks. The skylights were wiped to get dirt off them. Then the shaking of the Fusion can began and after the required time the painting began. The coating is very thin when applied to prevent running. About three coats were required to get the opacity that was desired. In the end it came out decently. Now to find out if it lasts for three years under active use and abuse.
We actually had a few drops of rain on the TEAM late this evening. But it did not last long enough to interfere with a nice long walk through the desert. Evening walks in the desert are another good way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
OH BOY today the Team heads for Springtime Campground in the Apache Kid Wilderness for some hiking at 7000+ feet. The highway seemed to go on forever (20 miles+/-) and finally the turn off came into sight. This is the road we came out on last year. Now it will be a new adventure going the other way. (Hint: Little did I know!)
Pay attention for the sign because the entrance is very non-descript as you go flying past it unless you are careful.
It certainly does not look like much but it looked fantastic to the Team since we had a bit of an idea of what was ahead (sort of anyway as it turned out). The first couple of miles are through some intermixed BLM and private lands. But there are plenty of free boondocking spots along the road. About mile four you cross into the National Forest land.
You can see all sorts of excitement awaiting you in the distance. Man this is getting to be better every mile. One thing was noticed in this trip in. The road has several spots where it would be difficult to get the Castle into this area. My memory does not remember them being there last year. Hmmm.
When you get to the Y in the road with FR86 going to the right, you get to enjoy this view in anticipation of the views to come. The Y is at the six mile marker. The Truck is moving at 10-15 miles per hour is all because of wash boarding on the road surface.
In a little ways you get to cross this roaring creek. Be careful of the loose sediment in the creek and do not stop. The water might sweep you down stream into the rapids.
Joking aside; the creek bed is actually soft and keeping some momentum up is a good idea.
Some side exploring was done along the road. Quite a few places for spending the night legally are available. This is a camping site where lunch was eaten. It certainly is a rough life having to put up with all this wandering the back roads for my readers but the Team is up to it.
At mile 8 was the trip destroyer. A sign said the road was washed out. Sure enough a hundred feet farther on the road was washed out.
It was about a three foot drop on my side of the wash out. Over to the left was a spot a few vehicles had busted down into the washout and then out. However there is some evidence of shovel work and some large rocks had been carefully placed to help the vehicle up and out of the washout. A good ten minutes was spent trying to make up my mind if the Truck could make it across. The chance of high centering or bridging the Truck was too much for me out here all by myself. It is not the time of my life to get caught stuck for a couple of days until some help might accidentally find me next weekend. So the Team turned around to leave safely.
In reality it turned into a good thing again. On the way out we moved very slowly since the anticipation was a good bit less. Even more nice places off the main road were noticed. It is unreal how many really good locations there are in NM to “commune” with natural settings.
Sometimes folks get put out with me in face to face situations because “you won’t tell me how you find all those neat places”. Another is that they do not believe the answer to “How did you know to take that road?” My answer is the same all the time “I don’t know, the Team just goes out wandering and neat places pop up in front of us”.
Today is a great example. Some folks might consider this trip a bust. Hiking in the forest did not get to happen so we hit the side roads. Do you think this trip was a bust? My opinion is that it was an excellent adventure because the Team got to see lots of new places, enjoy new fragrances and have lunch at such a horrible spot HE HE HE.
Would you like to have a “spoiled trip” like this while you are out trying to have tooooo much fun? TheOFM.
The Labor Day weekend is closing in and it is time to get a hunker down spot. My friend John is in Cedar Cove RV Park and after a look around it seemed like a good place for the Castle during the next series of adventures planned. This morning the terrible arduous, long and difficult tow of twelve miles was made. Monticello campground of the last few days is a wonderful place but is remote enough that the Truck costs at least $7 for each round trip into town. The Truck cost is about 21 cents a mile without the Castle.
The new location on the north end of town is about a dollar round trip to hit Wal-mart or the hardware store etc. With the AC needing the new fan motor that was ordered today and a couple of other chores it seemed a good idea to get near town for a bit. The rent here is set up such that month was paid for since my thought is to stay longer than a daily rate or weekly rate would be smart. So here the Castle is for $160 + electric for the month. It will be nice to have an economical laundry about a hundred feet from the Castle.
An additional advantage is the freeway is about three minutes away instead of ten minutes like at Monticello. This will be conducive to my higher elevation day trips and lower elevation sleeping. We are at 4300 feet roughly in this new location.
Here is the obligatory campsite picture. Notice the cables running up to the left in the picture. They go to the cell tower located in the campground. Needless to say the Team has STRONG signals. Check out that standard issue NM blue sky!
Around this campground is a lot of decorating with old equipment and furniture. There are also small gardens scattered around the area. Next to the Castle is one with two very interesting cacti in it.
The first one is a blond spine ball with the frazzle look.
The next one is the deer leg cactus. Those are from the extremely rare burrowing deer native to only New Mexico.
The extremely nice clubhouse has a wonderful patio on the back side. It might make a good place for some tea one morning. A major surprise when the door swung open. The fragrances were nearly over whelming. Many different mild to strong fragrances intermingled but each distinct pleasured my sense of smell for several minutes. WOW that was a nice experience.
Here is one of the many culprits of the fragrance assault. It is only about an inch across.
Just the fragrance assault alone comes very close to topping out the attempt of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Last year a trip was taken on FR139 to an intersection that took the Team into the Apache Kid Wilderness. It is chronicled here in this blog entry.
That intersection looked interesting to go straight but until today it was just a mystery waiting for me to learn about it. Of course the Team went to the mystery end of FR139 by a different route.
Monticello NM was a small town that needed my exploration it seemed. So we took the main road into the town. Free camping spots were noted all along the road to Monticello. As we approached the town from the hills above this picture was captured.
The town sign is mounted in an offset manner. As it worked out this town looks mostly like it would have back in the early 1900s. It is still well occupied but lots of old stuff hanging around.
By the way if you use the Delorme map book to navigate around this part of NM, be careful because it is at best an approximation of the real road layouts. Some seat of the pants judgments are often required. FR139 shows like it intersects the main road a little ways outside of town. The reality is that it intersects in town and looks like a narrow driveway to a home. It appears that it has been that way for forever too.
When you get to the stop sign look to the right and there is a sign telling you the information you need instead of what the map book says.
As you go down this part of 139 (and many other legal roads in the west), there will be warning signs that you are on private property and stay out. The roadway is for public use but the land on both sides in this case is private for several miles. Just continue on and stay on the marked roads.
Here is a good picture of the mountains in the Apache Kid Wilderness getting rain. The superhighway you see in the picture is FR139 at its best. Most of the time the Truck was moving around ten mph or less. If you go too fast you will miss lots of good stuff.
Before we went too much farther there was movement on my left. The Truck is well trained and came to an immediate halt. Some horses were coming up out of a ravine and gathering on the ridge. That ridge leads back to a watering trough which gets its water from a windmill. This picture was shot at maximum zoom and then enlarged some. It is rare that a picture on this blog has been manipulated but the horses were so far away it had to be done.
The road is not bad from here on but it does require paying attention to pot holes and large rocks or it could get expensive. Of course the Truck is so well trained you nearly do not have to drive it on this type of road. It knows what to do.
When we got to the intersection where the Team turned toward the mountains in the blog entry referenced above, the Truck noticed some old rock cabins on what was thought to be and was marked as Forest Service property. As we got to the spot to park some old private property signs were still sitting around. That was ok. My camera dragged me out of the truck to get this picture. It seems to be fairly nice.
From this point the Team took FR139 on back to Interstate 25 and headed for the Castle. Along the way a sharp eye was kept out for designated camping areas set up by the Forest Service. There were three that looked good. Two of them would be easy to tow the Castle into and set up for free. The third and closest to the Interstate is for pop-ups and tent campers. That road in was much too rugged for the Castle to travel without damage to something. From the interstate to the RV camp spots is about eight miles of good gravel road. This is primitive camping at its most primitive.
Hopefully you will enjoy the scenes from today’s adventure in trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
This is NOT the sort of picture a person should be taking at 0700 in the morning from on top of their RV. Last night about 2000 the ac tried to come on. The compressor worked but the fan did not. This morning the shroud was removed. The fan required considerable force to turn the motor shaft. RATZZZZZ It is now working and a call to a repair place has been made.
By working the shaft in and out a small amount, some light oil was installed in the bushing. This is a double shaft motor and the only accessible part is the shaft end to the condenser coil. My guess is that the salt environment got to this outside bushing. There is way too much corrosion showing under the shroud for my liking.
For the fun of it a sightseeing walk was taken down to the old lake bed. It seemed like there might be some formerly sunken treasure for the taking. Water was loaded into a shorts pocket for the walk and the Team set out along the roadway toward the boat ramp.
It was hot but the breeze made it reasonable. Along this part of the route was not much interesting. Except maybe this road that went off into the unknown. That looks like a good candidate for another walk or maybe Sightseer at another time.
To my amazement four vehicles passed me as my path progressed. The worn shoes on my feet followed the white line around a curve or two then right in front of us the road started its drop into the lake.
The Team passed the huge parking lot on the right side. It looks like it could hold a hundred vehicles with boat trailers. Of course the ramp needs to have water at it for the parking lot to have value. Onward the shoes went on down and down and down. Finally the Team made it to the bottom. All this area down here is open for camping and is free.
To my surprise there are wind sculptures, like down at Padre Island, in the sand of the lake bottom.
The shoes seemed to lose their way as we meandered around on the lake bed. The only thing of interest to me was the amount of cans and glass bottles partially buried in the lake bottom. We meandered up and down and around and back and forth until my water bottle was half empty. It was time to head back up the HILL.
When the Team got back to the boat ramp there was a birder out viewing feather leg critters. The birder was at least a quarter mile out on the lake bottom. He is in the bottom left corner. Click to enlarge.
Going back to the Castle was more of a cross country effort because when the Team started back up the road the breeze had stopped and the temperature had gone up a bunch it seemed. So it was cross country to the campground. A couple of places required a scramble up the face of ravines. However the cross country route probably cut a half mile off the return distance.
On return to the Castle the outside temperature was checked and it was 101 compared to 92 and a nice breeze when the Team left. Over all it was a nice walk for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
KERSPLATTER is the sound this morning of all my great cooler area plans hitting a boulder. My head and body got up from a restless night with severe altitude sickness symptoms. Villanueva is only around 5800 feet altitude so there is no chance at all of withstanding any of the higher (COOLER) parks in the system. A quick search for the less high parks that are available found Elephant Butte State Park at elevations of 4300 to 4500 depending on where you camp.
To shorten a long sad story, when traveling in New Mexico be sure and travel off the top half of your fuel tank when using a diesel powered vehicle. The Truck probably had three or four drops left when we found a place to purchase fuel this morning. That is too close for comfort for me.
Any way here is the Team headed down the mountain from Santa Fe for lower elevations. The temperature on the mirror is climbing every few minutes as we descend. Feeling low would have been and improvement. But that feeling is one from the altitude sickness. When the Team cleared the mountains down to the 4500 feet range and stopped at a rest area for necessities and a snack, suddenly my body changed into a real human again.
Instead of “poor, poor pitiful me”, the feeling was back to the “how lucky I am to be doing this”. The rest area had this neat explanation sign by the parking lot.
The Snack Team headed up to the elevated viewing platform to attempt to understand the sign. The wonderful feeling of worlds to explore hit me square and solid between the eyes.
Look at the mountain that needs me to explore it. Look all around me for 360 degrees, there are dozens of mountain ranges to explore. And between the mountains were dozens of valleys to explore. Man I am lucky! The altitude sickness tends to make me have a bad attitude and that is not good. So it is another lesson hammered home AGAIN. Sleep low, climb high in the day. That has been written in many books on hiking that have been read in my life. With an exuberant step and a clear head, the OFM hopped into the Truck ready to chase adventures any where but sleep below 5000 feet.
With that in mind the Team returned to a favorite campground at Elephant Butte Pond. This is the place to be by yourself if you want. It has been covered before in this blog and more will come out in the future.
The old excitement is cursing through my body again and it feels great. So it was with renewed interest that a quick late evening trip to the closed boat ramp next to the campground to see what was the reason for the closure.
Well as you can see it seems that the lake is lacking a few drops of water. Even launching a yak could be trouble with all the soft mud to cross.
Back to the campground we went to capture a picture of the set up. How do you like this view?
It was pretty dark but the Canon captures a lot more light than my eyes. This next picture was taken by the picnic table in dark enough light that my eyes could not see the camera on the table. WOW if my eyes could see like that camera it would be VERY exciting.
A new header picture of today’s sunset certainly is uplifting. It inspires me to get out and try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
This was written on 8-25-2011 and will publish whenever it gets a chance.
The Team did not roll early this morning. It was nearly 0730 when we cleared the dump station. Then it was on the highway across the mostly boring plains of eastern New Mexico. The roads were good for the most part and the Team did roll smoothly. The price of diesel is about twenty cents a gallon higher than in Texas. OUCH!
Eventually we turned north on NM3 which is a 1.9 lane highway of blacktop laid over an old wagon trail. It is so roly poly that the kitchen cabinets swapped sides with the dinette several times during the trip. Then the really odd thing happened. We started hitting water puddles on the highway. THERE WAS EVEN A CREEK FLOWING ABOUT TWO INCHES OF WATER ACROSS THE ROAD! That was surreal.
Eventually we climbed up into the more rugged part of the area. It is a good thing the Castle is boondock equipped. When we got to the park all the electric sites were taken. The only thing left are the no utilities sites
The Team had a choice from about twenty very nice no utilities boondocking sites. We chose the second best view. The best view required about a hundred feet of backing down a slightly narrow path between the trees. This site was easy in and good enough for me. What do you think?
There is a creek running through the park with a steep cliff on the other side from the electric campsites. On top of the cliff are a couple of lookouts. Here is the bridge.
This next picture was taken looking down stream from on the bridge. The dirt in the area is the red dirt like in the Texas panhandle. Naturally the water runs dirty red.
Near the playground equipment is this contorted tree. It looks like it has lived through several disasters. That has to be one very tough tree.
The temperature at 1700 is 89 degrees. The breeze is infrequent but tonight should be nice and cool for sleeping. The altitude is over 5000 feet and can already be noticed by my wimp body. It is doubtful we will stay past tonight because having ac is desirable. The campsites are very nice. There is no contact with the outside world by internet or cell phone.
Boondocking in the hills is another way of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
PS 8-26-11 My altitude sickness trouble hit hard this morning and the Team has moved on early.
For now they need to change the name of this place to Brantley Mud Puddle State Park.
The overpowering fragrances of the desert had been forgotten. So this morning there was a wonderful surprise waiting for me while having tea at the picnic table.
During the thirty minutes of sipping three cups of tea, many different fragrances came wafting seductively past. Each one was wonderful in its on special way. Of course that instigated a long walk around the campground to find the source of the fantastic fragrances. The reality was that there were many different bushes and trees flowering. Even some of the bushes without flowers visible were very fragrant.
Many bees were at work beeing around. Sometimes more of them than seemed right were all over my head BUZZZZZING. Here is one of the noisier ones. It was difficult to obtain a clear picture with the speed it moved around. WYSIWYG.
Next we have a medley of blooms all of which were intoxicatingly fragrant. It is a wonder that my feet stayed on the ground as “high” as the flowers made me feel.
Most of the afternoon was spent dodging the severe heat by staying inside. However the Castle and the Truck both got a good vacuuming out. My fishing gear was removed from the Truck, disassembled and stowed in the Castle for safe transport.
A morning departure is planned to look for some cooler location to be out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Will this road ever end? The Team rolled out of the Inks Lake site early and hit the dump station. The official starting time was 0658 CDT for this trip. The official end time was 1709 CDT. The trip mileage showing on the Truck was 438 miles. TheOFM is slap dab worn to a frazzle. The scenery around the Texas Hill Country and the scenery around Brantley Lake State Park in New Mexico is pretty nice. In between it is a little less than spectacular. This first picture is in Texas and the second is in New Mexico.
The Team arrived safely and had a choice of many campsites. This is the one chosen because the Truck can stay coupled to the Castle since the site is level. Notice the evening shade on the Castle.
Originally my plan was for one night here. My body is so tired that two nights were paid for. That is a whole $8 for both nights. Tomorrow will be a day of rest and getting back into slow travel mode. The view from my dining table is very nice and will be enjoyed.
The only “trouble” in route here was the final death of my LPG tank cover. It apparently was left strewn all over Texas. At least now it is one less thing to have to worry about.
Tonight it is early to bed and tomorrow late to rise time. My body needs some good sleep for tomorrow’s excitement of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Man did BillyBob and I have a nice visit with Troublentex. She is a very nice lady and lots of fun to talk to. From her hands some fresh squash made it into my hands for my eating pleasure. Check out her blog.
Tonight is some random pictures from my adventures here at Inks Lake.
This is a small store and café just down the road from the park. It is on TheOFM recommended list. The food was very good and service even better. The store section carries most of the things you might need for food at proper prices for the convenience of the location. They even let me eat there twice!
While standing on the north pier one evening it was noticed that a naval operation was in progress. These ducks looked like an old war movie with the formation they were holding as they cruised the lake. They held formation even when they swam through the cross bracing of the pier understructure.
During one of the walks taken for getting some blog pictures this shot was made of the rising sun on the still water. It was not yet hot.
A lot of the area has large stands of prickly pear cactus in it. Some of the cactus has fruit still on them. Here is one set down near the amphitheater. Many of the fruit had been nibbled by the local critters.
Speaking of critters check out this lovely lady. Deer were not in abundance but were scattered around the area. An early morning walk found this lady eating breakfast. On around the hill were another doe and three fawns of good size. It looks to me like the food supply is low but the water supply is still in good shape.
A nice day and a great visit by a fellow blogger made another excellent day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.