Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring


Spring Detox

juicing at Diane & Karl's house

Cheers!
Here's to a happy and healthy
spring and summer.




Today we juiced 2 beets, one cucumber, a bag of carrots, 3/4 of a package of celery, one orange, one apple and a whole pineapple. We usually juice whatever is available, sometimes we add some ginger and use the beet greens, also. It made enough for each of us to have a small glass each morning for the next 4 days.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lessons.......

There are no mistakes in life
........only Lessons!

-    -    -    -    -    -    -

On this day
God wants you to know
that when you come to a wall,
you can either climb it,
or you can simply walk around until you find a door.

Don't make life so hard...
look for the doors.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

"I'm traveling for my job"..........

Check-ups, annual blood test, doctors appointments, eye test.............

Getting records transferred from Illinois. Lots of forms to fill out............

Mailing address in Texas, currently at my daughters in Colorado.

At the eye doctors office in Colorado......  How do I explain all of this simply?

I just say, "I'm traveling for my job".  Easier for others to understand than to say "I live in my RV".

I talk about getting ready to start a job at a National Park, this excites them, makes them curious, and the conversation flows easier.

I think, that if I just talked about "living in my RV", they would be uncomfortable, maybe....they are thinking I am homeless.

I have a home, it has wheels.

Oh well, I LOVE MY LIFE, and have learned how to "read" others and adjust - so as not to scare them away from me.

A side note to all of this:  Before I leave any medical office, I ask for a copy of all the notes and tests or whatever they have created.  I carry this with me, makes life easier when I have to stop at another office along the way.

And another thing:  Thank you to the form creators  -  that have made a status box *widowed*.  I am not "single" by choice, and do not like to check that box. Not all forms have this, please remember this if you are in charge of creating or changing these forms.

Friday, March 23, 2012

BYOB


BYOB...ottle!



Grand Canyon National Park will eliminate the in-park sale of water packaged in individual disposable containers by March 10, 2012. The waste associated with disposable bottles comprises an estimated 20 percent of the park's overall waste stream and 30 percent of the park's recyclables. 

Reduce, Reuse, Refill!

Free water stations are available throughout the park to allow visitors to fill reusable water bottles-which are available at all Grand Canyon Association bookstores!

Click here to view the press release, click hereto view the service-wide policy, click here to learn more about the voluntary reusable water program.



I think this is a great idea
and wonder if any of the other parks
 are doing the same thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trinidad Lake State Park

Wednesday
March 14, 2012
Trinidad Lake State Park

Another state park, this one in Colorado.  A good choice for an overnight stay or longer. Most of the other RV parks in Trinidad are behind motels, near I-25. The State Park is your best choice if you are in this area.

Colorado State Parks are more expensive than Texas or New Mexico.  There is a $7.00 parking fee per vehicle (per day?) unless you buy an annual pass, and the RV site fee was $20,  I paid $27 for one night.

Site #15 is wide and deep,
larger than my backyard in Illinois.
Step a few yards behind the RV for a view of the lake.

I was looking for a trash can in the morning
and the ranger said they had a "BEAR" problem.
The dumpsters were in a locked area behind the ranger station.
No trash cans around the campground.

This is a very large park, only a small portion of the RV sites were open this early in the camping season.  The sites are electric only with a few pull through sites with full-hookups.  Some of the sites are small, originally created for tent camping.  I was originally assigned site #14, but backed into #15 instead.



Site #14 had a very narrow driveway, a long narrow site, there was a pole right at the end of the drive and a deep culvert that had to be crossed over. There were only 3 RV's in the entire campground. I decided to back into site #15 instead, if I had someone directing me, I probably could have backed into #14. I called the ranger station and told them to change my site number, no problem with this. The sites are all irregular in shape.




After I was set up, I went for a walk on 2 of the trails to see more of the park and the lake, the campground is on a high bluff over the lake.  You can drive or walk around to the fishing area if you want to spend some time closer to the water. There is a large day use area with an amphitheater and many covered pavilions.

Trinidad Lake (iPhone video)




The End!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Raton Pass

I arrived at my daughters house last Thursday.

I saw a window of opportunity with the weather
 and decided to head to Denver NOW
rather than wait until closer to the time I will start my seasonal job.

I signed up for text messages from the
 Colorado Department of Transportation.
CDOT Traffic Hotline  303-639-1111

This morning, I received a text that Raton Pass is closed.
 Here is a picture from one of the websites.
I drove over this pass on Wednesday
 and stayed overnight at Trinidad Lake State Park in CO.
I had clear and sunny skies and perfect weather when I went over the pass.

March 20, 2012 @ 10am
Raton Pass (I-25)       elevation 7,834

Trinidad, CO                    March 20, 2012

*     *     *

I just have to keep up the good thoughts
and positive images.

"The weather will be perfect when I head out
on April 9th to my job in the Four Corners area."

POSITIVE THINKING!!!
Clear and Sunny skies for travel on April 9th!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pecos National Monument

Wednesday
March 14, 2012
Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos, New Mexico

All notes in red are from the National Park Service website.

Pecos NHP preserves 12,000 years of history:
  • Pecos Pueblo and other pueblo ruins
  • Spanish mission
  • Santa Fe Trail sites, including Kozlowski's stage stop
  • 20th century ranch history (Forked Lightning Ranch)
  • Sites of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass: Pigeon's Ranch, Camp Lewis, CaƱoncito and Apache Canyon


This National Monument was just a few miles
away from the Santa Fe KOA,
so I decided to stop by on my way to Colorado.

The park rangers loan you a plastic coated guide book
 to take along on the self guided 1.5 mile walk.
The guide book has detailed information about each stop along the trail.



From September through May, rangers offer three guided tours each week to share insights into the rich crossroads of history and culture at Pecos National Historical Park.

Fridays-1:30 PM: Arrowhead Ruin-On this 90-minute ranger-led tour, see a 14th-century pueblo with 105 rooms and one kiva. The hike takes you off-trail through woodland in a higher altitude life zone than what you experience near the Visitor Center. 

Saturdays-1:30 PM: Civil War in the West-Accompany a ranger on a two-hour van tour of locations relevant to the Battle of Glorieta Pass; you'll see Kozlowski's stage stop, Camp Lewis, Apache Canyon, Canoncito and Pigeon's Ranch, and learn about the fierce fighting that took place between Colorado and New Mexico Volunteers against the Texas Volunteers. 

Sundays-1:30 PM: Forked Lightning Ranch House-Begin at Kozlowski's Santa Fe Trail stage stop and then see the bluff overlooking the confluence of the Glorieta Creek and Pecos River where Tex Austin, "Daddy of the Rodeo," hired architect John Gaw Meem to build a house. Completed in 1926, this structure later became the summer home of Pecos National Historical Park benefactors E.E. "Buddy" Fogelson and his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Greer Garson. 

Reservations are required for the guided tours
I was there on the wrong day,
 I would have liked to go on one of the guided tours. 



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bottomless Lakes State Park

Sunday and Monday
March 11 and 12, 2012

Not wanting to stay at the RV parks in town,
I decided to drive the extra miles
 to check out Bottomless Lakes State Park.


At first I was thinking that it would be a waste of gas
 to stay there for just one night while passing through town.
I would be driving southeast of Hwy 285 to get to the park,
going in the opposite direction of my route
and would have to backtrack in the morning to get back to Hwy 285.

To offset the extra fuel,
 the rates at the State Park are less than the RV parks in town.
 And the State Park is a nicer place to stay for a few days.


I did not have reservations and did not call to see if they had available sites.
I still had more than 2 hours of daylight,
 so I decided to drive out to the park and hope for an RV site.
If none were available, I would go back to one of the "RV Resorts" in town.

"Bottomless Lakes are a chain of eight lakes that are actually sinkholes that range from 17 to 90 feet deep.  They were formed when circulating water dissolved salt & gypsum deposits to form subterranean caverns. Eventually, the roofs of the caverns collapsed from their own weight. Sinkholes resulted & soon filled with water & formed the existing lakes.

Bottomless Lakes State Park is huge and the scenery and atmosphere are as quiet and serene as the Wildlife Refuge.  I lucked out and there were several sites still available, these are water and electric sites and are only $14 a night. I liked the park so much that I paid for 2 nights because it was getting late and I wanted more time to explore this park. New Mexico State Parks have an annual pass available, you will end up saving money if you stay at the parks more than 21 nights per year.

Large sites

Beach

Lea Lake Recreation Area, at the south end of the state park, has a beach and swimming area. Fishing is not allowed at Lea Lake.  Fishing is allowed at some of the other lakes in the park. During the summer months paddle boards and pedal boats are available for rent. The buildings surrounding the lake and beach are very nice.



On Sunday evening, I walked around the lake to watch the sunset.


 


On Monday morning, I walked all around the very large day use area of the park and hiked along the Ridge Trail.  I enjoyed the warm afternoon sun at my site, reading and just taking in all of the surrounding scenery. 





On Tuesday morning,
 I continued my journey North along Highway 285 in New Mexico.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday
March 11, 2012

After visiting downtown Roswell, I had a choice of going to the Art Museum or driving out to visit the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

I decided to head out to the refuge.  It is 7 miles east of town on a "paved" bumpy road. I was glad I made the decision to visit the refuge. The refuge has "one of the most diverse dragonfly communities on earth". July and August has the peak Dragonfly population and I would like to come back and visit during that time. You can check out www.friendsofbitterlake.com for information on the Annual Dragonfly Festival.

"Like an oasis in the desert, Bitter Lake NWR is one of the most significant wetlands of the Pecos River watershed. Set between the Chihuahuan Desert and short-grass prairies of the Southern Plains, Bitter Lake NWR plays an important role in providing wintering habitat for thousands of lesser sandhill cranes, Ross's geese, and other waterfowl species."



"Bitter Lake NWR acquired it's name from the largest natural body of water on the 24,536 acre refuge.  In the late 1800's ranchers likely named this lake because of the distasteful alkaline waters. High in mineral salts, this natural lake can often exceed twice the salinity level of seawater."

At the end of the road, as I entered the refuge, I immediately felt the calm, peaceful and quiet environment.
I wanted to camp here, but camping is not allowed.  I walked along some of the trails and sat for a long time on the covered shaded porch of the Visitors Center, which is closed on Sunday.



I did not drive out along the 8 mile gravel road.  It was a bumpy road just to get to the refuge and I did not feel like bumping along the gravel road in the motor home. If it had been earlier in the day, I probably would have walked a part of this road.  The first viewing station along the road was only a mile from the start of the auto tour. There is also a 2 mile bike path, but it was very warm and sunny in the middle of the afternoon and I was feeling too lazy to be out in the sun and relaxed in the shade of the porch.

I did not have a reservation for a campground in Roswell and could not stay at the Refuge for too long. I needed to get back to town and decide where I was going to stay for the night.  I drove through a few of the parks in town and was not thrilled with any of the parks.

I found a place to stay that was just as scenic as the refuge.

To be continued.......



Friday, March 16, 2012

Highway 285 in New Mexico

Sunday, March 11 to Tuesday March 13, 2012


When I left Carlsbad, New Mexico on Sunday morning I continued North on Highway 285.

I passed by a sign for the Escapees Ranch in Lakewood, NM.  I didn't realize that I was this close to another Escapees park.

The next town was Artesia, it was early on a Sunday morning, so not much was going on in town.  It looked like a very nice town and there is a large refinery on the East side of Highway 285. The website showed a walking tour of the downtown district, but since the Visitors Center was closed and the town looked deserted, I decided to keep driving.

Living in Chicago and a suburb of Chicago all my life, with easy access to everything and with nothing closed on the weekends, I often forget that stores and offices do close on Sundays in small towns and also sometimes on Saturday.

After Artesia, the next major town on Hwy. 285 is Roswell.  I had programmed my GPS for the Chamber of Commerce and stopped there to pick up some brochures and maps. I asked them if it was ok to leave the RV parked in their lot while I walked around. I wanted to go next door to the Art Museum, but it did not open until 1pm on Sundays.

I picked up a brochure about the Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and that sounded very interesting.

I walked about a mile to the Roswell Main Street district and  there are several buildings with "everything alien".  There is an UFO Museum that I did not go in, and one of the shops had some type of "Outer Space Maze" that you could pay to walk through, again I refrained from this.




Roswell is a very nice town, and only a few blocks cater to of all of this alien stuff.  There is a college and also a Military Academy in Roswell.  The North side of town looks like any small suburban town, with malls and all of the franchise stores and restaurants.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *

After leaving the Roswell area on Tuesday morning, I continued my trek North on Hwy. 285.

At the crossroads of Hwy. 285 and Route 66 is Clines Corner.  This is a fuel stop, trading post and diner all in one.  I stopped for fuel and a late breakfast.  The platter of food was enough for several meals for me. I looked around the shop but did not buy any souvenirs.
 


Highway 285 has very little traffic, there were times that I was the only vehicle on either side of the highway.  It is an eerie feeling and at the same time feels very liberating to be traveling through such a big open space alone. The scenery starts to change from desert to forest as you get closer to the Santa Fe area. 

I took this route all the way until it meets Interstate 25, near Santa Fe.  I did not go into the town of Santa Fe because I had been there before.  I stayed overnight at the Santa Fe KOA. 



I liked this KOA park, it was very wooded and smelled great with pine trees between the sites.  I prefer campgrounds to "RV Resorts".  Some of the roads and sites are tight for turning and maneuvering around, these sites were probably created for tent camping. My small rig fit fine in one of these sites. There are some newer, larger pull-through sites near the front of the park that do not have all of the trees. The owners are very nice and friendly and I even saw the owner walking his dog in the dog park/dog run area. I think that sets a good example for the campers, and shows what he expects of his customers. I stopped to talk to him because he had a "boxer" that was larger than the ones I had been around and had a darker Brindle coloring. For those without an RV, there are a lot of the little Kamping Kabins in this campground, all with very nice scenic, wooded sites. Because of the elevation, this park is not open all year, they had just reopened on March 1st, many sites were filled and there were a lot of tent campers. The days are warm and sunny but the nights are cool in the mountains.

Next......heading to Colorado.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Friday
March 9, 2012




When you are checking in at the Visitors Center, they ask if you want to walk down through the 'Natural Entrance' or take the elevator.  The walk is 750' down, one mile, with a lot of steep switchbacks and they say it takes an hour. You will end up in the "Big Room" to walk around for another 1 1/2 hours.

At first, I could not decide.
I sat on a bench thinking about it and
Then I went for it.......



I walked down, it took me about 45 minutes.

I did stop along the way to take pictures, but I was walking faster than others and passed some groups of people.  The signs say it is slippery, it was not today. There are handrails all the way down, the path is paved all the way down, looks like asphalt.

going down.....

still going down.....

I have been in many small caves where you walk on dirt, sand and rocks.  This cave is not like that at all.  The entire route of the self-guided tour is paved. You can even use a wheelchair or motorized scooter in parts of the cave.

You can sign up for some other tours that take you farther into the cave and there are caverns in this cave system that are not open to the public.





Although it amazing to be walking around underground, this is not a "pretty" cave. There are no crystals, it is mostly limestone.  I am not overly excited about caves, but I was passing by the area and I have a National Parks Pass, so it did not cost me anything to go through the cave. It was a good way to get my workout for the day.

I can't imagine walking through this cave on a busy summer day, with a lot of crowds.  Today was a good day to walk through the cave, there were not a lot of people around. I was told it would take one hour to walk down and 1 1/2 hours to complete the tour inside the cave. It took me a total of 1 1/2 hours for everything.

The walkway has handrails on both sides and it only wide enough for 2 people side by side. During a busy season, you would probably have to wait for slow moving people.  There are several wider areas with stone benches where it would be easier to pass others.

All in all, I was glad that I stopped here. I was glad that I decided to walk down, I think the walk down is more interesting than the other areas of the cave.


* * * * *
In May and June 2010, lightning ignited wildfires at both Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks.  The largest fire at Carlsbad Caverns National Park was the New Fire. It burned over 17,000 acres and had over 400 personnel assigned to the fire during the height of the fire.

As soon as I drove through the gates of the park, I could see evidence of this fire, all along the 7 mile road to the Visitors Center.


Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb