I figured on two driving days to get from Hovenweep National Monument (Utah) to El Morro (New Mexico), with a stop at Bluewater Lake State Park to check on the eagles (see Part 1). I don’t like driving two days in a row, so I might stay a couple of days in between at Bluewater.
I set off early and took the road to Aneth, Utah – the one I should have come in on. Left Utah, drove a short way in Colorado to Four Corners. I’d been there as a young adult, when it wasn’t so commercial. Didn’t stop this time.
Took in a bit of Arizona before turning east into New Mexico, heading for Shiprock. I think Shiprock is as impressive as anything in Monument Valley.
Turned south in Farmington. I was starting to race the clock a little. Rain was forecast for the afternoon and I wanted to be in Bluewater before that. And in time to get a good site. Would I make it in time? Would I get a good, level spot? Could I avoid driving in the wind and rain? Should I go faster? This is NOT the way I like to travel. I decided to stop at the Bisti Badlands trailhead. It’s a three mile drive on a good, gravel road into a gravel parking lot. No amenities, but I knew I could get out safely if it rained. It was a relief to stop pushing. And it would be an easy drive the next day to Bluewater.
There were nine cars and three RVs already – everyone was out hiking. I was not prepared to hike here, so we took only a short walk. The wind picked up and along with it, dust. Several people returned to their vehicles. Cassie was shaking, so I knew thunder was nearby.
Suddenly the wind gusted so hard I had trouble closing the door against it. Dust filled the valley. So glad I wasn’t driving my high profile RV. And then it rained for a little while, but not enough to settle the dust. The dust and the rain dueled in a strong wind. It was so nice to be inside. Rain, with thunder and lightning, won out before giving way to pea-sized hail.
There was a break in the rain so I took Cassie out for a quick pee walk (very necessary). Even in the gravel parking lot, we got muddy. Fine, sticky mud. We tracked a lot into the RV. Good thing we will be home soon.
One more storm passed by. And then we had a quiet night. Got the necessary walk in the morning and then waited out another patch of rain before leaving.
It was only two hours to Bluewater. We chose a new-to-us site (#23). I liked it. Many bluebirds around. It rained a little, but we still walked to see the eagles. Still two chicks, bigger – maybe feathered out now.
I stayed two nights – lazy, relaxing days. There was a prescribed burn in the Zuni Mountains to the south. Looked like any wildfire I’d ever seen, but it was under control.
Often there are many wild horses here. We saw only one mare and foal – quite content to meander among the campers.
I was pleasantly surprised when Bill and Kimberly, friends from home, walked by. Nice conversation about camping – she and I agree on many things. We like the solitude of camping.
In the morning smoke covered the campground and nearby valleys. Thick. I was happy to be leaving.
It was only about two hours to El Morro. For the first time in three weeks, I had hook-ups and, best of all, an excellent, hot shower. Another reason for liking this RV park is it includes Ancient Way Cafe, an outstanding restaurant. The spaces here were a bit pricey for me ($32), but there’s no other places close with full hook-ups.
I’ve been avoiding sugar and being careful with carbohydrates to see if it would make a difference. It has. But at the cafe I had a Reuben sandwich with potato salad. Outstanding! Also had a fine dinner there later with friends.
Because I was headed home in the morning, my mind was already traveling there. I had a to-do list for home going. I found it difficult to work with my photos on my laptop. I needed the keyboard and mouse, but don’t usually bring them. Photos will be the first thing to do at home.
It was just over five hours to get home and a pleasant drive. I saw a herd of elk along the way. No photo, but a nice bonus for the trip. My best trip yet.
21 days, 1311 miles.