This trip started with a different plan than previous trips. I usually had one destination and some idea of how long I’d be gone, maybe three to five days. This time I wanted to meander, maybe have four or five possible destinations, and no time limits, no schedule. What would it be like just to wander in my RV?
One of the places on my list of destinations, was Bisti/De-Na-Zin Badlands wilderness area. And when I mentioned it to others, they also wanted to go. We picked the second weekend in October to meet and camp at a friend’s place and then go on to Bisti. So already I scrapped the part about no schedule. But it seemed like a good idea to have folks to go with on the first visit.
Still, I was restless so I left a few days before the others to camp on my own at El Morro National Monument. This is one of my favorite places in New Mexico – beautiful scenery, ancient ruins, and the stunning Inscription Rock. And good hiking trails – an important criteria for Cassie and me.
I took the same campsite (#4) that I had before – it’s large and almost level. I fiddled with the leveling blocks on the front wheels to make it okay for the propane fridge. It took a couple of attempts backing onto the blocks and then not being quite right, changing the blocks and backing onto them again. Finally got it. Then I saw a rattlesnake hurrying away from the front wheel, heading across the road. Where was it when I was messing with those wheels??! I’ll never know, but the snake and I were both happy to have it far away.
The campground filled up and I met several other solo women campers. One was car-camping – she was from New Mexico and worked at a state park. One tent camper was on her way from Alaska to Silver City and then to Seattle for the boat home. And one intrepid Canadian was tent-camping as she bicycled from Montreal to Los Angeles. Good conversation and great stories. The next morning they all continued their separate journeys. I wrote a post about this group here.
I stayed for another night and a wonderfully quiet day. I was reading Timothy Egan’s book about Edward Curtis, the photographer (and so much more), “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.” Excellent book. I’ve read his book on the Dust Bowl, “The Worst Hard Time” – also very good.
Friday was certain to be a busy day. We started with a walk on top of El Morro. Then moved to our friend’s land. Cassie loved it there – no fences, no leash, and a dog she likes to run with.
It was nice sitting around with close friends. The talk is so different from that with folks I see for only an evening. Both good, both interesting. But different.
Turns out the guys in our group were both having health issues and didn’t want to tackle a place as difficult as Bisti. That’s okay, but I’m going anyway! But I’ll spend three days here first.
We walked a lot, found shards and an old coffee pot. The shards were left in place; the coffee pot has a new home near their porch.
I keep a journal open on the table and add notes throughout the days. I noticed that I wrote less about the RV itself the trip. Not so many ‘to-do’ and ‘wants’ lists. The first thing I listed was after about four days. Saturday night was a cold night (18°F) and as I stood just behind the truck seats I could feel cold air flowing. I realized why people put a curtain here – not just for privacy. I’ll look for a mattress pad or cheap quilt to hang.
I enjoyed the ‘lounge’ area – used to be the dinette. It’s very comfortable. It’s nice not to have a long list of improvements needed. Sure is a change from those first insecure trips!
Finished the book on Curtis and started “Salt” by Mark Kuransky. It’s a history of salt and it made me hungry.
I loved early mornings here. I took my cup of tea and went for a short walk with the dogs. The sun was just coming up.
On Monday morning I slowly packed up and left about 9AM to have a fine breakfast at Ancient Way Cafe with Wi-Fi! It had been frustrating not to be online enough to check the weather. I didn’t like being surprised by the cold night. I had 130 emails – most of which could be discarded. But there were a couple that needed a reply. I did a quick check of Instagram – so many photos. And a quicker check of Facebook – no way to keep up. The one thing that did bother me was my blog readings. I so enjoy taking time to read blogs that other folks write and see the photos they post. But I couldn’t catch up this time. I liked being offline for a while – no wifi, no cell service – but it would be nice to check in occasionally. Need to see if there’s a fix for this that I can afford.
After my leisurely breakfast, I moved to Bluewater State Park, about 80 miles away. I’ll leave that for part two!