Cochiti Lake RV Trip (Part Two)

cl-cassie-cottonwoods-road(You can see Part One here.)
On Thursday we walked to the cottonwoods again.  I wanted to try to get a photo of the beavers’ tail smacks.  After many photos of the splash, I finally tried a video.  I did get it, but I need to practice the technique.  I was bit shaky.   The hill climb back was tough.  I don’t usually do this long a hike everyday – this was the third day in a row.  Cassie loves it.  It would be a recliner day for me.

I started reading “Visual Intelligence” by Amy Herman.  Although I considered myself to be fairly observant, I’m becoming aware of what I’m not seeing.  Her workshops are often presented to law enforcement – makes me think of everything like a witness!  What did I see?  What can I remember?  She also writes about ‘inattentional blindness’ where we don’t see what’s right in front cl-frog-beetleof us.  I took a photo of a roadkill frog (don’t ask why).  It was only when I was back at the RV and looking through all the photos that I notices a big beetle on the frog.  Never saw it when I took the picture.  I decided I needed to read Herman’s book carefully.

I hadn’t done any writing except this journal.  I was hoping to get some genealogy and other blog posts done.  It seemed so far away.  I’m barely interested in the genealogy anymore.  It feels like a bit of a burden to share this information.  But it would be a shame not to – I did so much work to collect it.  Also my meditation has suffered here.  Never even thought about it until today.  I found the driver’s seat is a good meditation spot.  Cassie waits patiently in her co-pilots seat.

cl-deerOn Friday we walked farther – to the second group of cottonwoods.  I saw one deer – luckily Cassie did not see it.  This was an easy three-mile hike – except for that last quarter mile up the boat ramp.  I was tired and happy.  I figured I won’t walk there on a Saturday morning – too many folks coming in for the weekend.

Spending this much time in the RV had me thinking of small improvements.  I have too much stuff on the other side of the table – on that seat.  I could move the clothes storage to the foot of the bed – lots of room there.  And make a thinner bolster for the dinette seats.  They are thick because they are the mattress if this is made into a bed, but I don’t do that.  If the bolster were thinner, there would be more room on the seat and I would be more comfortable reading.  I’ve been using recycled plastic bags for trash.  That’s okay for a day or two, but I need a decent closed container for these longer trips.  I decided I want a curtain to hide the sleeping area.  These are just small adjustments to make the RV more livable.

cl-raven-flyingI was back in the recliner watching a raven as it perched on a leafless tree over the overlook.  It was a long way away but could make a nice photo especially if I could get it when it flies away.  I tried to hold the focus (shutter pressed halfway) but my hand shook after a few minutes.  Then the shutter finger tired and fired off a frame or three.  Re-focused and started again.  Finally the raven flew off.  Mediocre photo, but at least I was persistent.

My treat tonight: Ritz crackers (really Trader Joe’s fine version) and guacamole.  This was a childhood favorite – maybe the first way I had guacamole.  Heaven.

cl-ccI had kept up with the Facebook and Instagram posts that I wanted to.  I was in an August photo-a-day challenge and missed only a couple.  I’m just learning Instagram (mostly because my granddaughter is on it).  So that became more routine.  I posted on Cassie’s Facebook page (CassieCorgi).  That’s been fun.

cl-parthenonOur Saturday morning walk was to a new area – a picnic area near the entrance.  It was strange.  The gates are locked.  It’s abandoned.  There are maybe 50 shelters with no roofs, but still the tables and grills.  It looked like ruins.  I called it the Parthenon.  Seems they had the roofs removed for repair, but didn’t like the cost, so they closed it.  Beautiful area for picnics.
Today would have been my sister’s wedding anniversary had she stayed married.  No one celebrates it now; I do remember though.  It was back when she and I didn’t know who we were or what we wanted.  And yet, she married – she was 21, it was the time to marry.  That was some of my feeling brought up by the book “So Long Marianne” – young women trying to find their way.  Trying, stumbling, slowly finding the path.  Painfully slow.  My sister died over 20 years ago without really finding her way.  I miss her.

I met the mayor of the city of Cochiti Lake and his wife at the overlook.  His issues sound a lot like our mayor’s issues.

Friends from home arrived Saturday afternoon.  They’ve been touring with their granddaughter.  We took a walk to the old picnic area.  Very nice to have friends nearby.  We were all leaving in the morning.

Planning to leave made a different kind of evening.  I’ve finished both books.  And I was thinking about what needs to be done to set off in the morning.  The leaving had begun.  And I think that’s why this longer trip (7 days) in one place was so nice.  It takes the driving day to settle in.  And the last day is taken up with thoughts of leaving.  Good to have lots of days in between for me.

Nice relaxed Sunday morning.  Time to sit with my friends.  Time to say goodbye to neighbors.

Cochiti Lake with the Sandia Mountains in the distance - Albuquerque is at the foot of the mountains.

Cochiti Lake with the Sandia Mountains in the distance – Albuquerque is at the foot of the mountains.

It was almost all interstate driving, but traffic was light.  I drive about 60 mph in the RV – the slowest driver on the freeway.  Getting through Albuquerque was easy – no extra lane changes.  I don’t like those.  I think I need better mirrors.

South of Socorro and just an hour from home we stopped so Cassie could get out for a few minutes.  The wind was picking up.  It wasn’t terrible, but this is a fairly high profile vehicle so the wind was noticed.  Especially as the road goes across arroyos.  Sheltered by road cuts, there’s no wind and then as the road goes through a canyon, the gusts hit.  Off and on all the way.  So I drove a little slower.  There was almost no traffic here anyway.

Along this stretch a truck pulling a fine Shasta trailer passed.  Even I can recognize them – vintage “canned ham” trailers with the wings on the back corners.  It looked immaculate.  When I got off at the Truth or Consequences exit, that trailer was at the gas station.  I pulled in to talk with the folks.  Turns out the trailer is brand new – they are making a limited edition re-issue – same retro style with modern updates in appliances and plumbing.  It was beautiful.  I’d like to have it to camp in, but I don’t want to have to tow it or set it up alone.

While we talked about their trailer, their 8 year old son captured a highly rated Pokemon – only his second capture ever.  They were all very surprised to find such a good one here.  This was my first experience with Pokemon hunters.  I had no idea what they were talking about.

Another mile and we were home.  It was a fine trip and we were happy to be back.  I’m already thinking about that next trip.  Try to get to Heron Lake?  Or maybe El Malpais?

Rockhound State Park

Here it is nearly the end of the year and I haven’t written about my short trip in the RV in November.  I’d better get these thoughts down before the next trip.  Try to learn from one before embarking on the next.  And I do learn – about the RV and about myself.

I had decided I wanted to head towards Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico, near the Mexican border.  And I thought I’d stay only a night and go somewhere towards Arizona for a night and then take a couple of days to get back home.
rh pecans
It had been six weeks since my first trip – I’d forgotten some of the basics.  Forgot to secure the big water jug and it hit the floor.  Water everywhere.  I wasn’t far from home so I went back.  Needed dry towels, a different rug and more drinking water.  My attitude was slipping.  I like early starts, but realized they are not required.  Just go when I’m ready.  Avoiding the interstate, I took Highway 185 south going through Palomas, Caballo, Arrey, and Garfield to Hatch.
rh cotton
I was grumpy.  I wondered if, after all the money I’d spent, if this was the right vehicle.  It sure isn’t as agile as my Xterra – much harder to find places to stop or to turn around to go back for a photo.  And I do that a lot.  Why did I want to do this?  But then I did stop to take photos.  There, that’s better.  I’m happy when I’m taking pictures.  And I enjoy the leisurely driving.  Just push those awkward questions away and enjoy looking at the scenery.  It was harvest time for red chiles and for cotton along the Rio Grande.  Pecans were just ripening, to be picked in December.
rh chiles
This was Cassie’s longest drive – about three hours.  She was okay with it.  I was a little tired – what with the two starts, the water clean-up, and the bad attitude.  Bad attitudes are exhausting.  So I decided I would go to Rockhound State Park near Deming – it is a little closer.  As soon as I turned onto a road that was new to me, I perked up.
rh slope view
Found a nice spot in the non-electric section (dry camping).  I still wasn’t ready to do hook-ups.  I had ordered a surge protector, but it hadn’t arrived.  I was mainly testing the propane system on this trip.  I mean, it had been tested and was fine, but I needed to learn how to use it.
rh camp view
Rockhound camp sites are on a slope with a great view to the west.  Not many folks in my section.  The hook-up section was nearly full.  Nice showers and toilets.  And trails with rocks to gather.
I turned on the propane.  The fridge started right up.  Cassie and I went for a walk.  The walks are important after hours in the RV.  I chucked the plan of staying only one night.  I don’t want to drive every day (note to self: remember that).  It takes some time to relax.

rh thrasherAfter finding a camp site and talking a walk, the questions about this being the right vehicle just evaporated.  I thought just give this RV a year or 15 trips.  Something substantial.  And then ask the questions.  Give it a chance.   I felt good.  Slept well.  In the morning we hiked the longer trail.  Didn’t see anyone else out.  There are benches on the trails – nice to sit and watch the view.  Lots of birds here – a couple of red tail hawks, cactus wrens, and thrashers.

In the afternoon we hiked the shorter trail down to the visitor center.  Met another camper, Frank.  He told me a lot about the electrical system – he’s quite knowlegeable and shares his information nicely.  He camps here and at Pancho Villa a lot.  We talked about Spring Canyon – nearby, but day use only.  The next day he and I hiked Spring Canyon – it’s a beautiful place  We found the spring easily but couldn’t find the trail much beyond it.  Something to go back for.

Sentinels at Spring Canyon.

Sentinels at Spring Canyon.

Frank has a van that is nicely kitted out – many appliances and TV.  He’s full-timer and seems to have the lifestyle down pat.  I hope to see him again in travels in the area.

I’m happy when I’m taking photos and when I’m writing.  Although as I wrote about the day’s events, I started to write about leveling the RV – something I haven’t attempted yet, but need to learn – and slowly my mood started to sink.  I love being in these places and this mindset where I can notice slight changes in mood before they take over!  After writing for a while I realized that I was overwhelmed by all the things I had to learn.  And I was expecting myself to ‘just know’ everything.  I wasn’t letting myself try things, practice, and eventually learn.

Oh, this is a familiar pattern.  I expect myself to ‘get’ PhotoShop lessons right away when it’s obvious I need to practice, practice, practice.  I think when I was younger, things came to me so easily that I didn’t develop the discipline to stick with something difficult.  And now I’m older and have less energy.  I need that discipline.  And with this realization, the tension about the leveling of the RV fades away.  It’s not rocket science.  The way for me to figure things out is to write.

I have the feeling I’ve learned this before.  And will probably have to learn it a few more times.
rv dinetteA quiet evening with a small meal, chamomile tea.  I was sitting inside because of the wind and finding it very cozy.  I encouraged Cassie to sit on the dinette benches at first just to make her as at ease as possible.  So now when I sit there, she was right beside me.  I was very content.

I am happy with my meals – some I made ahead and froze (marinara and a beef stew) with fresh veggies to add.  Eggs in the morning.  Yogurt for dinner.  That part is working well.  Cassie seems to enjoy traveling.  She saw deer and cottontails from her passenger seat – very exciting.

I found a Jonathan Winters quote that fit this trip.  “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”