Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Break from Blogging for Baja

Starting February 1, 2007 I am traveling to Baja for two months, and will not have regular internet access. If I can, I will try to post when I get internet access, but I may not be able to post much until I return. I'm caravaning with some other people, and we plan on seeing the gray whales while we're down there, which will be calving in the lagoons. It's going to be a great trip!



New Mexico State Parks, Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns - November 2006

The group that I was staying with in Tijeras decided to go in different directions, but Tami and I decided to continue to travel together for awhile and headed to Sumner Lake State Park. We had a huge drycamping spot to ourselves overlooking Sumner Lake, and we were treated to an incredible tangerine moon over the lake. We saw many mule deer here, and we were able to let the dogs run off leash in certain areas because there was not a soul around. The weather was really warm, and I was able to wear shorts and a tank top for the first time. One day I sat outside in the sun with my view of the lake and read a book. What a treat!

Full Moon on Sumner Lake

Harvest Moon Rising Over Sumner Lake

From Sumner Lake we journeyed on to Bottomless Lakes State Park, where we were serenaded by the chattering cranes flying overhead just before sunset every evening. We also heard horned owls hooting and coyotes yipping at night. The mosquitoes were fierce!

Rylie at Bottomless Lakes State Park

We took a side trip to Roswell from here, so that we could go to the UFO museum. Tami and I both walked into the museum, which is also a research center, as skeptics and came out believers. There was an overwhelming amount of evidence about the Roswell incident, including numerous signed and notarized affidavits from various witnesses. There was also a ton of other information, and after reading some of it for a couple of hours, I was on information overload. It was fascinating. They even had quotes from some of our past presidents saying that they had
seen UFOs, which I thought was interesting. One of them is a man for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, Jimmy Carter. I think he is a true humanitarian. Anyway, if you're ever in Roswell, go spend a couple of hours at the UFO museum. It might give you something to think about.

Brantley Lake State Park was the next stop, where we had another drycamping area to ourselves, this time right next to the lake. More off leash runs for the dogs, so they were happy. Then we stayed at The Ranch, an Escapees park. The day we got there a huge amount of needlegrass had blown into the area, and almost
completely obliterated their clubhouse. We took a side trip to see Carlsbad Caverns, which I absolutely loved. I highly recommend it, if you're into that sort of thing and can walk around. We walked into the caverns through the natural entrance, and even after walking for 2-1/2 hours, we still didn't see it all. It's enormous! I would love to see the bats fly out in the evening, but they had already gone south when we visited.

Needlegrass at The Ranch Clubhouse

Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns

Rylie's Notes: I'm taking a nap.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Albuquerque Dog Parks - November 2006

For those of you with four-legged family members of the pooch variety, I am providing my summary of the eight dog parks we visited in Albuquerque. They are not in any particular order, and photos are provided. I am including directions and additional info that may be helpful to those driving RVs. I recommend always bringing drinking water for your pooch. Rylie rates the parks from one to five paws, with five being the best.

Los Altos Park. 821 Eubank Boulevard Northeast. Take I-40 East to Eubank Boulevard (Exit 165).
Turn right on Eubank and head North .2 miles. Park on left/west side.

This is a shady dog park with plenty of trees in part of the park. There is plenty of parking for RVs. Poop bags and water are provided, and there are two picnic tables. There is a little bit of grass, but the ground cover is mostly bark/sawdust. It's right next to the freeway so is noisy, but it's convenient and is completely fenced. Because it is located right next to a softball field, there is a sign saying balls can come over the fence during games. Port-O-Potties are provided. Some of the businesses nearby include Sonic, Petco, Target, gas stations and other restaurants.

Rylie's Rating: 3 paws

Tom Bolack Urban Forest Park. 2000 Dakota Street Northeast. Take I-40 East to Louisiana Boulevard South (Exit 162A). Go South on Louisiana to Constitution and turn right. Turn right on Kentucky Street Northeast, which becomes Zimmerman Avenue. Turn right on Dakota. This is in a residential neighborhood. Park on the street.

There are trees here with only dirt, no grass or bark. One picnic table is provided, as are poop bags and water. There is a walking trail nearby.

Rylie's Rating: 2 paws

Santa Fe Village Dog Park. 5700 Bogart Street Northwest. Take I-40 East to Unser (Exit 154). Go North on Unser, and turn left on Bogart. This park is a long way from the freeway. There is parking on the street.

There are trees in this park, some grass and some dirt, as well as mud puddles when we visited. The road was also under construction when we visited. There is one bench inside the dog park, and other benches outside of the fence. This is a long park with lots of room for running, and there were more dogs here. Poop bags are provided. It is close to the Petroglyph monument and there is a library very nearby. RVs could possibly park in the library lot. There is a gas station on the way, but otherwise it's in a mostly residential area.

Rylie's Rating: 2 paws

Coronado Park. 301 McKnight Avenue Northwest. Take I-40 East to 4th/2nd Street (Exit 159A). Go East on the frontage road, then turn right on 3rd street. There is very limited parking here in the street of this industrial area near the freeway, but there is room for RVs.

This is actually a very nice park with many large shade trees and lots of grass. There was a little bit of mud when we visited. There are picnic tables and poop bags are provided.

Rylie's Rating: 4 paws

Rio Grande Triangle Park. 1451 Kit Carson Avenue Southeast. Take I-25 south to Lead Avenue (Exit 224A). Head West on Lead, which becomes Alcalde Southwest. Turn left on Kit Carson Avenue. No room for RV parking here.

This park has grass, dirt and gravel for ground cover, with lots of many large shade trees. There are quite a few benches and chairs, and poop bags are provided. There is water here, but it is non-potable, so you might want to bring your own. This park has an obstacle course for the dogs.

Rylie's Rating: 3 paws

Roosevelt Park. THIS PARK IS CLOSED UNTIL SPRING 2007. 500 Spruce Street Southeast. Take I-25 south to Lead Avenue (Exit 224A) toward Coal Avenue. Turn left on Coal and head east 0.2 miles to Spruce. This is not specifically a dog park, but anyone may exercise dogs off leash here from 7 AM to 11 AM daily from October 1 - March 31, and from 6 AM to 10 AM Monday - Friday, except legal holidays from April 1 - September 30.

This will be a very nice park when they are done with the reconstruction. It's very large with many big shade trees. It's close to Presbyterian Hospital, which may be a possible place to park.

Rylie's Rating: 4 paws

USS Bullhead Park. 1606 San Pedro Southeast. Take I-25 south to Gibson Boulevard (Exit 222). Go east on Gibson to San Pedro Boulevard. Turn right to park. There is plenty of parking in the front parking lots.

There are trees, benches, grass and some dirt here. There is a jogging/bike trail nearby. The park is behind a softball field and balls could possibly come over the fence during games. There are two separately fenced areas here, but no indication why. No RV parking is allowed along the fence or overnight. This park is behind the VA Hospital, with many restaurants and businesses along Gibson.

Rylie's Rating: 3 paws

Montessa Park. 3615 Los Picaros Road Southeast. Take I-25 South to Rio Bravo (Exit 220). Go West on Rio Bravo and turn left on Broadway/NM 47. Turn left on Bobby Foster, and turn left on Los Picasos to the off-leash area.

This one is way out there and it is not worth the drive, in my opinion. It's dry, desert brush which looks like it could be full of snakes and who knows what else. Nothing is provided.

Rylie's Rating: 0 paws

Coronado State Monument, Ghost Walk, and Tijeras - October 2006

Sunset at Coronado State Monument

After Santa Fe, Tami and I returned to the Albuquerque area. We joined Lorna and Calicia, whom I had met at the balloon fiesta, at Coronado State Monument just north of Albuquerque. We all boondocked together and shared some dinners, wine, great conversation, and beautiful crimson sunsets. This was a time to catch up on various maintenance and chores, like filling propane tanks, doing laundry, getting haircuts and a multitude of other things.

I cleaned and lubricated my towbar, and I also washed the outside of my motorhome completely for the first time. Up till then I had only done spot washing. Man that's hard work! It took me 2-1/2 hours to wash and dry that monster. By the time I was done I was completely exhausted and I could barely lift my arms. Granted, I'm a monster-washing rookie, but I had no idea it would be such hard work. It sure looked nice when I was done.

The pueblo ruin is within walking distance of the campground, so we walked over to check it out. There are some very interesting recreations of the Native American wall paintings that were discovered here that are worth a look, but it definitely wasn't the best pueblo we had seen. There isn't much left, since adobe tends to disintegrate and requires constant maintenance.

One evening I took a drive into Old Town Albuquerque to go on a ghost walk. I thought this an appropriate activity, since it was so close to Halloween. I didn't see any ghosts on this walk, but I did hear some very interesting stories about many people who had, and we saw various sites where these spirits had been seen. Part of me is a skeptic about these things, but I try to keep an open mind, especially when there are large groups of people who see the same things. Some of them even called the police because one the ghosts was a naked woman on a balcony that everyone thought was real. Even the police who responded to the call thought she was real, but they were never able to find her once they entered the building. I was entertained, and even a bit spooked, as I walked back to my car alone in the dark, which just so happened to be parked next to one of the ghost hangouts. I like Old Town Albuquerque.

From here we all drove to Tijeras, just east of Albuquerque in the hills. We met up with Kate, Terry and Andy at the Passport America campground. They are more Lazy Daze owners that I met at the balloon fiesta. It was here at this campground that I managed to squish seven people into my motorhome for dinner. It was a tight squeeze, but we did it.

Rylie and I did some side trips from here to check out the dog parks of Albuquerque. Can you believe that Albuquerque has eight dogs parks? Holy Toledo, that's impressive! I'm doing a separate post about the dog parks, for those that are interested.

Rylie's Notes:

The goat heads were especially bad at Coronado State Monument, even on the paved road. I got five in one paw just walking down the road! You won't hear me squeal like a baby though, I suffer in silence. Border collies are used to the perils of the field. You can't let a sore foot keep you from getting the job done when there are sheep or horses to herd. Too bad I don't have any of those. I need a job.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Taos, Sante Fe and the Flu - October 2006

Lisa had to head back home to Arizona from Navajo Lake, so Tami, Suzanne and I traveled to Taos together. I thought Taos was really beautiful, nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It has one of those downtown squares that are so appealing to me. Not only that, but I got a great deal on some tee shirts! We visited the Fechin House museum, an incredible display of art and wood carved furnishings, and took a tour of the Taos pueblo. It never ceases to horrify me what terrible treatment the Native Americans have received. According to our guide, native americans don't think too kindly of the Spaniards because of the horrible things they did. I also wanted to check out Michael's Kitchen, because they advertised the country's (world's?) largest cinammon roll. No, I didn't get one, but I had to get a look at it anyway. Yep, it's big! It got quite chilly at night in Taos, in the 20's. Brrrr. No problems with the motorhome, though.

From Taos, Suzanne had to head back to Boulder, after dealing with a bleach spill in one of her storage compartments, so Tami and I traveled to Sante Fe. We got our motorhomes parked for boondocking in a parking lot next to St. Frances Cathedral, and then my body, which had been feeling sick all morning, succumbed to the flu. Thank God it didn't happen while I was driving! I spent the next 24 hours in bed with fever, nausea and other unpleasantness. I lay crumpled in bed with a large bowl within easy each, just in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom. It wasn't pretty. Thank God for Pepto Bismal and Tami, who walked Rylie for me. Was it the flu or food poisoning? I'll never know.

Luckily, I managed to see a few sights the next day before we left town. These included Loretto Chapel, with its mysterious spiral staircase (no visible support); St. Frances Cathedral; and San Miguel Mission, as well as the plaza. One of the oldest public buildings is in the plaza, the Palace of the Governors, but it was closed on Monday. There was a lot more to see in Sante Fe, but we elected to head south to warmer weather. Both Taos and Sante Fe are at high elevations, which made for chilly temperatures. I'll see Sante Fe and Taos again, I'm sure.

San Miguel Mission

Rylie's Notes: I had to keep an eye on The Staff while she moaned and groaned in bed. Gotta make sure she's around to fill that food bowl twice a day. There was a definite shortage of off leash areas to run in Taos and Santa Fe, but we did manage to find a remote parking lot where Mona and I could let 'er rip. As part border collie, my theme song is, naturally, Born to Run. Mona runs circles around me, though. That dame can run! Of course, I could run circles around her if I really wanted to.