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Old 09-10-2009, 06:07 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by eubank View Post
We went down last fall, also before the arrival. It was pretty interesting, though on the first day we were nearly eaten alive by mosquitos. (On the second day a front came through and removed them.) There are a couple of pics on my blogsite:

Trip to Chaco and Bosque del Apache, Fall 2008 : Angel Fire Blogs

There's a small RV park a mile or two north of the site. I think it's called Bosque Birdwatchers.

In San Antonio (NM) near the site you can get a green chili burger that even beat Bobby Flay's (meager) attempt!


Lynn



Lynn
Lynn,

I went to your site, but the pictures did not come up only some words.

Bill
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:23 PM   #72
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Humm, that's odd. I just tried the site, and all worked well. Can anybody else report on whether the pics are coming up?
Thx,
L
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:42 PM   #73
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Worked for me. Nice photos!

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Old 09-10-2009, 08:22 PM   #74
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Actually, I don't think they're that good. Those were the last photos I made with my el-cheapo zoom lens, and it shows. Can't wait to go out with the new one and try again!

Lynn
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Old 09-10-2009, 08:29 PM   #75
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Actually, I don't think they're that good. Those were the last photos I made with my el-cheapo zoom lens, and it shows. Can't wait to go out with the new one and try again!

Lynn
Lynn,

I just tried again and it worked. I guess my browser had a brain fade. I think that they are very good pictures.

Bill
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:51 PM   #76
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Trip update

Oklahoma to the Sangre De Cristos.
The original plan had me leaving Lawton on Saturday morning. I woke up to overcast skies and steady rain. Since I truly hate towing in the rain, I decided to set out another day there at the wildlife refuge. Woke up Sunday morning to rain; forecast more rain. At that point, I figured just point the mule west and keep going until its dry. This turned out to be a tall order. I had planned on camping a day or two and doing some photography at Palo Duro. When I reached Amarillo the rain was still coming down. I continued west.
Finally, west of Amarillo but still well short of the New Mexico state line, the skies cleared up a bit. Looking for a place to settle in, and having driven past Conchas Lake State Park last summer, I figured it looked like a prime candidate for the nights camping. Conchas Lake was constructed by the Army Corps by damming a desert canyon mouth. The park surrounds the lake. Camping opportunities vary from boondocking on the lake shore ($8 night), developed sites with tables ($10 night), and electric sites ($14 night). I took the boondock option. After some back and forth in my head, I decided to get the annual camping permit for $225. The permit is good for one year from the purchase date and covers camping in developed sites. If you elect to use electric or sewer sites, you have to pay the difference in price each night. So, if you camp in New Mexico State parks 25 nights in a year, you break even, camp more nights, you are money ahead. The attraction at the park is the lake, so far as I can see there are no other attractions there. I passed an enjoyable night there lakeside and did a bit of star gazing.
Monday, I goofed around camp until probably 10 or 11 before hitting the road. Following the same path as last summer, I headed up State Highway 104. I love Hwy 104, it has a nice mix of solitude and varying terrain. Having said that, before heading up this road make sure you have a full tank of fuel because it’s a long way to the next station (75 miles). You should also be prepared for the road to be narrow and less than perfectly maintained. Coming from the south, just after the junction for 419, expect a long grade up. On top the grade you will pop up into some grass lands and the village of Trujillo. There are some ruins on the left worth stopping to look at including an adobe chicken house. I didn’t get into the village itself, deciding to save that for another day. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find it a delightful place to visit.

The road as you get closer to Las Vegas becomes much better as you pass through high plains grasslands.
That night I decided to use that new parks pass to camp at Story Lake State Park just north of Las Vegas. The park itself is centered around the lake (no surprise there) and has nice sites. Some of the developed non- electric sites had three sided pseudo adobe picnic shelters and sit overlooking the lake. The view is nice with the mountains in the background. The park is conveniently located for visiting the Old town area and other local sites. My favorite site is the hot springs at Montezuma about 10 miles away. My only beef with the park is that they lock the gates at 7:30, yes you read that right. So if you visit the hot springs in the evening, be prepared to walk from the parking lot to your campsite. Also worth noting is there is a Wal-Mart about 3 miles away which is convenient for resupplying.
Las Vegas to Chama
Tuesday morning I checked out the forecast and saw rain predicted for Wednesday. I didn’t want to deal with towing in that, so rather than hang out in the Las Vegas area another day, I hit the road. There are two reasonable routes from Las Vegas to Chama. Route one is up to Springer via I-25 then over to Cimarron and then Hwy 64 through the mountains over to Taos and pretty much straight west from there. Sensible route two, is I 25 south to Santa Fe, the up to Espanola and then up Hwy 84. I chose option three. Sticking with my back road ethic, I decided to make my way to Heron Lake by cutting through the mountains at Mora, then over to Penasco, Truchas, and Chimayo before dropping into Espanola.
This is a superb drive. Story Lake State Park to Heron State Park is right at 175 miles, it took me five hours driving time. This is not an express route. From Story Lake to Mora via Hwy 94 is truly a treat and the trip captures perfectly my vision of North Eastern New Mexico from when I lived in the state twenty years ago. Look for adobe ruins, small chapels, and genuine rural life. Mora is another out of the way treat that is well worth the effort of going out of your way for. It is a small town with great charm. One abandoned house on the edge of town had a pair of horses hanging out in the porch and in the middle of town between two stores there was another pair of horses. In both cases, one was not left with a sense of oddness, rather the horses looked liked they belonged where they were.



Leaving Mora going west, you are in for another LONG climb. This is an excellent stretch of road to have an over powered tow vehicle. Once you hit the top, it’s all downhill all the way to Espanola. More gorgeous landscape and genuine New Mexico- not a pastel howling coyote silhouette to be seen. I opted to stop off at the Sanctuary de Chimayo and take some pictures. It was mid day and the light was awful, but I can’t help myself when I have a camera in hand and I am at an American visual icon. Fair warning- DO NOT take a large trailer down into the parking lot. The turns getting in and out are tight. I was able to get the Trade Wind in and out but I had to pay attention.



North of Espanola on Hwy 84 I stopped at pull over just south of Ghost Ranch for a ham sandwich and to take a couple pictures. Nice rocks to look at in this area. I didn’t stop at Ghost Ranch and don’t really know much about it to be honest. At this point in the day, getting into camp looks good.


Finally, I pulled into Heron State Lake State Park, arriving way early for the September in the Pines rally and very pleased to avoid having towed that route in the rain. I was more than a bit surprised to see another Airstream in ahead of me. Chan Chandler was there already with his Bambi also here for the rally. If you are looking for good conversation, Chan is your man. The park was a bit of a surprise to me as I was expecting more of a ponderosa forest setting. The rally might have been better named ‘September in the Junipers’ but I guess that lacks a certain ring. Anyway, more folks have pulled in since, but that will have to wait for the next update
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:32 PM   #77
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Hey Rodney,

FYI we are now up to 6 trailers for Estancia Pumkin Chunkin Rally weekend of 10/16.
Hope to see you there. Is the check still in your glove compartment? Anyone else interested in a first annual fun and unique rally see the forums rally listings.

Marshall
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:42 PM   #78
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Great pics, Rodney!

Too bad you couldn't come by up here, though at this point I'd advise lower territory. We've got snow/rain in the forecast for this evening and tonight, so we're just shuttering down.


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Old 09-22-2009, 03:10 PM   #79
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Great Pictures

Hi Rodney,
The pictures and travel log are great. I look forward to more pictures and updates. We love Northern New Mexico and wish we could be there.

Dennis & Kate
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:41 PM   #80
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Rodney,

It was good to see you at Heron Lake and glad you stayed over a few days so we could meet again. Great photos as always and I'm impressed with your long post. Soon you'll be able to fill a page like I do every time but this one.

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Old 10-18-2009, 07:51 PM   #81
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still alive

OK, I have been really terrible about updates. Maybe I will get to it in a day or so. In the mean time here is some eye candy.









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Old 10-18-2009, 07:55 PM   #82
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I was going to PM you to see where you were. Kind of looks like Durango area. Glad you are still alive.

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Old 10-18-2009, 08:00 PM   #83
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I was going to PM you to see where you were. Kind of looks like Durango area. Glad you are still alive.

Gene
From where I last saw you (Heron Lake) I went over to the San Juan river for a week, then down to Jemez, to Alb (pick mom up at airport) the Balloon Rally, to Santa Fe, back to Heron Lake, back to Jemez, to Alb (drop mom off at airport), to Manzano, to Pumpkin Chunkin at Estancia, to Three Rivers Petroglyphs today.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:20 AM   #84
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Great pictures Rodney. We were wondering where you were and knew you were going to the Pumpkin Chunkin. We had hoped you did not get in the way of one of the pumpkin canons we heard about. It would be fun to see pictures of that event too. Great to hear of your adventures on the road.
Best wishes for a safe journey.

Dennis & Kate
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