Way up in the Bitterroot Mountains – Slate Creek

Campground Full

After I left the Crooked Tree Ranch I headed south to Darby, MT.  I wanted to stop and call my sister.  I try to keep in contact as much as I can to see how my Mom is doing as well.  Everyone is OK.

Painted Rocks State Park

I looked on my atlas and thought that Lake Como just north of Darby might be a nice spot.  It was about 6 miles off of 93 and not too far to drive.  It was a beautiful setting, however the campground was completely full.  Lots of campers pulling boats for fishing.

So back to the 93 and headed south again.  I saw signs for the Painted Rocks State Park that was 23 miles into the Bitterroot Mountains.  I have not stayed at any of the Montana State Parks thus far so thought I would check it out.

About a mile before the park you turn a corner and this is what you see.

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A beautiful mountain lake.  I drove another mile to the state park.  The cost for camping for non-resident campers was $20 per night with an additional $5 entrance fee per day, plus there were no hookups.

Slate Creek Campground

Just about where I took the pic above I saw a sign for Slate Creek Campground so I decided to go back and check it out.  It was a small campground made up of about 6 sites and right on the Slate Creek.  But the best part was that there was NO FEE as in FREE.  What a deal!  I found a nice site and made myself at home.

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Chica and I took a walk down to the creek.  This creek flows into the large lake seen in the first pic.

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The forest was very dense up here although we did have access to the creek.

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Chica was looking out the door in the evening and saw a large deer pass by our camp about 25 feet away.  I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to get a pic.  However the next morning I got this pic of a doe and her fawn.

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The next morning before departing, I took a ride over to the lake to get some pics.

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I went down to the State Park where they had a boat landing and a dock and got this pic from the end of the dock.

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I stayed at a beautiful campsite and the best part was that I was able to save $25 by not staying at the State Park.  Not too shabby!

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Visit to Dentist and Optometrist

Still at the Low-Hi RV Ranch…

I signed up for a couple more days here at the Low-Hi RV Ranch.  Unfortunately I was in a site that had been reserved so I had to move.  My neighbors both came out and asked if they had done anything wrong as I was moving across the street from them.  I assured them that they were both good neighbors.  I had hardly talked to either of them but it is nice that people consider you neighbors and look out for you.

I am not sure how long I will be here, but there are two reasons for staying.  The first is that I am going to to dentist for teeth cleaning today and also to the eye doctor for new glasses.  I will probably have to return to pick up my glasses on another day.

The second reason is two fold.  One, it is impossible to get a reservation at Rockhound or City of Rocks State Parks until later in the month.  They are both very full.  The second reason is because the wind has been blowing very hard the last couple days.  When the wind blows hard in Deming, you can just about double the velocity up at Rockhound.  The wind yesterday was listed at 30 mph but it was gusting even harder.  At Rockhound the gust could be up to 60-75 mph.  The old rig just rocks and rolls all the time.

To Palomas, MX and back…

Yesterday I traveled 33 miles to Palomas, MX which is directly across the border from Columbus, NM.  I started going there in 2010 for both dental work and eyeglasses.  I had made an appointment for dental cleaning at 2:00pm.  I got down there at 1:00pm so headed directly to the optometrist office.  I was able to have an eye exam and they would have my glasses ready in a couple of hours.  I decided to use the frames from my sunglasses as they fit me very comfortably.
Then it was off to the dentist office only 2 doors down from the optometrist.  There I got my teeth cleaned.  It was great that I could fit both into my schedule especially since I had not made an appointment with the optometrist.

Lunch at the Pink Store

After finishing up at the dentist, I checked back in with the optometrist to see if by chance my glasses were ready.  They hadn’t arrived yet so it was off to the Pink Store which is both a souvenir shop and restaurant combined.  I had a super lunch of chile rellanos, beans, rice and tortillas.  Naturally I had to have a couple of margaritas as well.  For dessert I had flan which was great.

I then browsed around the Pink Store for a while looking at all the great things they have there.  I did buy a nice soup/serving bowl which will really come in handy.

Mexican people

You hear lots of horror stories about traveling in Mexico especially at the border towns.  All the gruesome stories are enough to scare anyone away.  Like I said I have been going to Palomas since 2010 and have never seen anything even remotely close to the stories I have heard.  In fact, it has been the complete opposite for me.

I go to Dr Karla of American Dental Care since 2010.  She usually just cleans my teeth, but I have also gotten a crown from her as well.  Her prices are very reasonable and her office is very professional.  Their equipment is just the same as you would see in any American dental office.  She is so gracious.  This past visit when I finished my cleaning and was paying for it she brought out her baby Kariel (I hope I have the name right) for me to see.  She was such a proud mother and wanted to show off her cute baby.  She was a pudgy little doll.  Going to Dr. Karla’s dental office and Dr. Garcia’s optometrist offices is like seeing old friends.  They are really wonderful people.

When I returned to pick up my eyeglasses I pulled out my Visa card and was surprised that they only take cash or checks.  On the other hand Dr. Karla’s office only accepted Visa cards and do not take checks.  I only had a few dollars in my wallet since I do not generally carry much cash.  But since I am a repeat customer they were willing to give me the glasses with the understanding that I would send them a check.  How many American companies do you know that would go out on a limb like that?  I agreed and she told me where to send the check and I was able to leave with the glasses.  It saved me having to drive 66 miles down and back to make the payment.  I put the check in the mail this morning.

Silver City then Rockhound State Park

Today I am headed over to Silver City for a few days.  I have never been there and always wanted to see it.  After that I will be headed back to the Deming area and stay at Rockhound State Park to meet up with some friends.  I will take lots of pics while in Silver City.

 

2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Back On The Road Again

Back in the saddle again..

I was parked at the Balloon Fiesta for 10 days.  It was wonderful, but it is always good to be back on the road.  I am headed south to meet up with the Escapees Chapter 21 Rally in Columbus, NM.  I attended it for the first time last year and became a member of their Chapter.  Since then I have also attended their winter rally in Parker, AZ.  They are really a fun bunch of people.

Stopover at Elephant Butte

My first stop was going to be Elephant Butte State Park for one night.  It is about half way between Albuquerque and Columbus.  This is one of my favorite New Mexico state parks.  I also met Annie and Rick down their who are headed to Deming.  They had me over for a delicious dinner and we sat and talked at their campfire for many hours.  It is always a great time when you can spend it with good friends.  Thanks so much Annie and Rick for everything.  In the morning we said our goodbyes.  We will be getting back together in Quartzsite, AZ in January.

I first met Annie and Rick at the Balloon Fiesta last year and we have seen each other several times since then.  That is what I love most about the fulltime RV lifestyle.  You meet really great people and then connect with them again and again at other places.  This happens a lot of the time with many different friends.  It is always so much fun comparing notes on where each other has been and what we have done between our meetings.

Elephant Butte is looking very different then when I was last there.  Much of the water has gone away from the point at South Monticello campgrounds.  You can really see the results of the terrible draught that has hit southern New Mexico.  Here is a pic of our campsites right on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande at sunrise.  Annie and Rick’s rig is on the left with mine on the right.

Finally meeting RVSue and Crew

While there I had read RVSue and Crew’s blog and Sue had mentioned that she had been staying at Elephant Butte as well only in a different campground.  I thought I would make an attempt at locating her and the crew on my way out of the area.  I figured that I could easily spot her Casita and the PTV(Perfect Tow Vehicle).  I managed to drive thru all the electric sites available near the marina.  I was just about ready to give up, thinking she may have moved down the road, when I finally spotted them in the last electric site area.

If any of you have been following either her blog or mine you probably know that I am usually about 1-2 days behind her.  She started out in the northern New Mexico state parks and made her way south, just as I did.  In meeting her it was like we were old friends even though we had never met.  Plus I got to meet Spike and Bridget her 2 rat terriers who were very friendly to me.

I did get a picture of her with her crew, but she asked that I not post it so I will abide by her wishes.  Next time we meet Sue I want a picture!

I did take several pics of the marina area at Elephant Butte.

Tooth problems…

Then it was on to Columbus for the Chapter 21 Rally, where I stayed at Poncho Villa SP.  I had already made an appointment with my dentist Dr. Karla.  When visiting my family last August, I had chipped a back tooth and was afraid I would lose the entire tooth causing a lot of pain.  I was very careful eating on one side.  Dr Karla examined my tooth and came to the conclusion that the tooth was still entact, but I would need a crown.  I walked across the border and she prepped my tooth for the crown and then gave me a temporary tooth.  I am to return in a week for the permanent tooth and to also have my teeth cleaned.

Chapter 21 Breakfast and Meeting

Chapter 21 conducted their business meeting shortly after breakfast and then held a raffle.  I won Microsoft Streets and Trips 2011 and a bottle of Chardonnay.  Not too shabby!!!!

Crossing the border

Today a group of us walked across the border to go to the Pink Store for dinner and shopping.  I have been there before and always enjoy the food and the great margaritas.  Today when we got to the border the kids had just gotten off their school buses.  They were really cute and all around us.

Meeting a new friend

Dan came to the rally to get ideas about what rig to buy and how people lived the fulltiming lifestyle.  He didn’t own an RV yet but was planning to purchase in the next couple of months.  I showed him my rv and several others showed them theirs so he had lots of ideas.  He and I went on a walk from the Pink Store to the park in Palomas, Mexico.

Shopping and Dining at The Pink Store

Today was our day to meet at The Pink Store and get our fill of shopping and dining.  The food was delicious and we all had a great time as you can tell from the following pics.

A mariachi band entertained us while we were dining.  The food was great and everyone enjoyed themselves.  It was the perfect ending to a great rally.

I will probably travel up to Deming, NM for a few days until I return to the dentist for my crown and cleaning next week.  Maybe I can find some friends up at the Low-Hi RV park where all the singles meet.

deming luna mimbres museum and the pink store

If you have never been to the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum you have really missed a treat.  It is one of the most fabulous museums I have seen anywhere and for a small town this is a real gem.  All the items in the museum were donated or on loan to the museum by residents of the Deming area.

They have a large collection of items affiliated with the Mimbres Indians.  Upstairs they have huge collections of thimbles, earrings, medical equipment, office equipment, etc.  Downstairs they have about anything you can think of including a huge collection of gems, liquor bottles, assorted cowboy stuff, cars, fire engines and lots more.

This is one of the Spanish carts that used to serve food on the streets of Deming.  A fast food joint on wheels.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

Next this really brought back a lot of memories.  When I was growing up in Detroit, MI my father’s occupation was repairing typewriters.  His shop was in the basement of our home.  He taught me how to dismantle a typewriter to be overhauled.  I worked on many typewriters similar to this one.  Now typewriters are a thing of the past being replaced by computers and printers.

An old-time switchboard with it’s operator.  I am sure she listened in on many conversations.

This is a very old fire engine that was used in Deming.  Still in very good condition.

Next a display of some very old automobiles.

Kids growing up in the 50’s would really enjoy seeing this display.  It was all the old cowboy stars – Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers.  I remember watching them all on our 10″ TV on Saturday mornings.

Then a group of us went from the museum down to The Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico.  We had a great time eating delicious Mexican food, drinking margaritas and then shopping after lunch.  This is a pic of us being serenaded by a mariachi band.

Here is  a pic of the motley crew.  I am usually not in many pics on my blog so if you didn’t recognize the handsome gentleman on that left that is me.

It was a long but fun day.  I could have probably spent more time in the museum and had one less margarita, but duty called.