The snow started blowing late Monday afternoon here in southern Colorado.  By Tuesday morning we awoke to a blanket of white.  With a chuckle I say to Al, “Looks like Tucson”.  That snowstorm in Tucson, Arizona, was a rare sight to behold, and I responded to the Tucson snow like an exuberant child.

Snow in Colorado?  Well, that’s to be expected.  As is the ten degree temperature at 7:00 a.m.  Therefore, I do NOT respond with any exuberance.  I ponder….”why aren’t we still in Arizona hiking and photographing the blooming desert?”  Oh those darn responsibilities and obligations.  At least this Colorado snowstorm blew through southern Colorado quick and by Tuesday afternoon the snow was gone.

a snow covered Pikes Peak can be seen from our deck
Our RV & Truck covered in snow sitting on the side of our house

Our departure from Tucson took us on a five-hour drive to Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico.  We paid careful attention to the weather forecast before hitting the road, in particular to the wind speeds.  Interstate 10 can get dicey with high winds that are known to cause brown out conditions.  We picked a beautiful day for travel and our drive was uneventful and pleasant.

Interstate 10
Bear gets a walk at a rest stop west of the New Mexico border
Elephant Butte
Elephant Butte Lake State Park

We arrive in the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and stop at Walmart to stock up with groceries before heading to the state park entrance.  We know inclement weather is in the forecast and we want to be well stocked and prepared. We’ve driven past Elephant Butte Lake State Park numerous times over the years, but this was our first stop and layover.Elephant Butte

Elephant Butte
South Monticello Campground

Nina over at Wheeling It piqued my interest with her rave review of this State Park.  I also had the pleasure of meeting Nina and Paul while camped at Quartzsite and we discussed some of the must see sites in this part of New Mexico.  Boy, that “must see” list has a funny way of getting longer.  I never realized how much there is to see and do in New Mexico.

Elephant Butte
Elephant Butte Lake State Park – Site 34

After checking out the campgrounds near the town of Truth or Consequences, we take the ten-mile twisty, curvy Rock Canyon Road to the Monticello area and quickly settle into site #34.  At this time of year, the lake level is very low, its also still winter, thus camping at the northern part of the lake is less popular….right up our alley.  As usual, Nina was spot on with this recommendation.  We much preferred this campground over the ones closer to town.Elephant Butte

The bath house is heated, clean, and the showers provide plenty of hot water, which Al and I take full advantage of.  The views are vast.  The hiking and biking endless…. providing you don’t encounter a driving snowstorm like we did.  Yep, snow again.  We enjoy plenty of heat, food, and  drink as we watch the weather roll in, then out.  Internet service is good, allowing Al and I to keep tabs on the weather forecast.Elephant ButteElephant Butte

The original plan was to hang out here for a few days exploring the surrounding area.  Ah….Mother Nature has other plans with a series of storms intermixed with high wind warnings in the forecast.  We opt for Plan B:  After a two night stay at Elephant Butte, we’ll depart for Santa Fe.Elephant ButteElephant Butte

Initially I was somewhat disappointed with the early departure.  However,  I’d rather be safe than sorry and roll with the weather.  Elephant Butte Lake State Park is an easy eight-hour drive south from Pueblo, Colorado.  Thus, we can return to the area when the weather is more amenable and explore that list of places I wanted to see.  I’ll admit, I was pretty eager to get to Santa Fe anyway. Elephant ButteElephant ButteElephant Butte

Next stop…..Santa Fe, New Mexico!


Road Trip…

Rocky Mountains
Son and I enjoy a visit

Although I enjoy the freedom of being an empty nester, I relish visits with my children.  Recently son drove in from Phoenix to visit us.  Son has been researching a new career venture and wanted to run some things/ideas past his parents.

I’m not sure when Al and I got soooo smart.  I think it happened sometime during son’s first year in the ‘real’ world.  You know, that first year after college.  In the eyes of youngens, parents can’t possibly be smart or understand the life of the youth.  After all, we were never young, were we?  So it’s nice to know, as parents, there comes a time when we’re deemed not as dumb as we once were.

It is extremely gratifying to have a child acknowledge and share his respect and admiration for his parents.  Having graduated from college three years ago, son has come to realize how innovative and intelligent his folks really are.  I’m such a proud mom.  Son has turned into a responsible, respectful, ambitious young man.  As I say that, I pat myself on the back.  I done good!    (ok, maybe Al helped….. a little)

Interstate 25 in southern Colorado south of Trinidad

As the three of us visit, we collaborate and research.  We come across a one day seminar, a seminar possibly worth attending.  Do I hear “road trip”?  Since this is a spur of the moment decision and the price of airfare on short notice is not cost-effective, we decide to drive.  Son and I hit the road in his fuel-efficient Elantra and leave Al and Bear behind.

New Mexico
Highway 87 in northeast New Mexico
Highway 87 in northwest Texas

It’s early Monday morning the 17th of September.  We head south on Interstate 25 to New Mexico.  Once in New Mexico, we head east on Highway 87 toward Texas.  There’s little to no traffic. We continue east and then south toward Amarillo, Texas.  The speed limit varies from 70 mph down to 35 mph whiling traveling through small farm towns.  In Amarillo we pick up Interstate 40 and head east.  Al and I often take I-40 west of Albuquerque on our travels between Colorado and Arizona, but this leg of I-40 is new to me.  I-40 is well-known to those interested in retracing the historic Route 66, as much of I-40 is intertwined with this historic road.

Route 66
Everything is bigger in Texas.

We continue much of the day traveling through the state of Texas.  We left Pueblo West, Colorado, at 6:30 a.m. and reached Fort Worth, Texas, around 6:30 p.m.  Nope, not our final destination, stay tuned.  We thought we would miss rush hour traffic in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I guess technically we did, but traffic is still pretty crazy.

At the south end of Fort Worth we head east on Interstate 20.  Somewhere in east Texas off I-20, about an hour from the Louisiana border, we stop at a truck stop for food and a potty break.  It’s dark.  We park near a light toward the edge of the parking lot away from the congestion.  We see bugs flying around in the glare of the light.  As we exit the car, we are struck by the thick, moist, warm air…..humidity in all it’s glory.  Our walk to the gas station building quickly turns into a run as we are inundated with crickets….crickets crunching with each foot step, crickets hitting our bodies.  Yuck, we don’t dare open our mouths for fear of swallowing a cricket.

Route 66
Somewhere near the New Mexico Texas border

Son and I make our purchases.  As we exit the building, we race back to the shelter of the vehicle.  It’s like a scene from a science fiction movie….Attack of the Crickets.  We sit in the car a moment in shock as we listen to the crickets hitting the vehicle making the sound of hail.  The windshield and car are covered in these little critters.  They’re everywhere including one caught in my hair. Do I hear a eek and a scream?   Up until this stop, my naturally curly hair had remained in perfect ringlets.  That is until I stepped out of the car.  It was just like that Fructis commercial when the gal puts her toe in the water and her hair frizzes into a do only Bozo would be envious of.  So not only was I attacked by crickets, but my long, waves, and curls turned into a huge ball of fuzz from the humidity making it a perfect nest for flying crickets.  Even son commented, “WTF happened to your hair mom”?

Curly hair and humidity do not mesh, and we’ll leave it at that.  I won’t share the stories of a tearful little girl growing up in the humid midwest in the sixties, when long straight hair was all the rage.  Can I hear an “awe” or perhaps a violin playing in the background?

Aside from all the creepy crawlies, the folks in these here parts, are down right friendly.  However, we can’t seem to understand a word they’re saying.  Are we still in America?  The dialect is definitely unique.

The closer we get to our destination today, the less driving we’ll have to do tomorrow.  Have you guessed yet where that destination is?  We push onward toward Shreveport, Louisiana for the night.  We arrive in Shreveport at 10:00 p.m. mountain time / 11:00 p.m. local Louisiana time.  We find a Sleep Inn along I-20.  It appears to be rather new.  These two exhausted travelers are fast asleep the moment their heads hit the pillows.  Tomorrow, we’ll head south for another 5 to 6 hours of driving time…….

Interstate 49
Interstate 49 near Natchitoches, Louisiana

False Starts…

Finally after several false starts, we head out on the road Friday, February 10th.  The drive is uneventful for the most part and the scenery is enjoyable as always.  The Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg, Colorado, are loaded with a fresh coating of snow…beautiful.  The truck, however, does not seem to be running at it’s best, which stresses us out.

Spanish Peaks, Walsenburg, CO

This past September, we came to Phoenix to visit our son, who had recently purchased a home.  As a former Home Builder, we had plenty of extra furniture and decor.  We loaded up the construction trailer with furniture and home decor and hauled it to our son’s new place in Phoenix.  We stayed with him a couple of weeks to help him put the place together.  We helped him paint.  I decorated.  Al showed him how to replace a toilet, as well as other handyman items that needed repairing.  The house was built in the late 90’s but had been vacant for almost a year.  Thus, needing some attention.  Oh, and yes, our son very much appreciated all our help and assistance.

After two weeks of work AND some play, we headed back to Colorado with an empty trailer.  Since we had left so early (5:00 am), Bear needed a break, as did I 😉  We stopped at a Rest Area off I-17 just south of Sedona.  The truck stalls before Al can even get it into park and never starts again.  We get towed to a Ford dealership in Camp Verde/Cottonwood and a hour later are informed of the bad news….the turbo went out…$$$.  Our son came and picked us up for an additional ten day stay.  Why did it take so long to fix, you ask?  Our diesel mechanic had a heart attack while working on our vehicle.  Fortunately, being in a small town, the local Cardiologist heard the mechanics name being called in for the emergency and was waiting for his arrival at the hospital.  This mechanic had worked on the doctor’s F-350 earlier in the year and was very pleased with his work.  So now he’ll return the favor by working on the mechanics heart.  Four days and a couple of stints later, the mechanic finished the job on our truck.  Hearty folks around here!

We were very pleased with the way the truck ran and performed on the drive back to Colorado.  A month later, Al loaded up his hunting gear and ATV and headed to the Flat Tops for Elk hunting.  The truck performed great and gave him no trouble starting in the below zero temps even without plugging in the engine heater.  His Wisconsin buddies had trouble starting their regular gas vehicles at the high altitude and freezing temperatures. So Al was pretty happy with his truck, which is why it surprised us so when the truck didn’t seem to be performing properly.  Breaking down while hauling a 5th wheel is not fun.  Thus, explains our stress.

Rest Area, west bound I-10, west of Deming, NM

After a long day of driving south from Pueblo West, Colorado, we spend the night in a rest area located west of Deming off I-10 in New Mexico.  Someone had posted info on their blog about this rest stop, and we decided to check it out for ourselves.  It was nice and very convenient.  They had these little shelters/casitas for parking next to away from the parking lot.  Just as we were settling in and committed to staying the night, a train went by just on the other side of the fence….pretty darn close.  Al and I looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and headed to bed.  Yes, there was train traffic, but a whistle never blew so it was not bothersome.  We would definitely spend the night here again.

neighboring train tracks

Saturday the 11th, we arrive in Phoenix.  We head to our favorite RV Resort – Desert’s Edge RV Village…….

I did want to mention a really nice Rest Area just on the north side of the little town of Trinidad, Colorado.  It’s on the west side of I-25 and is easy on and easy off for both north and south bound folks.  There’s plenty of room for all Rigs, facilities are clean, brochure area, and a lovely view of Fisher’s Peak.

view of Fisher's Peak, town of Trinidad, CO