New Mexico! Brantley Lake State Park

The crew and I are camped north of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

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We arrived at Brantley Lake on Monday, Aug. 22, and we paid for two nights for $4 each night.  I purchased the annual pass for New Mexico state parks for $225 which gets me in free with no hook-ups or only $4 for electric and water. 

The lake has shrunk in the drought.  There are a few campers here.  However, no internet!

I had a very long conversation with Verizon.

The big V does not bother with southern New Mexico and the many fine residents who live and travel here.  Chris, a very personable and helpful person working for the man, tried to find a way for me to drop Verizon without cleaning me out financially. 

No way. . . according to his supervisor. 

Chris suggested I go north near interstate 20 or cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  I asked him about coverage at Santa Rosa State Park, he checked, and said I’m good to go.  For now I have phone and radio and A/C to keep me cool!

Sorry Cloudcroft. 

The crew and I would have loved your cool temperatures.  However, blogging and emails mean more.  We’re heading north through more heat, creosote bushes, and rocky dirt.  I’m loving New Mexico. .. the night sky, the wide open spaces, the feeling of being free. 

Spikey is a new man! 

I have the best co-pilot in the whole world!

He loves to travel!  This photo show Spike after a long morning on the road as we make our way out of Texas.  I look into his eyes and get that great we’re-in-this-together feeling. 

What a pal.

Even Bridget has slipped into a pleasurable routine . . .  sleep all night, outside for a potty break and sniff-around, drink, eat, back to bed, snuggle, repeat as desired.

 I will try to catch a signal whenever one flies through here.  Thanks for staying with me as a wander about in search of the elusive internet access!



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
This entry was posted in Bridget The Widget, Casita, Simple living, Spike The CoPilot and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to New Mexico! Brantley Lake State Park

  1. kayjulia says:

    There are many places in none metro areas that have no signal what so ever from anyone other than Hughes Sat service and that is expensive and bulky. I have gone for two weeks without a signal and survived. Usually there is a town somewhere within reasonable driving distance and I would drive in once a week and catch up on voice and email. It is just the way it is – with cell phone providers they go where the money is not where the need is …..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Trouble is . . . I can’t stand waiting a week to get online. I’ve got to have my blog fix. I’ve got to read comments. I need to know what the sitemeter reads. I gotta check the stats.

      A sign of an addiction is when it affects important life decisions . . . like where you live!

      I also want to read other blogs about other people’s travels . . . such as yours, KayJulia!

  2. Steve says:

    Loving the updates!!! Glad to see the pups are adjusting so well and quickly to the new lifestyle!

  3. Kim says:

    Ah, stars! Ah, freedom! You sound wonderful!

  4. Greg and Jean says:

    Roswell is a quirky little place……of course without internet you may not read this until you go right on by….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I drove through Roswell about 15 years ago. I didn’t stop at any of the space alien places, too much in a hurry to get back to Georgia and work.

      What stays in my mind about Roswell is how clean the streets are. Must get a lot of wind. (or the aliens are anal?)

  5. Bob Giddings says:

    You don’t want to drop Verizon. It’s the best coverage there is, and I speak from 5 years of fulltiming experience. The only place it didn’t work in general was West Texas and Northern California, near the coast. What you have to wrap your mind around is the fact that unless you stay in town, most of the places you will want to stay simply won’t have very good coverage. Or any. That’s why you go there, for solitude. Didn’t you?

    A week without internet up yonder is a common occurrence. Relax. That said, I’ve gotten Verizon coverage way up in the mountains in Colorado. The verizon maps are a general guide, not a guarantee. The only way to know is to check when you get there.

    It’s a lot better than it used to be. Even small towns have free wifi these days. Try parking outside motels, and libraries.

    Another way to get internet is to look around your campground and see if someone has a big Hughesnet dish on their roof, and then cultivate their acquaintance. :o)


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob,

      I’m online right now courtesy of an RV park back in Carlsbad, although they didn’t extend the courtesy, I just took it!

      I’m enjoying Brantley Lake State Park. The morning was surprisingly breezy and cool. The variety of plants fascinates me. I’m seeing a lot of plants I’ve never seen before, or only in a sad pot on a shelf in a garden center back East.

      I may decide to stay here longer . . .

      Nice to hear from you . . . Hope all is well . . .

      • Bob Giddings says:

        Not far from you is an interesting oasis: Sitting Bull Falls in the Lincoln National Forest. It forms one of those desert miracles – an underground river pops out of the ground, falls off a cliff, meanders a few miles, and then becomes subteranean again. Get local directions, it’s a nice short drive from where you are north of Carlsbad. Take your swimsuit, as the pool below the falls is refreshing. Lots of birds.

        Take drinking water. You are in a desert.

        It’s a small place, more of a picnic area. There’s no camping at the Falls itself, but plenty of places dispersed just outside the gate along the river. Also Living Desert Museum in Carlsbad proper is worth a visit, or was.


  6. Emily says:

    I was like you at first Sue; then, I found in each trip my attitude became “I have it” or “I don’t have it” – it wasn’t a strong necessity of life anymore when I am on the road (unlike at home where it’s available 24/7). If I was somewhere, where I needed cell phone or Internet, I’d ask at the registration desk or a local where I could get it and head to that spot. I even had a couple of locals offer me the use of their wifi (I’d let them enter the password).

    Or, I’d work on the blog, emails, etc and save them all until I hit a spot in my day’s travels and send them, check emails, etc. Since McDonalds has those fruit smoothies and free wifi, well. . . A number of full-timers, use public libraries, even many small towns have it. It’s like “kayjulia” says, there are lots of places with no connections. You’ll eventually wean yourself of the importance, it’s not worth getting worked up over.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Emily,

      I’m learning to write the blog offline and saving for when I can connect. I’ll probably not concern myself so much about coverage as time goes by. Right now I have some unfinished business related to this shift from a permanent home to the Casita, plus banking stuff, that requires internet. I just get into it and I’m disconnected.

      I’m working on my grabbing access skills . . .

  7. reeves99 says:

    Hey Sue,
    Now that you’ve put a few miles on do you have any comments on driving the PTV and pulling the trailer? What’s it like on the freeway changing lanes and stuff like that? Parking in towns and at malls? Have you had any interesting encounters in traffic along the way?
    BTW, there’s an inexpensive rv campsite near Cochiti just to the northwest of Albuquerque.
    Happy trails,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, reeves99!

      Good idea for a blog topic. . . .I’ll do that. I won’t comment on it here . . so I’m not repeating myself. I do enough of that!

      “An inexpensive rv campsite near Cochiti . . . .” Nice tease. Care to share specifics? A name?

  8. Hi, Sue!
    I know the frustration of not having coverage in certain areas of the country. My daughter’s boyfriend came up with a possible solution. He has an iPhone which he has coverage through AT&T. He got an iPad with 3G coverage through Verizon. So basically he has some kind of coverage most anywhere. At least with his system you don’t feel so isolated because USUALLY you can find coverage with one or the other.
    I have an iPad and I activate the 3G coverage when we are traveling but not when we are home and have wifi. I love the fact I am not tied into a contract. We always are searching out places with free wifi so I don’t use all the data on my iPad. It is amazing how many places provide this service, plus it gives you a chance to mingle with the locals 🙂 Have had some amazing conversations and food in local coffee shops!

  9. Hi Sue,
    I have towed my Trillium thousands of miles and rely on an internet connection. Since I boondock most of the time I have come to reply on free internet connections. Most of the fast food restaurants now offer free Wifi so I use my GPS to locate a MacDonald’s and just pull into the their parking lot. If I feel generous I may go inside and buy a cup of coffee while surfing. You probably knew this but just in case…

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      Just before I left my home in Georgia (now where have I heard that phrase before . ..), I reached my 3G limit with Verizon. So I posted a few entries from McDonald’s. I left the crew at home.

      Now it isn’t as easy to stop, go in a restaurant or other public place, and post. I try to avoid leaving the crew in the van when the temperature outside the van is 100 degrees or more. In cooler weather fast food places and such will be a good option.

      I’m restricted now by the fact that I can’t leave Bridget and Spike in the van for more than a few minutes.

      • Hi Sue,
        I have found the Wifi signal is usually strong enough that I can remain in my trailer while I surf on line. There shouldn’t be any need for you to leave your home and crew while you surf. If you arrive during non-meal times there is usually lots of room for your rig. There is often a closed business (early or late) beside the restaurant where you can park close enough to still get the signal. I know how tough it can be to get your Wifi ‘fix’ and being innovative (brazen?) helps. Good luck!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Gee, I knew that. I forgot. You don’t have to drink a chocolate milkshake inside McDonald’s to pick up their WiFi . . . although it helps!

          In fact, my disappointment with Verizon’s lack of signal here at Brantley was unnecessary. I’ve been able to get online all day — in spurts, not consistently — from two motels and a KOA campground in Carlsbad. And that’s while sitting in the Casita at my campsite! And it’s free!

          Not bad.

  10. Kim says:


    When you get a chance sometime, could you mention the GPS unit you chose and how you like it? I saw from a previous post you were considering a Garmin model (can’t remember the number but it’s the same one I’m considering). I plan to get a unit next month & would love to hear your opinion.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kim!

      I bought a Garmin nuvi. It had the letters LM after it which means Lifetime Map Updates. (4 updates per year, forever) You can get LMT which is Maps and Traffic. I don’t care what the traffic is doing because I’m not going anywhere fast or near traffic. I’ll check the model number and let you know.

      At first I found it frustrating, because I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I love it . . . usually. The lady voice, whom I spontaneously called Lily for some unfathomable reason when I started talking to her for putting us on a Texas county road that turned to limestone gravel and put dust and dirt all over the Casita, …… geez, there’s a record-breaking dependent clause . . . what was I saying? Oh yeah, I’m happy with the product and I’m glad I bought it.

      The only possible regret . . . one week after buying the Garmin, Rand McNally and others came out with a GPS for rvers. I don’t want to know about that, but you might.

  11. Jack says:

    Sue, sounds like you might need to get a bit organized (socially) try There many women and men your (my) age that just like to Rv. They have something going on all the time, right in the puget sound area and later in Borrego Springs for the holidays. You will lov it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Jack!

      I replied to your comment and then lost the connection and my reply! Here goes again . . .

      I’m sure rvsingles is a wonderful group and I may check into it someday. Realize it’s a big deal for me to cross the road for social contact, so going to Puget Sound or Borrego Springs to be with people is less than likely. (Read about rvsue re: my anti-social tendencies! LOL)

      The phrase “something going on all the time” made me cringe. The thought was nice . . . thank you . . . right now I’m lovin’ some solitude!

  12. Mick says:

    Google Earth has Brantley Lake at an elevation of ~3325 feet and Santa Rosa at ~4830 feet so it should be a bit cooler. It also looks like they have more trees but still a bit barren by East coast standards. I’m enjoying your blog and stop by every day. Have FUN!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mick!

      Thanks for the info. I didn’t realize there is such a difference in elevation.

      I’m a bit tired of driving and now Brantley Lake is shaping up with WiFi available from Carlsbad and breezy mornings and early evenings. Tomorrow morning I’ll have to make the decision to head north to Santa Rosa or go up to the entrance gate and pay for some more time at Brantley. Santa Rosa will probably be my next camp either way.

      I’m happy to hear you stop by here every day. Nice compliment. Okay, I’ll have fun. I promise.

  13. Reine says:

    You can change the settings on your Garmin to avoid “unpaved roads”. We had that problem when we first started using our Garmin. We were heading down a road and saw a sign that said “pavement ends – 6 miles”. We managed to turn around and then checked the Garmin settings. Tools – Settings – Navigation – Avoidances. We have U-Turns, Carpool lanes, and Unpaved Roads checked to be avoided.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Reine. Good to know. I’ll change the settings.

      • Bob Giddings says:

        Unpaved roads are some of the best roads there are…. that would be like setting your Garmin to avoid scenic campsites. You are in the West now. Turn off the GPS and get lost. You’ll be glad you did.

        • Reine says:

          Bob, I figure Sue needs about 6 months to be really familiar with the Casita and PTV handling before she wants to tackle unpaved roads – and then only when you KNOW it’s not paved and make the choice to go there. Years ago I got Paul on some unpaved roads in our Blazer where we had to back down cause we weren’t comfortable going forward and couldn’t turn around. NOT what you really want to do when you’re towing.

          • Bob Giddings says:

            BTDT. But your plan to avoid trouble – avoiding dirt roads (and in New Mexico at that) – is like swearing off all food because you don’t like broccoli. Or using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Probably both approaches are correct. When my goal is to get from point A to point B quickly and easily, turn off the unpaved. When I’m meandering and exploring, turn the scenic back on.

  14. Greg and Jean says:

    96 in Santa Rosa State Park, NM tomorrow……

  15. Bill Kelleher says:

    You might want to look into an outside cellular antenna and a wireless amplifier.
    This would help with both your phone and data connections.

    Bill Kelleher

  16. Reine says:

    For what it’s worth, Brantley Lake forecast is only 4-5 degrees hotter than Santa Rosa for the next several days for both highs and lows.

  17. Carla says:

    I also look forward to reading about your adventures! I cant wait until i can do something similar and the advice you are getting is helpful. I think i will be changing my ipad to a different vendor from the iphone. I have an internet addiction

  18. Greg and Jean says:

    Call the 3G store 1-866-347-8673 or We are very happy with what they were able to do for us….

  19. Betty says:

    Your blog is very professional. The photographs are quite beautiful. I am very happy for you. What a blessing to be blessed with the “desires of your heart”.

  20. Lee in Lubbock says:

    Not too far away from Santa Rosa is Pecos, NM. Go north on 63 and stay in either Field Tract or Jacks Creek campgrounds. No hookups, just water. Very cool temps. 70s for highs. Pecos river adjacent to some campsites. You can have campfires. Aspen and pine and lots of hummingbirds. Don’t miss the small store in Tererro. they have a website. This is one of my favorite areas along with Cloudcroft.

    In Santa Rosa the Blue Hole is a favorite scuba diving spot for many and a pretty place to visit.
    Santa Rosa will be hot. Pecos will not.

    Really enjoying reading about your trip.

    Lee in Lubock

  21. Carol says:

    That’s quite a handsome little travel companion you have there! He looks very happy to be on the road with you. I am so glad you are having such a good time. I try to catch up with your goings on before I hit the sack each night. If I don’t check for an update, I feel like I am missing something. Talk about your addictions, huh? Here is wishing you much contentment in your traveling home and many more adventures for me to read about. (gee, it didn’t take me long to make that all about me, now did it? 🙂 )

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Carol! I do think Spike is a very handsome guy.

      You remind me of my routine . . . checking in on Tioga George every day. Now folks are checking in on me! Unbelievable.

      I’m thrilled to learn you like reading my blog enough to make it part of your days.

  22. Bob Giddings says:

    RVSue, meet The Old Fat Man:

    You guys are neighbors right now.

    Bob G

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Bob! You are so right!

      He is in the site next to mine. A photo on his site looks like one of my photos! This is something else . . . I used to dream over his website before I hit the road.

  23. Pieter says:

    I liked your pics of the campground and surroundings, reminded me of many years ago when I travelled by motorbike from Texas to the west coast. Can still feel the heat!
    Haven’t been back to the States since (I’m Dutch), but kind of get an appetite now!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Pieter and welcome to my blog!

      Thank you. I remember how I gazed at photos of places I wanted to go see. I think of that when I take pictures and post them.

      Come on back to the US! We have plenty of room for you . . .

  24. Old Fat Man says:

    I am in the site next to you with the white truck and Arctic Fox trailer. Site 38. Wave or say Howdy if you see me out and about.

  25. I loved Santa Rosa SP! Stayed there last fall in October for a night. Would love to stay longer. Watch for tarantulas. They’re harmless but alarming when you first see them!

    • Bob Giddings says:

      Tarantulas are not venomous, but you can get blood poisoning if they bite you. Their mouth parts are nasty. We used to get plagues of them now and then around central Texas, when I and the world were young. Fun to poke with a stick, as I remember. Furry critters, and interesting to look at up close. But don’t get bit.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Tarantulas? Oh boy. I’ll put them on my list, right below Snakes.

      • Bob Giddings says:

        I bet Spike will be interested. And Bridgette will be egging him on. There are advantages to having dogs instead of children. For one thing, you don’t have to send them to college. But then again, dogs never grow up.


  26. I read George and Ms. Tioga every day and check you blog every day also. When we toured the perimeter of Mexico we met George twice in Tequis through a mutual friend, Pete. We hope to see you at a campsite one day. Happy Trails to you! It is truly a smail world.

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