Today we break camp at Santa Rosa and hit the road again.
The crew and I are up at dawn for a quick walk and breakfast. Once the Casita’s interior is secured, I back in the PTV hitch ball right under the hitch, no problem! It’s lined up perfectly. I crank the hitch down to the hitch ball that sits directly under it and . . . what’s this? It only goes so far. Huh? Something’s not right. I work the lever and it doesn’t feel right. Rather than fool around with it in ignorance . . .
Let’s go meet the neighbors!
A couple arrived during the night and they are camped right across the campground road. They have a trailer. Time to say hello and good morning! The guy sees the problem right away. The part of the lever that reaches in under the ball to secure it is getting in the way. Once it is repositioned, the hitch can be completed. I ask the man to watch me perform the rest of the connections, which he does, and I’m good to go.
Dump-de-dump-dump . . .
On the way out of the park I drive into the dump station. All goes well there, so we’re off to Storrie Lake! I take Interstate 40 west toward Albuquerque and then Hwy 84 north to Las Vegas. What an easy drive that is, even with some long, uphill grades. I hear a low, confident sound as the PTV smoothly shifts her gears. I feel the surge of power she needs to finish the climb. The gauges stay in their usual range, only a very temporary and hardly detectable rise in oil temperature. Good job, Perfect Tow Vehicle!
Las Vegas is a lively place!
It’s a sharp contrast to the sleepy town of Santa Rosa and the others we pass on the way here. I see an auto parts store in a strip mall with plenty of room to park. I stop and run in to get some valve caps for the tires. The PTV’s are cracked and she deserves a reward, don’t you think? The auto parts guy looks out the window. “I like your camper,” he says. I thank him and tell him I haven’t had it long, and that I’m on my way to Storrie Lake State Park.
“You only have about four more miles to go.”
As I exit the parking lot, I see a Walmart up ahead! Yes, yes, YES! This is so handy. Soon Storrie Lake appears. You can see it from the highway. My slow driving alerts the crew to begin their usual serenade. I stop and jump out to pick up the self-pay form.
I’m not going to sugar-coat this.
My first impression of Storrie Lake Park is yuck! First of all, no trees, which I knew about from online photos, but it still smacks you in the face as being . . . well . . . stark. I pass several ugly stucco structures obviously designed to allow people to sit at a picnic table without having their potato salad blown away. They look like bunkers on Normandy Beach. (Not that they stuck up like that at Normandy, I know. It’s the mood I’m trying to create here, okay?) I get to the electric section and bleah! (Bleah is not an actual sound. It represents any number of noises or colorful words one might express to indicate disappointment.)
Oh boy, let’s go camp in a gravel parking lot!
Isn’t that special? And what’s more, it’s extremely unlevel . . . something to add to our camping pleasure! And that highway noise? Nice touch, guys!
I look out the back window of the Casita and notice we’re practically up against the backstop of a ball field. Oooh! Maybe a Little League tournament is scheduled! Perhaps a night game! Wouldn’t that be grand!
Okay now. Take it easy. Remember The Lesson of Santa Rosa.
“What is easy to spurn may turn out to be quite charming, given time.” I set us up enough so we can go inside the Casita and cool down. Bridget and Spike are soon enjoying a good nap. I’ll wait for them to wake and then we’ll walk around the park.
No, we won’t walk around the park.
We’ll FLY around the park! I have never seen such wind in all of my life! This is Major Big Honking Wind. It’s the kind of wind that makes a wind sock blow straight out, which means: “Watch out for airborne motorhomes and other large objects that shouldn’t be blowing around.”
I’m not talking about a breeze.
I’m not talking about wind gusts. This is WIND! Unrelenting, merciless, drive-me-to-stuff-gravel-in-my-ears kind of wind. It’s I-didn’t-mean-to-kill-him-Officer kind of wind. I mean it’s really, really windy here at the windiest place I have ever been in my entire life! You don’t know wind until you’ve camped at Storrie Lake State Park!
So why did I sign up for two nights?
First of all, when I turn on my Verizon air card, three beautiful green bars show up, more bars than I’ve had since I don’t know when. It may take me less than two hours to post a blog with photos!
Secondly, I want to go to Walmart. I haven’t been to Walmart in a very long time. (That tiny Walmart on the way out of Texas doesn’t count.) I miss Walmart. Tomorrow morning while it’s still cool and, lest we forget, windy, I’ll have a wonderful time drifting around Walmart. The crew will be fine in the PTV if I go in the morning.
ROFLOL! It’s so refreshing to see such an honest (and funny) reaction to a less-than-perfect campground!
Hope you find things to appreciate and enjoy. If not, you’ve got WHEELS!
Love your blog!
Glad you love the blog!
If Storrie Lake doesn’t pan out, Villanueva is just 40 miles southwest. Per the NM Parks website “Nestled between high red sandstone bluffs along the Pecos River, near the picturesque Spanish-colonial village of Villanueva, lies Villanueva State Park. Towering cottonwoods and a variety of other native trees and shrubs add additional color to the landscape.”
Alternately, you could go 45 miles north: “Coyote Creek State Park is nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along a meandering stream. Enclosed by a forest of spruce and pine, the small valley displays abundant wildflowers and beautiful fall foliage. The park is ideal for fishing, family camping and leisurely nature walks.” The pictures look more your style.
Either of these look like great options with hookups so you don’t have to worry about how cold it gets.
YIPPEE on the hitching. We were both hoping it would go smoothly. And we DO appreciate the honesty. You’re helping us make decisions about where to go (and not) on our upcoming trip.
I’d stay away from the cottonwood trees. I just read someone’s campground review on the Casita Forum that said his vehicle looked like it had been ‘tarred and feathered’ after parking under the cottonwoods. (Of course this is all hear-say since we don’t have cottonwoods here in FL).
I look forward to reading your entries everday, they guarantee a chuckle! Thanks!
Hi, Florida Camper!
Thanks for the tip on the cottonwoods. Now I’ll have to look up a photo of a cottonwood so I’ll know what they look like.
I get so tickled when I hear somebody gets a chuckle out of my little blog.
Thanks, Reine. Another reason I chose to stay at least a day was I need the time to make a decision on my next camp. This info is very helpful.
Hitching up was not that hard, once I learned about the lever thingy.
I’m going for electric these days. It’s only costing me $4 a day. If I don’t go wild at Walmart tomorrow, I should be able to afford that!
LOL! Patiently waiting for pics!! Oh I hear you on the NO TREES…felt like I left that behind when I moved from Phx a couple months ago. Now I’ve got trees galore in the Pacific Northwest. As irritating as it was to live in it, I have to laugh about it now. Don’t worry you’ll be moving along soon enough…ha ha! Cheers! ~M
Pics are up for you to see!
I’ll take some more for tomorrow’s post . . . . I want to always include a photo of the PTV and Casita at each campsite or parking lot, as the case may be . . .
I believe Storrie Lake doubles as the sewage treatment pond for Las Vegas. Be sure to park upwind.
I may have to revise my review of Storrie Lake. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.
” I ask the man to watch me perform the rest of the connections, which he does, and I’m good to go.”
So, uh, Sue…. did you ask him if he had an old pair of boots?
BTW, if you go back past that Walmart, and turn left at the intersection (at the light) in front of the gas pumps, about a block down on the right there used to be a pretty good restaurant specializing in New Mexican food.
But if you want to have lunch at a real local institution, go on back into town on the same road that goes to Storrie Lake until you pass an abandoned Safeway on the right. Across the street is Charlie’s Spic N’ Span Bakery Cafe. Right between the old movie house and the Salvation Army store. Been there forever, to the delight of most everybody. Plenty of room to park the Casita in the free lot across the street. You can get baked goods and empanadas to go. The green chile is hotter than the red, but they are both mighty tasty. There’s a picture of the place here:
Click for a bigger picture. That traffic light you see is the one you will be approaching from the left. The street in front of the S&S crosses the highway you will be coming in on right there. It’s worth the extra mile or two.
The fact that he was a man has nothing to do with it. He was an experienced hauler of trailers. Don’t get my dander up. It ain’t pretty.
Thanks for the restaurant recommendations. I’ll look into it.
Really enjoy your blog. Thought you might like to take a look at another blog I follow. http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/ They camped extensively in New Mexico a few months ago and always do a write-up on the places they stay. It might help you to find some nice places to stay.
I’m fairly new to blogging myself and travel with my three dachshunds when I can. Hubby isn’t into RVing, camping, traveling, as much as I am but I’m not sitting around waiting on him. http://travelinglongdogs.blogspot.com
Thanks for the links. I’m glad you are able to travel with your three dogs, even if not with your husband. Good luck with your blog. I’ll be sure to check it out.
Honey and Vinegar,,,,,,,,
. . . and a little oil makes a decent salad dressing.
GOOD GRIEF! Those pictures make “Storrie Lake State Park” look like an oxymoron!
Ya, Storie Lake isn’t much to look at but a lot of folks use it and there are times when it is full. There is another section with electricity way at the other end of the road see if you can find it. That section looks a little more like a camping spot than a parking lot.
The other electric section is almost full and it feels awfully crowded. Given a choice of crowded or not crowded on a parking lot, I go for the latter. For one thing, the crew don’t bark if we’ve got a little space around us.
Villanueva had a very small cramped electric section that fronted on the entrance road. The cottonwood trees are easy to spot. They are the very tall and large diameter trees along the main road and creek. It is a cramped park that will test your backing ability in many of the spots with and without electric. Neighbors will be close. The main walking trail crosses a bridge and heads up the cliff. I plan on not returning after the one night there. It just did not have what I wanted in a park.
OFM, that saves us a trip. It was one of the spots we were going to check out. Cramped and close aren’t our style either.
It doesn’t sound like my style either. Bridget and Spike agree. Thanks for telling us what you saw.
“I have never seen such wind in all of my life!” – NOW you know why the picnic shelters are more like bunkers.
Cottonwoods have blooms that are like flying cotton, very light and fluffy. In north Texas they mainly bloom in the spring and early summer – like May and June. My guess is that they should be finished blooming by now in NM. If you’re concerned about the cottonwoods, go to Coyote Canyon and enjoy the spruce and pine.
When you’re ready to try boondocking why not do a dry run first? Go to a state park. Pay for a site with water and electric for two or three nights, just don’t hook up. That would give you an idea of how long your battery lasts and what issues you might encounter boondocking. At $4 per night, it’s cheap insurance for a trial run. Then if you find that you NEED the electric or water, it’s available. We did that last May to get a feel for how long we could camp without hookups. Our only surprise was that we didn’t need our propane lantern cause it didn’t get dark till 9:15!
The campsites at Brantley, Elephant Butte Monticello, and Rockhound all have more space than the best I noticed at Villanueva in the electric area. I stayed in the no services area and it was not spread out much better in my opinion.
Good morning, Sue!
Yes, girl, you DO write a good line! And, yes, it IS good to read for-real cg reviews 🙂 I was subconsciously surprised at the Yankee-ness of your blog until you wrote you had lived on the VT-NY border:-)
So … from one Vermonter to another: You CAN get there from here (well, not so much in VT right now … courtesy of Irene)!
Safe travelin’ …
Hey, Sue and crew …
I hear the chickens near Storrie Lake have to face into the wind just to lay their eggs, and farmers milk their cows inside the barn so they won’t be left holding the bag!
Seriously, your antics and descriptions are hilarious. Hope your next campsite is more to your liking.
Storrie Lake looks like a great place you stay at when you’re on the run from the law. I’m just saying.
Hi Sue,, Of all the blogs I read on a daily basis, your’s I save for last,,
It always let’s me start my day with a little giggle in my step
Sue, have been reading your blog from the begining to yesterdays post. I’m so excited for you. My wife Gayle and I are getting ready to hit the road in 2013. We have the rig and truck but we are still some time away from launch. It was a real kick to read how you went about your day to day time to get ready.
Stay safe and keep up the blog, we are reading with great anticipation.
Don and Gayle