From Coyote Creek we climb up a mountain to the village of Angel Fire.
The road is paved for which I am extremely grateful, thank you very much. About halfway to Angel Fire, we receive a stern warning: “No center line. Proceed at your own risk.”
Having met and conquered the Crisis of Coyote Road, I figure I can climb the Andes with the Perfect Tow Vehicle! We move along very well, the PTV shifting for extra power when needed. As we are going up a steep incline with a curve at the top, we face a moment of truth. Just as we reach the curve a pick-up pulling a fifth wheel meets us on the narrow road. There are no shoulders. I back down the incline about halfway so he can pass. No problem! The guy gives me a big smile and a wave as he passes. I bet I impressed the heck out of him!
The ride to Angel Fire gives spectacular mountain views.
At the base of the mountains are vast fields with an occasional small lake. Horses and cattle herds graze. Ranch houses and vacation houses perch on the lower slopes, looking like toys. I pull over to take a photo. I can tell the photo won’t do justice to the magnificent peaks. They look small through the lens.
As always there are flowers everywhere, mostly purple and yellow in great swaths of color. I pull over to let the crew stretch their legs and relieve themselves. I notice clumps of white daisies. I’m used to seeing daisies in June. At these altitudes (7,000 ft. and up) they can be seen in September!
Angel Fire is a ski-oriented, vacation town.
It’s not very big. I stop at the Tourist Visitor Center and collect a bunch of brochures about areas of New Mexico, plus a New Mexico road map. I continue on to the town of Eagle Nest. There’s road construction going on. They took down all the signs to work on the shoulders, so I drive past the nondescript entrance to Eagle Nest State Park. I happen to see a New Mexico park ranger going into the post office. I park the PTV and Casita in the parking lot in order to catch him on his way out. He sends me back up the road about a mile to the turn for the park.
That’s when I learn there are no utilities at Eagle Nest State Park.
I didn’t fill the fresh water tank before leaving Coyote Creek because I didn’t want the extra weight going up that mountain. I hesitate to fill it up here because I don’t know how soon I’ll be leaving and again I don’t want to haul that weight. So I pick a spot – They’re all great sites, by the way – and get the crew out so we can look around.
This is our first dry camp!
I have some bottled water on board the PTV. I’ll use paper plates so there won’t be a big clean-up.. The site I choose is not too far a walk to the vault toilet house. Since we won’t be able to use the heat strip, I’ll throw on another quilt. Propane will keep the fridge going.
I’m typing this entry after dark, using my clip-on, LED reading light so I can see the keyboard. I don’t even need the lights, though I could turn them on.
I like to cook the day before breaking camp, so when we arrive at a new campground I already have a meal or meals ready to heat up. It’s nice, after setting up, to have a good, quick meal. Then the crew and I can immediately go out and explore our new surroundings.
Eagle Nest Lake is noted for its kokanee salmon and rainbow trout fishing.
The crew and I walk to the day use area where most of the fishing takes place. I talk with a young woman who is here for the day with her husband. She says, “The radio predicts by Wednesday it won’t get up to 70 during the day.”
Later the campground host stops by our campsite.
Debbie is a wealth of information. She advises me on what kind of roads I’ll encounter if I decide to go southwest to Taos and circle around to Santa Fe (winding and steep, surprise, surprise!). If I go northeast to Cimmaron Canyon State Park, and then loop around to Interstate 25 to make a beeline south to lower altitude and warmer weather, the driving will not be as challenging.
Debbie works 25 hours a week for free hookups.
(I’m camping here for free without hookups, because I have the New Mexico Annual Park Pass.) She has been at Eagle Nest all summer. In a few weeks she starts a new assignment at Bottomless Lake State Park in southern NM for the winter months. Not a bad life. She seems to love her work. She invites me to come back next summer.
“Some people spend 21 days here at Eagle Nest, then 21 days at Cimmaron Canyon, and go back and forth like that all summer. Our fireworks display over the lake is fantastic. We couldn’t have fireworks this year because of the threat of forest fire.”
I appreciate all your comments.
I’m posting this entry at the library in Angel Fire. I want you to know I am touched by the sincere and happy-for-you remarks you made in the comments section of the previous entry. The crew waits in the PTV while I type inside in the library. I need to get back to them.
It’s a rainy, foggy morning at Angel Fire and Eagle Nest State Park.
I hear it’s going to get a lot colder starting tomorrow. I think it’s time we moved south. I have a lot of business to take care of that requires a phone and internet connection, not easily available between these mountain peaks.
The mountains aren’t going anywhere. God willing, we’ll be back!
Can’t wait for pictures! Keep ’em coming!
I’m going to insert some photos tonight!
Sounds like a trip through Paradise! 🙂
Do you still plan to have a solar panel installed eventually?
I do plan to have a solar panel installed. I’m also looking into having a Wave3 heater permanently installed to run off my propane tanks.
Sounds like a great plan!
I am LOVING your travels. It’s good to see you relaxing and in no rush to leave Eagle’s Nest. After all those years of 9-5, being able to make your schedule up as you go along must be delicious!
Oh…. I was really impressed at your navigating Coyote Road–and backing down the mountain for the 5th wheel. I’m blown away at your rapidly developing towing skills!
Just came across your blog about a week and a half ago and really enjoy reading of your travels. We have been to some of the areas that you are at in New Mexico. It is a wonderful state. Keep up the writing….we enjoy it and live through you vicariously for now!!
Michael and Patty Kane
Michael and Patty,
Welcome to my blog! I’m always happy to hear someone is enjoying what I write. It still amazes me.
I knew from my research that NM would be a wonderful place to start my explorations and it hasn’t disappointed. In fact, it’s already gone beyond my expectations!
Thanks for the road reports. That will help us when we’re in the area. Eagle Rest is a possible way point if we run out of daylight on the way to Wild Rivers National Recreation Area. Great to learn what amenities it has.
Way to go impressing folks towing 5th wheels. If you can back down a road, you can do anything! You’re definitely getting experience with the PTV and the Casita. It’s hard to believe you picked up your Casita only 29 days ago. We’re so glad you’re living the life you wanted and sharing the experience with the rest of us.
Eagle Nest is a great place for dry camping. Everywhere you look is beauty. And it’s a fisherman’s paradise.
The camp host told me that the EPA doesn’t allow new dump stations installed at state parks or private parks. That’s why Eagle Nest and Cimarron don’t have dump stations (Cimarron allows grey water dumping only.) The parks with existing dump sites were grandfathered in. It does have vault toilets which are kept clean and aren’t stinky.
I know what you mean about it only being a month ago. I’ve done and seen so much since then!
Do you get lonely?
What all do you carry in the back of the PTV?
Glad to hear from you! No, I never get lonely. Read “about rvsue” at the top of the page. I explain about my lack of loneliness there.
What do I carry in the back of the PTV? Short answer: Too much!
Here is a sampling: a stepladder, long-handled brush to clean the PTV and Casita, inflatable canoe with paddles, life jackets,etc., cooler, airbed, tools, dog exercise pen, camp chair, anti-gravity chair, 2 camp tables, storage boxes of shoes, clothes, coats, extra linens, cleaning supplies, laundry/fabric softener, bucket, extension cord, stepstool, bottled water, extra blanket, car maintenace items, etc.
You never stop amazing me. Now you are backing down a mountain to let a big 5er pass. I can’t wait to get home and get my mh ready for the road.
Keep rolling and keep blogging. Can’t wait to see pictures.
I keep facing these situations that have to be dealt with! Next thing I know I’ll be barrel racing with the PTV and Casita.
I wish you well getting on the road . . .
I finally caught up again. Thanks for the fun play-by-play as you and crew fill your days.
You’re welcome, Bob! Always glad to hear from you. . .
I think I passed you just south of eagles nest. I turned stadiums but couldn’t find you. I will be staying at WatersHeds so tonight and then moving south tomorrow.
Are you going to the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque? If you are let me know as I can meet up a with you there.
When is the balloonfest? (Shows how much I know.) And where is a good place to stay? I’d love to go if it’s not a big hassle.
Sure, let me know where you’ll be!
Balloon Fiesta is Oct 1-9 this year. You can camp right at the park, but you have to make reservations online or over the phone. The Fiesta is incredible! We’ve gone every year since moving here in ’06. Watching 600+ hot air balloons all launch at dawn is an amazing sight! Plus you can actually walk among them on the field as they prepare for launching. If it works into your schedule, I HIGHLY recommend going!
I was typing too fast on my Droid and everything came out wrong. I am actually staying at Eagles Nest SP. I drove around but didn’t see you. I assume you are driving north to Cimarron Canyon. If so you will love it there (although they don’t have hookups either. But it is spectacular. I will check to see if you can still get a reservation for the Balloon Fiesta. I went there for the first time last year and met many wonderful friends who I have kept in touch with ever since. It is really a gas!! It will not disappoint!!
There may be some tickets still available. Please write to my email address at email@example.com and I will fill you in on the details.
Your comment about not wanting to carry the weight of the water in your tank, a lot of people will drain there water tanks before moving or towing, which to me is silly. Water weighs about 8.3 lb per gallon so if you were to carry 20 gallons that’s only 166 lbs or the weight of another person(a skinny person) in your PTV. You wouldn’t hesitate to drive in the mountains with another person in the vehicle because of their weight. Plus I can guarantee you that it will not make a difference in MPG, after 12 years of Full timing we’ve tried it all, that is unless your Casita has a 300 gallon fresh water tank.
Actually it would be more like dragging a skinny person behind the PTV, given the tank is under the Casita, but no matter . . . You make a lot of sense.