The road from Las Vegas toward Conchas Lake State Park cuts straight through wide-open grassland and scrub.
About three-fourths of the way there, the landscape changes and we’re treated to three miles of Tibetan experience. At least this time the road is two-lane and paved. We wind downward in hairpins. Please God, bless my electric brake controller. I make a quick glance down over the side and fear jabs me in the chest. Keep your eyes on the road and don’t look!
Always masters of timing, Spike and Bridget indicate an urgent need to “Get out now!”
At last the road levels out and we come upon a place to park under trees and next to a picnic table. I turn in behind a Class C. Not exactly behind it, because hitched to the motorhome is a Honda CR-V and hitched to the CR-V is a boat toting various tanks and fishing rods.
The owners of this caravan are a couple from Las Vegas.
The man tells me they spend their summers at Conchas Lake State Park, boondocking at the water’s edge. He chuckles about last night. “I woke up in the night to find water lapping at the tires of the motorhome. My propane tank was in the water! I had to get out and move us at 2:30 in the morning. Those storms up above raised the water level.”
We have an in-depth conversation about Quartzite and Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) in Arizona, where they spend their winters. He reveals that he waited until age 70 to retire and now he’s 72. You would suppose both of them to be much younger, as vibrant and tanned as they are. Summers at Conchas Lake fishing and winters at Quartzite with their rock and gem club friends . . . sounds like they’re loving life on the road more than living in their stay-put home in Las Vegas.
Back on the road, we soon approach Conchas Dam.
We cross over on a one-lane road and continue to weave through the scrubby trees and rocks. Having already made one wrong turn, I see a COE dam project office, and decide to stop and ask if I’m on the way to the State Park. A friendly guy in a tan uniform says I am, “It’s just up the road a bit.” He shows me a map on the wall. “You can camp up on the cliff where there’s electric, or down by the water where there’s no electric.”
Up on the cliff? I don’t think so.
You know what? I’ve had my fill of cliffs for a while. In fact, before this fulltiming adventure began, I had no strong feelings about cliffs or looking down into a gorge or crossing a dam on a one-lane road. However, now? I’ve had enough of cliffs and huge, gaping holes in the earth. In fact, I’m moving the Grand Canyon way down my list of Things To See. Anyway . . .
Back to the COE guy . . .
He asks me some questions and I reveal that I sold my home to live in my Casita. That’s when he says the words I hear over and over again by all sorts of people, “I want to do that someday.” I wonder if he will.
No one is in the primitive camping area!
Adobe “bunkers” and picnic tables under metal-roof structures sit empty. Most sites have a water spigot. A road (I use the term loosely here) goes down to the lake. I see a Class C and a fifth wheel down there. The crew and I are weary and not in any mood for a potential road problem, so I pick a site that looks level next to a bunker.
I back-in between two trees, and we settle in.
I decide we’ll take a walk after supper to check out the road and to find a place to camp next to the water. Since we’re camping free with our annual park pass, there’s no ticket with our campsite number on it. We can move around as we wish!
As no one is in the campground, I let the crew off leash. Bridget and Spike haven’t run free in several weeks.
I pull out my camp chair to sit and keep an eye on them. They’re good little campers and don’t stray far.
The weather is perfect. It’s very pleasant sitting under this scraggly tree next to the camper watching my two pals . . . all by ourselves here in New Mexico.
It’s great to hear from you again. Was beginning to think you had come to fully enjoy life off the grid with no cell phone of internet. The few times we were without them for extended periods, we realized they weren’t nearly as important as we thought. Hope you enjoy your stay there….jc
It’s great to be back online, Jerry! If it weren’t for this blog, I’d be fine off grid for much longer periods. I missed you guys!
Glad to see you writting on your blog again, Ive really enjoyed reading your adventures. One day I hope to buy a Casita and do some traving myself. My plan is about 4 years from now when my teenager graduates from high school. She has informed me she’s coming too! I thought it would just me and the dogs after she goes off to college…
Good for you, Jean! I hope my travels with my Casita are helpful.
And you’ll have dogs with you . . . great! You know, I don’t think I could do this without my canine companions. They get me out the door in the morning and give me plenty of laughs.
Good luck to you as you plan for your future adventure . ..
It’s good to hear from you again. Sounds like you found a large dose of peace and quiet. Looking forward to reading about your stay. I know the crew – and you too – enjoyed their time off leash.
Just to let you know . . . I wasn’t able to check in with anyone these past few days, not even my sisters. Not only did I not have phone or internet service, both my phone and my computer shut down due to low batteries.
I have got to find a place that sells a 12 volt charger for my phone! I should have picked one up in Las Vegas, but it slipped my mind what with everything else I had on my to-do list. I have one for my GPS and for my kindle, but they aren’t compatible with my phone.
If not sooner, there should be a WalMart or a Radio Shack in Albuquerque that sells the 12 V chargers – unless your phone is really OLD like Paul’s is. We haven’t been able to find a charger for his – but the phone is about 8 years old and with my iPhone, his is really a backup.
Nice to see you posting again.
You have picked another great site to park. Maybe by tomorrow you will be even closer to the water. But if not I think this site is wonderful.
It’s good to be back online. I’ve been wondering how many readers I was losing. Glad you’re still with me!
That looks like a peaceful spot…empty is good! And nice for your furkids too. A little off leash time is always a treat. Love the way you write!
Thanks, Donna, for the compliment!
I found a copy of the Olympian Wave 3 installation guide, courtesy of Tioga George:
Click to access Wave_Catalytic_User_Guide.pdf
Says you need 4 inches to the sides and bottom, 18 inches from the top, and 30 inches to the front.
O, and the crashing problem I’m having with the comments occurs now in other Blogs as well. Dunno what that is, but there’s a workaround. It only occurs when I try a hard return on a new line. Weird.
Sorry about your problem (although I am glad it’s not my blog!).
Hi, Sue and crew
Good to hear from you and see your new “home” (where the heart is) at Conchas Lake. I’m sure Spike and Bridget love being free to roam, but not far from Mom.
I was feeling sorry for the crew, always on leash, even though they behave very well when we walk. It was nice to see them roam.
Great to hear from you! I share your feelings about yawning holes in the earth. Don’t care for long high bridges either but I’ve found a way to lessen my anxiety – I sing! At the top of my lungs. Like Judy Garland without the talent.
Backing in between 2 trees! Impressive!
My method is to repeat over and over, “Keep moving, keep moving . . . .
Of all the things to learn in order to live the way I do, backing in has been one of the easiest for me. I always depend on the mirrors, hold the wheel the same way, and while looking in the left mirror, watch how the side of the PTV looks in relation to the side of the Casita. Since this is a relationship I see several times every time I drive, it’s not hard to know how it should look when the hitch is lined up correctly. How far back to go is different and requires jumping out and looking!
Glad you are not having a problem lining up the ball and receiver. My fifth wheel was easy, as I could see the whole thing in the rear view mirror.
Just for information, I have seen one trick that works with sort of automating the unseen approach of a bumper hitch ball. It is a welded V of 4 to 6 inch plate steel that bolts on with the ball and guides the hitch to the right place. Of course, even there you have to get pretty close for that to work. Better to just get the right feel for it, as you are doing.
Err…. that wasn’t clear. It was 1/4 inch plate steel. 4 to 6 inches wide (or high) where the ball hits it going in.
I just discovered your blog a few days ago, so have been reading diligently to get up to date with you. That just made me all the more glad to see this newest post this morning. A great way to start off my week at work. Over Columbus Day, I will be going down to Rice to visit the factory and place my Casita order. Hope to be a part-timer until I retire. Then . . .???
Hi, Terry! Glad you’ve been reading my blog.
I’m happy for you . . . You will love your Casita! You’ll have the luxury of being able to look over the different models before you place your order. I had to go by pictures in a brochure . . .luckily I chose the one that’s best for me.
Good luck and who knows where your Casita will take you!
Did you get your heater? I would love to see a photo of where you put it and find out if you like it or not. Do you have more problems with moisture when you use it? We are always looking for a solution to our really noisy factory installed heater.
Love you latest camping spot but then they have all looked good to me.
No, I don’t have my heater yet. It had to be ordered which takes a week to ten days. I’ll show pictures and give a report.
Nice to see you are back on line. I was starting to think you were stuck at the RV place still waiting on that heater. Great shots of Conchas Lake S.P. Looks like the pups are already use to the traveling and enjoying time with mom. Stay Safe,
The crew have a great routine . . . get up, walk, eat, have fun, sleep, get up, walk, eat, have fun, sleep, get up . . . .
I’m not going to Camping World until I’m sure the part is in.
Good to see you posting again. While reading your post, I was very disappointed. The way you mentioned that hill you were climbing, I was expecting a picture of the valley on your side. I guess there weren’t any pull-offs. But hey, you have two hands, one for the steering wheel and one for the camera. Maybe next time, uh? 🙂
There was no way I would get out of the car on that treacherous section of road! If I could get out I wouldn’t have been able to point the camera at that “valley.”
A better solution than a series of 12V chargers for phones, etc., is to just get a small inverter to plug into the cigarette lighter and produce 110V you can plug all your regular chargers into. Try it in the parking lot of the place you buy it. Some inverters don’t work with some laptops. I don’t know why, but my old Dell would just throw the breaker on my 300W inverter. All I’ve ever seen, even the cheapest, work fine with cameras and phones. Inexpensive in the smaller varieties.
But you should also be on the lookout for a small honda generator to charge your house battery. Easiest of all, since you have only to plug in the umbilical and let the converter/charger do the work.
Read the fine print in your inverter manual. Mine said I had to have a direct connection to my battery because of how much wattage my laptop used.
It work’s fine now that I did that. 🙂
On another topic . . .
Were you the person who sent me a link about installing the Wave 3 heater on a cabinet door? If so, thanks a lot. I want to have that done. I don’t like the idea of the heater installed into a carpeted wall area.
Hi Bob . . .
I don’t understand the need for a 110v to plug all my regular chargers into. I have two “cigarette lighter” places in the Casita to plug chargers into. I have a charger for my camera and for my kindle. If I get a charger for the phone, I’ll be all set.
Now the computer is another matter.
Normally all your gadgets come with an AC charger adapter. If you buy ONE inverter with a cigarette lighter adapter, you can charger everything else up by plugging the AC charger adapters into this inverter. Of course, if you already have 12V charger adapters for all your stuff, this doesn’t apply.
I don’t think that I sent a link on the wave 3 heater.
On another topic . . .
Were you the person who sent me a link about installing the Wave 3 heater on a cabinet door? If so, thanks a lot. I want to have that done. I don’t like the idea of the heater installed into a carpeted wall area.”