I love the anticipation of a new camp!
After our usual morning routine, I pack up the wire dog pen and go through all the steps to secure the BLT and to hitch it to the PTV.
What a beautiful, sunny day. I’m so glad the wind has died down.
We’re due at the gate of the BLM land at noon. Al of The Bayfield Bunch offered to meet us there, citing the difficulty and danger of parking next to the 65 mph highway, getting out to open the gate, and making a tight turn to fit through the narrow opening before closing the gate. Never turn down a helping hand is my motto.
The BLM land is vast acreage next to the Escapee Park called North Ranch.
Although I like the camp off of Ghost Town Road northwest of Congress, I want to become acquainted with and experience the larger BLM area south of Congress. Around 11:30 we pull into North Ranch and park near the dump station. There’s a spigot nearby with a sign that says, “Fresh water. Do not use to flush tanks.” The crew and I are down to our last jug of water.
North Ranch is a clean, inviting place.
The lady in the office is friendly and assures me the water is suitable for drinking. I ask about the sign that says the dump station is out of order and she says the sign is to make people come into the office first. It’s fine and will cost me, an Escapee member, only $2.50. I tell her I’ll be back for that task.
I fill up ten gallon jugs with water.
As the PTV carries us to the entrance of the BLM land I see Al is waiting at his appointed post.
He opens the gate and we’re in!
I follow his Jeep down the winding, sandy-dirt road over bumps and through a wash.
We pass some curious bovines.
Al leads me past his and Kelly’s campsite to a place he thinks I’ll like for a camp.
I can tell right way it’s going to be a great new home!
It’s away from the lane we drove over to get here, yet not too far. There’s a mesquite tree for the bird feeder and the ground is level.
Wide open spaces spread out in all directions with mountains on the horizon.
Al helps me back in.
The BLT’s door faces the mesquite tree, and the refrigerator isn’t in the afternoon sun. Bridget and Spike are stunned to find themselves in this new place. Soon they’re made to feel right at home by the sight of Pheebs (Al and Kelly’s happy dog) bounding down the slope to greet his pals. Spike makes his usual squeaky noise to signify he’s thrilled right down to his toes seeing his canine friend. A few minutes later Al calls Pheebs over and together they walk up the slope to their camp. What a nice guy!
After basic set-up tasks are completed, I tidy up the area, removing sticks lying about.
I put out the patio mat and hang the bird feeder.
I pour myself a glass of tea and sit in my camp chair to take in our surroundings. Bridget and Spike are wandering around off- leash, investigating their new home. Al says there aren’t as many coyotes here. In fact they never hear or see any. The vegetation is spread out enough to give a clear view far from the camp.
Spike disappears around the other side of the BLT.
He returns proudly carrying in his mouth a dried cow plop bigger than his head. “Oh no, Spike! No, no, no! Put that down!” He obediently lets it drop, walks over to the PTV, lies down by the back wheel, and looks very disappointed that I don’t appreciate the treasure he found.
Before long he’s happy again.
That’s because I make myself a cheese, lettuce, and mustard sandwich and let him and Bridget share a slice of American cheese. Cheese is their favorite snack!
We walk up some of the trails, not far, just enough to get the lay of the land.
As I write this the crew is taking an afternoon nap. Bridget’s curled up on our bed and Spike’s flopped in his new bed on the floor.
Looking out the window as I sit here typing this post, I see a house finch has found our feeder hanging from the mesquite tree.
Thanks, Al and Kelly!
rvsue3/1/12 . . . $105.34 groceries, $19.99 dog bed, $13.99 dog food, $15.98 car polish, $18.96 sundries 3/2/12 . . . $0 3/3/12 . . . $0