End of August ~ Early September Camping Trip
After an endless summer of set backs, such as Lincoln Nat'l Forest being closed due to drought conditions, fires in other parts of the state, family obligations, we were able to go camping in our Scamp
My Dear Wife & I got the Scamp
somewhat ready on Saturday, August 27. We finished loading it Sunday afternoon after church and left for Cloudcroft around 3 or 4pm or so. We did a stop at Alamogordo to top off the gas, before heading up to the cool mountains.
We found Silver Campground (a Lincoln Nat'l Forest campground) to be a tad crowded. We have camped at it the last 3 times. We checked the next one, Saddle, out; then checked Apache out. We liked the looks of Saddle. After starting to set up the Scamp
, the Campground Host stopped by. He informed us Apache & Saddle would be closing the day after Labor Day, Tuesday 6 September. In the loop we had stopped, there were no other campers and only one in the other loop. We stayed.
For the rest of the week, we did not have any others camping in our loop until Thursday. It was very nice having the area to ourselves. The weather was very nice as well. Mostly sunny but cool days and cooler nights. We got a shower around Thursday or Friday; just cooled if off a little more. Each day after Thursday, we got a few more campers in. They proved nice people. Saddle has a total of 17 sites. Apache has about 29 sites and Silver has 39 sites. Saddle has two loops, in a bent figure eight pattern. By Saturday - 3 Sept., all sites were filled.
The only problem, the campers across & behind us liked to have fires, but were not real good building them which created a lot of smoke which would drift over to our site if the wind was not blowing right. Campfires are neat, but smoke from them bothers us both. Often, we would not be able to sit out under the awning
because the breeze was bringing the smoke onto us. Perhaps, the smoke activated my allergies.
We would walking around the campgrounds, do drives to different areas of the forest, looked at the shops in Cloudcroft and hang out at the campground. We did a drive to Bluff Springs to see the small waterfall there. http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04240.jpg
Took picks of scenery and flowers on these drives. http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04256.jpg
We did a drive up to Sun Spot (national solar
telescopes) and walked around the site, but did not go on the museum tour. http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04253.jpg
We also stopped at Apache Point (night skies telescopes owned by NMSU and several other universities). http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04266.jpg
Drove to Mayhill following James Canyon/US 82, then returned using NM 130/Cox Canyon.
Tuesday, we drove down to Alamogordo to do a little shopping at Wal-Mart. I was wanting a small radio, or possible a portable CD player, one with MP3 format. We like to play audio books & some of them are MP3 format and will not play on a regular CD player. The players in our car & pickup will work. We stopped at K-Mart on the way. They had a small radio, but not sure about the CD player. At Wally World, they allowed me to bring in a audio tape, but their player would not play it. But we wanted a queen sized sheet so we would not have to fight to keep covered at night. They had jersey ones at a good price, we got one. Found a nice $5 paring knife with a sheath. Got one. I needed a "bar" of shaving soap and window clearer. Got them. We need a box of our cereal. Got that as well as a gallon of milk. On the way back, we stopped at the K-Mart & got the small radio. Also topped off the gas tank.
The rest of the day we just loafed around the camper. We had eaten at Arby's before going to Wal-Mart. They had free Wi-Fi, but did not think of using it. Their roast beef French Dip was on sale 2 or $5, I had one to take home. When Linda began to prepare supper, she asked where is the knife we just bought. It was not in the trailer, not in the pickup. We were not only missing the knife, but the shave soap & the window clearer. After searching a couple more times, we drove back to Alamo & the Wally World just as the sun was going down. They looked to see if anyone had turned in these items, but no one had. But they told us to just go back and pick them out again. They just bagged them for me, no questions. Very nice. Linda also bought cucumbers and bell peppers. Going back it was night.
For lunch we ate at Big Dave's instead of Texas BBQ one day. His BBQ sliced brisket was very tender & moist, but his pulled pork was a little dry. The BBQ sauce was not the best. Planed on eating at Texas BBQ later, but did not make it. We found a Wi-Fi hot spot at the public library (but need to sign in and get the pass word to use it).
4 Sept.- Went to church Sunday in Cloudcroft, we were invited to stay for the pot luck dinner afterwards by many of the congregation; therefore we did. Someone said it was the best place in town to eat and I believe it was. We would have gone to the Texas BBQ or maybe the Front Porch Bistro, which had a write up in a local newspaper.
Had a little rain nearby Friday, not much at the campground. Saturday, a little more rain. But early Sunday morning, around 1 or 2 am, it started to rain really well. No lighting
or thunder, but some wind (nothing very severe) and it seemed to have rained fairly steady the rest of the night. Sunday, we woke up to a foggy morning with drizzle. More of a cloud
hanging over the mountain top I would say than conventional fog. I had left my small tarp at home, therefore I had rigged up a shelter for the Honda Generator
on the tailgate of the pickup using a tie down strap to keep the rear lift window on the A.R.E topper from being up all the way. To allow water not to run off at the hinges. I also used the storage container I use to cover/hide the generator
in the bed of the pickup to slightly cover the rear of the generator
to help keep it dry. Worked well in the light
Using the Wi-Fi from the Cloudcroft Library, we got to not only check our email, but got to see & talk to our grandson & daughter in Tucson for a little bit. We got to see the photos from our son's caribou hunt in Alaska. Very nice pics of the tundra out from Chicken, AK as well as the caribou. He was able to get one very early on Monday morning, 29 Aug. His friend & he had both of their caribou cleaned, skinned & quartered and back to camp by 7:30 in the morning. He has been busy butchering and packaging the beast. He has since gone out at least twice for moose nearer their home. But has not seen anything but cows.
Monday- 5 Sept. Labor Day, we woke under a cloud
cover again as in fog. Very dense. http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04334.jpg
We didn't want to spend another day, in the fog like conditions, so we broke camp and moved down the mountain. By the time we got off, it seemed the clouds were burning off. At least, we were soon out of the cover. We decided to go to the BLM Vally of Fires campground just out of Carrizozo, NM. To get to US 54, we took NM 244 north through the Mescalero Apache Reservation to US 70 W to Tularosa. It appears to be about 3/4 longer to take, but most was in the mountains. A very pretty drive. They have a very nice bath house, very clean, just as it was a few years ago. So we did not shower until we got to the campground there. For the same price as the forest campground, we have electric and water hookups and a nice free shower and free dump site. It was never very hot today, here. We didn't start the AC until almost 2:30 or so. http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04338.jpg
They were having a Street Fair in Corrizozo as we drove through town, but did not feel the need to go back to check it out after selecting a site with a view of the lava flow, dumping the black tank, showering and eating lunch. Nor did we walk out on the "board walk" into the lava flow until early evening. However, in a shade, the wind was cool all day. The evening walking just at sunset was very nice, very cool. Did not see any creators, didn't want to see some of them anyway. At night it was a very cool breeze, not need for the A/C.
It is neat to be able to keep up with loved ones with computers and cell phones. Not only talk with them, but see pics of them as well. Even when out camping in the mountains or desert basins.
Tuesday- 6 Sept. We enjoyed camping at Valley of Fires so much, we decided to stay another day/night. We walked the paved trail again, seeing it in better light
. Linda took many pics as did I. We enjoyed the showers. After lunch, we drove to White Oaks the old gold mining town, once the city out in this area. Took a few pics. Listed as a ghost town, it has a small population. More than when we first visited the place. This part of the Tularosa Basin is extremely dry. We can not even have charcoal grills at the campground. It is a record breaking drought. As you get higher in elevation, the greener things get. http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04525.jpg
After White Oaks, we returned to Carrizozo. Then took US 380 E to Capitan (home of Smokey Bear), but did not stop; to Lincoln (town in which Billy the Kid become infamous), we did stop & I took some pics of the historic sites in town. We did not go into any of the museums. We had considered going by Fort Stanton, but decided to go on to US 70 W to Ruidoso to get supplies at Wal-Mart. I had expected to get gasoline there as well, but gas was less expensive in Carrizozo.
We did stop to take a pic of Capitan Gap: http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/l...6/DSC04534.jpg
Before leaving Ruidoso, we wanted to have supper. After pass through the old mid-town area, there were not many options (didn't see many before either). But just before getting completely out of town, we saw a Farley's, which we have one in Las Cruces. It was busy, many of the other places we had passed were not. It was a little on the old and dumpy side, rest rooms not good at all. But the food was good, people friendly. I asked if this was the original Farley's and it was. The one in Cruces is the 3rd, one in Roswell is the 2nd. There were nothing past it, we discovered, which was open or busy.
We made a very long loop and got back to US 380 W to Carrizozo, where we got gas and two ice cream bars. We took our time, enjoyed the drive, saw many neat places. US 380 was being tarred and graveled before getting into Capitan. Not a bad drive, but slow. Need to be slow to keep gravel from breaking windshields, etc.
Capitan is the larger of the two towns, more businesses, a nice new school and more homes. Carrizozo is the county seat of Lincoln County, and is larger. Ruidoso & Ruidoso Downs are much larger than them all.
Seems I have an eye doc appointment on the 8th, therefore we came back home via US 54/70. Just drove through Tularosa & Alamo, but stopped to pickup the mail. Had the Scamp back into the Scamport and some things unloaded by 3pm, when I had to stop for lunch. By 4 pm most of everything is unloaded, the trash can, recycle can and the moto-trailer are back in place.
I was tempted to cancel the eye appointment, but my dippy nose has gotten my throat a little sore. So we came home. We had a great time in our Loop Trip to the Mountains and the Lava Field. From the toping off of the gas in Alamo last week, we got 19.7 MPG, with some towing, some free ranging.
Decided to go ahead & postpone the appointment. Now I am hoping to be able to do some Fall
camping. Back to the drawing board and some planning.
What we didn't like about the damp foggy conditions was the amount of condensation inside the Scamp, and not being about to be out side more during the day. We had condensation inside of cabinets on things. Wet, wet, wet. In no time, once we opened up things and spread things out, they were dry again.