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Old 03-24-2008, 12:21 PM   #1
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Hi,

I'm pulling my Scamp from Albuquerque to Trinidad Colorado for a Bluegrass concert on the night of the 28th. Since I am only have one thing planned (the music on the 28th) I'm looking for other things or places to check out in the area. Here is our very very vague itenerary:

-Leave Albuquerque on the afternoon of March 27th

-Drive as far as we choose and camp for the night (Pecos, Raton or anywhere suggested)

-March 28th Head into Trinidad in the morning or afternoon (the show isn't until the evening of the 28th) Probably staying in the parking lot of the Trinidad Brewing Company after the show.

-March 29th (Help? What to do?) Is Trinidad lake any fun? Is it worth the drive to The Great Sand Dunes? Even somewhere heading back south could work for us.

-March 30th...head home (Booooooo)

I like to Boondock, my son (12 years old) would love to fish. Somewhere with or without electrical would be fine also. I can't wander too far as gas funds are limited.

Oh....and Happy Spring to everyone! I hope it has been as beautiful wherever you are as it has been here!

Jonathan
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:14 PM   #2
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Jonathan -

Sand Dunes are a lot of fun. I have not camped there, but have seen the camp site in the park, and it looks Scamp friendly. This is a good time of year to go there, as it is still cool. I think a summer visit would probably be dreadful.

17 North from Alamosa leads to a mineral hot springs park with pool. Camping there is little better than a parking lot, but the pool is nice and the views spectacular. I can't be more precise on directions, I'm afraid..

Just north of Salida (if you want to go that far) is a wonderful campground on the Arkansas at Hecla Junction. It is off 291. The drive down to the campsite is windy and steep, but we have been in there several times with the Scamp. Campsite is gorgeous, right on the river, and if the run-off hasn't started yet the fishing should be good. I assume that once in flood wading would be a challenge. The campsite is well worth the visit however. Pit toilets, picnic tables, that's about it. Pay site.

Try the drive through Taos. There are numerous campsites along the road, and some of the further in ones may now be open. We plan to camp more down in that area, and it's a lovely drive. Lake fishing at Eagle Nest, I think, and camping. Haven't tried that one myself. 64 from Eagle Nest takes you back to I 25, and it's a good road.

We have camped south of 56 east of I 25, but the parks that show as open year-round were gated shut and the roads flooded out, so we just camped at the gates for the night. Forest roads are always fun anyway.

Let me know if you find anything interesting down there, we love the area of Southern CO and northern NM, just haven't done enough yet. Sorry I can't offer more ideas further south, I'm still learning my way around myself.

Happy Spring! The drifts around the Scamp are melting, and I may go out next weekend myself!

Barring
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:08 AM   #3
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Thanks Barring! I did a bit more research and have decided to hit the Dunes Saturday morning. Your other suggestions are appreciated and we will probably choose one of them to add to our trip. Unfortunately the parking lot will have to be home Friday night as the music won't be over until late and I am sure I will have had a beer or two seeing that it is at the Brewing Company. Should you ever need advice for places further south just ask, I'm pretty well aquainted with the bottom end and middle of New Mexico.
Cheers!
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:25 PM   #4
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Jonathan,

You and your son will enjoy the sand dunes. My wife has camped there over 20 times, but not in the last few years. From the Web site you probally found:

It's now a National Park, so there may be ammenities added since we have been there.

When were there, no hookups at the camp sites, but private, beautiful and mostly level.

Restrooms have running water. No showers.

I think it is in June sometime, there is a Sand Castle and Kite Flying Competition.

Enjoy your trip through Colorado. Dean and Mary
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:43 PM   #5
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Jonathan,

Last summer, we spent a night at the Wal-mart parking lot in Las Vegas, it was fairly quite (there was a secluded lot on the south end of the building), 2609 7th Street, Las Vegas NM 87701, (505) 425-5242, exit at exit 347 heading south into town, turn left at Mills Ave./SR329 Loop; turn right on to 7th St./SR3/SR518 (this is the road to Storri Lake State Park). We stayed behind the Garden Center, a nice nook but roomy, fenced along the two back sides, very quiet and not a lot of bright lights: just one or two.

If you would like to spend a little cash, Storrie would give you showers and quite place to over night and a fishing lake as well.

Raton, does not seem to have a Wal-mart, they do have a K-mart, not sure about policy about over nighting.

South of Raton. Very nice rest area maintained by the state and overnighting is okay. Parking is along the edge in single file for semis and RVs but overall, very quiet and nice. The occasional trucker who runs his compressor all night is the only noise. Perhaps a mile south of exit 435 (15 miles from Raton). Not sure mile marker.

There is another rest area north of Raton, but not sure of room for overnighting.

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/detail.aspx?id=1726

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/detail.aspx?id=1557
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:55 PM   #6
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Thanks, I think we are going to leave early now and head all the way to Trinidad (its only like 3 hours anyways). But Storrie is a great idea. I had forgotten about that place. I used to windsurf there years ago. I'm afraid of the Walmart parking lots. Perhaps its irrational because they tend to have security but I already get a bit paranoid at times in that little camper. It doesnt help that last time I was out I watched "The Hills have Eyes" on my laptop. If you haven't seen the new version (or maybe even the old one) DON'T unless you want to entertain the same paranoia in your camper as I do at times.

I have seen that rest area north of Raton as well and was wanting to check it out. Looks like great views. All of this advice will be used in the future as well as Its a nice short haul up to Trinidad, its beautiful, kind people, good food, music and beer at the Trinidad Brewing Company and they have a huge parking lot there they have offered up (oh...theres that parking lot things again). I just love to center a trip around good live music and then plan out from there.
Thanks for the advice and the links!

By the way, I did have a very scary experience while in my Westfalia once that feeds this paranoia.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:22 PM   #7
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Definitely hit the Sand Dunes! We used to live there and we love it! Medano Creek won't be running much this time of year I'm afraid. Too bad! Also, right along there off Hwy 17, north of Alamosa and north of Mosca is the Alligator Farm. I'm thinking it would be open and it's really fun! The story behind it is pretty cool too! Splashland, the hot springs pool on Hwy 17, just a few miles outside of Alamosa probably isn't open yet, but it's a great place too.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:55 AM   #8
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The Sand Dunes is a great place to visit. Just bring your own water if you go near Alamosa. The municipal water system in Alamosa is completely shut down due to contamination. According to the news it will be about 3 weeks before you can drink the water. Can't even use it to shower or wash dishes!

Orlen
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:45 PM   #9
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Just got back from this trip. I apprectiate the advice offered by all. However we were unable to make the trip to the Sanddunes due to high winds. This was the first multi-night trip of over 100 miles (510 to be exact) for me, my son and the Scamp. I learned a few things.


  • At 65 miles per hour I get the same highway miles with the Scamp as I do in town on my 4wd ranger (15.5)
  • I have do decide how to handle high winds at a camp site. They blow out the flame in my heater, leaving propane spewing out. I'd imagine this could be a fire hazard.
  • The new little black stains on the front of my Scamp is all of the oil that was once in my front differential.
  • When pulling down a steep dirt road towards a lake, make sure there is room to turn around. Ford Rangers don't like to push a 1000lb trailer backwards up a hill.
  • Eagles Nest Lake is frozen solid in Late March, making fishing difficult.
  • Scamps enrich the family experience. Instead of complaining about poor sleep, hard ground and freezing temperatures, we can argue about whos turn it is to shuffle the cards.
  • I now completely understand what Mike was saying about how the subject of generators in campgrounds begins heated debates.
  • Campground fees have gone through the roof since the last time I used a campground.
  • Trinidad Lake is absolutely beautiful, the campgrounds are pristene and the fishing is wonderful even when the water is 38 degrees.
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:22 PM   #10
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Glad you're back safe! Sorry you missed the "Dunes"! I could relate to your turn-around difficulties! I pulled into a small grocery store in Sonoma this winter, turned the corner of the store to the left and drove down the side of the store, only to find out there was no driveway at the end of the lot to pull out to the side street! Realized I'd have to do some sort of 3-point turn into a parking space (fairly tight) to get out of there. Then I realized there were a number of store employees on break outside the side door watching me! I'm not super at backing, but didn't want to make a fool of myself. My teenage son (optimist that he is!), kept a running commentary, "Mom, you shouldn't have come this way...I told you not to...there's no way you can get us out of here...all those people are watching..." Maybe it was the pressure, but for the first time I did a perfect back up into a parking stall on one try and turned us around and right out of there! The employees (and my son!) were speechless. I sometimes amaze even myself and I know I'll never be able to do it again!


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Old 03-31-2008, 11:54 PM   #11
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The wind "blow out the flame in ... heater, leaving propane spewing out."

Not a healthy thing to be doing, blowing out the flame happens, but having the propane spewing out is not. We did not get a furnace in ours, but I would think they should be designed to shut off once a flame blow out happens, not good.

Sounds like you had a good trip. Wind is a mean thing at times. As are one way streets, roads, paths, etc.

Eagles Nest Lake, I hadn't thought of that, must have seen some nice country.
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:13 AM   #12
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I DID see some beautiful country. I have been in New Mexico for 16 years but never drove the highway from south of Raton to Taos before. WOW...some of the most beautiful landscape I have seen on the continental US. I'll be back for sure when things melt off a bit more. Many herds of Deer, elk, Antelope, large flocks of wild turkeys everywhere. I also just got the truck out of the shop and have learned yet another lesson.
  • If you have 4WD be sure and use it once a month or water will collect and rust the differential leading to leaks.
I wish I had learned that a few hundred dollars ago.
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:22 AM   #13
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Jonathan,

Thanks for the update on your trip.
You made a good decision on not going to the sand dunes in high wind. One needs goggles to climb around on the dunes even in moderate winds.

Dean
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:45 PM   #14
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We drove the highway from south of Raton to Taos in June, possibly July one summer, maybe 20 yrs ago. It is a nice one. We also drove west starting in Raton on SR 555, York Canyon Raod, if this one goes out by the NRA's shooting reserve. Some local friends told us to take it in the evening, we saw lots of wildlife, even a bear. The road was a good black top, it goes out to a mining operation were it dead-ends.

Cimaron Canyon State Park was nice as well, better in a few weeks I am sure.
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