Monday, April 21, 2008


First, a little rant brought on by our purchase of diesel fuel today - for $4.299 per gallon, a record high price for us! We only needed 58 gallons, but added another $250 to the credit card. Sheesh! I cannot believe how the price of fuel has soared in the past month or two... but then, food prices are not much better. Our grocery budget has been flattened like Texas roadkill.

Due to the high winds yesterday and the windy forecast for today, we got an exceptionally early start for us - we left The Ranch in Lakewood, NM, just after 8:30 am. Beautiful sunshine, just a whisper of a breeze.

After we fueled up in Artesia, NM, we rolled along north to Roswell. We didn't see any UFO's or space aliens, alas - they certainly would have added interest to the otherwise flat, scrubby, boring scenery.

I thought my bad attitude might have been the lingering after-effects from yesterday's raging winds and heat, but it wasn't the case. In Roswell, we caught highway 70 heading west into the mountains and before long things were looking up. A few scrubby trees appeared in the landscape as we approached the mountains, and before long we entered a pretty, forested, winding canyon.

One more fork in the road, 380 to Carrizozo, and my bad mood was erased by the beauty. I need to remember to stay out of nothern Texas and southweatern New Mexico - it's just NOT my kind of scenery!

Highway 380 is a New Mexico Scenic Highway, a two-lane ribbon through the mountains and a couple of fascinating, historically interesting towns, Lincoln and Capitan. Too bad for us, the winds (as forecast) were beginning to strengthen again, so we didn't stop to explore - but both towns are in my memory bank (somewhere) for "the next time".

We arrived at Valley of Fire Recreation Area (read our campground review here) around noon, just as the winds cranked up. Here, though, instead of flat, uninspiring views of miles of scrub, we are in a spacious, open campsite on the edge of an ancient lava flow, with beautiful vistas in all directions. Winds be damned, we put on our hats with chin straps, tightened 'em up, and headed out on the 3/4 mile nature trail (wheelchair accessible) that circles through the lava bed.

I took the two top photos on that little hike. The juniper tree is estimated to be 400 years old (!), the oldest living thing on the lava flow. The cactus... isn't it lovely? They were blooming all over.

The winds gusted strongly all afternoon, finally dying down sufficiently in the evening that Luna wanted some outdoor time. At the base of our water pipe is a rock bowl that catches drips from the spigot. I had seen birds there earlier, and Luna was drawn to it immediately.

Here she is taking her first sniff... ummmmmmmmmm, yummy.

She spent the next five minutes rubbing lovingly all over the rock and the wood at it's base. I don't know what animal might come to drink there, but Luna would love to meet it!

Tomorrow we will move on up to Albuquerque for a few days of sightseeing and a day of motorhome maintenance. I would have been happy for another day or two here, but the maintenance appointment calls... so, one more place to add to the list for "another time".


  1. We TOTALLY understand about the winds!!!! Right now they are totally stopping my "oven use"!!!! And thanks too for including the ADORABLE pictures of Luna!!!!! She is precious!!!! (I'll have to show them to Joel!!!! tee hee)

  2. That is so cool that you are at Valley of Fire. We drove through that area last year, and we just had to stop briefly to see what the camping looked like. I, too, put it in my memory bank as a place that might be neat to stay some day. At the time (December) it was very cold and extremely windy, and needless to say, the CG was quite empty.

    Luna is so sweet. Wonder what made her so enamored.

    Enjoy your evening.


  3. That top photo of the juniper looks so much like a bristlecone pine, which are some of the oldest plants on the earth, you take such lovely pictures.

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron