Sunday, October 28, 2012

Leisure Mountain RV Park

We found a nice place (which I carefully researched this time) about 10 miles east of Albuquerque. It's crowded, and the spaces are rather small for my tastes, but we're at the base of a mountain with plenty of hiking trails, and the view is pretty nice. There's very little traffic, though the highway is just a hop-skip from here, and the worst thing I can say about the bathroom facilities is that there's no paper towels. We'll check out the city tomorrow.

The downside of this is that we traveled nearly five hundred miles since Montrose, and at approximately 5.3 miles per gallon (the engine still needs work), we've burned through most of the tank. You can figure out the potential cost from there. In order to offset that cost, it looks like we will have to stay here for two months.

I Just Can't Bear It Anymore

 (10/28)
I Don't like Espanola.  My wife was willing to put up with it, but she can bear up to anything (she does live with me, after all). We weren't even halfway through the first day, and I decided we had to leave. I made new arrangements at an RV park near Albuquerque; we stayed in Espanola for two nights (changing from monthly to daily was not as easy as it should have been), and we were off on the road again.

I suppose the first warning sign should have been dodging that traffic accident when we arrived in town. Someone in way too much of a hurry wedged himself under an SUV that was innocently trying to cross the street. From that point to the RV park, we were cut off three times. I am convinced this town is a repository for all the crazy drivers in New Mexico.

If you ever find yourself in the town of Espanola, leave quickly.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Much to Say About Espanola

We just arrived in Espanola, Our four-hour trip took almost exactly seven hours. The trip through New Mexico was almost uneventful, save for one annoying motorist who could not understand that when my left directional is on, it's a sign that I'm moving to the left, not a sign he needed to pass me.

The park we are in does not live up to the hype or photos, unfortunately. The "spacious" parking areas are actually rather close together. We're in the end spot so it doesn't matter that much, but if someone else moves into the spot next door, the dogs will go crazy. The place is not that pretty, though Kazumi says the bathrooms are clean and the showers huge.

The website features a photo of a small strand of trees with a babbling brook running by. This turned out to be a runoff gutter by the side of the driveway. The website also mentioned that the park was located in the heart of "the beautiful Espanola Valley." It did not mention that the park was located in the heart of the ugly Espanola town.

Oh, and the radio stations are all in Spanish.

Two Hours Into New Mexico

We just passed Lynbrook Elementary School. No town, no side road, no people. Just an elementary school, stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

On to New Mexico

We woke up early, around 5:15 (which wasn't planned), had a light breakfast, and were on the road before the sun came up. Of course, when you're in one of these Colorado valleys, that's not difficult. I sometimes think you could sleep until noon and still be up before sunrise.

We made the 45-mile trip to Durango in just over an hour, which I felt was making good time. The final homage to Colorado's mountain roads was a hairpin turn and a steep and treacherous climb up what turned out to be just a tall hill. I couldn't help but think that if they'd put the turnoff a half-mile sooner, they could have bypassed the whole thing.

From there on, it was downhill all the way to New Mexico, a place where they understand that mountains are best enjoyed from a distance. The roads are flat and straight, as roads ought to be, and the views are wide and wonderful.

If you like prairies, that is.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Getting High in Telluride

Two hours into a 70-minute trip, we stopped in Telluride for lunch, and a much-needed rest. My wife heard of a free gondola ride here, so we walked to Telluride Station to give it a try. We climbed into a gondola, the doors closed, and we headed up the mountain to St. Sophia Station, at 10,500 feet.

Half-way there, I realized we were stuck inside a tiny glass box 100 feet above the mountainside, and I was afraid of heights.

Of the ten or so photos I took in Telluride, only four were there when I downloaded (it might have been too cold at the top of the mountain).  Of the ones that did download, this is the best.

A Few Moments of Abject Terror

We're half-way (actually, one-third) through our trip to Santa Fe (actually, Espanola). While this wasn't the most frightening ride I've ever been on, it came close.

Our original plan was to travel directly down 550 into New Mexico, a mountain top road that looks like a bunch of Zs and Ws all strung together. So many people blanched when I relayed my plans that I thought better of it. I heard horror stories of narrow lanes on steep cliff-sides with no guard rails. So I decided to take 62 and 145 through Telluride down to Cortez, figuring it to be a safer route.

Turns out all mountain roads in Colorado are constructed the same way.

Now, here I am in a rig that goes uphill at 15 miles an hour, but insists on going downhill at 75. After struggling for a good long time to get up to 35 when I can, I'm now struggling to keep it under 35 on the way down. I don't think I took the transmission out of low for more than 15 minutes the entire trip. We came so close to the edge of the road so many time, I wanted to close my eyes for the remaining distance.  But, of course, I was driving, so I couldn't do that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Almost Time

This is virtually or last day in Colorado. Tomorrow, we hit the road, spend some time in Telluride and a night in Cortez, then it's off to New Mexico.

The wind here is high, and has been for several days. Our rig has been buffeted so much, I sometimes feel like I'm developing sea legs. And today, it started raining.

It seems almost like Colorado is saying, "Hey! Get a move on!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Gods Must Have Heard Me!

Walked into the laundry room, and there on the counter was a camera, a Vivitar 3765, with a note saying "Free! Needs batteries and SD card." Well, it also needed a USB cable. I bought both, for a grand total of $28.94, after putting batteries in and making sure it worked okay. It's got a flash, and zoom, and what looks like about a dozen operating modes (but is probably only 4). We'll see later if it's any good at photographing deer.

I played with it a bit, inside the RV, since there were no deer outside tonight. This is Kome waiting for Kazumi to come back from the ladies' room.


Monday, October 22, 2012

I Need a New Camera

It was dusk just a little while a go. My wife and I were watching TV when one of the dogs started to bark. I got up to see what she was going on about, and saw fourteen deer less than 30 feet from our RV.

Naturally, I grabbed the cheapo $10 camera and started taking pictures. In every single photo, the sky way bright blue, the ground was deep black, and everything in between was blurry.

Fourteen!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Better Than TV

I was watching television tonight, the original Terminator movie (it's amazing how bad the hairstyles were in 1984).  My wife was outside, smoking (a bad habit. I know).

She opened the door, and whispered "Deer."  The dogs started barking, as they do whenever something unusual happens.  I threw on my slippers, and crept out the door.  The dogs grew quiet a few minutes after I shut the door behind me.

Kazumi pointed across the neighboring field.  Three deer stood in the middle of the field, staring our way.  They were probably startled by the dogs.  "There's another one over there."  Kazumi pointed to a shadowy form near the farmer's fence.  I couldn't see that one clearly until it moved.

The wind was blowing in our direction, so the deer couldn't smell us.  They were still looking in our direction.  I knew if we remained stock still, the deer wouldn't think we were a threat.  Sure enough, after a few moments, the younger deer began frolicking in the field.  They ran circles around the doe.  One veered off to the side, and hopped across the field.  We watched them play for several minutes; running, jumping, cavorting in the field.

I remarked to Kazumi: "This is way better than TV."

A Rude Awakening

The wind has been blowing hard for the last couple of days.  Weather Underground says the wind was only 8 miles per hour, but I'm sure it was higher than that.

Around two in the morning, when we should have been peacefully sleeping, we were awoken by an insistent banging outside the rig.  I was certain a tree had been uprooted, and was now thrashing against the side of our RV.

Turns out it was the canopy again.  Apparently, the wind had whistled beneath the retaining clips and forced them open.  Without the clips in place, the frame dropped open, and the fabric was buffeted in the wind, slamming against the side of the vehicle over and over.

We stumbled out into the dark, rolled up the canvas, relocked the frame, and put duct tape over the clips.  Only, this time, there was no full moon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Deer, deer.

I was stretched out on the bed, relaxing, when Kazumi called out, "Deer!"

"What?  Where?" I responded.

"Deer!  Jumping!"

I crawled out of bed (which is surprisingly hard to do in this rig), and stumbled into the main room.  I looked through the screen door, and there they were: across the field, two beautiful deer, a doe and a buck.

"They came right in front of us, and jumped over the fence," Kazumi explained.  They looked so light!"

I watched them saunter across the field for a while, then remembered I had a new camera.  I grabbed it from the table, but by the time I figured out the right setting and zoomed the lens, they were halfway across the neighboring farm, two brown blips in a sea of green.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Ice Cometh, Man

Woke up this morning to no water.  Seems the temperature dropped to 30 degrees last night, and the water in the supply hose froze.  Another three days, and they will shut off the water here, because of the cold.  Looks like the first freeze happened a few days early.