New Mexico State Parks, USA
Others of the 34 NM State Parks, with more positive featured facilities, are listed in comments following this post. They will be added at intervals as we travel throughout the year. This is not meant to be taken as a negative experience toward all NM State Parks, only to reveal the negative aspects of a few.
The trip around the Northwest corner of New Mexico began innocently enough after installing the Blue Ox base plate on the towed Jeep (previous post). My co-pilot wife and I loaded up the 2004 Holiday Rambler
This entire area of the state showed great promise by the mining of huge Uranium Ore deposits, the base for clean nuclear energy like France and the rest of the world is shifting to. The large Indian and Hispanic population was being lifted out of poverty during the last nuclear energy age of the USA. The Anti-nuclear 'activists', by Legalistic Political influence, saw to it that nuclear energy was brought to an end in the USA. Now this sector of humanity is thouroughly dependant on Federal and State welfare subsistance and housing subsidies. Great move Delusional Leftist Liberal USA, keep up your destruction of society... It's good for 'your' mother earth....
Continue South to Bluewater Lake State Park, Dam Camping Area
West of Grants and Milan, along side of I-40, lies mostly abandoned Rt 66 Bluewater Village
Take the entire virtual 'Route 66' Tour on this link. "Get Your Kicks On Route 66".
The exit ramp off US Interstate highway I-40 near Prewitt onto NM county road 412, was under temporary re-construction but open. Turn left, the grade climb of over 6 miles (9.65k) at over 7% was done in first gear, due to our gross vehicle weight (including towed Jeep) of around 27,000 pounds (12,700kg). The scenic climb showed off the mountains and geology typical of the Western States. Geology buffs and serious hikers love these ancient canyoned and heavily caved areas. Bluewater Lake Photo Tour
Upon arrival through the run down dreams of many years past, showcased the old abandoned relics of mobile homes from the 1960's, when this dream was conceived as a bright new recreation and retirement resort. The old, totally run down Bluewater Lake Lodge is boarded up now and sagging on its foundation, with a real estate 'For Sale' sign in its driveway, and a horsemans camping facility
Approaching the State Recreation Area, we see a set of signs, confusing as to where to proceed for camping. A turn right choice, marked 'Camping', proved to be a major mistake, when the long abandoned boat launch ramp from years past, loomed in front of the MH with Jeep in tow (No way to back up). The newer Jeep quadra-Drive II system of getting the proper sequence of the Jeeps transfer case out of towing neutral and into drive, proved frustrating to me, so my extremely tech savvy co-pilot, sat with her little owners book and practiced and exercised the electronic 'gear grinding' procedure.
I hiked in the opposite direction, searching for a campsite with electrical power and water. Finally there appeared on a sign near a building indicating Headquarters (closed), a piece of copy paper with small barely readable print, indicating the sites 'possibly' available. No numbers, just the small print layout of the 'Park' roads. 'Unimproved' primitive sites are $10. This State of NM Parks website
Returning to the Jeep, now in 'drive', my co-pilot followed me as I drove the MH through the really primitive (unimproved) campground in reverse of the indicated direction. Luckily the MH fit on the dirt and gravel trail. We used the CB radios to relay observations about the campsites and roads while I parked in the middle of a road that had been last paved many long years ago.
Another very nice 'Dam' camping area is accessable only to large 4x4 trucks with short wheelbase, due to 'imaginative' pavement engineering. Apparently the little red and green 'Reserved' or 'Available' markers on site posts mean absolutely nothing.... unless a little piece of paper with current date (old ones are still in place) is attached.... or the person shows up to claim his 'Reserved' campsite. More about this bizarre system later.
The $14 electric and water site (most always occupied in NM state parks) she picked, was steeply sloped dirt and gravel (Lock brakes and block the front wheels firmly before attempted leveling), on a scenic and panoramic hill, surrounded by Pinon, Cedar and Juniper trees complete with birds. A table and grill are provided on the tent pad.
The beautiful Blue colored Lake could be seen a few hundred yards (500m) down the ancient, steep sandstone slabbed and rocky shoreline. The electrical and water connection made to the coach, we drove the Jeep around this NM 'State Park'. Luckily the Jeep is true 4x4, not just AWD, these frequently muddy trails were dry and rutted into moguls interspersed with miniature canyons.
The trails were all along the old northern shoreline of a drought depleted Lake. Last flow OVER the 90 foot (27m) high dam was in 1941. Rutted, muddy shoreline does not stop the avid camping fishermen parked near the water. The surrounding roads/trails are truly 4x4, and require 'low range' with extremely high clearance to get over the rocky outcroppings. Several very nice, designated as 'improved', desireable camping sites along the upper loop, were completely isolated by poorly engineered and unmaintained access roads, accessable only by high clearance 4x4 trucks and SUV's. Lot's of people love it this way of course. I would have as a young man, but never had much time (worked, supported a family) or had the spare cash to camp back then.
Hiking into the interesting flora and fauna of quiet Bluewater Creek canyon, below the 90 x 500 foot (27 x 152 m) concrete dam, was primitive and rocky. The unique Dam uses a cleverly engineered self siphoning system to control the level of water held behind it. The tricky technology was unknown until engineers finally found the original drawings.
Use a hiking stick, wear high topped aggressive soled boots, to protect from ankle twists, rattler strikes, and cactus. Bring water, NM is hot and dry, you will drink twice your normal consumption. Remember you are at over 7,500 feet (2,286m) altitude and the climb back out of canyons is strenuous.
The hiking trails in NM are poorly marked, very primitive and in isolation, so be alert, pay attention, make notes, and bring a GPS with spare batteries. Do NOT hike into NM backcountry terrain without a compass and a plan. Of course knowledge of how this technology is to be used, also will help you to survive.
To be safe, carry a day pack with overnight shelter provisions, Compass, loud Whistle, LED lights (one miniature bright red flashing), including extra water, basic first-aid and non-perishable energy snacks, Maps are very good if you orient yourself first. Very experienced hikers have disapeared each year, never to be found, among NM's Fascinating
The abandoned boat launch ramp of years past, was hundreds of yds (meters) from the water. A later ramp extended into the lake and was used by a few boaters that day. The lake is used by groups on outings, so the nice two reserved group structures (one Lakeside, one Canyon side) with their large oversized grills, were busy with kids, friends and familys.
The smell of burgers and sound of kids playing and having fun, filled the air. I hiked down across the steep rocky sandstone shoreline to the water, and had to go back up by way of the boat launch ramp. Abandoned, broken concrete walkways and structures from years ago are evident. This park shows State of NM negligence in abundance. Funding for maintenance and dreamed of improvements is gone, due to well publicised political corruption at the NM State level.
After spending one extremely quiet, star emblazoned dark night (bring your star gazing equipment) in this high altitude, relatively 'Primitive' State Park with it's frolicking, dark headed ground squirrels entertaining us during breakfast, we broke camp. Firing up Thunder Pig with Jeep in tow, we crawled away in 1st gear, down the steep, scenic entrance road, stopping to take a few pictures of Mount Taylor visible on the horizon North of Grants NM.
Driving West on I-40 a short distance to Thoreau
Scenery is sweeping with panoramic distance. The ancient Bisti is a Badlands to be remembered, great photos by 'Big Lar'
When Bill Richardson
After topping off the fuel tank, The quiet night was spent in the Farmington 'Sam's parking lot under big trees and a really nice grassy lawn beside the coach. Quite nice really, in comparison to the primitive rocky site at Bluewater State Park. Walmart (one of the busiest in the nation) nearby filled our shopping needs. Sam's lunch counter polish dogs with saurkraut, were our evening meal. I hiked the area of parking lots and stores for my relaxation. Morning sausage bisquits from the McDonalds restaurant nearby, was a treat.
Historic Durango Colorado
Their fuel was even equally priced (a rarity) .... on this trip. Apparently water resource management is non existant in Colorado. The old antiquated 'spray high into the air' overhead sprinkler irrigation systems are clearly evident all throughout this part of Southern Colorado. Must be nice to have so much water that they can literally 'Blow It' into the wind....
Two nights stay in the very nice Alpen Rose RV Park
An industrial area South of town has a large, very busy Home Depo and Walmart as anchors, surrounded by a myriad of other prosperous businesses. The main streets of Durango are only allowed to build, IF the historic 1800's Victorian theme is adhered to. Lots of entertainment in 1800's themed saloons is available for those that appreciate the amentities. Rain was an afternoon occurance with lots of snow seen in the surrounding mountains. We did not go North to Silverton
After filling the LP at Alpen Rose, we headed South toward the Southern end of Navajo Lake State Park in NM
We crossed the massive, very impressive, US Corps of Engineers built, earthen dam. Arriving at the Navajo Dam State Park visitor center (Pine Site), a small print, copy paper Map?
At The Pine River Recreation Area
As soon as I brought the motorhome to the site my co-pilot was holding, a family with a large towed camp trailer showed up. They supposedly had reserved this #36 site, but no one had marked it with 'their' paper (host gone). The stalemate was resolved peacefully when a casual observance by the pleasant young man, revealed that he knew our older son. We put away our guns and knives (just kidding) and he told us about a better 'Improved' (water/electric) #54 nearby campsite often reserved by friends (also not marked with their paper) We quickly took it in the name of the reserved family, after driving off some dismayed squatters, and stayed for three $14 nights. Buddy, the alternate host riding around in his green 'Gator', kept our little papers displayed properly to prevent unnecessary further conflict.
The surrounding familys were nice, friendly and quiet, so sleeping was great. We drove around the rest of the State Park Campground in the Jeep, to find out that it also would have been rated as 'Primitive' in Texas. The word 'Primitive' or 'undeveloped' is used in NM to describe a rough road to a rocky patch of ground for camping. I would call that 'Hobo style' for the homeless anywhere else. In spite of this archaic system, most of these sites are in high demand. 'Improved' sights with power and water are filled quickly by thursday
The NM State Parks Division
Boating and fishing on the three very long 'arms', dammed up lake (only way to have a significant lake in NM), is the main attraction here. Every close campsite had a large boat or it's trailer sitting in it with their camper/truck, or on the roadsides nearby. Getting through this maze with a MH is daunting due to this system ...or lack of. The Navajo Pine River Marina is about a mile (km) or so, down the road, along with one 4x4 detour available to lakeside where we fished for a time.
We drove around to the Sims Marina
We met Patricia's newest young employee, Lucy from Bristol England, (she was a novel 'hit' with the male customers) between waiting on frequent customers buying the 'Roadhouse Stimulous burgers' at two for $5. Or The Roadhouse Roadkill Burger. Lucy enjoys watching vids of Free Running, also known as Parkour. The oil patch surrounds this area, and service personell are endlessly driving their trucks to this remote station for gas, burgers or burrito's. The Trading Post News
The afternoon was spent back in the State Park. I met Tom Ross at the Navajo Lake Marina
One very large deck boat is now partially high aground in the marina after slowly sinking at its bouy. The marina crew called the owner, asking if they should tow it to shallower water near the launch ramp. The owner declined their assistance. It totally sank before the owner showed up days later. It seems the owner gave it to an enterprising fellow after it sank (AFTER the owner had collected his insurance money). The salvage fellow tried to raise it and failed to get it anywhere but hung up on the rocks of the nearby shore with the stern still sunk. The big, hulled boat previously came from a resort in Arizona and had a large insurance policy.
Another story entailed a big engined, go-fast boat just outside of the floating breakwater. Seems the husband always drove the boat, never the wife. One day the wife showed up wearing a 'good' life vest. She got into the boat and gunned it just out of the harbor, but close to the floating breakwater. Before it got up 'on plane', she cut the engine. The stern settled into the water just as the wake followed over the hull. It sank immediately as she swam toward the breakwater. It is still on the bottom where it sank. These are flooded canyons and very deep. Big insurance policy on that one also.
Another involved a big deepwater sailboat more fit for an ocean. The owner called the marina to inform them that it was not seen at the bouy for three days. The marina asked why they were not notified as soon as it was not seen? It was far too large to be removed at the launch dock without anyone taking notice of the huge endeaver.
Suspicious circumstances indicated it is most likely down in over 300 feet of water in the deep river canyon bottom. Insurance was also generous on that one. Boating is a different hobby. I often heard the saying, "The second happiest day of my life was getting my new boat". "My happiest day, was the day I finally sold it". "A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into". Tom also mentioned the frequent occurence of "The insurance papers rubbing together and the friction causing spontaneous combustion aboard some heavily insured boats".
Tom told of seeing the biggest offshore oil rig, 'Bullwinkle'
On Sunday morning we hooked up the Jeep and proceeded East across the scenic expanse with it's massive sky from horizon to horizon, toward Dulce
Rocking and swaying the big rig along the poorly maintained pavement, we approached an oncoming MH of our size. To avoid a mirror to mirror hit, the narrow, poorly paved road, forced us to the extreme edge, which was broken away. The edge of the soft blacktop pavement gave way beneath the right side tires and we dropped off, rocking the entire rig violently and tilting precariously toward the ditch.
As we rolled along, still under power and momentum, the right front tire (new Michelins) eventually climbed back onto the pavement. We sweated that one out as much as the 'Bisti Bounce' experience. On closer inspection along the return trip, I noticed that many, many trucks had done the exact same maneuver and luckily had created a somewhat flat, small graveled shelf, but much lower than the pavement. Of course NM's state highway dept is oblivious to these conditions. Washington DC needs to send Santa Fe Politicos even more 'stimulous'....
One of New Mexico's famous Patron Politicos, Manny Aragon
Las Vegas Nevada knew and loved Manny dearly, an avid lifetime gambler, who always traveled in fine style with his own security detail. He is notorious for his visits to the Casinos (NM has many) His close support for Governor Bill Richardson was legendary. Bill Richardson appointed his many political suporters to generous government posts. Bill appointed Manny as president of NM Highlands University
Bill Richardson was a Bill Clinton era state department appointee. North Korea loved Bill Richardson and Jimmy Carter, they gave NK their Nuclear Reactor, you know, the same Nukes that we are fussing about today. Democrat Bill Richardson ran for US president in 08 and was selected for an appointment by Obama. Bill is now under FBI investigation for similar 'alleged' (pay-to-play) dealings to finance his astronomical political aspirations. According to some unconfirmed reports, it appears that the State of New Mexico has lost about 2 billion of it's tax dollars through corruption laced investments. What is it about these guys?
The NM State Parks and State Highways will some day be rebuilt, when the current Santa Fe regime is finally removed...if ever. They are all powerful Democrats and as is their custom, depend on graft and corruption to maintain their voting base. ACORN and SEIU
The drive south along the heavily flowing Rio Grande River, after meeting the Rio Chama in Espanola, was beautiful and scenic. The yearly thunderheads and their rainstorms were visible all along the route of I-25 south of Santa Fe amid the expanse of horizons in each direction. We drove in rain sporadically and enjoyed it. The yearly average rainfall of our area is approximately 8 inches (20cm) so you enjoy each and every drop.
We will most definetly return to these areas again. There are at least the rest of the 34 NM State Parks to see. We heard that Sugarite Canyon State Park
We stopped at the local Giant station, to fuel up and dump the holding tanks after the 600 mile trip, readying them for the next adventure across our great nation. After pulling onto the lawn (we don't waste water), I washed and waxed the Jeep.. and the Coach for it's back yard storage under a cover.
Travel, Enjoy our "One Nation Under GOD, The United States of America". Vote like your life depended on it...it does.