Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cloudcroft, High Rolls, and Oliver Lee State Park, New Mexico: from high to hot

I spent two peaceful nights and two placid days in Lincoln National Forest. Maybe too placid.

 I took this picture to demonstrate that I am in the street in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. I'm taking a picture and I'm in the street. Where cars might go, if they had a mind to.

No cars here.

I told you earlier that I left my sleeping bag in Las Cruces

Which is why when Drawers, Extreme Cold Weather, still wearing fancy store tags, came my way, I ponied up the cash.

One morning I just decided to leave. So I did. I'd heard of an easy hike down in High Rolls where the air is thicker.

He heard about the hike, too. It took him a long time to boot up.

Salado Canyon. There is a perennial stream here.

Cheeky bird of Salado Canyon
I spent a day in Alamogordo, and a night at the Alamogordo Walmart, which I found uneventful, but unsatisfactory. I've Walmarted in an RV and enjoyed it, but there's something about being in a car that makes it unsettling. I do have privacy curtains, but it was so hot I couldn't bear to put them up all around. So, I scoped out what angle I thought would give me the most privacy AND the most ventilation. I didn't have my anti-train curtains, though.

Also, there's a way I roll out of Spud (not like this) that screams SLEPT IN HERE ↩ There's really no other way to interpret it. So, I woke up before it was light, gathered a few things, then boldly waddled into the restroom.

At the Walmart, I sleep in my clothes. If I'm rousted, I really don't want to roll out of Spud in that distinctive way while wearing my jammies. I have my pride. Well, I have dignity, at least. Look, I just don't want to be rousted in my duck jammies.

I was trying to decide where to go next, and decided on Oliver Lee State Park. I wanted to relax somewhere, and this park is somewhere.

 I watched this wall of dust approach for a while. Then it shifted and sandblasted someone else.

 At the same time,  I watched this storm approach. It didn't miss us.

All is forgiven! Come back out and play!

 No, really! We're good! It's a rainbow! [WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?]

Oliver Lee S.P. is snuggled right up next to the Sacramento range, about 4500 feet lower than Cloudcroft. Air is plenty thick here.

I didn't have a thermometer, my my sweatometer estimated high 90's to 100°. Oliver Lee has very nice showers which I used with gleeful abandon. I used the flush toilets the same way. No, wait, that doesn't sound right...

I want to head up into the Gilas next. So, it only makes sense, that is to say, it's logical, I mean, it's the sensible thing to do to go through Las Cruces, where happy hour happens. Luxury's lap, you know.

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Donna K said...

Didn't your mom ever teach you not to play in the street? I'm glad you made it to Somewhere and if Somewhere doesn't suit, there's always Somewhere Else. I love the late sun on the mountain - gorgeous light and the rainbow is great. The rainbow video however is, uh, um, just a little um, well, I better leave that one alone!!

Sue Soaring Sun said...

Here's a resource that may help you decide where to go in the Gilas and elsewhere in your travels...up-to-date info on forest fires.

I've seen some pretty amazing pics lately taken in TorC, with smoke from the Silver fire.

You sound like you could use a hug, ((((Roxanne)))).

Lisa said...

Gorgeous photos Roxi! Gila should be cooler. There were some nice looking forest service campgrounds on Hwy 35 and Hwy 15 North of Silver showers though.

ain't for city gals said...

Don't give up...if it was easy everyone would be living in their car!...I would head for high elevations in Colorado...away from the fires...over the pass...about 9500' feet elevation.

Al Bossence said...

Say 'hello' to Oliver Lee State Park for us. We overnighted there back in the fall of 07 one time. Been many, many, years since I tried sleeping in my car. Woke up about an hour after I went to sleep & drove a couple hours home..........

Kate said...

Just don't ask that critter how he keeps track of all those legs. Always messes me up, anyways.

Nancy said...

You will find your groove. Go to Las Cruces for happy hour and your sleeping bag and/or to trade the spud for a sweet potato(a van). Just a thought.

Lynne (WinnieViews) said...

I need to revisit Oliver Lee SP and Alamagordo. Completely missed Kitty City (Millie must have erased it from my map to point me only to doggy destinations).

Well your logical plan to go thru Las Cruces before going to higher ground makes sense. No poor WalMart security guard wants to rouse a sleepy duck in her extreme cold weather drawers in the middle of the night. Best to go retrieve that missing sleeping bag and head to the mountains!

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

If you're headed up Gila way, stop in at Chloride, for sure!

SwankieWheels said...

Hey, head on up to Flagstaff AZ and join the RTR. Cooler there and I think the "friendship" time would be good for you... lots of free hugs. I won't be there as in two days I'm leaving ID and heading out to hug my two grandbabies in Wenatchee, WA. Great photos, really.

Desert Diva said...

Hey, "happy hour" is a way of life here at "Casa de Cheryl!" ;-)

Gaelyn said...

I sure like the glow you got at somewhere, followed by the special rainbow gift. Definitely need higher elevation and away from fire. Happy hour sounds good, for both of you.

VtChris said...

Go to Heron Lake State Park, but wait till after the 4th unless you like no-see-ums. But really...go there....I spent 3 months there last summer, volunteered at the visitor center....btw, they can always use volunteers and they are really really good to them. Don't apply, just go see the park super.

Dragonfly said...

Loved the rainbow video. Do you have a posting of what camera you use? Your shots are beautiful, I know its not all equipment, its feeling and intuition but I still want to know.

Cj Cozygirl said...

WHAT a BLUE sky!!! That's sure a sweet looking town....NM on the top of my list for sure! Good thing you can tumble dry those puppies...hate to have to swing out the window driving down the highway :O)

John and Pam ( said...

Sounds like you are working this car thing out just fine. Enjoy your travels and be safe:)

Rick Doyle said...

Great photos! I'm trying to think how strange it would feel to wake up in a Walmart parking lot having slept in a car all night! I admire your courage and tenacity.

However, it would take monumental courage to walk into Walmart in the wee hours wearing 'duck jammies'.

Contessa said...

Love the photos. Too bad about the Walmart experience, did you even sleep? At least you could use the restrooms. Happy hour sounds like a plan.

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Contessa. I did sleep after all, and I imagine not all Walmart sleeps are alike. I think just because there was only one RV in the lot, and no separate place to gather, it felt like I wasn't exactly supposed to be there.

Thanks, Rick! It felt odd - does that help? :o) And, well, Walmart isn't famous for its dress code for nothin'!

Thanks, Pam! It does feel like there's a workable system, and I keep tweaking it. Yesterday I rearranged again and found a cubic foot of unused space. So I went shopping.

CJ, the corresponding mental image for "tumbling dry" is just about as disconcerting.

Dragonfly, I haven't posted much about it - it's just a Pentax Optio RZ18, a belt-loop point-and-shoot. Thank you!

Chris, thanks for that tip! Sounds great, and I like stories of well-treated volunteers.

Yep, Gaelyn! Gotta get higher! Viva la Happy Hour. Not that I have to get high at happy hour...

I like this standard of living, Cheryl.

I thought about that, Swankie. One of these days I'm going to get myself to an RTR. Enjoy the grandbabies!

Okay, Cyndi - will do. I remember you writing good things about it.

Lynne, dogs are cunning that way. But, appease her by getting her something nice at Classy Cats - they have dog accessories, too. Alamogordo is kind of a nice town - I would certainly go back.

Haha Nancy! Sweet Potato! That's cute.

Inoright? I've got two of 'em, Kate, and I can barely keep things right. left. right. left.

Al, I imagine Oliver Lee really shines in the fall. It was okay in my book even now. I'm surprisingly comfortable sleeping in Spud - she's kinda like a cave at night. Plus, I have a cushy sleeping mat.

AFCG, that's the truth! Once they figured out they could go anywhere, what would stop people from doing this? Walking away from stifling jobs and existential ennui. Civilization as we've come to accept it would crumble. But, first: get higher! I think I may be a natural desert rat, but another 2500 feet couldn't hurt.

Lisa, thanks for the tip! Were there vault toilets? I can do just fine with modern facilities, and I'm equipped to deal if I'm completely alone. It's the in-between states that stymy me. I'll watch for those FS areas - thank you.

Thank you for that site, Sue. You know, I have that link right here, but I haven't looked at it - duh. I'll keep a closer eye out as I move into areas. Once I got out of Walmart's parking lot, I felt a lot huggeder - thanks!

Donna, I hope that video made you laugh. The longer I listened to it, the harder I laughed. And, I wanted the same mushroom he was enjoying.

Geri Moore-Hajek said...

I agree with Cyndi with regards to Chloride! Also, if you just follow the road through Chloride, you will enter Chloride Canyon with lots of boondocking opportunities (but not shopping so come well stocked!). The canyon is beautiful, but not the road, it is a bit rough and hopefully The Spud has high enough clearance for some of the rocky areas, but the drive through is so worth all the bumps! Also, north of Alamogordo is 3 rivers... and if you head into the mountains following the road past the petroglyphs, lots of cool mountain air and boondocking there as well.

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks for the ideas, Geri! Spud is not very well vertically-endowed, IF you know what I'm sayin', so I'd have to eyeball the road first. But, have bucket, will travel!

Anonymous said...

That's an excellent millipede you found there.

Pam said...

Hi Roxanne,

I just replied to your comment on my blog but I thought I'd pop over and give you some tips on the NM state parks we've visited. We have stayed at Bottomless Lakes, Lake Sumner ans Storrie and driven through Morphy Lake, Brantley and Villanueva.

We loved Bottomless Lakes but it was hot there a month ago. They have a nice beach and swimming area so at least you can cool down. It's about 15 miles to Roswell and lots of fun stuff to do there.

We liked Storrie and Sumner also. We need an electric site and they aren't the nicest but there should be lots of nice sites for you and Spud. Morphy Lake was beautiful but to small for us. It would be perfect for you. Villanueva was pretty but it was down in a valley and really trapped the heat. We're going to wait for Fall for that one.

The only one we didn't like was Santa Rosa and I think that is just because we were hot and tired the day we drove through. We'll give it another chance though because it's so convenient to I40. We have been able to use our Verizon hot spot at all of the ones we've stayed in plus Bottomless had free wifi.

Hope this helps!

wheelingit said...

Lovely pics...but too HOT!! Gotta get UP my dear...up,up,up.

If you're going to Gila Cliff Dwellings you can boondock all around the forest there. We saw several spots large enough for us, both lower down and at the very top just south of the dwellings (Forks Campground is FREE -> I seem to remember toilets too).

On the way to Gila, City of Rocks State Park is very, very cool but will be very, very hot (if that makes any sense). You might be able to find a shaded rock-spot however. It is a pretty amazing spot.


Good Luck Duck said...

Pam, emailed you - THANK YOU for sharing this info. Knowing this kind of stuff really helps me.

Nina - toilets! You're my Comfort Station heroine! These Forest Service pages are awesome. I think it was probably very, very hot at Oliver Lee, too (no thermometer), but if I can find shade and water I'll be okay at City of Rocks. At least for a day. Then I'll get grouchy and I won't get along well with me, then I'll have to move on.

intrepid-decrepit-traveler said...

Beautiful pics!

Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Rob! There are more where all of him came from.

Good Luck Duck said...

Thank you, Nickie. I had good models.