Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico January 13th until January 21st 2018
Saturday , January 13th we get up before 7 am. I want to do my laundry early. Then perhaps Dick can put the clothes in the dryers while I skype with auntie Ank and everything will be clean in the morning. After an hour chit chatting, we have so much to talk about, we have breakfast, fold our clean clothes and after that we go to the office on the campground to book a rental car in Baltimore. We already tried to do this at Mike and Susan’s place but that did not work out.
Now it does and after checking our mail and chatting with the manager, we walk back to our spot to enjoy the warm sun and chocolate milk. At 2 pm we walk to the bus stop on Boulder Hwy and take the bus to the strip (with a senior card).
We get off at the Fashion Center because I want to look around at Calvin Klein and Macy’s. Unfortunately the warm down jackets are sold out but I manage to buy two new sports tops. We also look for sportswear for Dick but we do not find a nice one. Of course we also stop at the Apple store to see my future laptop (Mike advised me which one to buy).
After scanning all the shop-windows for bargains, we walk to the Strip. It’s completely dark now and all the lights are on. It never bores to walk around and look at other people and we enjoy the warm evening, it’s 62 degrees and no wind. Again we cannot resist the Outback steak restaurant when we arrive there at 7 pm. As always the steak taste good and satisfied we take the bus back to the campground at 9pm.
Sundaymorning we leave Las Vegas. We drive only till Washington, near St George, UT. We may stay at the parking lot of Walmart, although there are threatening signs that overnight staying is not allowed. Of course, we search some caches and shop around at Walmart. I never get bored of looking around in shops, especially when there is a clearance. I find good looking sport pants for Dick and he says its acceptable (he never says: oh great) and at 7pm we walk to the Royal Thai. Unfortunately, this very good Thai restaurant is closed on Sundays. We could have saved this trip. But there is a Sonic nearby and we find out the burgers here are excellent, so we still enjoy good food.
Monday, January 15th the weather is disappointing. We’ve been spoiled with every day a blue sky and sun and this grey look doesn’t really appeal to us. Soon we drive over the plains, north of the Grand Canyon, heading East, through Grand Staircase Escalante to Page.
Before we arrive there, we first look or Riley and Karen are at home, so we take the road through Glenn Canyon National Recreation area. Unfortunately, they are not at home, nor on their work because all government buildings are closed on Martin Luther King Day. But we enjoy the wonderful view over the Lake and the rocks around. After some shopping we arrive at Walmart where we will stay. I have to translate our website and Dick will do our administration. While I work on my laptop a car is parked next to our RV. It’s Riley and Karen. They saw our RV standing at the parking lot when they passed by to do some shopping. How fun, now we can still meet. After several hours of chatting and socializing we really have to say goodbye to each other. This trip we will not meet each other but in the coming years when they find some property in Washington state (now they are full timers) we hope to see them again.
After Riley and Karen left another visitor arrives, Lissa from Minnesota. With her husband Marty they travel a few weeks. Lissa loves to see our RV. We talk about the different models and also look at their RV, it has a lot of living room and a large garage. We exchange information and Lissa will sent us addresses of second hand motorhomes sellers. It is now 9 pm and we eat only some meatballs. We are not hungry anymore.
After a clear night with a lot of stars we wake up at 8 am on Tuesday. Driving over a high plateau, we leave Page but are still in Indian country. The landscape, first rocky becomes flat, this part of the country is little inspiring. Although we drive on a high plateau of 5575 feet, we only see one coyote and every now and then a passing car.
Luckily, just before we arrive in New Mexico we drive along a National Historic Site, the Hubbell Trading Post. It is one of the few remaining real working Trading Posts. A lot of Indian cars stop here. We see a movie and hear the history about this trading post and then go inside. It’s fun to look around, feel the creacking floor and I immediately fell in love with some rugs. But the price doesn’t suit me, $545 for a rug with the dimensions of a bathroom rug is really too much, even if it is handmade. After making many pictures of this special Trading Post we drive the last part through Navajo country to Gallup, NM, where we park at Walmart. We are in the middle of Indian country, if you are white you are a minority. For the first time we are bothered by people, begging for money.
There are a lot of security camera’s on this parking lot. Not for nothing. At 4.30 pm the sun disappears behind the mountains and it’s getting cold, really cold. Fortunately our heating works well so we don’t suffer from the cold. (06)Wednesday early in the morning I chat again with my auntie Ank before we continue. Outside it is icy cold, the RV is covered with ice is hanging around like a stalactite, it remains cold although the sun is shining and the sky is blue, like the previous days. We are on our way to Albuquerque and Interstate 40 is the only option to go so we drive this more boring route to the East. After a stop at an outpost where we see fireworks, open and exposed next to the T-shirts, in the shop, (in Holland firework has to be stored inside a bunker at night) we continue our trip through Indian country (of course I have to say, native country).
Around 2 pm we arrive in Bernalillo, a town just north of Albuquerque where we find a public campground. It is a nice place next to the Rio Grande and we decide to stay here overnight. Every place has Wi-Fi so Dick can also publish on our website. The temperature is still very low, around 34 degrees, so we don’t sit outside and even a walk around is only comfortable with a thick layer of clothing. But Iris and Robert in Houston, Texas, tell us that all the roads around Houston are impassable because of ice rain. It is even colder there than in Alaska. With our blue sky and shining sun we cannot really complain about the weather.
When we get up on Thursday morning it is only 28 degrees and large icicles are hanging at the RV. Fortunately, the sun shines again so after dumping and refilling water we take a shortcut through the Jemez Mountains.
This road is narrow and winds its way up to over more than 8855 feet, but the sun is shining, the road surface dry and the sky blue. It doesn’t look that bad weather is on the way. After driving through a magnificent crater (a new National Preserve) and again climbing a ridge, we even cross a pass of 9115 feet, we arrive in Los Alamos, also called: Atomic City.
In June 1942 started in this remote area of New Mexico the Manhattan Project led by Dr.Oppenheimer. It was given the responsibility to design and built an atomic bomb. After a lot of research, they managed to construct the first atomic bomb. On July 16th 1945 this bomb was tested on a place further South in New Mexico (the White Sands Missile Range) and after that, early August, 2 atomic bombs exploded above Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ended World War II. In the Bradbury Science Museum the entire history is told and thanks to some good movies that time revives.
We stay several hours hanging out in this town, with its “secret” past and at 4 pm we drive to Bandelier National Monument. To get there we need to cross the property of the “National Labatories, whereas in the forties still many” secret “and also very advanced research is done. That means that our RV is inspected and we have to show our drivers licence but after that we may continue our way to Juniper campground in Bandelier National Monument. There are only 6 people in the campground.
Although it’s only 40 degrees there is no wind so we can stay at our campfire for a few hours and enjoy the falling night and the heat of the fire. And of course we drink a glass of wine because our friend Rieta and Loes (Dick’s sister) celebrates their birthdays in Holland. Around 9 am the next morning we drive to the Visitor Center and get directions leading us to Frijoles Canyon and the cliff dwellings there.
It’s still quiet in the park and that’s great because now we have all the time to stroll along the Cliff dwellings of the Anasazi People. On different places you can climb the rocks over wooden ladders and see the homes and holy places of the former Indians. Slowly we walk along the steep uprising rocks, climb the wooden ladders and, finally, we go to an elevated balcony house.
To get there you need to climb 4 steep and high ladders. In many other area’s it’s not allowed to enter these places, not even with a guide and here you can climb around on your own. I love Bandelier National Monument! It’s not surprising that people lived here because there is a small river in this canyon and the sun is shining on the south wall so even in winter the temperature is pleasant.
At some point where we have to climb up and down the ladders, it’s so warm that we take off our down Jackets. Around two pm we drive back to our campground. We decide to stay another night and the rest of the day we enjoy the campground. It’s not bad, the Sun is shining and because of the lack of wind it’s good to sit outside. Once again we have to write and Dick has to take care of our pictures. Of course, at 4.30 pm we lit our woodfire, the sun is almost down and without this fire it’s not agreeable to sit outside. The flames flares high because our wood is dry and we enjoy the falling night. At 7 pm we go inside. We don’t want to cook after all the toasts with brie we got so we only take a sandwich and some yoghurt. We have a good sleep on this really quiet campground.
Saturdaymorning January 20th the sun rises above the horizon at 7.30 am and immediately it heats up. Unlike yesterday, last night it wasn’t below 32 degrees. At sunrise it’s 36 degrees, but when we leave at 9 am it’s already 50 degrees. The entrance to Bandelier is closed. Why?? Slowly we drive to Santa Fe, a nice town where unfortunately we find no parking place close to the city centre. We drive along an idyllic square full of Indians offering their goods under the arcades and we see small shops with splendid works of art. Too bad that we do not have a parking spot so we cannot walk around. We drive to Santa Rosa where we want to dive in the Blue Hole. We’ve been here before but it was never possible to obtain a dive permit, but now we can. Dick empty our garage, of course our diving gear is at the bottom. When all our diving gear is outside we can’t find our diving suits. Again, we turn everything upside down and look in all corners, holes and cabinets of our RV.
After a long search we still cannot find our suits. Or we lost them along the way (it should not be possible) or they are still at home, that’s weird too because why forget suits while you take all your diving equipment with you? It makes no sense. But the suits are not there so we bring our tanks back to the rental and have one last look at the Blue Hole before we leave and drive to Santa Rosa State park. Once we will succeed in making a dive here. Although the sun is still shining there is a chilly breeze so we stay inside our RV on the campground. Sundaymorning January 21st, we try to skype early morning. Unfortunately our MiFi doesn’t work but after Dick installs a new prepaid card, our old one was finished, we have MiFi again and at 8 am I can chat with auntie Ank. After breakfast we dump and fill up water. It’s not really fun because it is freezing cold. The chill factor of the strong wind makes the temperature feel like it’s far below zero and the real temperature is 34 degrees. Our fingers are numb just because of the dumping.
Over a quiet road we head west. To the “Cache Across America, New Mexico” somewhere South of Albuquerque. It storms so hard that our RV feels like a ship in a raging sea with huge waves. Although we still have a steel blue sky with plenty of sun, in the distance we see gray clouds and when we are near Mountainair, NM, snow is hunted through the streets. Fortunately this snowdrift don’t last very long and when we go further south, after hours of driving in the great nothing, we finally arrive at the Cache Across America.
Here is really nothing except a huge herd of Pronghorns and the sun shines again. Fortunately, the cache is there. Slowly we continue our way to the South and we stop near Carrizozo on BLM land, next to a lava field, where we spend the night.
All services are closed, BLM land is closed! Near the pay station and the restrooms are notes that you don’t have to pay when there is a shut down so we keep our money in our pocket. Now we understand why Bandelier was also closed. Unfortunately it is still freezing cold outside so we have to stay inside the RV instead of sitting near a campfire with view over the lavafields.