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New Mexico


View Nomad life 2020 on Oceansview's travel map.

Heading further east, I landed in White Sands, NM.

New Mexico has some pretty strict restrictions for COVID (yay! good leadership!!) that prevent out of state people from reserving sites at their state parks. So I landed at a KOA. To be fair, all KOA folks that I've met are wonderful folks. I just prefer to not be in a parking lot if possible. Oh well.

White Sands/Alamogordo

I decided to give myself permission to relax for a few days. Every day in Arizona, I was running off after a full day of work each day to take in the sights. While that is one of the goals of my trip, I also need to have days that I'm not running around. So despite being in a place on a weekend day, I relaxed more and didn't go see things right away. Instead, decided to give you an update on camper life.

Camper Life

My friend gave me a gift before leaving Compton of a little egg souffle maker. He thought it would be good since its so small. And let me say, IT IS! I don't make eggs every morning, but its really nice to throw eggs in a device and not have to watch it.

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I use my inductive stove top a lot for my various one pot meals (I'm getting to be quite the expert), but I also use the single propane burner every day to make coffee. I found this great collapsible pour over thing that has made having fresh coffee every day possible.
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I also boil water at night to wash the dishes. Having only a small sink with a direct connection to a hose (if available) doesn't allow for hot water. So twice a day this is my view.

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I mentioned I'm getting to be a fairly good one pot chef. Key is to just put things together that taste good even if occasionally you have to remove to cook a different part of the meal. Chicken sausage and sauerkraut are some of my favorite go-tos.
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Another fairly easy classic (and bonus of only needing to keep one of the ingredients in the fridge) is chili. I use ground turkey for my meat and the rest is canned goods and onion.
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However, it has now been zero days since a red sauce incident. At least with this one, Milo could help clean up.
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Lincoln National Forest

The first couple of days I was in the area, weather was not the greatest, which probably contributed to me be lazy. After work on Monday, I decided to drive through the Lincoln National Forest.
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The snow was beautiful and as typical, Milo could care less that a strong wind was blowing and freezing. He is also NOT scared of heights if a good smell is involved.
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There aren't many photos because the road didn't have many pull over spots. There were also some not cleared parts, so driving was the priority. I'm glad we went through because it was a beautiful drive.

Bloomfield

After a week in White Sands area, it was time to move up north. On the drive up I stopped a 2 of the 3 Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument sights. These are Spanish Mission locations that built these sites in partnership with the Pueblo people built in the early 1600s.
The first place I stopped was Gran Quivira.
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The churches were the main part of the community and the biggest building.
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Underground kivas, usually circular were allowed to remain even though they were used for dancing for the Pueblo peoples rituals.
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The second location was farther north and I had a chance to stop into the visitor's center. I've been excited when National Parks are open so I can get my official stamps. And I was able to get THREE here! You get the general one from Salinas and then one for each sight you visit. The third site was in a different direction so I didn't make it to that one.
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The different brick colors were rather interesting. Even though they are not very far apart its apparent of the different materials that are available. This one was also a lot larger and had an area for inquisitions. The Pueblo people were not ever tried for an inquisition, but they could act as witnesses.

Day of Disappointment

I got to Bloomfield and headed to the RV park. The owner had called me a couple days before to let me know that he would bring fresh water down to me since he didn't have a potable line. I thought..ok, its a slight hassle but its fine. Then as I was getting close to town he calls to check on when I will arrive. I was about an hour out. He said he would leave several jugs of water for me. I asked him to make sure to leave the bathroom unlocked. He then said he didn't have bathrooms. ... I told him his website indicated that he did. Oh yeah..he had port-a-potties but they had started freezing so he returned them. I asked exactly what I was paying him for since I could pee in the woods for free. Needless to say, I cancelled and found another park driving into town.

The next morning I got up excited to go see Mesa Verde. I have become more intrigued with the Pueblo peoples and how they were able to work with the land verses our current way of exploiting the land. The drive up had some icy areas, which I'm never a fan of, but made it to the park. Got to the check-in point and was told they weren't allowing anyone without 4-wheel drive or snow chains to enter because of the roads not being in great condition. So we turned around. I saw that there were some more Pueblo sites not far and headed towards those. Turning down a snow packed road, I got to enjoy the view of unblemished snow fields.
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When I was about 1/4-1/2 mile from the site, the road was no longer snow packed, but about 2 feet deep with a single set of tire tracks. I turned around again, disappointed. Now yes, I could have hiked along the tire tracks, but I did not bring snow boots with me.

I then decided to drive to Four Corners. Another landmark I have wanted to see. I knew it was not in the mountains so the roads should be fine. The drive was again beautiful with gorgeous formations.
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As I got to the turnoff, there were large signs saying CLOSED and a gate was shut and locked across the road. Four corners in located on a Reservation. I cannot blame the Native Americans at all for wanting to keep the white folks out. I mean we have given them enough illnesses and problems.

At this point it was mid afternoon. I was very disappointed to not have seen any of the places I set out to see. I decided to find a place that had Navajo tacos as something to not be disappointed about and was finally successful. Headed back to the RV park to enjoy my taco and do some more sewing. I am getting close to finishing my current cross stitch project. And I wanted to enjoy something after my very disappointing day.

Aztec Ruins and Simon Canyon

The next day, I woke up determined to see something! I had passed the Aztec Ruins sign on my way to Mesa Verde yesterday, so decided to try it out. We headed out early and I had a nice time with the park completely to myself. Milo wasn't allowed to explore so he napped in the car.
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The majority of the ruins have been maintained by the Park service and they reconstructed the main Kiva so show what it would have looked like when it was used. This would have been the main worship area.
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The remainder of the ruins showed a very community driven way of life and a very practical way to share resources. Living spaces were small connected rooms that shared wall similar to apartments. I was very impressed with the amount of original features that have survived the passing of time.
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The broom and mat were found with the original ruins and have not been moved.

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I stayed in Bloomfield for a couple of more days before moving on. It was nice and is now on the list to re-visit post pandemic in order to see all the things I want to see.

Taos

Several people have told me that I needed to see Taos, so I rented a small AirBnB to get out of the wind and cold for a few days. It was definitely the right decision as 2 of the nights I was there the wind was really ripping through and I'm not sure my little camper would have done well. It was also nice to have indoor plumbing again. Walking outside in the cold to go to the bathroom is not my favorite activity. I probably partially dehydrate myself in order to reduce the possibility of a late night trip. Anyway--don't need to worry about that for a few days!

The historical plaza of Taos was really cute, but also depressing. Many of the shops are closed (possibly permanently) and there were no people. I know its off season and folks are being careful, but to not see anyone out walking was sad.
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Taos will be another place that I come back to visit. I can see how it can have such personality.

Earthship and the Gorge

On my drive into town, I saw a little house built into the earth and thought--OH its one of those cool houses I've read about. Then as I drove a little more, I saw it was an entire community of eco-friendly houses!! I also drove over the beautiful gorge and knew those would be my first explored places. My first day after work, the weather was pretty crappy, but I drove out to Earthship. They have an entire Visitor's center set up to explain how everything works. From building the walls out of tires and adobe mud to the water system (used multiple times before going to the septic tank). It is such a cool concept and I can see building one or buying one in retirement. Living off grid with a low carbon footprint in any place seems pretty ideal.

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I then drove back over to the Gorge after a freezing rain and high wind event hit me leaving Earthship (that's why there aren't more outdoor pics). I arrived just in time to see a rainbow.
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The gorge is another amazing natural feature and has a nice hiking trail, but with the rain and the mud, we decided to pass.
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I enjoyed my northern New Mexico adventure, but was ready to not deal with rain/sleet/snow for a while.

Off to enjoy the next view!
Ocean

Posted by Oceansview 18:24

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