Return to A Deliberate Year

Moving On

28 Sep 04
Haviland Lake

It's been a lovely and a lazy stay here. But over the last week there's been two snowstorms just 10 miles from here, up in the pass. It's below freezing at night. And for the last three days it's been raining down here.

Time to move on.

I've done what I wanted. Taken a deliberate approach to traveling. A week here, two weeks there. Three weeks at Haviland. Between breaking my big toe and learning to use the hammock, I've perforce gotten a bit of sitting and reading done, when not at nap practice. This rigorous discipline has kept my gas bills under $200 a month.

Even at 8 mpg.

Too much deliberation, however, is the opposite of travel. Tomorrow I'm headed down to Albuquerque, to take in the hot air balloon festival. Perhaps I can convince someone that I'd make a lively bit of ballast.

30 Sep 04 Chaco Canyon New Mexico

Got here yesterday, late afternoon. The last 20 miles at 10 mph, over a rain-rutted washboard dirt road that put the test on the permanence of my fillings. Amazing I went that fast. In places, the steering wheel almost jerked completely out of my hands.

There's only one campground at Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Thank God it wasn't full. I'd hate to go back down that road in the dark.

Last evening at sunset a spectacular storm swept through the buttes, with a roaring wind that sent camp chairs tumbling through the sagebrush. Not that much actual water, though. Whatever the details of the religion practiced by the Anasazi here, it had to deal with angry skies and not much rain.

I took the tour of Pueblo Bonito today. These people built solid. The architecture is ceremonial, aligned to the sun at the equinoxes. It is also whimsical at times, with the occasional door stuck up in a corner. The guide said the larger rooms, up to 10 feet high, were used as granaries. This guide was knowledgeable, and took many questions in stride. He was an unpaid volunteer.

Expertise wasn't enough to please everyone, though. I overheard one old grump fussing to his wife on the way back to the parking lot:

"I like'em to be in uniform. And with a haircut. The Parks are all going straight to hell."

I suspect this same guy voted for the people that cut park funding. He was lucky to get a volunteer to talk to him, long hair or not. Otherwise he'd be even more pissed off, wandering around down here with a squinty look and a printout.

It's been mostly peaceful in the campground this afternoon. After the abundant green of Colorado, it's entertaining just to sit and watch the light change on the canyon walls.

But not entirely peaceful. For half an hour everybody got to join in the Great Kitten Hunt. A guy with a British accent wandered disconsolately from site to site carrying a short rope with a tiny collar dangling down from the end of it. Kitty had slipped the noose, and gone off hunting in the rocks. My neighbor cheered the guy up with tales of the voracious fox and bobcat hordes lurking hungrily on the bluffs above.

Then we all formed a posse and went meowing around. I'm happy to say that the little black thing was finally found mewling under a motorhome.

2 Oct 04 Fenton Lake State Park New Mexico

The electric sites here at the park are a bargain at $14. The place was empty when I drove in. They had a bad fire here a couple of years ago, that swept right down to the south side of the lake. As a result, they've been thinning trees over on this side, and there is a plenitude of firewood for the cutting. I laid about mightily with the chain saw, piled the truck high with logs.

Some of it was greener inside than I liked, so I spent an hour splitting it into sticks of a size likely to dry sometime this century.

Later in the evening Friday, as you might expect, the sites filled up with several large families. Lots of screaming kids chasing around scaring each other in the dark. This went on till around 11, when the ranger came by and told them to shut it down. One of the advantages of having the ranger live right up the hill.

Tomorrow I'm moving back down to Jemez Springs. I passed by several quiet looking sites on the way up yesterday. Seems like I spend half my time just hunting for a quiet place in the woods, and the other half gathering firewood.

Hunter-gatherer, that's me. Travel sure is exciting.

But it is also mundane, and anyone who doesn't think so hasn't done much of it. Even life out here in the passing lane still has to be maintained. Water has to be found, and propane, and groceries, and occasionally an electric outlet. Laundry still piles up.

Which reminds me.


Return to Around the Campfire
Comments are welcome in the rec.outdoors.rv-travel newsgroup,
or to
© Copyright 2003-2008 Bob Giddings, All Rights Reserved
Webspace provided by Arcata Pet Supplies