Saturday 10 November 2007

Goodbye Palo Duro Canyon, We'll Miss You! Now in Tijeras, NM

Today is my brother-in-law's birthday so Happy Birthday John! Hope it isn't too cold in Ottawa.

We were sad to bid goodbye to Palo Duro Canyon. We really enjoyed our time there in spite of my back problems. Here's a couple of last photos from the Canyon.

Our truck, Big Larry for those of you who haven't been introduced did a good job pulling Big Harv (our 5er) out of the Canyon but there was some strain involved!

We left the dump station in the Canyon at 9:30 a.m. and the truck was registering 55F (13C) under bright, sunny skies. It took us 15 minutes to get from the dump station to the road and were soon merrily on our way. We are now in the Mountain Time Zone so for those of you in the Eastern time zone, we're now 2 hours behind you.

It was interesting to see the terrain and vegetation change as we headed toward New Mexico. Just before we got to the border of New Mexico we started to see lots of cactus, mostly of the cholla variety as well as some scrub trees.

This was different from the plains of Texas where mostly everything is flat. As we proceeded into New Mexico we started climbing and climbed to about 7,000+ feet just before we reached our destination when we lost about 300 feet. We are now around 6,700 feet at Tijeras, NM which is just to the east of Albuquerque, NM.

This is Mesa Redonda at 5,052 feet.

Lots of bales of cotton ready to go and be processed.

A windmill in a typical New Mexico setting.

Mountains as we're approaching Tijeras.

We arrived here at around 1:45 p.m. Mountain time. Hidden Valley Resort, Inc. is a Passport America RV park so we wound up paying $20 for two nights. The park is on different levels. We're on the top level so we could access the satellites. The sites are quite close together and it's not a place where I'd want to spend a lot of time and quite a letdown from Palo Duro which to use Howard Payne's phrase ( definitely had the "it" factor. However we do have 50 amp service and we're here and set up so all is well. And here's our site.

Since we're now in the mountains, the temperature will be cooler registering about 65F (18C) when we arrived. The temperature is to drop to near freezing tonight.

We're here mainly to get the scheduled service done on the truck and get the laundry done. I also have some mail to post so will have to find a post office. Back to the mundane things from our little vacation in the Canyon!

Winding Down Palo Duro (TX)

Thanks to Norman of blog I Am Norman for the information on restaurants and the chiropractor recommendation in this area. It always helps to have someone who knows the area advise you on such things. Unfortunately by the time I got the information is was too late for either as we're due to leave this beautiful place tomorrow.

I did manage a brief walk this morning and actually walked a bit on one of the trails behind the RV. I was pretty stiff from my walk yesterday so did another couch potato imitation today. I did manage to make my Hamburger Stew only this time I put in half ground turkey.

The weather here is turning. Except for one day we've had temperatures during the day in the high 70s and 80s. However, they're expecting rain on Monday and temperatures will start to turn cooler so it's a good time to leave.

The plan is to make Albuquerque tomorrow for a couple of night's stay at Hidden Valley Ranch RV Resort just east of Albuquerque at Tijeras, NM. However, as you all know, plans change but right now that's what we planning. I haven't made reservations nor will I until we're on the
road and within an hour or two of our destination. There's another park we stayed at last time which is west of town however this time we're heading south from Albuquerque as we want to spend a few days at Caballo Lake. We were told about this RV park by someone staying at Double M RV Resort in Lindsay, ON last year and we wanted to check it out.

There is a National Wildlife Refuge called Bosque del Apache near there where the sandhill cranes come on their migration this week and Gordon would like to be there, camera in hand. Other photographer friends, Gayle and Breland whom we met in Louisiana last year are there.

So that's our ideas for the next few days.

Friday 9 November 2007

A Little Action!

OK, so get your minds out of the gutter folks. It just means I did more than lay on the couch today although I did do that for part of the day.

Mid-afternoon I decided I wanted to try and do a trail so we set out for the Paseo Del Rio Trail. I managed to walk for about half an hour. This trail is supposed to go beside the river but it passes closer to the road than to the river in most spots. We did get to see the river at one point but it's little more than a creek although it is one of the forks near the source of the Red River.

I was only going to go a little ways and be sure I was okay to walk back to where we started however since we were so close to the road, I probably walked farther than I should have but stopped at the Chinaberry Day Use Area. Gordon continued walking back to the truck and picked me up there. Luckily there were all kinds of deer at Chinaberry this afternoon, see photos below. The last photo is full frame in my camera he was so close to me. Gordon was walking and aiming him in my direction.

I even got the photo below of the deer standing on his hind legs eating leaves off the tree.

They didn't appear to be afraid, only mildly cautious.

On our drive back we saw an artist out painting some of the beautiful scenery and the farthest end of the park. This place is very inspirational for artists and photographers. There's literally a photo everywhere you look.

Glad I could get off my hiney and do something!

Thursday 8 November 2007


This morning when I got up Gordon said that he was going to do the Lighthouse trail and would wait for me if I wanted to go. I said I'd try it but when brushing my teeth my lower back went out. It was so painful I could hardly move! How can that happen just brushing my teeth?

I told him to go ahead. So after he got me set up in my chair with my massage cushion, away he went. He did ask several times if I was sure I didn't want him to stay and take me to a chiropractor. Psychological? Sure hope that's all it is.

I took a muscle relaxant and retired to the couch where I've been all day.

Gordon made it home around 12:30 p.m. He made it close enough to the Lighthouse to get a photo. Since I haven't been off the couch all day, I had to borrow one of his photos for my blog.

Sure hope I'm better tomorrow.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Just Another Beautiful Day at Palo Duro!

I was up just before 7:30 this morning. I kept waking up last night for some reason so decided I may as well get up. Consequently I went for my walk earlier than usual. The sun was hardly up above the rim of the canyon so it was still pretty cold. Once the sun comes up it warms up nicely and today was bright and sunny again with a clear blue sky and 74F (23C).

Here's a photo I took this morning from the rock where we took our anniversary photos. You can see our fifth wheel from there.

After breakfast and our usual morning surfing the internet, we got ready to go into Amarillo. I needed to go to GNC and SuperWalMart so I wrote down directions from Google Maps and we were on our way. It took a while to find GNC as they tend to be in a strip mall and there were many strip malls in the area but we finally found it. We had seen the SuperWalMart on the way so it was easy to find.

Once we finished there we headed back home to enjoy the rest of the day in the Canyon with one final stop at the Entrance of the Canyon to sign up for two more days so we're officially here till Sunday. Now that we have the errands and side trips out of the way, hopefully we'll be able to hike some more trails. Gordon wants to do the Lighthouse Trail which is 11 miles return. I don't think my back can handle that although I would like to see the Lighthouse. It can only be seen from the trail.

I sat outside for a while this afternoon however there must be something blowing around today that was causing allergies as I could hardly breathe so was forced to come inside. Bummer!

The photos below I also took on my walk this morning just as the sun was peeking over the ridge.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

A Side Trip to Caprock Canyons

I thought we were going to Amarillo today. GNC in the U.S. only has the first 7 days of the month where you can use your Gold Card unlike Canada where it can be used every day. However, when I got in the truck Gordon said we were going to Caprock Canyons which is about 98 miles southeast of here.

He stopped at the Entrance Gate and got directions. Good, that means I don't have to have a computer on my lap the whole way. Joanne, the Ranger in the office gave us the scenic route which took us almost to Amarillo on FM1541 then east on FM1151 to FM207. FM207 takes you through the eastern end of Palo Duro Canyon and is very pretty in itself.

We, of course, stopped for more pictures. The rest of the drive other than that area is pretty flat and boring but Gordon always finds photos no matter where we are. He can make a photo out of pretty much anything and have it an award winner. By the time we arrived at Quitaque (pronounced Kitty Quay) which is 3 km from the entrance to Caprock Canyons State Park we were starving.

We drove through the small town noting that most of the stores were closed giving it a ghost town aura but we found the Caprock Cafe was open so in we went. (Note the ambience!)

Not what you'd call 5 star dining however we did manage to get something to eat and luckily Gordon had no reaction to it. I say luckily because when we reached Caprock Canyons the water had been turned off as they were doing work in the park and you guessed it, no washrooms in the whole park! There were a couple of pit toilets available however.

Gordon had thought that Caprock Canyons was supposed to be prettier than Palo Duro and it is pretty in its own right especially right at the end of the road where there is a huge valley and lots of red rock however it is much more open and less diverse than Palo Duro. Palo Duro gets my vote!

Caprock Canyons is also supposed to be The Home of the Official Texas State Bison Herd. What a disappointment! They had three bulls only. The rest that they had around we fake bison. I couldn't believe it! Guess which ones are real!

On leaving Caprock we were just exiting when we saw something on the road. Guess what? I finally saw an armadillo in the wild and have photos to prove it. Now all that's really on my list of things I want to see is a Painted Bunting but it's too cold here now for them. I was really excited to see this little guy. Isn't he cute?

On our way back we came across on FM285 which skirts the south end of Palo Duro. I thought it would be more scenic but it was mostly fields. You could see the canyon rim from the road in one spot only.

Once back in the park we stopped at several places taking photos of the sun on the rocks and at one spot we saw a lot of wild turkeys and took more photos. I had seen some this morning as well as a little cottontail. I was disappointed that we hadn't seen any deer when we rounded a corner and there was a deer, then another one came out of the trees. So I consider this a great day. Lots of wildlife!

Interesting sky

Monday 5 November 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Seventeen years ago today we got married in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. So, Happy Anniversary to us! We took our anniversary photo in front of one of the beautiful red rocks here in the campground, just us the rock and the sky (oh, and a little lizard that ran and hid)!

I got the place vacuumed this morning and then we drove around the park this morning taking more photos since the sky was more interesting today but other than getting our anniversary picture done we didn't do much this afternoon.

Here are more photos taken in the park.

Tonight we had the pork stew with black beans and cabbage that I made yesterday. It was pretty yummy!

Sunday 4 November 2007

What Can I Say About Today!

It was an absolutely beautiful day, more like summer than fall. When I stepped out the front door at about 7:40 a.m. I saw these three wild turkeys immediately. As I came out of the RV they took off across the road. I set out on my walk.

There must have been quite a bit of rain before we arrived here because this river crossing is flooded. It's only about six inches deep but this guy came through it without slowing down.

You could tell the day was going to be hot just from the haze.

Gordon had gone out for sunrise so when he got back after breakfast, I suggested that we hike the Sunflower Trail. It's only two miles round trip so I thought I could handle that. We set out about 10:00 a.m. and after a couple of false starts we finally got on the right trail. By that time it was getting hot! Here's a photo that I took from the road before we started on our hike.

The fall colors here are bright yellow and are beautiful!

Here's the hiking trail.

This is Gordon with his hiking gear using his monopod as a walking stick.

This is what we think are sunflowers that have gone to seed. The sun rays are a bonus. I didn't even know they were in the photo till I put it up on the computer.

Here's a closeup of the sunflower.

This looked like a candle cactus.

More of the beautiful yellow trees.

Gordon is crossing the Turkey Roost Bridge. We also crossed the Toad Suck Bog. Cute names!

After we finished hiking we drove to the Old West Stables. This little girl was getting ready to ride! She looked so cute and seemed to know what she was doing!

I spent the afternoon in my lawnchair reading my book and again gazing at the red rocks. It was really peaceful until a couple of families decided to come into the campground (where they're not supposed to be, campers only, no picnics) with their kids and spoil my solitude. They didn't stay long though.

I had a huge pork tenderloin that I wanted to barbecue and then make a pork stew so I got that done and now it's in the crockpot. I kind of combined two recipes so who knows, it might be inedible!

Today's temperature here in the canyon reached 87.8F (31C) but sitting outside I actually had a sweater around my shoulders due to the slight breeze and I was in the shade and under the canopy that's over the picnic table. Once I got inside however, the shorts came out!