Today was a bit warmer so we took the boat out for a ride on the river.
Someone at the RV park has a very quirky sense of humor. Maybe it is a comment on being in a desert near a river.
We made it to the Colorado river to visit with Bill and Kelly who have been our close friends for many years. I see a lot of card games and conversation for many days in our future. Fantastic!
It was a great visit with family in Phoenix. We were able to spend several days with our newest granddaughter. The visit was great and we had a lot of time to talk with Anthony and Jaime.
We had a lot of fun but it is time to move west.
On our drive out of Tucson we noticed a really huge cactus. Wow!
As we drove up to Phoenix a Youtuber we have watched for years passed us on the highway. Later we found out that he was on his way to Quartzite for a get together. Maybe we will be able to meet some other time.
Tonight we had a beautiful sunset at the winery. Next stop Tucson.
We are headed further south and west today. Along the way, we passed the entrance to the White Sands National Park.
Lots of movies and tv shows have used the park. I guess it is no surprise as it has some very unique landscapes.
Lots of kids were using disks to slide down the dunes but we stuck with the raised walkway.
We have seen a lot of white sand in our trips to Pensacola Beach. It was a sad reminder of how pretty our beach was when it had huge dunes like these.
Tonight, we stop at another winery. This one really will be free because they are closed on Sundays.
We boondocked at a winery in Tularosa, NM. The owner shared everything they had in stock for a tasting. So much so I was getting a bit tipsy by the end. Good thing we only had to walk across the property to our 5th wheel. The conversation was great. He is a very interesting person and shared a lot of his life.
Even though the stay was free we did buy several bottles of his wine. The result was the stay did cost more than a regular RV park but then again we would not have 6 bottles of wine.
The next morning before sunrise, we got a very early wakeup "call". The winery is on Coyote Canyon Road. Well, it lived up to its name when a pack of Coyotes just off the property were howling and yipping.
Today, we took a short hike in the park. First, we walked up to the high point in the campground. This gave a great view of the lava flow.
Next, we walked the nature trail.
This area is part of the Tularosa Valley and the lava flow is many square miles of basalt lava. The flow up to 165 feet thick and over 45 miles long and up to 3 miles wide from several volcanos. All of the volcanos are dormant and there are no indications that any will ever erupt again. The oldest source of lava was about 5,000 years ago and the most recent about 1,000 years ago. Little Black Peak was the last source. It is about 9 miles northwest of the park.
As the lava flowed down and cooled, it cracked and buckled into huge pieces of rock. The area becomes incredibly hot in the summer. The area was impassable by foot or horse until a highway was made to cross the flow.
The lava is perfect to collect blowing dust and dirt. This has allowed soil to build on the surface of the flow to the point that gnarled looking juniper and mesquite trees, yucca, cactus, and some prairie grasses grow. Several animals have found a home including bats and bees that use the old lava tubes, rabbits, roadrunners, cactus wrens, sparrows, and even some burrowing and great horned owls along with hawks and the golden eagle. There are several types of lizard and snakes but those were not out to be seen. This time of year only some small wrens and a few cardinals are obvious.
It was a nice trail if a bit chilly because of the wind blowing out of the north.
As always it takes a lot longer to pull away after staying in one place for a couple of months. We have to make sure all those things that were moved out of place are back and safe from the continuous little earthquakes that moving an RV involves.
We arrived without anything being broken (so far as we have found). Yea!
The trip today was from Logan, NM down to Carrizozo, NM and then to the Valley of Fires BLM site.
We could not resist stopping for a "Hysterical Marker" sorry I mean Historical Marker about half way down from Logan to Carrizozo. It was near our high point on the highway at 6850 feet.
Valley of Fires is a black lava field. The volcano is 7 miles north of us but has been dormant since this flow. The flow started about 5,000 years a go and stopped about 1,000 years ago lava flowed down for 44 miles along the valley floor and averages 3 miles wide. The camping area is run by BLM and is only $18 for power and water on very nicely setup sites. Almost all overlook the lava flow.
We made a quick trip into town to refuel the truck but noticed that the town has something kind of quirky. They have about a dozen statues of burros each painted to represent the business it is near.
The sunset was fantastic and it is very quiet at the campground. Later, it is super dark like can't see your feet looking down dark. The sky! It's full of stars!
December was a very cold month. Lots of snow and long hours of temperatures in the 20's and sometimes much lower.
We did a lot of work around the park and some on the 5th wheel. The park has a new security camera system. Our RV now has 2 lithium batteries. This means we have more than twice the power we had before and lost about 50 pounds of weight. It should mean that boondocking will be even nicer than it was before. We also have a brighter and colorful interior after installing wallpaper and painting walls and cabinets.
This was an unusually cold month and much more snow than normal. Our deepest snow was over 3 inches and our coldest night was 11 degrees. OUCH! Literally! One day we did not get above 30 for and entire day. It was so cold that our fresh tank froze. That morning I started working on plans to skirt the 5th wheel. It worked great for the rest of our stay here.
We did have a lot of pretty sunsets and sunrises.
We did get to visit with family. It was a lot of fun.
Animals are so weird around the park. They know that no one is going to bother them so they are really bold and unafraid.
It was a good visit but we want to get moving again. We plan to pull out in two days and will be headed south west toward Arizona.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...