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Cactus in Bloom

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another Walk....

There are several trails at Abiquiu campground and today we decided to hike on the one that leads down to the beach and over to the boat launch.  It took us a while just to find the trail...   but once we did, it was fairly easy walking.  Probably a couple hundred feet in total acclivity, but except for a couple of places going down and the rise up was fairly gradual.

The views of the lake were fantastic!

Interesting trail markers, huh?
We didn't see any live snakes, but plenty of these guys pointing the way.

We saw lots of Western bluebirds...
Not deep blue, but you can still see that the head is totally blue.  There several flocks that seemed to be hanging out together.

Not to be outdone...
There were a few Mountain Bluebirds as well.

This Great Blue Heron might have been a juvenile....  his markings were rather mottled and not very distinct.  I changed my camera settings to catch him in flight...  and wouldn't you know it?  no matter how close I crept up on him he remained right there at the edge of the cliff.  After we were walking away and quite a way from him I heard a splash... turned around... he was gone.  

Just below the outcropping of big rocks where the heron was standing was this huge rock.
I have no idea where all the carvings on it came from but kinda doubt they are old petroglyphs ;-) 
(that's a buoy in the water at the upper left)


I'd been asking Bill what the composition of these rocks was...
He picked up this one...  lava
But most we saw were sandstone...  I like seeing the grains of quartz sparkle in the sun.

I've a likin' for lichen...
Some of these rocks had several kinds of lichen on them...  my favorite are the round ones.  
Just think, in a few more thousand years the lichen will have eaten these rocks down to gravel.

We walked down to the beach...  no swimming allowed now due to low water level.  But...  I picked up this fishing lure along the water's edge.  Sure wouldn't be fun to step on that when you're running into the water, would it?

We did see this cottontail....
There were some guys working on a bridge and we stopped to talk.  I asked about the wildlife here...  not many pronghorn anymore... too many poachers.  But they have elk, bear and deer in some areas.  Of course we didn't see anything like that...  seeing the rabbit and the birds was enough to make me happy.

Back up the trail to the top...
I kept telling Bill to step back...  another step...  just one more step.
He just grinned and stayed right where he was.  Good thing, because it was one heck of a drop down to the lake...  and I really want him around many more years.

When we got back up to the top, we noticed this...
Yep, Yogi....  it's a Fork in the Road.
We hadn't noticed it when we were on our way down, but this actually designates that the trail splits and the upper trail is on the right...  the trail that heads right down to the beach is on the left.

Didn't really make any difference to us....  we just made a big loop.  My pedometer registered that we walked just over 3 miles total.  Not a whole lot but walking back up that hillside wasn't easy!

Wednesday we'll leave this area and head down to Albuquerque.  Our reservations start tomorrow at the Fiesta grounds although the Balloon Fiesta doesn't really start until the weekend.  We have some ideas about how to spend our time before some of our family arrive and are looking forward to being in ABQ again.

Not sure what facilities we'll have...  not sure when I'll be able to post again.

That's All For Today!



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Unexpected Encounter...

Bill and I never did take that hike on the campground trail yesterday.  When using my new camera I could see a spot on the lens that showed up in my photos.  It seems to be internal, so I e-mailed Canon... got an immediate response.  Of course I have to send it back, and the quicker I do, the sooner I'll have it returned to me.  So a trip to the post office took priority over the hike.  The closest PO is in Abiquiu, which is nearly 10 miles from this campground.  And...  as long as we're driving that far we might as well go another 20 miles to Espanola and find a laundromat.  

Bill and I both took our Kindles....  reading sure beats watching clothes rotate in the washer.  Bill chose to sit outside in the car.  I prefer keeping an eye on the clothes.  As I'm reading, a man who was also doing his laundry sits down a chair or so away...  asks me if I'm using one of those I Pads.  I explain a bit about my Kindle...  he tells me that he has a hard time keeping up with technology (I can relate to that!).  I tell him we're RVers and it can be difficult for us...  we're just making conversation.  But then he asks about our phone service and the such.  Well...  my expert is sitting out in the car, so out I head to get Bill.

They hit it right off...  I won't even pretend to make you think I know much at all about what all goes on in our motorhome that involves amplifiers, antennae, wires, volts or any of that stuff.  (sorry, Rick Doyle... I read your blog but that doesn't mean I always get it)....  

Bill and Jack (we're on first name basis now) talk quite a while, and Bill invites Jack up to our campground to show him the kind of equipment we use.  Jack lives in Abiquiu and says he might just stop in later in the afternoon.

He does, indeed, stop in.
That's Jack and Bill at our picnic table checking out an electronics catalog that Jack brought along.  Jack's main interest is having a phone system that works...  this area is kind of remote and service isn't very good.

Bill shows him our outside antennas...
From left to right:  The tall one is for the CB radio, the little stubby one is for internet, the next one is for the AM/FM radio and the one with the knob on it is for the cell phone.  We used to have a TV antenna, but since we don't have a TV, Bill took it off to get rid of the weight.

And the back...  This is the WiFi antenna for internet.

Now...  the inside...
The cell phone amplifier

The card you hold next to the cell phone  (cell phone antenna)

And on the wall...
At the top is the WiFi antenna (receiver), All those cords and outlets in the center is the (12 volt) charging center.  There are always various things being charged.... IPads, Kindles, phones or something.   That cubby hole houses Bill's genealogy books and some of our electronic stuff was where the TV used to be.

Jack and Bill spent an hour or more talking about Jack's phone needs...  I think Bill came inside and printed out some spec sheets he got off the internet, as well as finding a customer service phone number for Wilson products.  

Bill says he wishes he knew more about all this stuff, nearly everything he's done is because he's read about it on the internet or maybe had a short conversation with someone who uses these things.  He seldom gets a chance to go to workshops or get any "real" training.  I think he does pretty darn good with it all myself.  And I think Jack was happy with his visit as well.

We told him that we'd be here until Wednesday morning if he had anymore questions...  or needed the internet to get more information.  (He doesn't use a computer.... yet).

I think today we might head out for that hike!

That's All For Today!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lake Abiquiu COE

The Lake Abiquiu COE (Corps of Engineers) campground is located northewest of Santa Fe, in New Mexico.  This is Georgia O'Keefe country and there are museums and other sites about this American artists.  The area is high desert....  6,000' and the Sangre del Cristo mountains are close by.  In 2007, Bill and I were leaving the Grand Canyon area in Arizona and wandered up this way...  it took us a month to get to Albuquerque, we loved this area so much.  It was time to come back.  

The campground where we're staying overlooks the lake...
Looking out from the front of our rig...  a late evening photo of the clouds and lake as the sun sets.

And even more beautiful....
The sun shining on the rocks the next morning....
The way the sun shows all the layers of different kinds of rock is just fascinating.  Neither sunrise nor sunset lasts very long....  you have to be quick to appreciate some of Mother Nature's beauty!

There are several hiking trails at this campground.  I saw that there was a geocache hidden about a half mile from our campsite, so Sunday morning out the door we went...
Once we found the trail walking was fairly easy.  It winds around the side of a hill....  way above the lake.  Occasionally there were markers describing a plant or a tree.  Mostly we saw junipers up here.  We saw a couple of rabbits.

As you can see, we're up pretty high.  Those are fishing boats in the water near the shore.  You can also see the chain-link fence (upper right) that runs along the top of this bluff.  This is a family campground and I'm sure safety is a high priority here.

The cache was an easy find...
I had forgotten to take a pen along...  but this cache was large enough to hold lots of swag... and also at least 3 pens were inside.  WoooHooo!  Signed the log, replaced the container...  and off we went.

The building at the upper right is located at the dam.  It looks like the landscaping consists of all native plants.  We did see one tree that didn't look indigenous, but ????.   Anyway, the purple sage was in bloom as is the rabbit bush.  Even the cholla had yellow "tunas" on them.

Abiquiu Dam
This is a really high dam....  I have no idea how high the water gets here, but I think Noah would be called in to build an ark if it ever got this high.

Okay...  my birding friends...
Two shots of this woodpecker...
At first I thought he's a Ladder-backed....  but the eye stripe?  and what's the red on his chin?
Red-naped?  Where's the black bib?  Broad white wing stripes?  
  Remember, we are in northern NM at 6,000'....   Help!

We walked a big loop...  from the dam we walked along the road that takes you to Cuba...  a town we pass through when we drive from ABQ to Farmington...  Bill's hometown. 

Up above the campground...
We can look down and see our motorhome nestled among the junipers.

Our walk didn't take more than an hour...  terrain kind of rough at time until we found the trail...  but great views and lovely scenery.  There are other trails here.... today we'll go the other direction and see what we can see.  

That's All For Today!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

More Travel.....

I wrote yesterday that I'd tell y'all about our drive west.  And I will...  but first...  about catching a snake.  Judy asked me how I did that (some people would ask "why?").  Well, black snakes are good guys and eat mice.  They're reported to keep other snakes away.  And they are non-poisonous.  I've managed to catch a few... in the basement or climbing a post to get baby birds (the snake, not me).  If their tail is the closest just grab it... start winding it around your arm until you get to the head.  Grab it behind the head and hold on.  Then either carry it away or put it in a 5 gallon bucket (put a lid on it) and take it to another place.  
I have lots of snake stories, but now...  back to the drive west...

I darned near missed getting the Missouri welcome sign (bottom, 2nd from left)....  and it looked like there had been a wildfire a year or so ago as we entered New Mexico....  and it looks like Illinois has someone who feels the need to express themselves through graffiti....  all everyday sights as you travel the nation's highways.

I'd show you some cornfields, but I found the millet more interesting...
 At least that's what I think this was.  Fields and fields...  acres and acres...  miles and miles of...
Bird Seed!
Some will probably end up in one of my feeders this winter ;-)

We drove around Indianapolis but drove right through Topeka, Kansas...
Visiting State capitals is a favorite thing for us...  but we've been to both of  those capitals...  
Usually the tours are worth going on...  and while we didn't stop in Topeka, we could see the dome looming over the city.

We are fairly self-sufficient and have no trouble "boon-docking" our way across the USA.  Actually we both like staying in Walmart parking lots overnight...  Bill can find a reasonably level place to park, I can do some grocery shopping and cook dinner, and, as a bonus, there is almost always a geocache hidden close-by.  Gives me a reason to go for a walk after sitting all day.  We'd be real easy to track if a person really wanted to...  just pull up the Geocache website, put in our geocache name and it shows every cache we've ever found...  date and location.  And people think those social media sites tell too much!

Most Walmarts don't have a problem with overnight parking.  Some do...
What?  You think that sign means no trucks?  
There were well over a dozen trucks parked here all night long.  Bill had gone into the store to ask if we were permitted to park overnight (yes) and we were well out of the truck range.  Most times it isn't Walmart that doesn't allow parking but a city ordinance or regulation.  Anyway, since we don't need electric, water etc and we always park in the "back 40", we do just fine.
(It would be interesting to watch tow trucks haul away a dozen or so 18 wheelers)

Sometimes we have neighbors...
Kinda makes you want to take your handkerchief and wipe his nose, doesn't it?
This truck didn't stay long.....  good thing or we'd have had to move.
Some aromas are breathtaking...  and not in a nice way.

There are always signs warning you about wildlife...
A black bear...  an elk....  what! a cow?  Well, in some places cattle are free range.  No fences are required.  So it's up to the driver of the vehicle to watch out for them.  We never did see a bear, nor an elk....  not even a cow on the road.  But we did see...
Lots and lots of herds of Pronghorn.
Once we got into New Mexico we saw well over 2 dozen separate herds....  ranging from a couple dozen together to just one standing all alone.  We're in high desert (6,000') here and the terrain is definitely pronghorn country.

We've traveled almost 3,000 miles since we left Maine on September 2nd and it's hard to condense all that into just a few pictures.....  family, friends, scenery....  
Guess that's why I find blogs so interesting... other folks travels give us ideas.   

That's All For Today!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Travel Update...

We left Ohio last Sunday morning.  I'll post photos of our drive from there to here tomorrow, but right now I've seen enough corn fields to last me a while.

Anyway, after Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado, we finally crossed into New Mexico yesterday.  And where did we spend the night?  Las Vegas!  Okay, so it was Las Vegas, New Mexico.  And I'm not joking when I say that the first thing I did was run into a grocery and buy some roasted green chiles!

So today, the last shall be first...  

We left Las Vegas and headed on down I 25 with a goal in mind.  We have a few days before we're due in Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta so we have time to relax a bit in one of our favorite NM places.
The scenery changes dramatically after leaving Kansas and heading towards Denver.  We head south towards Colorado Springs and by-pass Denver, but we can see the mountains in the distance.  And then the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo mountains...  the colors of the rocks are fantastic...  at first we see lots of junipers, and eventually we even see pinons.  In fact, we'd see vehicles parked along the highway that belonged to folks gathering those pine nuts.  Once, we even saw a guy way up in a tree shaking down pinon nuts to folks below.  I love pine nuts but don't have the patience to shell them for the prize within. 

To get to our destination, we drove down to Santa Fe...
Even saw shops selling Ristras and other New Mexico goodies...

On through Santa Fe and off I 25...  heading northwest...
Saw Camel Rock..
Yeah, it really does look like a camel, doesn't it?  Looks like several new casinos have been built since we've been this way but the road was good and not a whole lot of traffic.

Across the Rio Grande!
We'll cross back and forth across this river several times in the next couple of weeks.  While crossing the Mississippi always makes me feel I'm finally getting across the USA, crossing the Rio Grande makes me feel like I'm really in the West.

Our destination?
Abiquiu Lake and COE campground
With our Golden Age Passport, we pay only $32 for four nights.... electric and water with a dump station closeby.  The view from our site is quite nice (actually, I think we got the last site available today) and we can sit outside under a juniper tree enjoying a breeze.

It's time for a little relaxation after 1,729 miles of travelling in the last week.  Our internet works fine...  we have phone service...  I don't have to go to the grocery for several days...  and...  oh yes!  there's a geocache hidden less than a half mile away.

Woooo Hooo!  Time to just hang out for a while.

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Trivial Trivia....

Time goes fast when we're up here on the Ridge.  Knowing we're here for just over a week makes us hustle to see everyone and get all kinds of things done.  We try to visit with family and friends and that usually means eating out a lot.  The closest town is 5 miles or so away and being a small college town (Ohio University) there are lots of places to eat... many ethnic cuisines...  vegan...  organic foods...  you name it.   Our Texas daughter flew into a small West Virginia airport last week so she could be with her husband as they drive their 5th wheel rig back to Texas.  Victor has been working as a consultant on an oil/gas job in WV.  They'll be taking their rig to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for a vacation.  Celeste was able to catch up with several of her friends while here and even eat some of her favorite home-town foods.  Our farm is only about 30 miles from the Ohio River, the Ohio/WV state borders, and Victor's job is about an hour's drive away.

They're on their way back to Texas as I write...  but we'll see them in a couple of weeks when we're all in ABQ.

We seldom grill out - not because we don't like grilled foods, but I guess because I usually have something planned inside.  However....
I may not have a Weber Q, and it looks like we've already taken off some of the veggies, but we managed to round up an old grill that some renters left a few years back and make dinner last night.  George would probably be mortified at my efforts...  but really, it was delicious!

Dizzy often writes his blog about little-known facts or what some would consider trivia.  He'll often tell about something that makes me want to pursue the thought further.  (yes, he makes me wonder about things too).  Anyway, recently he wrote about the 1913 Buffalo nickle.
I had to get out my Mom's coin collection and have a look....
Of all these nickles, most were worn so much that the dates were completely worn off.  There were only 4 coins that I could read the dates...  all 1936.  So, Dizzy...  no raised mounds....  
I had fun looking at Ma's collection...  it's a whole 'nother story about how she managed to acquire these coins.  While some are fairly old (late 1800's) I doubt if any are really worth much as they were all in circulation before she got them so many are well worn.  I'll put them back in the coffee can and return them to the safe deposit box at the bank...  makes me wonder how many safe deposit boxes hold some family treasure that is valuable only to the family....

Bill's been working on the old farmhouse since we've been here.  The renters had a baby in May and by this coming spring, Michael will be walking and doing all those toddler things.  The back deck needed a new rail around it, so Bill & Victor headed to Lowe's and bought some sections of fencing? railing? whatever....  and replaced the old railing.  And the new has slats (or whatever you call them) that are only about 3" apart so a kid can't get through to fall over the side.  Also, the roof on the farmhouse got a leak somewhere and they bought some stuff to repair it.  We're coming into the rainy time here in SE Ohio... quickly followed by the snowy season, so we hope it works.
Almost finished...  a few more slats to add.

Old farmhouses often have old, mostly unfinished basements...  places that used to store coal or canned goods or sometimes root cellars.  Also great places for black snakes to live.  Usually snakes take up residence because of the mouse supply, so they aren't bad housemates.  However, sharing a house with them can make some folks a bit uneasy.  Seems a black snake has taken up residence in the basement of the old farmhouse.  I've told the renters that I'll be happy to catch and relocate the critter if they call me next time they see him.  Our RV pad is only about 500' behind the house and we'll be here a few more days....  wouldn't be the first black snake I've carried away to a new home.

So...  we're catching up with things here....  taking a break between our summer life and our winter life.  Just getting a few things done and then it's on the road again....

Bill does work on the place all day, but come evening....
Time to relax with a glass of wine and let me practice using my new camera....

That's All For Today!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

In Ohio for a few days...

We left our daughter and family in the Hudson Valley on Tuesday morning...  headed west towards Port Jervis and into Pennsylvania.  We always wait until out of New York before gassing up as the price of gasoline in NY is always quite a bit higher.  Not this time...  for some reason gasoline was around $2.40 a gallon in NY... then jumped up to over $2.60 when we entered PA.  Go figure...

Anyway, we quickly got off I 84 and drove down Rt 209, which is the Delaware Gap road - no commercial traffic; speed limit 45 mph.  Yeah, it's slower, but we both like the drive and had all day to get to Hagerstown, MD, where we spent the night.

From Hagerstown we get on I 78, which goes through Cumberland, MD, into WVA.  Years ago our daughter lived in Baltimore so this is a familiar route for us.

Sideling Hill rest area...
There never seems  to be much traffic on this interstate and this time was no different.
The views are spectacular and it's worth stopping at the roadside rests even if you don't need to use the facilities.

As we entered West Virginia at Morgantown and headed down towards Clarksburg we saw lots of evidence that fall is quickly approaching.
The sweet gums and maples change into a whole palette of colors.  It won't be long now before the whole mountainsides will be vibrant with colors.

As we neared Clarksburg Bill called our son-in-law, Victor, to see if he was back in WVA yet.  He's been home in Texas, but we knew he was returning soon.  Turns out he'd got back to WVA just the night before and was heading to the airport in Clarksburg as we talked.  We probably just missed passing him on the highway.  I tried to get a picture of his job site as we drove past...
A vehicle passed us just as I snapped the picture....
Oh well...  we'll be seeing him this weekend.  And again at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque next month.  In fact, we knew we'd be cutting our time pretty close getting to NM, so we by-passed visiting the daughter who lives in Pennsylvania as we'll be seeing her there as well.

Yesterday afternoon we made it back to "the Ridge"...  our place in Ohio.
We hadn't been home long before a hellacious rain storm blew in.  Bill hasn't put the rain gauge up yet, so I don't know how much rain we got...  only know that it rained buckets... and it's much cooler today than it has been.

So here we are, 1,201 miles from the refuge in Maine... changing gears again and into a different mode for a while.  We don't volunteer anywhere during the winter months, but have all kinds of other adventures planned.  But for now....

That's All For Today!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Family Time...

We have a budding photographer in the family....
Evie loves to take pictures...
She's actually pretty good using her Grandma's Canon Rebel....  and for a kid who's not quite 4 years old, she's also very careful with the equipment.

We took the obligatory photo of 4 generations...
This tradition was started when my Mom was still alive and Heather (purple dress) was a baby.  
There's Evie, Heather, Donna and me.  

And...  Donna even knows how to use the timer on her camera (guess who doesn't know these things..)
Donna, Glenn, me, Bill, Heather and Evie
What a line-up!
It's photos like these that I cherish and keep forever.

I try to find things for Evie that tell about where Bill & I are at.  At Aroostook NWR  the Nature Store in the visitor center sold items about every critter living on the refuge.  I thought Evie would like the porcupine...
Here's Evie, holding her stuffed porcupine and I'm reading "A Porcupine Named Fluffy"...  a kid's book that I enjoyed as much as Evie did.

On Saturday we all went to see the Big Buddha.  I guess I never did ask the real name of the place, but it's a monastery/retreat/gardens/Buddha temple...
It's easy to see why Evie told me we were going to the Big Buddha...
You can see Heather and Evie kind of in the middle left of the center photo.  We were going to have lunch there, but the tour we took ran over and the restaurant was closed.

So we headed into Beacon, a nearby town, to a Taco place instead. 
Isn't this a great idea?  The table top was an old door..... but painted and made into a chalkboard.
Evie had a fun time with her artwork while we were waiting for our food.

Yesterday we went to a park that had a lake for swimming and fishing.  
Building sand castles....
Evie in her purple (her favorite color) tutu swimsuit.

Neither Bill nor I are swimmers, but we had a good time sitting in our beach chairs watching all the kids.

Our kids and grandkids and our siblings live in a total of 8 different states... from New York to California...  
We may see them only once or twice each year, but we sure have a great time when we're together.

That's All For Today!