Sunday, November 20, 2011
FROM PETROGLYPHS TO A VALLEY OF FIRES
WE HAVE GREAT PANORAMIC VIEWS ALL THE WAY AROUND US AT VALLEY OF FIRES AND PHEEBS (at left) HAS ADAPTED SUPER WELL TO HER NEW ENVIRONMENT
A warming sun blended harmoniously with a cooling breeze to create what I would call another beautiful southwest morning. Not long into our walk we both commented on the peaceful quietness enveloping us. No human sounds anywhere, not even a train whistle in the distance. Just a slight breeze whispering through prickly Mesquite shrubs for as far as one can see. This is one of the all time favorite things that attracts both Kelly and I to the Southwest. We enjoy the peace and tranquility of the natural settings we find. It is as if the surrounding mountains wrap us in their welcoming arms and shelter us from the daily noise and hub-bub of the modern world. Yes, Marshal South, I understand your ways:))
And a final few words about the THREE RIVERS PETROGLYPH SITE. Both Kelly and I highly recommend this small campground with it’s two pull through sites, 6 shelters, one family unit, one handicapped unit, tables, barbecue's and trash cans. You can also dry camp here as well and there is lots of room to turn any big rig around. There is a small dog walking area and ‘lots of room to walk your dog out through the endless miles of mesquite shrubs. The camp hosts, who have just signed on for a two year stint have not seen any wild animals around. A few miles further down the road past Petroglyph there is a larger primitive area for camping and RVing as well. Road is a bit rougher so we stayed put where we were. Deer, Mountain Lions and Bears can be found closer in to the White Mountains. And, Jerry had a comment question wondering if someone actually counted all those 21,000 Petroglyphs. Well Jerry, don’t know the answer to that one but the little brochure we have here tells us that “Three Rivers Valley contains over 21,000 Petroglyphs including masks, sunbursts, wild life, hand prints, and geometric designs. The number and concentration of petroglyphs here makes this one of the largest and interesting rock art sites in the Southwest.”
ADIOS THREE RIVERS PETROGLYPH SITE
A little info on the new header photo. Our rig is facing east/southeast and about a quarter mile north of us is a rock strewn tall round top hill. Pheebs and I hiked up to the top of that hill and I took the header photo facing south west late Sunday afternoon. The flat spot on the horizon at left is where Tularosa, Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument are located. About a third of the way across the distant San Augustine and San Andres Mountain Range from the left is highway 70 cutting up and over between the mountain ranges to Las Cruces New Mexico on the other side. (hope I got that right:)) Photo was taken with my Nikon D90.
THAT IS THE HILL WHERE I TOOK THE HEADER PHOTO FROM
We had a leisurely morning packing up the rig and enjoying the abundant sunshine. Soaked up a few rays and I couldn’t help but marvel at how truly lucky we are to be where we are.
Had the big wheels rolling by 10:30 a.m. and headed back to highway 54. A right turn at the little Trading Post, which also has RV accommodations set us on a northerly course for the town of Carrizozo and Valley Of Fires. And yes it is plural with an S. The beautiful sunny morning had us in shirt sleeves as we followed the excellent road in an arrow straight line across the valley floor. Construction zones along the way showed where this two lane highway is currently being upgraded to a 4 lane highway.
KELLY USING SKYPE TO TALK TO DAUGHTER SABRA TODAY
Another thing that has always attracted me to the Southwest is the numerous dusty little western towns. They begin in Texas and can be found all the way into California. They are full of character and characters. Some of them are pretty well tumbled down and boarded up but that’s what gives them there own uniqueness and style. We rolled into the small historic New Mexican town of Carrizozo about 11:15. It was Sunday morning and the tiny streets were quiet. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Two main highways intersect at Carrizozo’s north end with highway 54 crossing highway 380 here. Remember 380, that’s my favorite stretch of road between Jacksboro and Ruidoso. We fueled up the rig at one of 3 gas stations and picked up some lettuce and apples at the local grocery store. While fueling the rig a car came around the corner with the thumping boom box sounds of a favorite 60’s group of mine pouring out of the windows. Santana’s ‘Black Magic Woman’ reached my ears instantly transporting me back in time. It was kind of a special moment for me:)) Following that we took ourselves into Willies (formally Elsie’s) char broiled hamburger place for some grub. Ate enough in there to last us 6 weeks.
LOOKING ACROSS THE BLACKENED LAVA FIELDS TO THE DISTANT MOUNTAIN RANGE WHERE THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB WAS EXPLODED
Four miles west of Carrizozo on highway 380 we we made a left hand turn into the Valley Of Fires Recreation Area. Right away we could see it was going to be another great scenic spot and we were relieved to see there were spots available. We generally like to move to the back or fringe section of a Park and we soon found us a fine quiet spot next to a tall craggy and rock clustered hill. Site number 17 is a dry camping site and that suited us just fine. It was more private than the serviced sites. All roads and sites are paved. Some have electricity and water but we preferred the more private dry camping site that we have. There are hot showers here as well as a dump station and visitor’s center. Also an area for tenters and a couple group areas.
THE LITTLE ‘BEANS’ IS JUST WAKING UP
Our site has a slight slant to the east so with great apprehension I decided to try leveling up the coach using our problematic hydraulic jacks. I was surprised to see the jack’s control panel light’s come on when I hit the ‘on’ switch. Buoyed by that bit of positivity I slipped outside and positioned my homemade wooden blocks under the two driver’s side levelers and headed back inside. Put out my two dump levers and moved the joystick to the left and holy smokes the jacks deployed and 10 seconds later the rig was totally level. Will wonders ever cease eh.
THE ROCKY HILL IN THE BACKGROUND IS WHERE I TOOK SOME OF TODAYS VALLEY OF FIRES PHOTOS FROM TODAY
Now, here’s the big surprise. We had been told by a couple people and also read that this area was a black hole for communications and there would be no Verizon signal, cell phone or television. Guess what, we have a strong Verizon signal and Kelly’s Deer Park Lodge phone works fine as does Skype. We can get 4 TV channels with our rig’s antennae too. (2 clear and 2 fuzzy) What a bonus eh:)) Maybe tomorrow we’ll try our luck at setting up our new ‘Shaw Direct’ satellite dish for the first time.
AN OVERVIEW OF VALLEY OF FIRES PARK LOOKING NORTH SHOWING THE ENTRY ROAD TOP LEFT WITH VISITOR’S CENTER AND WASHROOM SHOWER BUILDING TO THE RIGHT OF THE ROAD.
First thing Pheebs and I did once we had the rig set up was clamber up the rocky hill beside us to see what we could see. Beautiful sweeping vistas for miles upon miles in all directions. It is plain to see how the huge lava flows years ago flowed south down this valley sweeping around the high area that makes up this Park. I can see why the word Fire has an S on the end because at the time there would have been multiple fires going on in the flowing lava fields. Here are the rates for one night to stay here….Developed Sites with electric and water – $18.00. Developed Sites with tap water nearby- $12. We are in the latter and with Kelly’s Golden Age pass our site is half price at $6 a night. Tenting sites with water available are $7 a night. No dump fee if you are camped here but $15 if you come in to dump. The Park is clean and well maintained and again we would definitely recommend it.
LOOKING SOUTHWARD OUT OF THE PARK AND DOWN THE TULAROSA VALLEY TOWARDS ALAMOGORDO…JUST ABOVE CENTER IS WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE THE BEST SITE IN THE PARK, #19. NO ELECTRICITY OR WATER THERE THOUGH
Had ourselves kind of a lazy afternoon just enjoying the sunshine and sweeping scenery. Soft ambient music on our Sirius Satellite Radio. (channel 68 the Spa) Doors and windows open as Kelly worked on some Deer Park Lodge stuff and made a few Skype calls to her daughters. I worked away on the blog in my comfy red Ikea POANG CHAIR. Kelly phoned neighbor Ingrid back in Bayfield and it’s a cold gray damp day there. Soooooooo glad we are where we are………10-4:))
SSHHHHHH, DON’T TELL THE PHEEBS SHE IS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO A BIG PRICKLY BEAVER TAIL CACTUS
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