Here we are on the road again, this time on our way to adventure in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.
We set off from Carlsbad at 5:00AM on Thursday, October 5th.
This time we have Jeanne and John with us, in their motorhome, and we are towing my Saturn behind us. So we are a cars worst nightmare if they happen to get stuck behind us on a hill. We've all been in that position at one time or another in our lifetime.
We took I-8 all the way out till we hit I-10 into Tucson and stayed the night in a state park at Picacho Peak. It was so hot I think you could have fried an egg on the road. Luckily we had electricity and water hookups so we got our moneys worth with our air conditioners going full blast. I had cooked a beef stew the day before we left home so I just warmed that up and we all ate dinner. Afterwards we got into my car and drove over to a dairy queen we saw on our way in and had an ice cream for dessert.
This campsite had a million dollar view on all sides and we were advised by the Ranger that there were some spectacular hikes, which we did not take him up on, for obvious reasons. We turned in early as we had driven 400 miles that day.
Friday we were driving by 6.30AM and gassed up at Tucson for $1.46 a gallon. Disgusting is it not? We drove and the sun came up and it began warming up again but thankfully it never got past a very pleasant warmth. We stayed in a KOA in Alamogordo last night, where we had stayed on a past trip.
We had just as much trouble finding it as we had before, as once again we arrived after dark, stopping off at White Sands State Park for an unbelievable sunset and
Jeanne was able to get some photographs, just at the right time of day.
Unfortunately on our 2nd day out I began feeling that the motorhome was having some problems with loss of power. So Doreen drove the car the last 100 miles. We stopped at one place to have it looked at and of course they didn't have time, it was Friday afternoon. Any way this morning I got new spark plugs and with some borrowed tools was able to change them. Sad to say on our way to Carlsbad Caverns we are still having the same trouble, Doreen drove the car again so it would not be such a problem as we had to go up to 8,400ft altitude. The motorhome breezes along on the level ground and puffs out black smoke going up hills.
Anyhow today was Doreen's birthday and we are now camped in a place called Artisia, in Bill's RV Park and apparently it was 84 degrees yesterday and today it is close to freezing, no kidding. Jeanne and Doreen are wearing long johns under their clothes and are likely going to freeze in our beds tonight.
I plan on nursing the engine along until we get to Albuquerque, where we plan on spending 3 nights. There I will find a garage and have them fix it up, so we can continue. John already offered for us to bunk in with them and we had already planned to go on side trips by car from there.
So far so good, we are all having a lot of fun and from now on the days driving times will be shorter and the sightseeing will be longer.
Tomorrow we head out early again at 7.30 AM for Carlsbad Caverns.
Early Sunday morning we went by car to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. I had promised Doreen last year that we would visit the caves. But we had visitors from Germany with us and our friend developed a problem with his leg and we had to cut our three week trip to two weeks and did not go.
This time I promised her again, plus a day at Canyon De Chelly in Arizona.
When we left San Diego our friend John asked several times" Do we really have to go there"? I noticed he did not want to go.
When we entered the Big Room and he looked up and saw all the formations and the largeness of the cave he told me that it is worth $50.00, but we paid only $3.00 since we are old people and have a lifetime pass.
All three were impressed and Doreen thanked me for taking her to Carlsbad Caverns. Jeanne took pictures and hopes they come out beautifully.
I have been in Caves in Missouri and Kentucky and know Carlsbad Caverns has no competition.
It was a perfect day for going underground since it was foggy and cool.
Monday we drove 200 Miles to Albuquerque where I have a Tuesday appointment with the motorhome doctor. I had called ahead. Doreen had to drive the car. I took the lead, Doreen followed me and John and Jeanne guarded the rear. We stayed in touch via CB's. I was able to go 60 Miles an hour most of the time. We got the last two sites in the RV Park. Last year we had reservations. Tomorrow we have to either go North towards Santa Fe or dry camp. My Solar Panels do not help much right now since we do not see any sun.
We have to come back Friday to Albuquerque since we want to see the Mass Ascension on Saturday. This year they have a thousand balloons go up at the same time. We were impressed last year when there were 889 balloons.
First we have the motorhome fixed, if they keep it overnight we will be moving in with Jeanne and John.
John and I went to the RV Service place and talked to the manager. I told him that I had changed five spark plugs and the air filter. Now I am wondering what he will find. Tuesday will be an interesting day.
John needs a deep socket wrench to fix the mirror on his motorhome. We tied down a broken cover of one of his roof vents with bungee cords, it was trying to get away. I hope he does not get discouraged with RVing.
On the way to Albuquerque we came through an area where there was a lot of storm damage. We stopped at a gas station to fill up. John had the nozzle already in the tank opening and tried to fill up. The pump did not work and John went inside the station. He was informed that there was no power to run the pumps. John came out and got in his motorhome.
The next thing I hear, Doreen screaming on the CB: "John do not drive, you have the nozzle still on the motorhome". We have no dull moments the four of us.
We had another adventure bringing the motorhome to the service center. Doreen followed me in the car but I had put the CB for the car in the trunk. Because it was still dark I passed the service center and entered a side street. Doreen got stuck on a light and we got separated. I had my CB on but realized that
I could not talk to her. I made another mistake by not telling her the address of the service center since it was just around the corner from the RV Park.
After a few minutes I got really nervous since I feared that Doreen would have one of her anxiety attacks. I found the place and heard Doreen on the CB. She had stopped and installed it herself.
I was able to give her the address and within a few minutes she found me. Now we are waiting what our home away from home needs to roll again.
They wanted the three spark plugs I had not installed and installed them.
I think we will not have any Problem staying in our RV Park. Many people are leaving because of the weather, which is unusual for this time of the year.
Tuesday morning we had the motorhome worked on. It took three hours, and they replaced the three spark plugs I could not get to, the fuel filter, rotor and distributor cap.
The owner of the shop took me for a test ride up the hill on the east side of Albuquerque. He went up real fast and I thought he would blow up the engine.
He told me that I still could have problems when the engine gets warm. He did not like the way it was running but I took a chance and told him that I was satisfied. He wanted to send me to a place where they check and replace catalytic converters. He thinks when the engine works hard and the catalytic converter gets hot it could restrict the flow of the exhaust. If the catalytic converter is O.k. he told me to have the fuel tank dropped and the fuel pump and the filter sack checked. His test showed that the pump developed enough pressure but that could change when the pump gets hot.
He said he would charge $300.00 to drop the tank. Since the motorhome was running fine I took it.
After we picked up the motorhome we went by car to Albuquerque Old Town. The women went from store to store while John and I guarded the plaza. The women told us to sit on the benches provided for husbands, lovers, etc. But we preferred to stand with our arms crossed. It did not make them nervous though and they did not feel guilty either.
We had a nice lunch after Doreen and Jeanne were tired of looking and touching the merchandise.
Wednesday morning we left early for Santa Fe. We pulled the car and I was very happy with the performance of the motorhome.
We passed the Balloon Fiesta Park and there were several hundred balloons in the air.
After 45 minutes things changed. I had a problem getting up the hills. The area is above 7,500 feet and engines do not run as well as at sea level but we have still the same problem.
When we arrived in Santa Fe we found that all RV parks were full because of the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. We had planned to attend the Mass Ascension on Saturday after our visit to Santa Fe.
We finally talked one park manager in to give us overflow sites. Ours was near the street but we were to tired to hear the noise at night. After setting up the motorhomes we took the bus to the Plaza in Santa Fe.
The women looked at the jewelry at the governor palace first and then we decided to take a city tour by trolley.
I was a good idea. John and Jeanne got a good overview of Santa Fe. After the tour we went to two churches and did some sightseeing on foot.
When we boarded our 25 cent bus for the trip to the RV Park the sky got dark. It rained all night. We heard on the radio that all balloon activities were canceled for the rest of the week.
More rain was expected for the next four days. Thursday morning I called a RV park in Taos and they had the same weather. The women did the laundry and John and I got the motorhomes ready for going west. It was raining off and on when we left Santa Fe. We were not able to show John and Jeanne the area north of Santa Fe.
Doreen and I know each other now for six years and we have been in the New Spain area three times, I have been five times. We must love this area with its small Spanish towns, the aspen and birches along the small rivers and of course the Rio Grande.
We drove Thursday to Gallup were we found sunshine. We booked for two nights at the Red Rock State Park.
Jeanne got her camera out as soon as we got to the park. We are surrounded by red stone formations, a very beautiful setting. A very long motorhome backed into the dirt and required towing out. The owners had it purchased recently and were on their first trip. It was their trip of a lifetime and they were not very happy about the mishap.
Friday morning we went by car to Canyon De Chelly. We did not take the 3 1/2 hour jeep tour of the canyon but we stopped at every canyon rim outlook and looked down in the canyon. In this canyon one can see the bottom of the canyon from the rim. At the Grand Canyon we had to take an airplane ride.
We are in Sedona in a beautiful RV park, but we are not enjoying it at the moment because we lost John and Jeanne in Flagstaff. Doreen is calling their neighbor right now to check whether they called home.
Sometimes things get worse rather than better.
I am happy to report we just got back from Cottonwood, which is about 17 miles outside of Sedona where we had dinner courtesy of Jeanne and John in their motorhome. After calling several times the neighbor at home, also Sandra and Jeanne's son Michael, they managed to locate us by sheer luck and determination. We had gone on a jeep tour into the Red Rock area and got filthy so came back to our RV Park to shower and found a note taped to the door telling us where they were. Boy you should have seen Us, you would think we had just met for the first time in 10 years.
Tomorrow we are going to move to their Park and stay another night so we can take them up Oak Creek Canyon and really show them the area like we had originally planned.
I took Doreen on a Helicopter ride over the Red Rock Canyons in Sedona, which was absolutely spectacular, this was my birthday gift to Doreen since her birthday was on the 7th October and we were on the road.
The new park we are going to is called Dead Horse Ranch State Park, where they come up with some of these names I will never figure. In spite of these setbacks we are having a good time, and Richard says Jeanne and I can get our fill of shopping in tomorrow along with the sightseeing.
Tuesday we will be on our way back home with one more stop about half way
and all going according to plan we should be back sometime Wednesday.
Then Richard is going to have to find a good place to get the Motorhome fixed so we can go to Las Vegas and Oatman near Laughlin in November.
This is the last epistle on our New Mexico adventure so Goodnight.