(This post is about Sunday travels, but being posted today)
We woke up in the Walmart at Hobbs NM at 4 am on our body clocks (which is really 3 am NM time) and all was calm out yet.... the impending high wind warnings were scrolling across all the tv stations. Any high vehicles were warned to stay off the roads. Seeing as we couldn't go back to sleep, instead we perked up some coffee. We decided to hit the road the last 90 miles or so to Brantley State Park near Carlsbad. This way we wouldn't be fighting the winds. We really don't like driving in the dark, but did it anyhow...
We found our way along the darkened highway, with barely any other traffic anywhere. I was able to finish my blog post from the day before. We got to the front gate of the park and it was still dark. Steve got out and read the signs with his flashlight which said the campground is 2 miles in and to just drive in and take a campsite. But knowing how awful it would be to enter a quiet sleeping park with a big noisy diesel, we decided to wait at the gate till daylight. So we went back to sleep! It was only for a bit and was light about 630 am.
Here is my first desert sunrise photo, taken out of the window of the motorhome as the sun rose in the spaces of this interesting bush. I thought it was kinda pretty!
We had some more coffee and then unhooked the Tracker and drove into the campground to check it out.... Half the campground is reservable, and if you do take an empty site there it can only be for one day at a time, and you might have to move, depending on the reservation schedule. On the other loop were all first come first serve type sites and there were about 10 empty sites ... so we nabbed one, paid for it at the selfpay station and went back to the rig. We waited till 7:30 to bring the rig into the campground, backed in it quickly and made as little noise as possible. There were some folks up and about.
The shrubbery and trees are not really native to the area, we even see white pines! But we did notice all over are underground watering systems and spigots like the one in the bottom right corner in this pic, just to water the shrubs around the sign way back at the entrance to the park.
The sites are lovely and spaced apart enough to give some space. Some trees are planted here and there for shelter from the winds, as is a big stone wall alongside the picnic table and pavilion.
We are happy with the price too... $10 a night for the site and $4 for electric... some of the sites on the other side also have sewer available for another $4. The toad does not require an extra car entrance fee either. Some state parks nail you left and right with fees, especially higher rates when you are from another state. New Mexico rates seem to like having tourists and set fees accordingly.
Our view from our campsite is spectacular!
Our neighbor looks like he has a bit of trouble, both tires are off his tag axle and the back compartment door appears to be ripped off from either a tire blowout or an accident. OUCH.... We see a destroyed tire laying on the other side of his windblock.
We took a nice walk around with the dogs after breakfast, and had just gotten back to the motorhome when WHAM the winds hit full force! it was like a matter of 60 seconds from calm to gale force winds!
There is a fire to the north of the park, about 10 miles away, and we see the plumes of smoke from time to time but its not coming this way.... I can imagine the dry tinder of the brush and weeds are making a heck of a time battling the fire against these winds.
We were blasted all day long... we watched from inside the rig all of the dust storms and whirling dervishes are so thick at times everything is brown..... . guess we arent going to grill out salmon today, huh? Here is a shot where the blue sky is all brown. We had to close up the rig as we could taste the dust, see the dust and breathe in the dust. Not Good.
We had sustained winds of 50mph and gusts up to 90mph here. WHEW!
Once the winds abated a bit around 6pm, we took a ride in the Tracker to check out the park, which is huge. We saw the Pecos River which is dammed up near the park, making the big Lake Brantley. On the low side of the dam, this is all that there is to the Pecos River at this time of year.
And here is a shadow of our teeny tiny Tracker!
Even throughout the park and landscape we could see some more oil pumping stations.
They are everywhere! Wish they were pumping crude to help bring down the price of diesel!~
OK... now it's morning here and we are up and at em, going to head to Carlsbad Caverns today... we have clear blue skies and it is d
88 miles today
1609 total miles traveled so far