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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reposting my blog - Spending a Day at My Favorite Campsite

(due to technical difficulties, I am reposting yesterday's blog again today)

Yes, I have decided that this place is my most favorite campsite of all....
in my WHOLE LIFE! 

Keep in mind I have been camping since a small child, 
and been in lots of places.  

But this one is IT! 
In the primitive camping area of 
Rattlesnake Point.

Yup, Elephant Butte State Park in south central New Mexico is it. 

This morning, taken out of my bedroom window: 

I honestly think I could stay here the entire remainder of our vacation out west.  Sadly we can only stay 14 days as a state park rule.  But we could go out for 7 and then come back!   LOL ....

Steve and I have been "researching" on this trip... figuring out if we want to snowbird here in New Mexico vs. Arizona or Texas or anywhere else.  We are finding that southern New Mexico has been more pleasant in temps during the days... in the 70's compared to the hotter temps around Yuma or S. California.  Sure the nights get cold, but we sleep better that way, than sweltering hot.  It seems greener, less dusty, less touristy and just more welcoming to us. That is only our opinion of course. Your mileage may vary.

Also we are looking at the yearly pass available with the New Mexico State Park system.  For a $225 annual fee, you can stay in the primitive or developed campsites for no extra charge. FREE with this pass.... If you want a site with electric, it is a $4 additional charge.  We figure if we come for the entire winters from Nov-March we could make our pension stretch a long way!  We could use an electric site one or two times a week to catch up on laundry, use the dump station and refill with water and be on our way to the next place.  The limits are 14 days in each park, so you just move on to the next park of your choice within the state.   (added to our plans are airplane tickets home for Christmas with the family)

So gathering information and seeing which parks we like and why is pretty important to our research here.  We are making notes of sites we like, sites we could fit on, and what parks we like more than others.  Sometimes it's hard to remember which park was which on what night.  So having this blog is very helpful too!

We had a lazy morning and Steve cooked a wonderful breakfast while we stayed in our jammies.  We did take the doggers out first thing, but then crawled back into bed when they did their thing.  Oh... they had to get used to going on gravel again, after three days in a park with GRASS!  Spoiled pups!

After breakfast, Steve decided the solar panels needed a good wash and rinse.  They had not been cleaned since last fall.  He uses his handy dandy telescoping ladder we haul along.  Then he took his long extension handle and a soft brush he uses when washing the motorhome sides.  Soapy water and a bit more water to rinse... soon he had them sparkly clean.  The charging amperage went from 13 to 19 amps after his task was done!  Our batteries were fully charged to 100% by mid morning.

He washed the four 100 watt panels on the passenger side, then the other added 100 watt panel on the drivers side. These five panels are all for the house (coach) batteries ..... plus he cleaned the smaller square 10 watt panel we use for the driving (chassis) batteries.

Another little task he wanted to complete was to install a new DC outlet under our dash.  The older 2 hole one gave up the ghost and was not a very good quality unit.  Plus, I have three things I like keeping plugged in while we are driving down the road: the laptop, the tablet used as a router, and the antenna booster for weak signal areas. We don't like running the inverter for 110 AC while driving. So having my items run off the 12 volt system is a better choice for me.  The new outlet has one 12 volt DC port and two USB ports that work just perfect for all three of my items! 

When boondocking off the grid, sometimes the data or cellular signals are weak. We purchased this Wilson Antenna Booster a few years ago and it works wonderfully!   The little antenna can be stuck with suction cup base to a window inside the rig on the side nearest the tower, or it can be stuck to the outside on a roof of a metal car or motorhome.  Outside doesn't work on our rig, because we have an aluminum exterior. The window works well, or else it can be magnetically stuck to a steel pie pan or tray and lay on the dash.  Somehow it needs to be attached to metal as a ground plane or it won't work.

One only needs to place the antenna booster near the item you want to get a better a signal and watch the "bars" jump up for a better connection.  Using the cell phone for a call, or data for internet or GPS apps it really makes a difference.

This Wilson antenna also works on improving public WIFI signals.  At this park, we are quite a ways from the regular campsites, where the WIFI signals are stronger.  Like I said, we are out in the primitive camping area a long way from the campgrounds. The little Wilson booster really helps a lot.  The WIFI signal here is sporatic and cutting out with just our laptops or tablet. Set closet to this booster and it is much better.

We bought ours from Amazon a few years ago....
the price or model number may have changed by now.

The doggers are adapting well to the RV life.  We have one bed pad back in the bedroom, but both dogs are sneaking up into our bed at night!  The bed in here is lower to the floor than our high one at home. The little stinkers think it's pretty funny to have us wake up and hear us exclaim: "How did YOU get up here????"   Heh heh.  During the day they nap on the little bed we have up front under the dash.  The passenger seat swivels around to become livingroom furniture. The space behind is a perfect little doggie hideout.  Then they aren't underfoot. 

Today was also BATH TIME for two very dirty dusty desert doggies!!!!  I popped them in the shower/tub area and hosed them down with the handheld shower.  They were pretty well behaved and seemed to like the attention. Then a good scrubadubdub with shampoo, another spray to rinse, and then I let them sit in there and drip dry for a while.  THAT they didn't like.  Look at those faces!!!

They sure dried fast outside in the sun and low humidity of this area. I think it was in the 14% range today.  Wow..... I was able to brush them out and trim nails in an hour! 

Oh... it came to our attention that certain people back at High Cliff State Park in cold snowy Wisconsin are missing Steveio and counting the days until he returns????  I do believe they are valuing his position at the park, eh???

We did a little run to the Walmart in town for a few things, and found our way back to the park in time for a bit of wine.... I saw on Facebook that someone said it was National Wine Day.  Hmmm sounds good to me!   

 And here's to another wonderful day,
enjoyable meal,
spectacular sunset, 
and peaceful evening
 from my most favorite campsite in all my life! 


  1. Sure glad you are having a great and relaxing time and that the pups like both their beds and yours. Just think, when you get near my age, you can retire and travel all the time. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

    1. Steve can retire now any day.... he's put in 38 years at the State of WI. But he sure likes working at the campground yet and hasn't pulled the plug. Yet.....

  2. (when I reposted the blog from yesterday--- I lost all my comments--- so copying and pasting them back to this new post)

    While you're in the neighborhood check out the ghost town of Chloride about 40 miles to the west. A very interesting place. on A Relaxing Day in My Most Favorite Campsite Of All !!!!1 replies.

    John Hedges

    1. Thanks John... I think we are heading that way next... towards Silver City and City of Rocks too....

  3. (when I reposted the blog from yesterday--- I lost all my comments--- so copying and pasting them back to this new post)

    Sometimes words aren't needed. Beauty, peace and contentment speak for themselves. Happy for you! on A Relaxing Day in My Most Favorite Campsite Of All !!!!

    Mike Mills

  4. (when I reposted the blog from yesterday--- I lost all my comments--- so copying and pasting them back to this new post)

    Are you thinking of flying the pooches home too for holidays? That's our plan for next year, we want out of Montana before the first snow flake flies then we will fly home for Christmas! on A Relaxing Day in My Most Favorite Campsite Of All !!!!

    Janna and Mike

    1. Naw I think flying would be too traumatic for them... twice in a one week period would be awful. Plus we hear of such horror stories of cargo mishaps etc. I think we would search for a well-recommended kennel for them to board at. Plus if they are together with their own bed and toys, plus crated together at night to sleep, they would be fine. I would look for a kennel with updates and video access to see what they are doing. They have gone to Lisa's Stockbridge Critter Sitters Kennel twice now when we have gone out of town and did okay there.
      in response to

  5. (when I reposted the blog from yesterday--- I lost all my comments--- so copying and pasting them back to this new post)

    Karen, we like your idea of snowbirding in New Mexico. Q & Yuma were just too hot this year, especially for our dog. We're at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. The elevation here is ~ 4800 feet so the daytime temps are perfect & the nights cool enough for good sound sleep. We'll be in Deming in about a week & are looking forward to being in New Mexico. I could see going to Yuma long enough to get dental cleanings & glasses & have lunch at Tacos Mi Ranchito then head here for awhile & then on to NM. Your campsite is beautiful--glad the pups agree. They're so cute waiting in the shower. Take good care & have fun! on A Relaxing Day in My Most Favorite Campsite Of All !!!!

    Dawn from Camano Island

  6. (when I reposted the blog from yesterday--- I lost all my comments--- so copying and pasting them back to this new post)

    This is a great post and I sure like reading your take on all these places that you go to! on A Relaxing Day in My Most Favorite Campsite Of All !!!!


  7. (when I reposted the blog from yesterday--- I lost all my comments--- so copying and pasting them back to this new post)

    You guys have been busy bees since you reached New Mexico. Those dogs are so beautiful. I have a hard enough time taking care of short haired Yuma. I don't know if I could wash those two long-haired doggies. You really have that motorhome decked out and ready for boondocking. It is nice to have all the energy you need to stay out for long periods and not worry about connection issues. My best investment was going with the Wilson booster and the trucker's antenna. So far connection has not been an issue. I did move from AT&T to Verizon and that has been a big plus too. on A Relaxing Day in My Most Favorite Campsite Of All !!!!

    Doug Laning

  8. How could you resist those two little faces peering out from the shower!?!? So cute. Our boy likes his bath okay but the girl, not so much. But they both enjoy getting toweled off when it's raining outside.


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