Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Waking Up with Sun Coming Over the Mountains and Someone Lost a Dog

Last night we were camped right along the western edge of the Sacramento Mountains. The campground is called Oliver Lee Memorial State Park just south of Alamogordo, NM.  It is right along the edge of the Sacramento Mountain Range to the east and the valley floor leading over to the White Sands National Memorial to the west.

We don't always stay in campgrounds, but we are finding that the NM State Park system to be cheap, clean and easy to maneuver with a big rig and toad.  Though we are set up for boondocking with five 100 watt solar panels, four 6V batteries in an array and large holding tanks, this is kinda "pampering" ourselves when the rates are only $14 for a site with elect and water.  Some sites even have sewer hookups for a few dollars more.

The views out of our motorhome windows were astounding at this park.  This is out the bedroom window on the driver's side

and the passenger side isn't too shabby either!

Once we got set up on our site, we whipped up some chicken tacos, guacamole and chips, and relaxed in our lawn chairs with a few beverages of choice!

Steve took out his Flame Genie pellet campfire unit (a present from Santa Claus) and within just a few minutes we had a nice campfire going.  No smoke and easy to burn.

No digging for newspaper, buying firewood or chopping kindling.   We hauled along three 40 lb bags of pellets because we were not sure of the availability in the southwest.  Just a few scoops produces a nice fire for a few hours.

The setting sun was kinda hidden between some clouds, and we could see rain forming along the edge of the next mountain range and saw it advance across the valley floor, far from us at the campground.  We even got a few flashes of lightening off in the distance, but nothing near us.  We could see for miles and miles in the darkness, twinkling stars and lights far away in the city.  It was breathtaking.

As we sat by the fire, we were talking about how lucky we are to have time and health to go and visit other parts of the country.  We do it on a strict budget and plan and save all year for this vacation.  Steve is fortunate enough that his boss lets him take all of his earned vacation time in one bunch.  Not many places allow that.  He has worked for the state of Wisconsin for almost 38 years now and has earned every minute of his time off.  We are so glad that we can go and use it up for traveling and not for medical or family emergencies this year.  Although our rig is 18 years old, it is serving us well so we can travel far.  Even if we have a few repairs on the way.

It was time to turn in, with our hearts aglow and our bellies warm with good food, drink and conversation.

Our campsite is right along the edge of the high cliffs to the east... so we eagerly awaited the sun peeking up over the edge this morning.

Ahhhhhh and there it was!  I leaned out the bedroom window and snapped these pics!

We had a leisurely breakfast time, but turned on the local news to watch the weather. Rut Roh... high winds coming this afternoon, in the 20-30mph range!  Ahhh that means if we are going to travel at all, we better get it in gear and move on out. We were hoping to get over the San Augustin pass and over to Las Cruces NM and maybe north a bit to one of the state parks along the Rio Grande.

It's pretty easy to get road worthy and get a move on out ... we headed north up to Alamogordo and then SW on hwy 70 past White Sands National Monument (we saw that last time)  and the Fort Bliss and missile base area... then up up up over the pass.. and down down down again on the other side. Whew!  it's great to have the Pac Brake working correctly again.  (it's an engine exhaust brake that uses the engine to help slow down the motorhome instead of burning up the brake pads on long descents)

We headed north out of Las Cruces about noon, and pulled into the Leasburg Dam State Park to see if they had any open campsites.  It turns out they did have one with electric and a few without.  We snapped up the last electric one (for only $14) and the winds were kicking up as we settled into our campsite.  What a pretty blue sky puffy cloud day!!  Here is the view from our palapa in our site.

After we got settled in, the winds kicked up full force.  My oh my, am I glad we were off the roads!  Being in a high profile vehicle like a semi or a motorhome is not good in such blasting gusts.  We saw a few more rigs pull into the park, and some had to take the smaller non-electric sites. But hey, any port in a storm!

We had a nice chat with the ranger and camphost at the office.  Their park was being toured by a tourism research fact finding group from the area, who also asked us what new visitors to the state would be looking for. We enjoyed the chat and then went on a nice walk around the campground on the trails.

Each trail has been carefully lined with rocks, each one appears to be hand placed by volunteers or workers. We put on a mile of desert walking with the dogs on the trails, and they earned their water dish lapping when we got back.

We only sat out in our chairs for a little while.  The blasting winds were driving the sand in our eyes, and we had a hard time seeing.  The temps were still in mid 70's and pleasant, but the winds drove us inside for our dinner.  We did capture the sunset from the windows of our rig.

After dinner and the sunset ....

We were sitting here while I was typing my blog and Steve was perusing the local Craigslist ads, outside of our rig, we heard a loud dog YELP!

The neighbors in the next RV had their dog catch it's toenail on the trailer step, and it jumped free and ran off into the night in pain...  alone...  no leash....  it was gone!  We grabbed extra leashes, dog treats, our flashlights and put our dogs on our leashes to go help look.  Hoping maybe having our dogs along would help attract their dog to us.

As we were walking the campground and the rugged wash behind it, calling, whistling, and using flashlights to find Lily....   nope.. nothing... up and down we went, with other campers joining in the search.  Finding a lost dog is pretty hard when you are camping, because the dog doesn't yet have it's bearings as to where "home" is.  Plus, being injured and scared is added tension.  Being in an area ripe with coyotes is not a pleasant thought! The owners said she was wearing a reflective collar which we kept hoping our flashlights would reflect in the darkness.

We called and whistled till our throats were hoarse and my lips couldn't pucker any more. Steve went down a long gravel road while I waited at the top near the campsite in case she came back.  She had been gone almost two hours and the owners were getting ready to start an ever-widening circle to look with a car.  More people came and went the other way again around the end loop.  Suddenly one of the owners shouted....  "WE FOUND HER!" and she was rolling on her back with all four paws in the air asking for a belly rub!!!

Lily was happily reunited with her owners!!!!  

We all got in a friendly pat on the head
 of Elusive Lily and the world was right again.  

Happily ever after.   

The Elusive Lily is comfortably resting in her lawn chair,
licking her toe and seems to be none worse for the wear 
of her night time adventure! 


  1. We'll be traveling around Alamogordo, so nice to hear about the campsite. The pics of the sun setting were beautiful! Poor Lily. Our dog ripped his toenail off on the stairs of our 5er the day before we were to put our new step covers on. It was awful. So glad she was found! Will you be stopping by Rock City SP in NM? It looks fantastic. If we're not able to camp there we'll spend a day or two hiking there.

  2. the two of you have found some great campsites to stay in!
    thanks for sharing the fabulous photos!

  3. I remember those great views across the valley from Oliver Lee SP. Some nice small ghost towns easily reachable for a day trip by car west of Truth or Consequences, Hillside & Chloride. Nice ending for the lost dog.

  4. So glad the dog was found. It would have been a looong night for her owners.

  5. Our dogs are never off their leash when they are out of the motorhome when we are traveling. At home they have a large fenced in yard where they go out. Other than in the house, in the motorhome, or in their fenced in back yard, they are always on a leash. Sometimes I feel like they have me on the leash.

  6. I have found that state parks usually charge way more than national parks and forests, but NM seems to be pretty reasonable. Glad the dog was found - what a nightmare it would be to lose a pet in unfamiliar surroundings.

  7. I was at Oliver Lee and the Leasberg Dam in December while I was on my way to Quartzsite! I happened to know the camp host in the reservation side of the park so I enjoyed visiting with them. The trails are nice aren't they?

  8. I know the feeling of terror when a pup goes missing. 2 yrs ago Fred was tied and somehow managed to get free leash and all and took off after a chip monk. We were in bear country and coyote too. I know one of the members of our group scared him more by using a really gruff voice. I was almost in tears as it was getting dark I just stood in the roadway listening and I finally could hear the thumping of his poop bag attached to his leash then spotted his purple sweater. BTW not friends with that person anymore. I use a much better tying method now. Good ending to your story.


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I moderate all comments so it may take a little while for your comment to appear.