Sent on November 12, 2015
I am in a strange place right now – I am in a city that was my home, my favorite home of all the places we lived when I was a kid. All I want to write about is that, but I must keep things on track. So instead, back to Bottomless Lake, where we stayed on October 24th and 25th.
Bottomless Lake State Park is in New Mexico, near Roswell, and if you are ever quizzed on which place you’d rather live, pick Bottomless Lake. Roswell is flat, uninspiring, and a mix of boring storefronts and random alien references. Bottomless Lake is rocky, rugged, and beautiful, if you like the desert type landscape – what I generally refer to as “scrubby brush.” The park has the honor of being the first state park in New Mexico, and was named for its nine lakes located on the eastern escarpment of the Pecos River Valley. It’s a limestone escarpment, and the lakes were formed due to erosion, which caused caves to collapse and create lakes. The campsites are near Lea Lake, which is the only lake in the bunch that you’re allowed to swim in. Lea lake itself is very dark (as are the others we saw, which I attributed to the depth), but the streams coming from it were crystal clear – as was the water near the shore. Of the nine lakes, Lea is one of the largest, and I looked it up – only two of the lakes don’t have a recorded depth. I wonder if, when they do determine the depth, they will have to change their name.
The park was not very full – I suspect we hit it during the off-season this time around. There was a very fancy RV across the RV area that had its engine running. When we’d been there an hour or two, DH decided to go check it out. I said, “Be nice!” And he said, “Grrr GRUMBLE grrrrrrrrr,” or something like that. I believe he ended his sentence with, “…get him to turn his *expletive* engine off!” A few moments later I heard his voice raised, and an answering male voice, just as loud. I thought, “Ack! He is Britishing them to death!” I looked out the window, and of course, there were DH and the owner of the RV, crouched down, looking at the generator under the RV. They were yelling because the RV was so loud. He spent a good hour or two over there, helping the guy, who was having trouble getting his slides back in and had become convinced it was a voltage issue. He had two 6 volt batteries connected as one, and yet he thought he should be able to read 12 volts off either one of them. Eventually others drifted over to offer their manly advice and solutions, and ultimately DH determined the motor for the slides wasn’t working. He explained what to do, left them charging their cordless drill (borrowed from another RV resident nearby) to use for winding the slides back in, and said, “If you have any trouble, come on by.”
Meanwhile, Youngest kept staring at the “dog” the neighbor had on a harness and a long leash. “Seriously, mom, it’s like a dog that has a cat tail! It’s a dog-cat!” During one of his stops back by the RV, DH looked at it and said, “It’s some kind of terrier, surely?” We considered asking the dog-cat owner more about it, but he seemed grumpy – not even a “hi” when we walked by – and I didn’t want to intrude. So instead we did something a little creepy – we used my camera’s zoom lens to get a closer look. Well, readers, you can remove the ‘dog’ part of that label. It was a very large cat on a harness and leash.
The next morning, there was a tapping at our door. I opened it up to find the owners of the problem RV. Let’s call them Bob and Marge, since I have forgotten their names. Bob was gruff and bearded – Marge was short, with very long gray hair, and had that eternal wide eyed look of those who wear certain types of glasses. I called for DH, he came to the door, and left with Bob, leaving me standing awkwardly with Marge at our screen door. Marge smiled, started to step up, and said, “Can I come in?” Brutal honesty, here, people, I really didn’t want to chat. I was relaxing, I was sitting around drinking coffee and trying not to think very much, to be honest. I was feeling a wee bit introverted. But when someone invites themselves in, I can’t be mean and say, “Actually no! Go away!” So in she came. I didn’t, however, offer her any soda or anything. I drew the line there. When I explained that later, to DH, he laughed. So back to it – Marge and I, sitting at the dinette in the RV, me trying to make small talk, her telling me everything about her son (in relation to how much money he makes, and how she gave him a book titled, “How to be a CEO,” which REALLY helped his career, bless her heart). I thought, well, this isn’t someone I’ll be lifelong friends with, but hey, maybe we should talk shop. So I brought up RV parks, and our travels, and asked about theirs. Marge proceeds to tell me how *lovely* the Arizona RV parks are, as long as you “stay north.” Then she says, “You know, I don’t want to be racial, but the southern parks really aren’t places we’d be willing to stay.” It was right around then that I decided a couple of things. I was glad I hadn’t offered her a drink, and she would probably be voting Trump for president. Which led me to a third – how do I get her to leave without being rude? It wasn’t until DH returned that it felt like I could politely escort her out, but I think I managed to be diplomatic and courteous, and not once did I roll my eyes (teenager style) and say, “Can you PLEASE GO?”
That was our Bottomless Lake adventure. We also hiked around, of course, and took photos, and Milo found several amazing sticks…which he lost interest in two seconds after picking them up – honestly, he always thinks “THIS ONE IS PERFECT” and then “NO THAT ONE IS BETTER.” Dogs think in all capital letters, of course. That dog will just never be satisfied.
After Bottomless Lake, we headed out for the place we were ever so excited to see again – Pie Town, New Mexico. We arranged for our same spot at the same RV park, and called ahead, hoping to arrange for pie, but unfortunately they had just had a big pie festival, and didn’t have much for us this time. We spent some time chatting with Cyndi, the woman who runs the Windmill Museum and Pie Source, and she explained she’s been playing with creating pies with a different flavor in each slice. That sounded absolutely divine, but we were hoping for a frozen pie, and they’d all been baked. We settled for a half and half peach/apple pie and four small pies – peach/blueberry and of course, Southwestern apple. Who would have thought piñon nuts, red chili and apples would be so delicious in a pie?
We did some wandering about in Pie Town. As DH says, “It’s a proper rugged place.” Signs on the road warn about wolves and advise to keep pets and children close. We crossed the road from the RV park and wandered down an unpaved road, just a bit aimless, wanting to see things, and ended up spotting a couple of elk and a small bunch of deer in the woods. We saw coyote tracks and what looked like wolf tracks, but who knows. The sunset was gorgeous, of course, since New Mexico at 8000 feet elevation boasts a fabulous sky.
The next morning we headed out, and as we passed out of the area we once again stopped on the side of the road and took photos of pronghorn antelope grazing on the plains.
We planned for some long drives with nice spots in between, this time – and because we didn’t have time to make it to my dad’s, in Lake Havasu, we decided to get through Arizona as quickly as possible. We boondocked the night of October 27th in a Walmart in Avondale, Arizona, and the next day we made it to Thermal, California. Crossing the border to California was exciting for me – hard to explain how much it felt like coming home. I know, it’s just another state on top of all the others – and the border is pretty boring, just an agricultural checkpoint to make sure we’re not sneaking in hordes of fruit fly larva or anything – but it’s home, and it made me sad and happy all at once. I do so love the travels. I love seeing all these places, meeting all these people (perhaps not Marge), and just looking around in wonder at antelope, elephants, deserts and plains and mountains, waterfalls, monuments, national parks. Don’t tell DH, but I find my country beautiful. Yes, we have our issues (see above, regarding Trump), but it’s such a vast place, and so varied, that its hard to imagine not finding a place for everyone to love.
Thermal is a bit of a hippy town, on the edge of nothing, really, and near the Salton Sea. My next email will tell you all about that sea. It’s actually the largest lake in California, and saltwater. But I’d hate to spoil it. So, um, tune in next time, for another nomadic update.