Homeagin, homeagin!

After two ten hour days of driving I arrived home before dark yesterday. I do not know the time because every timepiece I have was on a different time system – I still am not sure of the time here! But I am sure that it was Monday. I spent the last night on the road at Gallup, NM. Uncle Wally’s driveway had twenty RVs parked in it! Amazing, as I have never visited him when there were more than three or four RVs overnighting.

Gertie and I came through Mule Creek and crossed over into AZ. That drive has one of the most spectacular views around as well as one of the worst curvy downhill roads that I have ever driven in the Barth. This was my second time for the route. Awesome, and fun(?).

Mostly uneventful drives, except for the traffic light in Sierra Vista that I could not get stopped for. I saw that I was going to be in the intersection when I finally came to a stop, and the kind folks with the green had not budged, so I let up and breezed through the red signal. I guess there is something about the saying that most accidents occur within twenty miles of home.

All is OK on the home front. I have all appliances operating again, propane is on order, as I left with 5% in the tank. I did not want a $500 investment in propane sitting here all summer.

The ‘house sitter’ RV couple that I had perked here about 3 months left before I arrived, to my dismay. I wanted to meet them. I gave them the combo to the garage door and they mowed the premises before leaving, so I did not come home to the usual forest of weeds and tumbleweeds. Wow, what a nice thing to do – the one thing I disliked most about getting home, cleaning the surrounding area! Of course their presence here also provided a measure of security.

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Northern NM: Sight Seeing

Yesterday the five in. snow that fell mostly melted. We visited another BLM area 18 miles South of Taos known as Orilla Verde Rec. Area. This BLM area is at the level of the Rio Grande, but the gorge is more like a canyon, so let’s call it a canyon. A few and primitive camp sites lie along the river. This site is more suitable for the day or overnight fisherman than a long term stay in a RV.

The trip also included a visit of the bridge over the Rio Grande on Hwy 64 West of Taos, Taos Ski Valley which was virtually shut down awaiting a few inches of winter snowfall, and a short tour of Taos.

The Taos tour was short because I find browsing in shops without a clear goal boring; and I have no need for rugs, art, trinkets or a motel room. Besides, the city fathers have opted to place parking meters everywhere there is a space larger than 2 ft. x 4 ft. My opinion is that they would better serve the little downtown by providing ample free parking. I never carry change. I did find an Ace Hardware where I bought two new space heaters – I had a need those. I also saw an auto parts shop, but could think of nothing I needed, although I almost stopped anyway… just to browse!

Taos is small only in it’s central (and only) shopping district. A view from the highway clearly reveals vast areas of large and fancy housing where the ‘other’ folks live.

Today we found the road to the fish hatchery viewed from the gorge rim. Being the largest hatchery in NM, it has a nice little visitor center and tour of the hatchery. One tank had 8 in. trout so densely populated that one could probably almost walk across the tank on the surface. An amazing fact noted is that the hatchery produces an estimated 175,000 lbs. of fish each year!

Tomorrow I will direct Barth to head toward Hereford, taking two or three days depending on finding suitable places to overnight. We will head West from Taos on Hwy 64 and skirt down the NM/AZ border, using both sides. Hwy 64 is supposed to be very scenic. I want to arrive home in time to vote for every independent I can find on the ballot.

Providing that she starts, that is. I am still having starting problems. But she has started with difficulty twice while parked here. She probably took on summer-mix diesel at the last fill-up. I hope that is the problem! Otherwise I am still loosing fuel prime. An additive has been added to hopefully help the problem. Fortunately she purrs like a lion after starting.

I have an unneeded camp fire going now. I bought some firewood and have yet to use it, so it will be used today. If I get enough coals supper will be char-grilled Angus burgers. Otherwise supper will be the same burgers duly cooked on the convenient electric George Forman griddle.

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Hiking Into The Rio Grande Gorge

I couldn’t let my friend Gordon, who camped here in the summer, show me up. You see, he has had knee replacement surgery and is a year older than I. So needless to say, I was off to do the canyon.

I took the Big Arsenic Spring trail into the Rio Grande Canyon to the Big Ar Spring Campground. This was 0.8 mile with a 600 feet change in altitude, rated medium difficulty. I don’t know how they measure the 0.8 mile, but I think that there may be an accuracy issue here. In my younger years I backpacked with 60 pounds on my back into and out of the Grand Canyon, but that was another lifetime.

I have to agree with the medium difficulty rating. The inclines were not horrific, the trail was wide and well made and maintained. It had the characteristic appearance of WPA/CCC projectsI have seen elsewhere, but there was no sign so stating. You younguns that think that WPA is a wifi security acronym, see the footnote. On the way out, at my many rest stops, I marveled at the amount of effort that was necessary to construct the trail down what appears as a sheer cliff from a distance.

I did not take Annie as dogs were not permitted on the trail, strangely the only trail in the area that disallows dogs. I asked ranger Danger about it, and he said he had no idea why this was the case. I suspect that in the early years of this park someone ordered the wrong sign, and the mistake has become obscure. But you know how the government bureaucracy is; never ask your boss anything that he may not know the answer, better to let the obvious singularity remain as is.

I did take a camera. The first shot is a view of a small section of trail. The ‘steps’ are well constructed water stops. A beautifully constructed trail.

At the spring at the bottom is a nice camping area with a few three-sided shelters for backpackers. Some even had a picnic table, all had a fire ring. Again, luxury accommodations as backpacking goes.

When I reached the river I had to do this:

Not the first time that I had a toe in the Rio as I visited it at Big Bend in Texas. A lot of the water disappears between here and there. I have also visited the Rio in Colorado.

At the river I got a picture…


and downstream:

Before I went down into the canyon I took Annie on a short flatland hike to a lookout upon the fish hatchery in the bottom of the Red River Gorge. Now I want to find the road that goes into the gorge to the hatchery. I have a map and a list of jeep trails in the area that I may try, although they can be nowhere near the fantastical breathtaking trails at 10,000 feet altitude in the Silverton, CO area. The hatchery:

Footnote; On May 6, 1935, the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) was created to help provide economic relief to the citizens of the United States who were suffering through the Great Depression.

The Creation of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. President on March 6, 1933. A bill known as the Emergency Work Progress Bill was introduced in Congress on March 21, 1933, enacted into law March 31, 1933. This bill spawned numerous federal agencies, such as the PWA, WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). There were approximately 5,000 camps of 200 enrollees set up in all states, plus the American Territories. The enrollees enlisted for periods of six months at a time and were paid $1.00 per day, of which $25.00 per month was sent directly to their families. The CCC was made up of approximately 3.5 million men, 225,000 World War I veterans, the balance young American boys, unmarried, between the ages of 17 and 28 years. The CCC existed for over nine years until June 30, 1942, at which time it was absorbed into America’s Armed Forces.

General George Catlin Marshall testified before Congress at the end of World War II that the early training given to the men of the CCC was a major factor in America’s winning of that war.

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