I hope you feel my frustration here … the entire second day that I was snapping great pictures of the landscape and campsite, plus more great pictures in Santa Fe … it was without my SD card in the camera! It was in the laptop. So, you will just have to imagine how awesome it was. Fortunately, Jackie took a few that I can add here. Dangit!
Up early again, we got packed up for the drive to Navajo Dam and our next campsite at Cottonwood Campground in the Navajo Dam State Park, New Mexico. Since the drive down from 9,000 ft. to 7,000 ft. was bad enough in the motorhome, we decided to have Jackie drive the Jeep down behind me until we found a large parking lot downtown to hitch up to the RV. Smart decision. Once hitched, we were headed to the northwestern corner of the state. The scenery kept changing around every bend, as we dropped into canyons, then up over mesas and around all manner of hills, cedar lined valleys and eroded rock. Mostly scrub, sagebrush, pinyon pine and juniper, with cactus mixed in.
We stopped briefly at the welcome center for Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch homestead and then made a very quick turn to stop at a natural amphitheater in the rock: Echo Amphitheater. Very cool eroded hillside with an easy walking path. These are some pictures Jackie took, as mine were on the missing SD card. Beautiful sight. Even saw our first magpies.
I had my eye on the road and the engine temperature, but it was all good. Outside it was in the upper 60’s until we got close to Navajo Reservoir. Umm, and what a last few miles it was. We wound our way to the dam, drove down the winding road until we drove across the dam, then switched back across and below it. A few miles further we crossed the river and turned right … gravel/dirt road! Nooooooo! So for the next 2 miles it was back to the dusty and very lumpy road I thought we left back in Glenrio.
Ok, camp road was paved, so in we went, disconnected, found our pull-in spot and crashed for 2 hours. Well, I did anyway. Jackie found we had a cell signal, checked her emails and elevation (5,700 ft.), drank water and checked her pulse-ox. Back into the 90s!
We watched a group setting up a pretty massive camp next to us, many plastic storage tubs, a huge superstructure erected over the picnic table, lots of pipes clanging, drill drivers … sorry, but my first thought was “this is how engineers go camping.” And I have two wonderful engineer sons. But we had a nice chat with the group, who had been high school buddies and did this fishing/camping excursion every year – and yes, funny you should say, one of them is an engineer/contractor. (nailed it)
Before dinner we tried to figure out the next two days and a planned visit and hike in Mesa Verde. We just aren’t close enough to the park to get there and get to the trailhead for the tour, so we canceled our tickets and tried to find a Monday night camp spot near Cortez. Our only hole in the reservation schedule. Not much luck online, but we will try again in the morning. Our change in plans means we are heading to Durango for a day of sightseeing and beer sampling. Cliff dwellings will have to wait.
Thanks for coming along on the adventure — more to come!