Travels with Pickles

Mid-June and July 2016

The first month and a half has been a learning experience but we wouldn’t change it for the world.  It has been filled with more ups than downs which is a blessing.  We have been to four campgrounds, two states, and made several changes to the schedule already. 




We officially became houseless but far from homeless on June 17, 2016.  We were fully moved out of the house, all of our unnecessary possessions disposed of, and the house cleaned to sparkling perfection.  Unfortunately, it was also 120 outside and that led to our first learning experience, “Honey, the satellite isn’t stowed!”.  We camped out at Estrella Mountain Regional Park for five days while we moved out of the house completely and got settled into The Gump.  It was a nice park but someplace we will only return to because of it’s proximity to family.  It

We moved from Estrella Mountain to KOA Tucson/Lazydays thereafter for three weeks.  It was slightly cooler, we had a pool and it gave us time to sort through everything we had loaded unto The Gump.  We were still in a reasonably large town so that we could pick-up or dispose of things as needed, turns out we needed to get the satellite repaired and a new bed so we could sleep comfortably. 


Those days in Tucson were invaluable for us.  We gave ourselves the time we needed to decompress and relax.  The access to the pool and spa nightly was much needed relief from the unrelenting heat of southern Arizona in summer.  By the time we left the first Sunday after the Fourth of July, all of us were exhausted and ready for the cooler temperatures of New Mexico.



Our first stop out of three planned state parks in New Mexico was Caballo Lake, which is about thirty minutes south of Truth and Consequences.  It wasn’t much cooler, the innumerable weather applications on my phone let us down, but there was a decent breeze from the lake most mornings and there was no man-made light pollution at night.  It wasn’t perfect but it was an improvement from melting in Arizona.


There were problems however.  The power was inconsistent unfortunately, which when it’s hot is troublesome.  It also severely limited out ability to go and explore while leaving the flock in The Gump.  We ventured into Truth and Consequences for supplies and to check out the connectivity at our next destination but that’s about all we did.  The risk to the flock was not worth a couple of hours excursion.

We were supposed to be at Elephant Butte Lake State Park for two weeks but we cancelled those reservations on our scouting trip.  The AT&T cell signal was weak, park wifi was non-existent that far from the front of the park, and the park was just hot, crowded, loud, and busy.  It didn’t appeal to either of us and so we decided on the spur of the moment to move north out of the heat and closer to our next destination.

We landed at Lavaland RV Park in Grants, NM for two weeks.  If you are only looking for resort style RV living this is not the park for you.  If you are however looking for consistent power, easy access to I-40, and a central point for all of the places and things to do in Northwest New Mexico then we can highly recommend this park.  It’s no frills, there are permanent residents, and there is highway noise.  But the residents are friendly, the staff is friendly, highway noise isn’t that bad, and you can receive packages and mail no problem.


We scouted our next destination which is just thirty minutes west, Bluewater Lake State Park.  It was high on my list of places I wanted to go because of the wild horses.  Our reservations had us there on my birthday which was a bonus.  Unfortunately, our scouting trip confirmed my worst fear and there is an AT&T black hole and the Verizon repeater tower is overloaded.  As pretty as it was, we decided to cancel the reservation and open the spot up for another family.  We will probably be back to oasis camp directly on the lake when it isn’t so crowded and we have a week off of work.


We scouted Sky City Casino RV park which is about thirty minutes east of Grants.  We had a fabulous lunch, Dave highly recommends the Mutton Sandwich on Fry Bread.  The RV park is a typical casino RV park, a parking lot with full hook-ups and plenty of space for big rigs.  As expected, it was basically empty at the end of July without a spec of shade in sight.  Unfortunately, while RV park guests are free to use the amenities of the hotel the RV Park is too far to walk to the pool and spa in comfort.  So, despite the good food, more than reasonable rates we decided to keep looking for our two week hole which is just four days away as I type this travelogue.  No pressure there Tammy!

On a side note, we did get a very good deal on a large bag of Menthol pipe tobacco.  No not to put in a pipe to smoke, but rather to scatter around the jacks to keep the creepy crawling critters away.  For thirteen bucks we shall be critter free for months!


We did actually spend time away from the flock and The Gump without worry while in Grants.  We drove the Zuni Canyon Road through Cibola National Forest.  It was quiet and gorgeous.  Towering cliffs and pines, intermittent rain showers, wind whistling through trees, and just the two of us.  It made for a peaceful afternoon of exploration and relaxation after a rough couple of weeks working.  We returned on Sunday with Wally and Sangria.  Pickles, Leo and Leroy stayed home and enjoyed some golf on television.  Pickles could come on the occasional excursion if he didn’t hate his lead so much.