Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Very Large Array

We went to downtown Socorro to look around and mail our ballots. We walked the streets of the older area of town. Interesting place but Walmart's has killed most of the businesses.

We returned to camp and got ready to roll.

Very Large Array Radiotelescope, NM
We headed West on Hwy 60 stopping at the Very Large Array site of the National Radio telescope Observatory. This is currently the largest radio telescope in the world. There are 27 each 84 foot dishes here that work in harmony like a very large dish used for radio telescope observations. we checked out the Visitor Center and took the walking tour of the site.

Very Large Array Radiotelescope, NM Very Large Array Radiotelescope, NM
Each antenna weighs hundreds of tons. They're moved to various foundation locations along the tracks or into a service building. There are four sets of positions for the antenna that provide varying degrees of resolution. The red object on the right in the right picture above is a motorized platform that moves the antennas from place to place.
Very Large Array Radiotelescope, NM Very Large Array Radiotelescope, NM
The antennas move on a pair of parallel railroad tracks that stretch 13 miles on each spoke of a wye. An interesting place.

We continued West stopping in Pietown, supposedly famous for its pies. We wouldn't know because they close at 3pm and we arrived at 4pm.
Hwy 60 West Of Quemado, NM
We stopped for the night at a rest spot (wide spot in road with a garbage can) because the sun was directly in our face. Nothing around here. We didn't have cell phone so we called Dawn using the VOIP phone via the Datastorm satellite system. Always in contact.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Escondida Lake Park, Socorro, NM

Balloon in Albuquerque Balloons in Albuquerque
While we showered and prepared to leave, we enjoyed viewing a bunch of balloons flying along the river. Pretty far away but fun to see. The parking lot at the casino provides a good view of Albuquerque.

We headed South on I25 to Socorro, NM. While fueling the RV Lou went next door to the Sonic drive in and got a couple of breakfast burritos. We moved just behind the service station into a school parking lot and enjoyed our breakfast. The school was next door to a nice park so we both fly or RC planes until the batteries went dead (about 30 minutes). I was considering flying the big plane but some kids moved into the park before I returned so I didn't get it up.

We looked at our books and decided to go back North 2 miles to Socorro Lake Park to camp. They have full hookups for $12. It's a nice park next to a lake. It's had some damage due to heavy rains but good enough for our stay.

Campsite at Escondida Lake Park Socorro, NM Escondida Lake Park Socorro, NM
Our campsite and the lake at Escondida Lake Park.

Rio Grand at Escondida Lake Park, Socorro, NM
We took a walk next door to look at the Rio Grand river. Very muddy water. I like the woods next to the river.

Lou was helping Dawn wit ha report so we stayed a second night. The Datastorm systems provides Internet access anywhere so they passed files back and forth for Lou to edit. We may be thousands of miles away but it's almost like we were still there.

A Cat At Escondida Lake Park Socorro, NM Ducks following Lou At Escondida Lake Park Socorro, NM
There was a feral cat hunting in the park. We, of course, watched him for our cat fix. We fed the ducks. Above right Lou is being chased as she throws pieces of bread. That picture also shows some of the rain damage in the park.

Boondock site East of Escondida Lake Park, NM
We took a drive on the road to the park further out of town into BLM land. There is supposed to be a good boondock campsite there. Well, maybe, if you have a fourwheel drive RV with high clearance. Not good for our Class A RV with it's 5 inch clearance. There were a couple of places where the washes made a one foot drop in the roadway. It did provide a nice view of the Rio Grand river through the valley.

Before we leave the area we'll take a look at the radio telescope site nearby.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sandia Casino, Albuquerque, NM

We moved down to the Sandia Casino just East of Albuquerque. We'll probably just be here for the night. We drove over to Bernillo and visited anothe Jackalope Pottery and Imports store. We then looked around Rio Vista stopping at several stores.
Ernie Visits Albuquerque
Don's brother Ernie was passing through with a load from LA to NJ so we met here for dinner. When Ernie arrived he phoned and we ended our shopping adventure and headed over to pick him up. Before we left his truck we snapped this picture of the thre of us infront of the sunset. We had dinner at the Golden Corral Buffet. It's quite a nice restaurant. After a short visit we bid farwell to Ernie. He had to put some miles on to make it to NJ by Tuesday.
We returned to the RV and Lou enjoyed a visit to the casino. It took her 3 hours to loose her $3. I worked at the computer then went in for a short look around. My looks never cost anything.

Saturday, October 21, 2006



Hidden Valley Resort, Our Site Hidden Valley Resort
We moved down to Albuquerque, sort of. We're staying at the Hidden Valley Resort in Tijeras, NM (10 miles East of Albuquerque.) This will be our base for the next week.

We couldn't check in until after 1pm so we stopped at a Walmart. We went to Rudy's BarBQ for lunch. It's an award winning BarBQ restaurant voted best in Albuquerque but we preferred the Whole Hog in Santa Fe.

I fixed the drivers door so you can now open it from the outside. I also replaced the door pockets which were broken up. Meanwhile, Lou worked on installing the new seat covers for the seat bottoms in front. Now that the car runs again, and we had the time, we decided to actually do a little work.


Started the day with the Sunday Morning political shows. There is definitely a different flavor to them recently. They seem to be asking a few questions now? Finally!

As usual, we're on the wrong track. We arrived yesterday and we'll be here 7 days, or so. This morning, half the RV's left. What do they know. One thing, the temperature was 26 degrees this morning at 7:30. That's the lowest temperature we've seen, and we came "down" to Albuquerque to get warmer weather. Oops!

We' went to a big flea market at the state fairgrounds this morning. Lots of vendors. Some interesting stuff. But, so much of the stuff is imported junk, that looks like it came from Mexico but has a made in China label on it. How peculiar!

We shared a nice carne de adovada torta (red chile pork sandwitch) for lunch. Very tasty!

We then stopped by Camping World to get a new sewer hose. The RV park utility hookups are placed for trailers not RV's so it's a long run to connect to the sewer. One of our hoses leaked too much for my likes so I replaced it. While we were there, we also looked at the RV's in the showroom of American RV where the Camping World store is located. There was a nice 37' diesel pusher there for a very nice price, but, no sale today.


We made our way to the Sandia Tram this morning. The tram goes to the top if Sandia peak, at 10,378 feet. It's the longest passenger tram in the world. a nice ride. From the top, there is a 360 degree view of New Mexico. The weather was nice and clear so the views were great.

We started with breakfast (lunch actually) at the High Finance Restaurant at the top. The prices are really not bad and the food was very good. We shared a Caesar salad and chicken fettucini.

We then took a little 3 mile hike to the Kiwanis's cabin, a place closer to the actual peak that provides even better views and provides a nice look at the forest and meadows on top of the mountain. Quite different than the desert down at the base.

Sandia Peak Sandia Peak Tram
A view from the top of Sandia Peak and the tram arriving at the top. Bad news, I forgot my camera so no good pictures. I did snap these with my phones camera. Not too good but better than nothing.

After we returned to earth, we stopped by the Sandia Casino just North of Albuquerque and close to the tram site for dinner.


We stopped by the Post Office to get our mail this morning. We had called the Post Office 800 number to confirm which office to use for General Delivery. We had the package sent there. That post office doesn't do general delivery. Just another example of the problems at the Post Office. I just can't understand why every Post Office can't handle general delivery, nor why the ones that do are so oddly located. Oh, well.

We then stopped by Old Town and browsed the shops. Similar stuff from similar sources as was found at the flea market, just more expensive. There actually were some shops that had unique art though.

We had lunch at La Hacienda restaurant sharing a combination plate. Pretty good food. Excellent service.

On our way home, we stopped by the Coronado Shopping Mall. Big place. Seems bigger than Albuquerque could support but seems to be doing well.


Today we visited the Albuquerque Zoo, Botanical Garden and Aquarium.

Albuquerque Zoo Elephant Albuquerque Zoo Young Male Elephants Playing
They have a nice elephant exhibit and are enlarging it from two to five acres in size to allow for a breeding program.

Albuquerque Zoo Big Cat Albuquerque Zoo Hypos
All the habitats are very natural and the animals are the healthiest looking we've seen in any of the zoos we've visited.

Albuquerque Zoo Wart Hog Albuquerque Zoo Flamingos
Isn't the Wart Hog good looking. Looks like a member of my family. I always like the flamingo flocks.

Albuquerque Zoo Owl Albuquerque Zoo Polar Bear Swimming
This ground owl was in one of the exhibits. They were unuasually active for owls in the daytime hopping all around. This polar bear was swimmin laps in the pool.
Albuquerque Zoo Train
They have a group of trains that run between the Botanical Garden and the Zoo which are about a mile apart. The train also tours the inside of the zoo.

The zoo was the best zoo we've been to. While not the biggest, the exhibits seem to be the most natural looking yet still provide excellent viewing of the animals. The animals appeared more healthy than other zoos and were playful and seemed interested in the visitors. There is a lot of construction going on but all in all an excellent zoo.

Albuquerque Botanical Garden Dragon Albuquerque Botanical Garden Train
The Botanical Garden had an interesting 20 foot tall dragon by a castle at the entrance to the Childrens garden. There was also a very nice garden tran system with several trains running it it.

Albuquerque Botanical Garden Lake Albuquerque Botanical Garden Swan
There was a nice lake with a couple of very big white swans. We only had a short visit to the Botanical Garden due to staying so long at the zoo.

The Aquarium was nice, though not too big. They wouldn't let me dive in the water so there aren't any good pictures from there.

When we got back home, Lou's crock pot meal was ready.

While the weather reports said we were in for rain, it was nice all day.


It was a cold and blustery morning with ocassional little snow flurries. Nothing stayed on the ground but you could watch the air. So, we lounged around until almost 1pm.

When we finally got moving, we went down to Albuquerque to look at RV's, mobile homes, and surplus stores. There is a big cluster of RV and mobile home dealers on the East end of Central Ave, our end of town, so we browsed around them all. There were some interesting 5th wheels for Dawn's possible use. We also looked around a coulpe of very interesting surplus stores. One of them seemed to have a huge assortment of technical surplus items, along with clothing, costumes, furniture, and anything else imaginable. Very interesting.


We were making plans for where we would be moving to tomorrow when we leave Hidden Valley. We were about to make reservations in Truth or Consequences, NM when brother Ernie called and said he was icking up a load (he's a long haul trucker) in Long beach headed to New Jersey. He would be passing through Albuquerque and we could meet for dinner. So, we planned instead to move out to the Sandia Casino for Saturday night and meet him for dinner.

It was another cold night 26 degrees from 10pm trough the whole night.

We went down to an RV show at the state fairgrounds in Albuquerque today. Not a big show but we had fun looking at the stuff there. We especially liked the Fleetwood Discovery with the full body slide. very roomy with a nice layout. If we decide to go full time, it would fill the bill. Too big for state and national parks though.

We stopped by to pick up our mail and then stopped at Myers Rv on Central avenue to look at some more RV's. We've been looking both at a motorhome for our use as well as a 5th wheel for Dawn's use. We found some very nice 5th wheel trailers for Dawn to look at.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Santa Fe, NM


We took a little drive around Las Vegas, NM in the morning before departing Storrie Lake SP.

We exited I25 to take old Route 66 through Pecos and discovered Pecos National Historic Site. We toured the old Indian ruins and heard about the great civil war battles that occurred here.
Pecos National Historical Park, Cholla Fruit? Pecos National Historical Park, Path To Ruins
A short path leads to the Pecos Ruins.

Pecos National Historical Park Pecos National Historical Park Pecos National Historical Park
The ruins date back to pre Spanish arrival.

We continued on to Santa Fe. We parked at Wal-mart's and drove to the Whole Hog BarBQ. Lou had a craving. We shared a nice platter of their best. It was good.

We continued to Old Town Santa Fe. After I parked the car, being the perfectionist I am, I got back in the car to reposition the car in the space before we continued our walk. I found that the car wouldn't start. We took a little walk around town and then returned to the car and called road service. This was a bad experience with Good Sam VSP. The operator expected me to know where it should be taken for repair. That's really peculiar. Then, we waited for 3.5 hours and the truck still hadn't arrived. I kept trying to start the car and finally it responded, so we left and cancelled the "tow". The neutral position switch is probably bad. We made it back to the RV at Wal-mart's and it won't start again. Fortunately, we're about two blocks away from the Volvo dealer here. The breakdown kind of ruined our afternoon.
On the good side, we didn't breakdown in Denver when we really needed the car, the food was good, and the weather was good all day.


We got the car to the garage early and it may be a couple of days before they get it fixed. We walked around a little and asked where there was a good restaurant. The Pantry just a few blocks up Cerrillos Rd was the recommendation. Off we went. Good choice. We shared the best homemade corned beef breakfast we've had. Even beats my own. Ummm!

We caught to bus back to Wal-mart's. We bought day passes for $2 each. We'll go explore some later.

We caught the bus down to the local shopping center. I couldn't resist a couple of driving hats, my normal headgear. Target also had another RC jet like the one we have, so we got it to reduce competition. We can now both fly at the same time.


A bit colder last night. The outside temperature was 30 degrees at 8:00 am. While it remained brisk all day, it did warm to the high 50's. Clear sky all day, good for the solar.

After breakfast of corned beef hash again at The Pantry, we dropped by the auto club to get a couple of maps and looked at a few new cars at a couple of the dealers nearby. Just dreaming but we are considering a new toad, but nothing we looked at could be towed on all four wheels. We'll probably go to the auto show in San Francisco later this winter. Maybe that will help.

We went back downtown and looked around everywhere. We had a nice German lunch at a deli by the town plaza. Excellent hot red potato salad. We stopped by the Wild Oats Market and Trader Joe's for a look and picked up a couple of things.

After resting at the RV for a couple of hours we went out to dinner at a good Chinese buffet nearby. We didn't do good about eating at home but did have a nice day.


We tinkered around the RV this morning. About 11am the repair shop called, our car was ready. We picked up the car. They replaced a switch on the transmission, the ignition switch, the indicator cap on the gear selector, and did a recall repair. Interesting that they are still doing recall repairs on a 20 year old car. The problem was the traansmission switch, the other stuff just needed to be done.
We hopped around various stores nearby to test the starting. It worked nicely. One of the places we stopped was Jackalopes, an interesting store here in Santa Fe. They have several other stores but this one is huge. They have an unusual assortment of pottery, statuary, imports, furniture and also some craft concessionaires. We enjoyed watching a couple making flowers and decorated figurines in one of the buildings.

We then headed toward Taos stopping at several casinos and some other shops. We had dinner at one of the casinos. We only made it as far as Espanola and then returned to Santa Fe. We'll be leaving for Albuquerque in the morning.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Storrie Lake SP, Las Vegas, NM

We rose early and started to prepare to leave. We weren't sure how long we would be staying when we arrived and it ended being a week. That's good because we got the 7th day free. How nice. This is a very nice park with the best location in Denver. We'll be returning in the future.

We returned to the Apple Ridge Cafe for breakfast. We shared a breakfast burrito and a slice of apple pie. What a way to start the day.

We dashed over to Vicky's house and finished fixing her front door latch with an appropriate screw. After a quick goodbye, we returned to get the RV.

On our way out we settled the bill and dumped the holding tanks. We're now ready for some boondocking again, fully emptied, charged and filled as appropriate. Wee caught I25 South.

Las Vegas, NM Storrie Lake SP Las Vegas, NM Storrie Lake SP
We stopped in Las Vegas, NM at Storrie Lake SP just NW of town for the night.

Monday, October 9, 2006

More Of Denver Area


We moved from Wal-Mart's this morning. It's going to snow tonight and having a power hookup will be nice. In addition, we've been out for a week now and those tanks were getting full and empty as is inappropriate. We dumped the holding tanks and filled the water and LPG tanks. Since it's freezing were not hooking up to water and sewer. Who wants to play with frozen and/or broken hoses. Were amateurs at cold weather camping and have a older California type RV, as in compartments and holding tanks not insulated or heated. and single pane windows. To top that, our electric heater has gone bad. This time it goes in the trash.

It's rained all day, heavier into the early evening. Supposed to snow before morning?

We headed over to the hospital to visit with Virginia but I got ill and Lou went up by her self. Vicky was ill today as well. Not sure what it was but best guess is Boca de Beppo's food.

Lou did our laundry in the parks laundry room. This park has a nice laundry and shower rooms. It's kind of unusual in that you get a key to one of the many shower/bathrooms. The room is shared with other sites but the campers only have access to one room. That means serial showers for each site. Unusual but does control access.

There are lots of bunnys hanging around the RV spaces.

The RV park is also next door to Prospect Park, one of the many nice parks in the area. There is a nice lake there.


I felt worst today. Full force of food poisoning. What fun! I just lounged around all day.
Lou went over to see Virginia at the hospital. She's much better. The respirator is gone and she got to eat again finally.
On her way back, she got a good dose of thrift store shopping.


Pretty much the same as yesterday. Lou did more shopping and visiting.

In the evening, I finally got to have a little chicken noodle soup.


Feeling better this morning. Lou and I took a walk around the lake in Prospect Park next door. Lots of geese there. About noon, we went to breakfast at the Apple Ridge Cafe nearby. A full parking lot each time Lou passed by, tipped her off to a very good restaurant. We shared a nice chicken fried steak breakfast. This is the first real solid food I've eaten in 3 days. We saw a great looking breakfast burrito pass by while we were waiting to be seated but opted for a more bland breakfast.

We visited Virginia at the hospital. I haven't seen her since I've been ill. What a difference. It's good to hear her talk again.

John's Chevy
We went over to Golden to look around. In Golden, at the General Store, there are a lot of metal enamel plate pictures. One of them includes a picture of my nephew John's Chevy. He's very proud of that car.
We did some more laundry and relaxed around home most of the rest of the day.


Another breakfast at the same great Apple Ridge Cafe. This time, we shared an outstanding wet Breakfast Burrito.

After a visit to Virgina we went by the Mint to see if we could get a tour. Nope, tours all full. So we toured the capitol building. Colorado has one of the nicest capitol buildings we've toured. We had a nice tour guide, an 81 year young lady that was a fountain of information, and energy.

Denver Capitol Building Image of George Washing In Marble
The Marble in the building is unique. All the marble from the quarry used was consumed to build the capitol building. There are some images in the marble if you look closely. This one shows George Washington.

Denver Cows Denver Prospect RV Park
Denver is another town with oddly painted fiberglas art figures. Here, they have a lot of Cows downtown. This fiberglass art is almost as ubiquious as , say, Starbuck Coffee Houses. Here is the required picture of where we are staying at Prospect RV Park.

After the tour we were hungry so we dropped by the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We shared a pork chop dinner and a piece of chocolate tower cake. Then off to home.


After our morning visit to Virginia we went to the Zoo. Denver has one of the nicest zoos we've been to. The animals were well displayed, looked healthier than most zoos and the animals seemed to be interested in being seen. All this made for a nice visit.

Daddy Relaxing Baby
The Denver Zoo has a new Gorilla baby. Daddy doesn't seem worried.

Big Horn Sheep Bears Artic Fox
There are lots of nice animals at this zoo. I wonder if they'd be good house pets?

We stopped by a Qudobo Mexican restaurant for dinner and then a visit to Virginia. We then dropped by Vicky's house for a short visit. Her front door lock wasn't working right so I fixed it. We then stopped by the market for some items before heading home. It started to rain fairly heavily just after we were inside. It had been dry all day until then. Nice day.


We wanted to get an early start today, and did! Wow.

We headed downtown to Virginia's after breakfast at home. We ran into roadblocks due to a marathon race and a police officer who evidently wasn't paying attention at his traffic control training sessions. We had to cross the route twice. At the first, the officer let cars through between runners. at the second, the inattentive officer didn't. So, we parked the car and walked the remaining three blocks to the hospital. When we returned, the race was almost over, there were several blocks between straggler runners and we were allowed through.

We went to the the Denver Nature and Science Museum which took us all day for a quick look. They have really great panorama displays of stuffed specimens of all sorts. There is also a great view of the downtown Denver skyline with the mountains behind from the 4th floor observation deck.

Denver View from Museum
A nice view of downtown Denver with the Rockies beyond from the Denver Nature and Science Museum.
We plan on leaving Denver tomorrow morning heading toward Santa Fe, New Mexico. We ant to get out before the next storm on Wednesday.