My day is complete!

Saturday, April 30

P1110068Running with glee at Apache Creek Campground, Gila National Forest, New Mexico

Bridget, Reggie, and I don’t want to leave Apache Creek!

The crew loves the flat, open space with the dog-pleasing smells of piney forest.  As for me,  I want to see and photograph the abundant wildlife and birds that have been under cover due to our arrival and the rain.

This morning at first potty break, unseen turkeys gobble in the thicket near our camp and nearly drive Reggie out of his ever-lovin,’ canine mind.  He must think they’re monsters!

Why do we have to leave?

No internet!  Nothing.  I’m unable to go online at all.  My blog is very important to me and I don’t want it to languish from lack of attention.  I don’t want my neglect to undo the work it took to build it to its present level of popularity.  The income it provides via Amazon sales is also important to me.  When I don’t post, sales plummet.

The crew and I ride over to Apache Creek Store.

P1110060While sitting in the Perfect Tow Vehicle, I turn on my Verizon jetpack air card. 

As expected it searches for a signal and fails to find one. Apache Creek is surrounded by steep hills and mountains very close-in.  I’d put up the Wilson antenna, but it can’t boost a signal that doesn’t exist.

Darn.  Well, we’ve camped at Apache Creek for two nights.  We’ll stay one more night.

“Guess what, crew.  Early tomorrow morning we’re off to a new camp!”

Sunday, May 1

The crew and I take Route 32 toward Quemado.  The two-lane road curves around a hillside.  I hit the brakes.

What’s this?  Oh, wow . . . elk!

P1110090Elk are everywhere! 

Several are in a field on our left, gathered in small groups.

P1110087I bring down the window and aim my camera.

Zoom!

P1110084Elk are also on the slope to my right which is in heavy shade because the sun has not yet “cleared” the hill.  Those photos don’t come out very well.

A doe (oops! a female elk is called a cow) jumps a fence to join others on the shady slope.

She stops to look us over.  Being familiar with deer more than with elk, I make comparisons.

Much bigger, a long neck, heavy torso . . .

P1110088Powerful, muscled flanks . . . a camel-like pose of the head . . . . not as lithe as a deer . . .

P1110083Bridget and Reggie become aware of the elk and raise a ruckus!

We cruise by ranches at 30 mph for several miles, encountering small herds of elk along the way.

What a treat first thing this morning!  This makes my day.

P1110085Look at that clear, blue sky.  It’s a beautiful day for travel.  Hardly any traffic.  A good, easy road.

P1110093About thirty miles north of Apache Creek, I turn right onto gravel road, Route 103.

I want to take a look at Quemado Lake.

Four miles in and several hundred feet up the mountain, I glimpse the lake.  The water level is low, of course.  The shoreline isn’t very interesting.  I turn around before reaching any of the three campgrounds.

Okay, enough of this.  We have several miles ahead of us today . . . .

When we reach Route 32 again, I snap this photo of Castle Rock (7,875 feet).

It looks like a birthday cake!

P1110094The placid sky of early morning is gone. 

Gee, I hope we don’t run into a storm . . . .

At the town of Quemado, I buy gas and let Bridget and Reggie out for potty and exercise.   Then, east of town, we pick up Route 32 and continue going north.

Route 32 is a “lonesome road.”  In fact, other than a couple of oncoming vehicles, we travel approximately 40 miles without seeing much evidence of human presence.

Uh-oh.

Motoring across the vast, open desert, I spot three different storms!

Dark skies.   Sheets of rain.  Flashing fingers of lightning poking at mountains on the horizon.  The three storms are coming together ahead of us.

Hoo-boy.  We’re in for it!  

Rain falls, lightly at first, and then comes down in torrents.  The windshield wipers wave frantically back and forth, drumming in protest, “No!  No!  Too much! Too much! Stop!  Stop!”

We press onward.  Rain becomes snow.  Lots of snow.  Snow becomes sleet.

“Hey, crew!  Are we having fun or what? All we need now is some hail!”

At last we arrive at an intersection and a few buildings. 

I pull into a large parking lot next to a community center building and turn off the PTV.   The place looks deserted.

“Whew!  Let’s sit for a bit.”  Bridget and Reggie turn their questioning faces at me.

A few minutes later, during a pause in precipitation, I make a dash to the Best Little Trailer.

Goll-ee, it’s cold!

With a glass of orange juice in hand I exit the BLT to be pelted with hail!  (You knew that was coming, didn’t you!)

I scramble into the PTV, laughing. 

Well, now my day is complete.

P1110098Fence Lake — Photo taken during a break in the storm

I figure out from the sign on the community center that we are at a tiny settlement called Fence Lake.  The only noticeable presence of life is the church up the road which has about eight cars parked in front of it.  Other than that, Fence Lake looks like a ghost town on this Sunday.  (To see more of the area around Fence Lake, follow this link to photos.org.

P1110099What to do?

Turbulent skies in all directions.  Do we keep going and drive through the storm?  Or stay put, turn on the Wave 3 heater, and camp in this parking lot for the night?

To be continued . . .

rvsue

NOTE:  If you have a New Mexico map handy, find Fence Lake, north of Quemado.  Then look at the surrounding landscape.  Note the boundaries of the Zuni Indian Reservation. If you were here, what would you do?  Specifically, where would you camp?

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P1000734Another time, another place, another storm — Pelican Lake, Utah, September 2014

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119 Responses to My day is complete!

  1. Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

    #1 ?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      CONGRATULATIONS, DAVE! YOU’RE FIRST!

    • Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

      To answer your question I would go up thru Zuni to the Arizona side, and find a place to stay south of sanders, then up to Utah where there are more chances for BLM land than stay on the New Mexico side. My reason for this choice is just west of Zuni there is places to rest for the night. used to own land off 191. in what was known as “White Mountain Shadows” Although you could probably find places to stay around Gallup. All a Guess anyway I bet (Sue and the crew Have a Plan.)

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Okay, it’s about 130 miles to Sanders (off I-40) and that could be broken into two “journeys” by stopping at the place “just west of Zuni.”

        I’m curious. What is the place west of Zuni, if you don’t mind sharing?

        • Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

          Haven’t stopped there in a few years, but i remember a large parking area about 500′ or south of the store at sanders, not that great. seems also that at the travel center at chambers there is a parking area. over all they might be good for a night but not much longer.

        • Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:
  2. peggy says:

    2nd? almost first….

  3. Dawn from Camano Island says:

    #2?

  4. Karon says:

    Love this place. I want to go there.

  5. Peggy in Buckeye, AZ says:

    Good morning, Sue and the crew!

  6. Jack Spratter says:

    Greetings RVSue:

    Your blog is the only one I now read. Your light-heart humor and turn of expressions continue to impress me. I think that because you are able to write expressively that you should think about writing an e-book (for profit). I certainly would buy one!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Greetings to you, too, Jack,

      I’m honored to be the only blog you read. Thanks again for the compliment on my writing. As for my light-hearted humor, it’s not very dependable. Ha!

  7. Susan in South Central WA says:

    I am posting 1) because as #8 I think this is the highest ranking I’ve ever had and 2) I don’t know if the population of 42 includes the cult training facilities in Fence Lake…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t know either, Susan. If anyone is interested, they can do an internet search of Fence Lake cult. I chose not to bring that into my blog.

      Congratulations on placing in the top 10!

  8. Dawn from Camano Island says:

    Amazing day weather-wise, Sue! If I were there in Quemado I would have to flip a coin. South toward Datil & the VLA, observatory, Magdalena& boondocks near Socorro so I could day-trip down to Bosque del Apache or go north to El Malpas, El Morro, Zuni land & Chaco. I’d have to find out about boondocking on Indian land with this plan too. I would definitely steer clear of ABQ (they drive crazy-like there). Whew–glad my only decision today is whether to add a banana to my morning oatmeal. Happy trails to you & the crew!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting choices, Dawn… Going to Socorro would mean an additional hundred miles or so through storms. Do you know of boondocks there?

      It’s a Sunday and you’re in the middle of unpopulated desert. Not a good time or place to obtain a permit.

      El Morro and El Mapais are a reasonable distance.

      I know you’re talking in general where you would go. I’m wondering what a person would do specifically when in the situation we were in… kind of like a school project. Ha!

      • Geri says:

        Before you get to Socorro you come to Datil and their wonderful little boondocking campground WITH WIFI ! Campground will be on your right before you actually get to the crossroads town of Datil! Worth a day or two! Chuck and I have camped there several times and loved it!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks for the directions, Geri.

          Remember, folks, this post takes place a week ago. We’ve moved twice since then.

          • Geri says:

            ooops! sorry! well maybe somebody else headed this way can use the info on the limks!

  9. Velda says:

    Sounds like an interesting day. It was cold and grey here yesterday and today to be same but warming for Mothers Day. I would love to see elk like that, it’s been many decades since my parents and I were headed north here in CA and passed fields of Tule Elk. Wild life here is turkeys and squirrels!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Velda…

      Plenty of elk in the Apache Creek area! No wonder it draws many hunters… lots of turkeys, too.

  10. Maia says:

    That last photo is something I would like to turn into a painting. Love the colors! Didn’t you pick up some paints somewhere along the line? (I’m reading your posts from the beginning–I think I’m in June of 2013 now. You’re blazing the trail and I appreciate it! I plan to be where you are in a few years and your blog is helping me get an idea of what it could be like.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Maia,

      Yes, I bought paints and I haven’t touched them. I thought that those things I did in my previous life would transfer to my new life on the road. Some did, but not painting. My interest in photography replaced the creative urge to paint. I never was very good at painting anyway.

      Best wishes as you plan for the days when you will be “blazing the trail!”

      • BadgerRickInWis says:

        Hummmm. I’d forgotten about that. There goes my #1 idea of what your “secret hobby” purchase was.

        • bess in oregon says:

          yes, Sue, we have been wondering about the secret “hobby” too. any news to report? take care and happy trails! bess

  11. Mick'nTN says:

    I would go north to 53, then east to 50, north to Bluewater State Park and look for a boondock. Good internet there because it is close to I40.

  12. rvsueandcrew says:

    I’m turning the comments over to you, blogorinos (and any lurkers who want to become one!)

    The crew needs attention. I’ve ignored them most of the morning. Feel free to introduce new topics. Don’t feel limited to this search for “a port in the storm.” 🙂

    I look forward to reading what you have to say . . . .

    Sue

  13. I’d drop south and check out Pie Town. That has to have some good eating—um, interesting, things to eat, um…..see. Go see Pie Town!

  14. judy in east texas says:

    Well now….it looks as if RVSUE and crew have had an eventful day!! Glad your safe and in a parking lot deciding what to do! I would probably just go back into the BLT and take me a nap! cause that’s how i roll…ha ha ha
    Love the Pictures and that little Reg frolicking around is the cutest.

    I have posted comments many times and sometimes you get to see them and sometimes you don’t, hope this post actually makes it to the page!

    Stay safe out there and Rock On, judy

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I see all comments…. 🙂 Sometimes I take a break from replying.

      Okay, I’m outta’ here…

  15. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Just finished reading the new post. The Elk photos are awesome. I love the wildlife out west. The storm factor was scary. Since I don’t have a bench mark, I don’t know what I would do. However, I don’t particularly like driving in storms, so I would probably stay put for awhile.
    To bad about no internet signal at Apache Camp Ground. It sure was pretty and relaxing there & Reggie was in dog heaven there. HRH relaxes, the other acts like a crazy dog. gotta love it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love the contrast you make between Bridget and Reggie… “HRH relaxes, the other acts like a crazy dog.” That’s it exactly! Haha! Have a great evening, Barbara.

  16. Jillian (North Dakota) says:

    Unless the area felt ‘off’ to me, I’d choose to stay the night where you are parked. Too stressful for me to fight the weather while driving and trying to find a spot to camp.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jillian… Driving in bad weather is stressful. I agree. I also don’t have the stamina or motivation for driving several hours in one day.

  17. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    Oh, you are a mean one to leave us hanging like that. You should be ashamed! You had better post another one soon is all I have got to say!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sorry to leave you hanging, Jean. Yeah, it does make me seem like a meanie. Honestly I intended to write to take us all the way to that night’s camp. It was too long and I ran out of energy anyway….

  18. Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

    Looking on the map, Pie Town is holding my interest. Maybe that’s just because I’m hungry, though….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ladybug…. The power of a name, eh? If it were called Leftover Liver Town, I bet you wouldn’t be so excited about going there.

  19. AZ Jim says:

    I can tell by looking at Reggie scampering at full speed he is enjoying that location. Weather iffy now I guess. It is up and down here temp wise. 102 Wednesday and around mid 70’s right now. Looking for pt 2.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right about Reg. He loved Apache Creek!

      Crazy temps you’re having…

  20. MollyLuvsRoadtrippin says:

    I like a bit of a cliffhanger. In fact “on the next episode” previews are some of my favorite tv moments. Maybe it is a feeling of comfort and reassurance that there will definitely be more of my favorite serials to enjoy that makes the end of a good episode easier to take. RvSue and Crew shall return!! 🙂

  21. Sharron says:

    Should have gone east on hwy 60 to Pie Town and had some warm green chili chicken soup and some PIE!

  22. Hi Sue,
    Unless it felt strange, I would stay there and make do for one night.

  23. Shirlene says:

    Hi Sue…I heard from a little birdie you were looking for me..well I am at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Oregon….yipee…hi to all..then on to Thimble Farm in Silverton…what a great trip..kiss the puppies for me..

    Hi to Weather ??????

    • weather says:

      Hi! I’m glad you’re having a great trip 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Shirlene… Thanks for checking in! I forgot that you said you were going on a trip. Sounds like you’re having fun!

  24. Maryanne Davis-Baldwin-CT says:

    As far as to where to stay when a storm curtails your travel, I agree with Lisa W above. Since there were people at the church you stopped near, you could have asked them for permission to stay the night-again, only if you felt comfortable doing so. Gut instinct is something to follow, I feel, and things have gone well for you in the past following your feelings. On another note, I wanted to thank you for trying to help me decide how tight the anti-sway bar should be. Now what I do, is loosen it enough to get over its attaching balls, then while still not attached at both ends, tighten it enough so I can’t move it at all by hand then attach it. That seems to keep my trailer on the straight & narrow. About my difficult to get up valances; the only reason I bothered is that I plan to make curtains to hang from friction-fit rods inside the valances, not for looks but blocking any light. Up here summer’s sun gets up much earlier than I do. Keep those beautiful pictures coming, I do love them, & your blog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Maryanne… The way you describe your anti-sway bar, it sounds different than mine. I hope you aren’t tightening it too much. I was shown to turn the thing that tightens until I feel resistance, then loosen it a half-turn. This leaves the tightening thingie very loose and floppy. I was surprised when shown this because it seems wrong to have it that loose. I have heard a too-tight anti-sway bar may cause damage if one makes a sharp turn. I know this is vague. Just remember you don’t want the bar tight.

  25. Rocky Mtn Bob says:

    Sue, Just glanced thru comments and didn’t see any correction to your Elk, they are cows and bulls (not doe),deer are does and bucks.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, shoot. When I was writing this post, I said to myself, “I need to look up the proper word for a female elk.” And then I didn’t do it. Thanks, Bob.

      I edited it. 🙂

  26. Maryanne Davis-Baldwin-CT says:

    Thanks for the quick reply! My antisway bar has a good-sized lever (plus a bolt at the bottom which I leave as its) & the lever is what I tighten, until I can’t push the slide in or out. It says “Husky anti sway control” & came with the trailer & the hitch. I figure the truck & trailer are stronger than I am.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The adjustment of the anti-sway bar isn’t in relation to the strength of the truck. There needs to be “give.” That’s why there’s a slide bar. I can’t explain it any better. Maybe when you are at an RV service place next time, you could ask about it, just to be sure you’re doing it right.

      If you research forums on the topic I think you’ll find generally the lever is brought to a point of being tight and then turned back.

  27. chas anderson says:

    We had hail and a little snow at our Adirondack camp on May 3rd as we came up to dewinterize the old trailer.Miss my Juice a lot.She loved to sleep on the dock in the sun and wait for me to canoe in from fishing.In her younger days she would ride in the canoe with me.Good memories.Maybe the church will let youpark overnight.I have stayed in some church lots in a weather pinch.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, your Juice. You must miss her terribly. You two went through a lot together.

      The post is about what happened a week ago. The advice on asking the church is good to know… Thanks, chas.

  28. Nancy says:

    This isn’t to criticize but for education only: female elk are called cows. Deer-does. Also, male deer–bucks; male elk–bulls. Glad you were able to see a herd. I remember when you desperately wanted to see elk, but they continually eluded you–to the point where you were (almost) convinced they were a myth! LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, Nancy. I think it was three years traveling around the west before I saw an elk. I saw lots of road signs that said “elk crossing.”

      That leaves bass. I went bass-fishing with my ex-husband. I became convinced that bass are mythical creatures only seen on plaques.

      Yes, Rocky Mountain Bob corrected me on the female elk word. I edited the post. Thanks.

  29. Larry in Milton, FL says:

    Hi RV Sue! We don’t full-time like you, although at times we wish we were, but do spend a couple of months in our Casita each year camping at places “just like RV Sue”. We lived in New Mexico for 4 years, many years ago, and are glad that you have returned to our favorite state. If you can, please find us a couple of good boondock campsites out there that we can use on future trips!

    My wife Lois and I spent a few nights at Quemado Laek last Septembe, at the second campground (El Caso). IThe first one is a developed campground (you get water, electric, and extremely close neighbors), which is not our style of camping. You’d have liked the 2nd or 3rd campgrounds, except for the fact that there was no cell phone/internet service there, as I recall. We were there in early Sept and there were just two other campers while we were at Quemado Lake. They were hunters who left in search of elk before sunrise, returned very tired after sunset, and apparently went straight to bed since we never heard a sound from them. We enjoy peace and quiet, just like you. For us a cell phone signal isn’t critical, although it’s nice. Our main camping activity is hiking, so we look for solitude plus hiking trails nearby. I make note of any good boondock places you find and we’ve camped at a few already, so thanks!

    Don’t rush your journey northward too fast because the weather in western NM can be just like winter due to the elevation, even in May. Be safe, and know that we both think and talk about you every day. We still have 3 1/2 more months until we hitch up, head west, and temporarilycann live the good life like RV Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Larry,

      Good to hear from you! Hello to your wife, Lois. 🙂 I’m still amazed to hear about people talking about me in Florida.

      I imagine Quemado Lake campgrounds are quite nice in September and also in the summer months as a place to get away from New Mexico heat. It wasn’t an option for us because of its elevation of 7,720 feet. Too cold! It was going down around 30 degrees for the low. In fact, the day we went there was May 1st, opening day of the season. I imagine all the campgrounds were covered up in snow before nightfall. If we’re ever in the area again at a warmer time of year, I’d like to try camping there.

      Don’t you love it when you find a campground and hardly anyone is there? You’re right about western NM weather and finding a low elevation camp — difficult, if not impossible. Oh well, the challenges make this life interesting! Thanks for writing. When my ears burn, I’ll think of you two. 🙂

  30. Mike says:

    Hi Sue,
    A steady reader of your blog, I keep looking for your financial updates so I can grasp how inflation might affect my upcoming retirement plans to travel solo. I know its lots of work. Would say your expenses have not changed, or perhaps gotten lower with he fuel prices. Curious minds would like to know.
    Thank you, Mike…..P.S. How do you get those pic’s or Reggie man when he’s airborne?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mike,

      I don’t think I’ll ever get those financials up. It’s too much work and my focus isn’t on that anymore. When I first hit the road, I challenged myself to live as frugally as I could while still being comfortable. The first three years of experience gave me the confidence of knowing I could live on $13,000-$14,000 a year and be happy with the lifestyle (while saving for repairs and emergencies).

      Since that time I’ve loosened my purse strings. I buy food I want to eat, rather than limiting myself to eating on the cheap. I stay in state parks, rv parks, and pay campgrounds more often, mostly for the convenience. I don’t “make do”… when I want to redo the decorating, I buy what I want. I purchased Bridget a very nice “car.” 🙂 In addition to these changes, in our 4th and 5th year on the road, I replaced 6 tires and spent money on maintenance and repairs that come with time (and accidents like crunching the PTV’s back door!).

      All the things I mention here make my financials unique to me. Also I pay for more data and the costs of this blog. The changes in my spending during the past two years “muddies” the picture of what it takes to live fulltime on the road.

      I suggest doing this, which you’ve probably already done. Tabulate what you will spend on recurring bills such as insurances, internet/phone, emergency road service, medical needs (if you have any),propane, registrations, etc. Then see what you have left after these are paid for the month. Compare how much you spend now on non-recurring items like food, clothing, entertainment, etc.(adjusting for the change in lifestyle — dropping the symphony tickets for example). Add that to the recurring expense total.

      Now how much do you have left for savings, gas, and camps?

      The two biggest variables are determined by where you camp and how much you drive. The great thing about those two items is you can adjust them to suit your budget. Don’t travel as much, camp for free. Eventually there will be a third biggie — maintenance, replacements and repairs.

      Your rig will influence your budget greatly. Anyway…. Play with your own figures, keep reading my blog, and it will come together what you can do. Good luck! As for inflation, I don’t notice that because prices fluctuate all over the place when one travels across several states and each year our itinerary is different.

      Oh yeah.. How do I get those pics of Reggie airborne? Easy. I point and shoot. Since he’s airborne almost all of his waking moments, the odds are in my favor that I’ll catch him while flying through the air. You think I’m kidding?

      • Debra (CO) says:

        Sue, I love your description of how you get the photos of Reggie flying ?

        On the question of where to go, I think I would stay put for a night and then travel the next day. I don’t have a NM map but liking at google maps there don’t seem to be a lot of good options close by. Especially if weather forecast called for better weather the next day.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks Sue
        …I wish I had a 800 pound Reggie….and a saddle….yippee.

      • Mike says:

        Ha, You have flubber on his feet, you don’t fool me.
        Thanks for the kind reply Sue.

  31. weather says:

    Having had a lot of experiences driving in that type of storm ,I wouldn’t willingly be on any unfamiliar roads during one. So I’d have camped in the community parking lot until the storm wasn’t over .I can’t imagine anyone objecting to a traveler doing that given the circumstances. If the storm was done well before evening , just glancing at a map I might try Nutria Campground .It appears to be less than an hour almost due north from Fence Lake and might be accessible with my jeep even after a recent downpour. I say that just to play today’s game, in real life I’d have researched an area I intended to drive through and camp in. If…, might…, appears to be…, might be… are a lot less fun to roll with after the day’s more than half done and driving through a storm was part of it.

    The day until the moment you hit the rain sounds and looks wonderful. Great shot of Castle Rock, I imagine there’s some very interesting history surrounding that whole area.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nutria Campground might have been a great choice. I didn’t choose it for several reasons. Without internet at Apache Creek I wasn’t able to research it, i.e. confirm that it was open, check the elevation, size rigs allowed (is it tents only?), etc. That meant I’d have to research it once we drove in range of a signal, while sitting in the PTV. My head wasn’t in that mode, after driving in bad weather. The distance was do-able.

      About “might be accessible with my jeep”… I say this for anyone reading here… Just because you CAN travel a road, doesn’t mean it’s a good to do so. Consider what you’ll put your trailer through, if rain might have washed out a section, etc. Nutria Campground looks fine because Route 5, according to my Benchmark, is a paved road and then one only has a short distance on gravel.

      Great idea, weather. You’re good at this game. 🙂

  32. FYI, we stayed at Quemado Lake in the Pinion campground, no hookups. It’s very nice and hardly anyone there. With our amplifier we had a good enough Verizon signal that I was able to publish a blog post. Worth checking out if you ever find yourself in that area again. And skip the pie in Pietown. Overpriced and just not that good!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good to know, Jim and Gayle. I might have picked up a signal with the Wilson antenna. Too high up (read: COLD) and too much snow for us in early May.

  33. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    It does look like a cake!!! Great pictures of the elk. It must be amazing to be so close to them.
    Sorry I haven’t responded in the past week. Laptop was in the shop but I am back in business tonight!!!
    Sending lots of love and big hugs to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Same to you, Pauline. I did miss you, although I figured your life turned into a whirlwind. It’s done that in the past. 🙂

  34. Gingerita in NE Indiana ( for now) says:

    Great photos ! Makes me want to hit the road right now. I definitely have Pie Town on my list now:)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Bunch of foodies on this blog! Hi, Gingerita… I love pie, too. Even a “bad” pie is good. So the crust isn’t flaky. Who cares! It holds the yummy part together!

  35. Lisa and her pack in NJ(for now) says:

    Hi Sue and all my fellow Blogerinos,
    I am back after a short absence, sorry for the silence, I am fine. I have been going through a lot of changes, but feel like I am on the other side of the hilltop. I left my apartment the end of April, and was renovating my trailer, when my brother went into a hospice. Thankfully, his suffering was short and he is in Glory now. I return tFlo soon to finish renovations and hit the road.

    These beautiful Elk butts were just what I needed to see to lift my heart a bit. As for that storm, WOW, I vote wholeheartedly for staying put for at least one night. You can’t beat having your own everything right there to take a break from a stressful tow with wind, rain, snow and Hail. Hail yes, staynput !!

    • Ronda western WA says:

      Glad you’re back Lisa and your pack. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Sorry to hear of your uphill journey, may the other side of the hill be mostly sunny ☀️

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You have my sympathy, Lisa, in the loss of your brother. It’s good to have you back with us and to know that you are okay.

    • Denise - Richmond VA says:

      Hi,Lisa,

      Glad to see an update from you. Sending you wishes for some smooth, carefree coasting down a happy, sunny hill. You are in my thoughts and prayers. **hugs**

    • Applegirl NY says:

      Lisa, My sympathies on the loss of your brother. It is good to know he is now in Glory. Blessings.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      My condolences for the loss of your brother. I hope to hear more from you.

  36. Jim Brown says:

    Joe Skeen Campground (BLM) Hwy 117 e/o Fence Lake s/o of I-40 (Grants). El Malpais National Monument. Very small campground .

  37. Nivrapa in AZ says:

    Honoring one of my basic rules for my explorations in the wilds, I would respect Mother Nature. Skies like you saw could mean serious weather challenges and I believe I would play it safe and stay put. I’m not a fan of towing my Scamp on lonely, back roads in unfamiliar territory if there is threatening weather present. I’d be more inclined to venture out with just the truck, but would just sit tight if the TT were in tow. Also entering the equation is knowing your own limitations and skills. Being a ‘Zonie for so many years, I have lost my “enthusiasm” for driving on wet, slick, icy or snowy roads.
    Having said that, there is a place to camp that is lower in elevation and decent drive on maintained roads not too very far from Fence Lake. The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in Ramah, NM is about 40 miles from Fence Lake and offers a simple, small campground for $15/night. My love for huskies led me to research their wolf heritage and I stumbled upon this refuge. I have not discounted donating some of my time to sustain this rescue effort—perhaps when the lure of the road has lost some of its appeal. Such an experience would no doubt be very rewarding and an enrichment to my life. I think I would love it, too. This is where I would be headed from Fence Lake, although others with different interests would venture out in another direction.

    I’m gonna trust your instincts and experience, knowing you made the right decision for you and the crew in this particular situation. I’ll be waiting (impatiently) to hear how the scenario played out.—Audrey

  38. Ronda western WA says:

    Yeah, Birthday Cake Rock. Much better name

  39. cc and canine ( now in Damascus, Oregon) says:

    I’m another blogorino voting in favor of staying put where you are until the morning and waiting for the weather to clear. Don’t know much about where to head, but you are retired, and not on a schedule, so I don’t think that it is wise to take any chances and drive in bad weather… You are also driving your home, so you really don’t want to have an accident!

    If anyone objects, just explain the situation…I don’t think you’ll have a problem…

  40. Elizabeth in WA says:

    We once lived awhile in a gorge…where elk went through on their migrations…and neighbors told us that if there was a fence, generally they simply walked through it, taking it totally down…not much jumping I guess…and they are SO SILENT…we missed them all but once…and we just happened to be outside and looked up and there they were single file, walking, walking, walking…maybe several hundred? Amazing!!
    Hope you have found a nice spot to sit awhile Sue!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a sight that must have been, Elizabeth! It sounds like something in a National Geographic documentary. Several hundred, single file! Wow!

  41. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Good morning, Sue and fellow blogorinos!

    I would stay put overnight if you felt safe. (I looked up that cult located in the area…scary!). The next morning, head (80 mi) to the Walmart in Grants, NM. Stock up on supplies and get a rotisserie chicken. From there, head to Bluewater State Park (36 mi) to stay overnight or longer if you like it.

    It will be interesting to see what you decided to do. Looking online at the RV park across the street from Pie Town, it is a bare bones parking lot with close neighbors. That would probably not be the best option…

    Sending you and the Crew hugs from me and Gracie pup! Enjoy the weekend!! 🙂

  42. Applegirl NY says:

    I’m a day late and a dollar short, but I would have stayed put – looking at those skies. Seems like it would have been stressful to move on. Sometimes the relief of just being somewhere is good enough for that day.

    The elk picture where she’s looking at the camera really does emphasize their long necks, I never noticed it before. Great comparison with the camel, that’s exactly what it looks like.

  43. casitagirl says:

    Whew Sue! You sure know how to find adventure!

    I love elk–They have some traits that remind me of deer, and others that remind me of moose. I’m a Michigan (and now Florida) girl, and have not lived where I see them regularly, so they are a special sight to see. Thanks for sharing!

    You must have a destination in mind…Can’t wait to see where you land.

  44. rvsueandcrew says:

    GOOD MORNING, BLOGORINOS!

    The comments under this post remind us what a resource we have in each other. I read every comment and reviewed them again this morning. Wow! The suggestions and reasoning for them are varied and wise. I wish I had all this information while we sat in Fence Lake with hail pinging the PTV!

    What did I do? Stay for the night at the community center in Fence Lake or push onward?

    I decided to keep moving. Here’s my thinking….

    1) The road was not icy or slippery. If it became so, I’d pull over. Paved, two lane, little traffic.
    2) It was early in the day, not even noon yet. Several hours of daylight ahead.
    3) The route was straight road with no sharp grades.
    4) Although I didn’t feel a creepiness about staying, it certainly wasn’t a lovely place to camp. The thought of spending the entire afternoon, overnight, and then waking up in that place was very unappealing. And, although unlikely, there was a chance someone would tell us to move once church let out.

    As someone wisely wrote here, I’m not on a schedule so it’s safest to stay put. I agree. That’s usually my rule and it’s advice I’ve given to others. I felt compelled to keep moving. Not all my decisions follow logic and good sense!

    Anyway . . . . It worked out fine. I’ll write about the rest of that day in the next post.

    Thanks for some very interesting comments! I hope this little exercise put you vicariously in the same position as me and my crew and gave you insight and fun practice with on-the-road decision-making.

    Bye for now,
    Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      BTW… I hope you don’t mind if I don’t respond to every comment. Know that I appreciated each one. Thanks for participating!

  45. edlfrey says:

    I’m in Nivrapa of AZ’s corner – Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. What I did not read in your posting was there Internet available at French Lake or does your Benchmark show the Sanctuary? The only thing I disagree with that Nivrapa posted was the distance from French lake. I found it to be 25 miles rather than 40 and 25 miles would have been doable even in your circumstances.

    I am also surprised by the number of people that recommend Quemado Lake after you had included this in your posting.
    “I want to take a look at Quemado Lake. Four miles in and several hundred feet up the mountain, I glimpse the lake. The water level is low, of course. The shoreline isn’t very interesting. I turn around before reaching any of the three campgrounds.”

    Requesting permission to camp overnight at the church is a good recommendation but I don’t see you doing something like that.

    So, I’ll stick with Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary as my choice for your sanctuary from the storm.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The wolf sanctuary was on my list of possible camps.

      I didn’t have internet at Fence Lake.

      As I drove northward on Route 36, I looked for Route C33 (Candy Kitchen Road) which goes northeast to the sanctuary, as shown on my Benchmark atlas. The atlas shows it as an upaved road. If the road had been paved since my atlas was printed, I might have gone to the sanctuary.

      Not to start a big controversy here, but during the previous two weeks I had seen several signs (up to 4′ x 8′ in size) indicating tensions/anger between those who love wolves and the ranchers who are trying to make a living. If we camped at the wolf sanctuary I’d have to blog about it. Would the wolves vs. ranchers controversy spring up in comments? Ugh. Didn’t want to deal with that and I still don’t.

      As it turned out, I drove right past the turn for the wolf sanctuary without seeing it which made the decision for me. (I hate backtracking!) 🙂

      • weather says:

        Just a thought…it might be interesting and helpful for a lot of reasons, such as -us knowing exactly what to look for (paved road vs. dirt track, etc.), why we might want to use the Amazon link for a benchmark atlas to replace or supplement our own other maps- if in a post you could include a photo of the page in yours that you just mentioned , or which ever one applies in another areas post. One look might be enough to accomplish a great deal. I understand you may choose not to for any number of reasons. I hope you and the crew are having a good day 🙂

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks, weather. I hope your day is super, too!

          I like that idea. I’ll try it and, if the photo shows the detail, I’ll insert it in a post.

  46. Exciting travel day! We love storms but only after we’re parked and set up 🙂 With reservation land all around, I’m pretty sure you stayed put. It’s certainly what I would have done. Love all the Elk – they are so funny looking and then so majestic at the same time.

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