The crew and I have been park-bound since we arrived about six days ago. After our morning walk and some housekeeping, I attempt to unhitch the PTV for the first time. We need groceries. Everything goes along fine without a hitch, well, with a hitch, but smoothly. I unhook the chains and break-away cable, take off the hitchlock, pull the lever up, and start to crank the jack handle to lower the jack down onto the plastic cone.
The jack lowers into the cone, and then, of course, I start having one of my visions: The cone breaks into pieces. (This is the kind of thinking that occurs when I try to do something for the first time and no one is around.)
I’m looking at a whole lot of pounds of trailer here.
I see a whole lot of pounds of trailer hopping over the chocks to flatten me on the pavement before careening down the slope to crash into that concrete picnic table over there. Okay. How often do you hear that happening? Don’t be silly. Keep crankin,’ woman.
This crank is getting hard to turn.
I watch that jack jamming down into the plastic cone. I call Reine. (She and Paul gave me the cone.) “Hey, Reine. I’m trying to unhitch and I’m wondering. Is this cone going to hold?” She reassures me and, like a Lamaze coach in the delivery room, she encourages me to push really hard on the dang crank. Suddenly Reine’s gone! Lost signal!
Oh, well. There’s no stopping me now! This baby’s comin’ out!
I give one more big turn to the crank and pow! . . . off comes the hitch from the ball. I did it! My first unhitching!
Next I drive the PTV over to the empty, reserved site across from mine. It’s level and shady, and I want to check the oil. Hmmm, no oil needed.
Huh? Is it normal to drive from Georgia to northern Mississippi to Texas (south of Dallas) to north-central New Mexico and not burn any oil? I check it again. Okay. Don’t argue with a dipstick. That’s my motto.
The crew boards the PTV and we drive toward the town of Santa Rosa.
It’s about 6 miles, I guess, . . . one incredible vista after another. The best views I dare not stop to photograph due to the steep and winding road.
A mile or so and the terrain flattens. Happy flowers line the road as if it were springtime.
Big-horned cattle graze.
And always, over 180 degrees of incredible desert scenery, including the lake with it’s rocky cliffs, remind me we really are in New Mexico.
We stop at an overlook to see the dam. In the photo below you can see where the road crosses over. It’s on top of all those rocks on the left.
Earlier I talk with Josh, the park guy cleaning out the grills at each campsite, which shouldn’t need to be done because a fire ban has been in effect, including charcoal grilling, for quite some time now.
Although last weekend I did see a Neanderthal building a two-foot high fire in his grill.
I ask young Josh if he’s lived around here long.
“All my life. I wanna get outta here.”
I laugh to myself thinking about what I’ve gone through to get here.
Following Josh’s directions we find the T & D Market, the only market in town. It sits on old Route 66. Santa Rosa isn’t very big and the buildings are old, but not decrepit. There’s a pleasant town square with a gazebo and . . . holy smokes! . . . green grass! We pass the Comet Restaurant with its sign boasting, “original Mexican food since 1927.”
Some more campers move into the Santa Rosa State Park.
A couple from south Florida on their way to Angel Fire pull a small Airstream with a Land Rover. They are interested in the crew as they once had a similar canine pair. Another couple, he from the mid-West and she from Arizona, tour in a humongous Class A Dutch Star with slide and a Jeep Laredo toad. I remark that my Casita would probably fit in their bedroom. Bridget and Spike enjoy meeting their two dogs.
Both couples leave after only one night.
You know? I’m loving this life.
I thank God for this day.
I accomplish my first unhitch. The PTV runs great. Our fridge and cupboard are stocked with good food. The air conditioner keeps us cool. Bridget, Spike, and I are healthy. Everywhere I look there’s something interesting to see. And I don’t have to go to work!
How wonderful is that?