Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blue Water, Blue Skies - Red Water, Red Rocks

We wrapped things up with Mom in Roswell and headed north on Wednesday.

Before we leave we get one more lunch at Peppers with our gal Courtney. Funny how sometimes you just connect instantly with a complete stranger :-)

With Courtney at Peppers Grill and Bar
After several visits we realize what their shirts say. c-Alien-te'   Ha!  Only in Roswell.

Our last night Aunt Nancy has us all over for pizza and salad and homemade carrot cake. It's a wonderful evening of family stories and lots of laughs.

Already missing these lovely ladies
It is wonderful to get back on the road, heading somewhere we've never been. A steady climb to 6000 ft with head winds makes a short 150 mile drive seem longer, but we arrive at Santa Rosa Lake State Park before 1 PM. There are eight w/e sites, but we have reserved A12, a nice pull through with electric only.

View from our site - A12
With the exception of the camp host we are the only ones here. Heavenly after being tucked tightly in town for a couple weeks. Before the sun goes down another small trailer arrives. And parks right across from us :-(  Seriously? Ours is the only site with a reserved sticker, so they came in and paid at the entrance.  Their loud talking early in the morning wakes us up, so we're pleased that they pack up and move on.

Thursday is cold, but the sun is bright and the skies blue, so after breakfast we head out to see the area.

Many of the access roads are closed, but we find one open just below the dam. The water is calm and clean, but there is no sign of fish or bird.

Overlook at Santa Rosa Lake
Lots of beautiful rock surround this end of the lake
While the boat ramp is open, Juniper Park Day Use is not. We drive up to the vista point to get the full view.

Pretty blue Santa Rosa Lake with Juniper Park in front
Bill finds a box canyon on the map - let's go find it! 13 miles on a good dirt road takes us to the turn. Sort of. It's more a "track" that hasn't been used in a long time. Brush is tall, no tire marks. Cool.

We're nowhere near a mountain of any size so not surprising the canyon is in the river. The track ends before the directions, but we stop where it does and walk down to the nearly dry riverbed. 

The water is the same red as the dirt.
Not what he was looking for, but we enjoy the uniqueness of the place. The complete silence, the rugged vegetation, the soft cow path along the low canyon walls. 

Years of water flow and erosion carve an interesting canyon through the otherwise flat terrain
At 40 degrees, when the breeze comes up we head back for the Jeep. Tessa has managed to avoid stepping on the large burrs, but her fur catches several of them so I get those all out before we continue.

Not fluffy-dog friendly
All the low-growing grasses curl like ribbon
A variety of mesas in the distance
After lunch we head south for Puerto de Luna, one of the first settlements in New Mexico. The drive takes us through beautiful red rock canyons along the Pecos River.

There is nothing commercial in the little village - just houses, including centuries-old adobes, and a large catholic church.

A bit of infamous history

One of several old adobes
with hand cut stone work over 200 years old
1921 Catholic church
Bill finds a "back way" for our return. Tighter canyons, more wonderful red rock. In some areas, the rock has been blasted for the little road, and the huge boulders are.......well, huge!

We pass the local day care before leaving the canyon
On our way back to the park we see this classic at the gas station, inspiring us to plan a trip to the local car museum for the weekend.


  1. OH man that woody just made me smile from ear to ear. When David saw me he said "What made you smile........Jodee Gravel"? Amazing! You are famous in this house. Great pictures of your cute waitress and your lovely ladies. Great daycare out there in the west. Do you let Bill drive the Jeep?? ;-) I can NEVER figure out why whenever one is in a wide open space or an empty campground, the second person in parks right next to you. Sheeesh!

    1. Ahhh, you guys make me smile lots too :-) Bill drives the Jeep quite a bit, but I just don't passenger. I'm miserable "over there". Fortunately those first noisy people were the only ones who parked close by while we were there. Bill thought maybe they were afraid to be alone :-))))

  2. Love the photo of Aunt Nancy, mom, and Bill:) A real keeper:) Since you have moved on, I am assuming all is good with Bill's mom!?

    You found some great Jeep roads to explore...super times:) The red rocks are so beautiful!! Love your wildlife nursery:)

    Great Woody!!

    1. Yes, she's all set up for now and we're checking in with her daily. The areas north and south of town were so different, it made for a nice variety to get out and explore.

  3. You just never know what you'll find when you're not really looking for it. That Woody was a find. I bet the owners are used to stares.

    1. A guy on FB posted a pic of this same Woody and Airstream and Fort Wilderness from just a couple months ago, so they really get around. We suspect they were headed to a classic car show in California.

  4. Absolutely amazing coloring! I love it!

    1. It's so much fun finding it in the brown desert!

  5. What a lovely family photo -- one to treasure, for sure. It must have been hard to leave Bill's mom and aunt -- I'm already feeling sad about leaving my mom and dad at the end of March when we head back west. :-( We stayed at Santa Rosa Lake a few years ago and found the same as you did -- beautiful lake, but no birds while we were there. Kind of odd, given that it's such a big body of water in a desert environment!

    1. Even the small lakes in town and the Pecos had no birds - does make you wonder. Hope you're having a wonderful time with your folks, we were glad to have some time with Mom.

  6. That looks like a 1950 Ford. Wow....absolutely beautiful! We have a little salt and pepper shaker with that same wagon towing a teardrop!

    1. How fun is that?! Wonder if they have a set too? The auto museum in Santa Rosa has some beauties you'd love

  7. Visiting family is wonderful but so is visiting new sites. I like your attitude and sense of adventure. What a marvelous looking ride.