Thursday, September 25, 2014

Playing Tourist and Relaxing.....I could get use to this lifestyle!

Ghost Ranch area (c)2014Horst Kelly
When I last Blogged, I was still writing about the Monument Valley Area.....with  little or no internet, "Blogging timeliness" has taken a back the following will be a short summary of the places I have landed since leaving Sand Island...
Ghost ranch Area(c)2014Horst Kelly
Ghost Ranch Area(c)2014Horst Kelly

On Sept  I left the Island for a destination of Page, Arizona....I wanted to get a night tour of Slot Canyon in hopes that instead of sunbeams , I would get stars. I also had a tentative plan to go to The North Rim of the Grand Canyon....The short answer is neither of those events happened...the folks who I contacted that does the tours said it had been cloudy and was suppose to continue for the next several days and in fact there also was a chance of rain.....rain=no tours.  I did not realize the road to the North Rim was still closed, which meant a whole lot of driving/miles to get there...with the weather somewhat iffy, I chose to not I decided to do the South Slot canyon, which is a self  guided tour..I knew the sunbeams where out, but they are suppose to have some nice colored, shaped walls.....I got there about 20 minutes before they open the gate....there where already 35 cars there, yes I counted....its a small canyon and with that many folks...and more where coming, I decided to get  any kind of  shots was not going to happen...It was hard enough with a guided tour and guide that keeps the masses at bay while we took photo's at the other larger canyon, and this was kinda like a free for my last hope was a morning photo op of  Horseshoe guessed it, clouds and more clouds....the center of the Bend was too dark to do was a nice hike, especially back and the engrained memory is great...if you go there be aware that there are no rails and its a Lonnnnnnng drop down...So my two day venture to Page was a bust, except for the water front view of the lake.....
South of Pagosa Springs (c)2014Horst Kelly
South of CoE CG(c)2014Horst Kelly

Since it was calling for flooding and more rain if I went south, especially into New Mexico, I decided to head back east to Pagosa Springs, Colorado...300+ mile trip, but that's ok, weather was cloudy but no rain for the most part...I had seen a BLM campground north of the Springs and decided a nice wooded site would be the ticket...not to be, as it closed for the season a week earlier...I ended up in a commercial park...and it was nothing to write home about....I decided to stay for two days, get the lay of the land and see what doors will open morning I decided to tour the town...Pagosa  Springs is world famous for its hot springs and has one very large hotel...the town sorta reminds me of a large Eureka Springs , was fun waking around the old section of town...The San Juan River flows through the middle of the old section.  as I watched the water traveling downstream, I wondered if it was the water I had seen flowing when I was at Sand Island....I know, I need to get a life... :)  Since the weather was suppose to take a turn for the worse I Decided to head south.  Rt 84 was the chosen road...I had read about a neat train ride that was suppose to rival the Durango one.....I stopped at Chama a little before noon...Inquired about the ride and found out they do one trip a day and it had left at 1000 hours....I meandered over to the Visitors center and asked about other interesting places in the vicinity. They told me about a place 80 or so miles south called Ghost Ranch Retreat and besides museum, lodge, hikes, vistas, they have a  campground with electric and Wi-Fi... said they area had other nice scenery in the area. Sounded like a plan to me....

Pagosa Springs

A nice drive...mountainous, but friendly...if you know what I mean...took my time getting there..its off the road a bit, somewhat washboard, but a really nice , rustic, place, around 21,000 acres...I didn't hike all of them.. :).... was a dude ranch in the 30's...has somewhat of a colorful history with brother killing brother over gold, a socialite and cowboy making a go of it, world famous artist(Georgia O'Keeffe) settling  there and then given to the Presbyterian Church in 1955.
Ghost Ranch(c)2014Horst Kelly

Pagosa Springs, Colorado(c)Horst Kelly
GOk...I made a team decision to stay at their Campground...cost $27 per day, electric, showers, laundry, and Wi-Fi.  when I got to the location, it appeared that they originally where for tents and some 1st year engineering student got this as a project to turn it into an RV park...after trying 3 different sites with no success, I finally managed to get into one and sorta leveled it....I unhitched, started the AC and decided to scout around the area.  I had seen a BLM CG at a scenic site called the Amphitheater Echo was nice..small, no hookups, but you could run generators...price, 5 bucks...I decided I may move to this site tomorrow if I decide to stay I drove south, saw a lake that looked inviting...what do you know, it has a COE campground...hookups, shower, nice views, spacious and with the old geezer card, its 8 bucks....lets see 27 for one night 24 for 3 nights with the same amenities except Wi-Fi...and oh I can use the Wi-Fi from the Ghost Camp...a no brainer...I pay 32 bucks .....4 nights, go back to the Ghost CG and tell them my tale of woe, and they give me a full gotta love the Presbyterians...I hitch up and 30 minutes later I am sitting at a site overlooking the Abiqui Lake and  Dam.....Life is GREAT!!!...I decide to use this place as a central location and play tourist in Taos, Santa Fe, Los Alamos and other stuff in the area.  BTW I arrived there 19 Sept...will leave 23 Sept.

Amphitheater Echo CG(c)2014Horst Kelly

Santa Fe (c) 2014 Horst Kelly


The area is super in the way of some photo ops, hiking, history and eccentric towns. The Ghost town provide me with hike anywhere from 3-5 miles, the area (about 5 miles) from my CG to Ghost Town also had many hikes and great vistas...a lot of "Red Rock" formations..I make side trips to Santa Fe and enjoyed walking the streets of the old part of town, Taos was a fun drive,  you gain elevation, but its a scenic drive along the river....I did Los Alamos on a Sunday and everything was closed, had no idea it sat so high up a Mesa...or is it a was a super 4 + days and is a place I will return to.....did get some rain, but not to the degree that it stopped any was a fun time just playing "tourist: and not chasing sunsets, or sunrises....very relaxing ..met some great folks...mostly fulltimers....
Chama, NM. where the Day Trip Train ride Is...
Taos Area(c)horst Kelly
Church in Abiquiu, NM(c)2014Horst Kelly

Below are some photo's from Ghost area and santa Fe...I just randomly picked some...too many to screen right now..

(c)2014Horst Kelly

Santa Fe (c)2014Horst Kelly

Evening of the 22nd came to quickly...I almost extended another day, but knew I had to move on...hitched up and rolled out of another gem of a CG by 0730....didn't know where I was going to land...the weather was perfect, a little overcast, stress free..I was rolling south on l-25...I finnaly pulled over and looked at a map to see what was available in the area heading south...decided on a state park in Elephant Butte, which sits on a lake, sounded like a good place to land...arrived around 2pm or so, got a spot with electric and they have showers and Wi-Fi...all for 14 dollars...I write this as I see the sun rise on the lake below me...its now the morning  of the hurry to leave as I am going to either Rock Hound state Park or Pancho Villa st pk...about 100 miles the  Deming area...
last Sunset from my COE Campsite.....Life is Good!
(c)2014Horst Kelly Photographer

So until next time...happy Trails to all...Horst sends


  1. Great post! Lots of wonderful photos and good information. Love how you stumbled across the COE.....just sent the Abiquiu link to a mutual blogging friend who is wandering around the west.
    Hope we get a chance to stay there....does look like the perfect base camp for exploring Santa Fe. We stayed at Rock Hound on our way home.last spring...look for the city lights after dark if you're there.

    1. Thanks Lynne...I think you Guys would like the area...and probably be able to take the Kayak out on the lake ...though on the weekend the Big Boys come in with their stuff...Lots to an do within an hour of the CG...Hope all is going well...I'm winding down and the Compass is pointed towards Home....Horst sends

  2. What joy it must be to just meander in whatever interesting direction the spirit moves you. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    1. Thanks Sharon...Yup, that's kinda how I wanted to manage this trip...unstructured...and its been a fun change...I enjoyed traveling this way...and what has surprised body and mind knew when to start pointing the Casita towards home...without me forcing the issue......its been a magnificent experience ...hope you Guys are on the mend and starting to head out!!...Horst sends