Monday, July 28, 2014

Leaving Las Vegas

We've been in Las Vegas, New Mexico for about two months now.  We alternated our time between Storrie Lake State Park and Pendaries RV Park in Rociada, NM.  Pendaries is a Passport America park about 15 miles north of Storrie Lake with large sites and lots of privacy. We don't usually like private parks but Pendaries is an exception. It is situated in a beautiful pine forest in the Mora Valley and almost looks more like a state park than a private park.
Pendaries RV Park-Rociada, NM

Our site at Pendaries-Nice and big!   

Mora Valley

Most of our time here has been spent just taking care of some things in the motorhome we've been wanting to do for a while. Las Vegas is a good town for running errands and working on projects because there are plenty of stores near the state park. Our big project was to remove the heavy, uncomfortable sleep sofa and replace it with a window seat. It turned out really nice. Larry built a frame and I bought a king-size, 4inch memory foam topper and cut it to fit the frame. I doubled the foam so the cushion is 8 inches and very comfortable. There is a lot of storage space underneath for my jewelry supplies so I finally have a great place to work. We also removed the big television and replaced it with a flat-screen. I think we probably got rid of over 500 pounds of weight and that's always a good thing in a motorhome.
Storrie Lake State Park
Storrie Lake

We've been doing some fun things, too. We've gone to the Plaza in Las Vegas several times. We love to just walk around the Plaza but we also went there for a farmer's market and a Fourth of July fiesta. 


Our Farmer's Market finds

Fiesta crowd

These little girls posed for me at the fiesta.

Fiesta dancers

More dancers
 The fiesta was so nice that we went back a second day. There was music and dance groups and lots of good food. 

Rociada is near  Mora, N.M. We went there last year to see the Alpaca farm and Salman Raspberry Ranch and liked it so much we drove up there again this year. We will miss raspberry season again this year but we like to walk in their garden and visit the store for raspberry goodies. I'm determined to hit raspberry season next year!
Alpaca Farm

Alpaca Farm

Can you see the Alpacas hiding in the weeds?

Alpaca Farm

Alpaca Farm

Garden at Salman Ranch

Salman Ranch Store

Mora also has a pretty cool store for local artists and weavers. We stopped there and looked at all the beautiful rugs and crafts. They use a lot of local wool and have a big mill there where they create their own yarns. It was a nice stop but we didn't stay long because it was making me itch.

We're planning to leave here tomorrow and head to Colorado and then into Kansas. We need to start making our way East for the big wedding.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Smokey Bear and Valley of Fires

In my last post I promised to show some pictures from our trip to the Smokey Bear Museum in Capitan and our stay at Valley of Fires Recreation Area. When I checked my pictures from those adventures I didn't think they turned out all that well. I have other, newer pictures from our time in Rociada and Las Vegas, NM but I'm going to go ahead and do the Smokey Bear/Valley of Fires post, even though it has been over a month since our visit. I hope I can remember all the pertinent details.

We really enjoyed our stay at Valley of Fires. We arrived on a Wednesday and had the whole place pretty much to ourselves until the weekend. We chose a campsite in the main area overlooking the lava field and took a hike down into the lava field one evening just before sunset.

Nice paved path through the lava field


Looking back at our campsite

I loved this twisty Juniper tree

More lava


End of our hike

Valley of Fires is in Carrizozo, a small town in the Southeast portion of New Mexico. We took a trip into town and had ice cream at a really charming old-fashioned ice cream shop. Then we walked around  and took a few pictures of some of the painted burros that were scattered throughout the town.

Larry's banana split. I wasn't fast enough to snap the picture before it was partially eaten.

When the weekend crowds descended on Valley of Fires, we headed up to Capitan New Mexico to visit the Smokey Bear Museum. It was a pretty drive  into higher elevations through the Lincoln National Forest.

Our first stop was the gift shop for smashed pennies. I'm so glad we went in there because it wasn't your typical touristy gift shop. It was the original Smokey Bear museum and had lots of old Smokey Bear memorabilia. I thought I recognized some of the toys and posters from my childhood. They had a really nice collection.

Smokey's baby bottle

Old pictures of Smokey when he was a cub
In 1950 there was a devastating fire in the Lincoln National Forest. Firefighters found a small cub, badly burned and clinging to a tree. They initially called him "Hotfoot" but then renamed him Smokey Bear. The Smokey the Bear fire prevention campaign had been around for awhile but this little cub came to personify the character from the ads. After he healed, he was moved to the National Zoo and was then returned to Capitan upon his death in 1976.  The following pictures were taken around the grounds and in the museum at the Smokey Bear Historical Park.

Picture of Smokey when he was a cub

Smokey's gravesite

Just some of the many pictures of old ad campaigns in the museum
We really enjoyed the museum. Both Larry and I have fond memories of Smokey from childhood so it was fun to see where the "real" Smokey came from.

 I hope you enjoyed today's pictures. Thanks for visiting!