Well I am heading east! My first couple of days on the road were to visit some towns in New Mexico and bird watch at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. Do you know where this bird can be found?
Las Cruces, New Mexico: I camped in the area but drove into town since I had never been. At one of the scenic rest stops just before this town I found the sculpture, pictured above, constructed from many items. There were no birds in this town, understandably since the Rio Grande River had no water at its surface. Apparently May till September is when the snow melt from Colorado’s high peak mountains will finally get here and provide enough water for the locals to swim in the river.
I met an interesting couple from Ontario, Canada. They are traveling for another 4 months and return to teach at a school. They explained “Harvest Host” membership to me and it sounds great when I can be very flexible with my travel. One can reserve only a day or two ahead at a winery, distillery, lavender farm, or whatever the business … arrive before they close, purchase something as that is your payment to the owner, then leave early in the morning before the business opens. You need to be self-contained, so with my luggable loo I would be okay! Unfortunately the Canadians were having transmission problems with their converted ambulance. I hope they can get back on the road soon!
My next-door neighbors at the campground were from Cambria, California. They already spent 2 weeks getting to New Mexico! Their plan is to travel only 300 – 400 miles per day: travel to Florida, up the east coast to Maine, across to Washington State, and south to their home in California … with hopes to accomplish all in 3 months!
Interstate 25, not a busy highway now, and probably less back in the 1950’s. I heard a report about a town along this highway originally named Hot Springs for its geothermal spring-fed spas. In March 1950 a NBC program “Truth or Consequences” promised free publicity to a town with Truth or Consequences as its name by April 1 of the same year. Between March 4 and April 1, the Hot Springs town voted to have a name change and on April 1 the Truth or Consequences show was aired in the town!
I was on my way to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge; no visit to Truth or Consequences. My interest in Bosque del Apache NWR was to scope out the area and return, hopefully in October or before February of next year, to see sandhill cranes here. Birders mentioned I would be closer to the cranes here compared to Whitewater Draw in McNeal, Arizona. This would be a longer drive for me, but if each road here is open to birders then we would be closer to the cranes. I saw 20 plus different species of birds in my 3 hour visit driving almost 10 miles of road. There were plenty of places to pull-off, some with observation decks and another with a blind. Some hiking trails and a bike trail so it will be a good place to return. Unfortunately camping is a distance away since it is not allowed here. Here are just a couple of birds:
Here are a couple of photos taken at the wildlife refuge:
My drive to Colorado was a long travel day with rain and gusty winds! High profile vehicles, such as my even my low-roof van, sway with every bit of wind. My arms, shoulders to fingertips, were tightly holding onto the steering wheel! At one point I was thinking about my past solo bicycling trip and thought there was no way I would want to cycle in this wind! Miles down the road I saw a couple on a tandem bicycle, miles from anything! Power to them! I was also concerned about a lone pronghorn caught between fencing on both sides of the road it was standing within. I hope it eventually found a place under the lowest wire of a fence to be back grazing with the other pronghorns!
I prepared my breakfast and left New Mexico with 43 degree temperature and very cold fingers. I arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado at dinner time with 47 degree temperature and wind! Thankfully I still had a meal prepared from home to eat. Hopefully weather will improve. I have been happy with my sleeping accommodation in the van: flannel sheets, fleece blanket, fiberfill blanket and thermal underwear … you know this Arizonian will feel the cold so I am bundled … I slept well; no complaints!