Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Elephant Butte State Park

We arrived here at Elephant Butte late morning yesterday. First we had to get gas, propane, do laundry - five loads - put it all away, shop at Walmart, put everything away, and drive here.  At that point I was exhausted - and I still needed to put the comforter in it's duvet and make the bed with the clean sheets.  That task never bothered me with a regular bed, but up in the overhead on a hot day, it was a daunting task.  I don't know why I like to do everything on the same day - usually a travel day - but it always completely wears me out.

We came through the Park Office/Entry Gate and drove a little way to the dry camping developed spots, but they were up high over the lake and I wanted to be closer to the water.  So, using the camping area map the Ranger gave me, we drove back out and turned right - heading toward North and South Monticello Points.  I didn't know the area and kept thinking I had passed them.  I finally just took a road toward the lake to one of the posted coves.  I talked to a man there who told me exactly how to get where I wanted to go.

I ended up at South Monticello Point, but it appeared to be electric only sites.  From the end of the sites, though, I could look down and see tons of water birds next to the dry boat launch, and I wanted to get there.  After a couple of wrong turns, I finally made it.  I hadn't even had my coffee at that point and I was starved, so we parked next to the boat ramp and I made a turkey and cheese sandwich with Ruffles on the side and drank tons of water.  When I was done, I didn't feel like walking out closer to the birds, so just snapped what I could of the birds that were closest.  They looked like Great Blue Herons, Pelicans, Coots, Ducks, and some birds that looked like really big white ducks.

Unless these are juvenile Great Blue Herons in front, the white birds must be huge. Some kind of duck or goose? (Ross Goose - white phase juvenile and Little Blue Herons, thank you, Hazel!)

There were many Great Blue Herons - this was the closest.

Are these Pelicans?  (White Pelicans, per Hazel)

And this little lizard (Zebratail lizard per Hazel) was on the rocks by The Palms

There was a birder with a tri-pod and camera down by the water taking photos, and as he was driving to another area I walked down to ask him if he knew of a good place to dry camp that had water nearby.  He suggested Paseo Del Rio Campground, which was the other way, a little past the main Park Office/Visitor Center.  So we took off and ended up in a little campground along the Rio Grande, which was very picturesque.

The Rio Grand along the Paseo Del Rio Campground

Our Campsite

This was a beautiful place to camp, but unfortunately there was very slight cell and Internet, nowhere near enough for me to enjoy my stay.  So, Katie and I had a nice quiet night and left first thing this morning.

We came back to the main campground, went through the Park Office/Visitor Center entrance again, and drove down the road to see which dry camping sites were still available.  I picked one out, got settled, made coffee and cereal with fresh strawberries and looked out the window to see a Roadrunner actually crossing the road.  It felt like a sign - this is where we are supposed to be.

It was very hot yesterday, really hot - up to 96 degrees in The Palms, but today, since we are up higher and above the lake, we are getting the benefit of the breezes and low winds blowing through our open windows.  Also, good wi-fi and cell reception and TV antenna reception here. Elephant Butte State Park is supposed to have free wi-fi, but it is not very strong where I am, and I ended up using my own.  It's not speeding fast here, but more than adequate. 

This is the view out my dinette window - Elephant Butte Lake with the Marina on the right.

When we were driving over here from Paseo Del Rio Campground, we passed a large pond full of birds roosting.  There was a place to pull off the road, so I parked and walked over with my camera.  These are some of the birds I saw there - I think lots of Cormorants and maybe a Green Heron.

 Double Crested Cormorant per Hazel

It's days like this when I want a new camera with a better zoom lens.  My 16x zoom is really good, much better than my older camera, but now that I'm into getting good clear closeups of birds, sometimes it just isn't good enough. If you know what these birds are, help me out?  ( Hazel sent me an e-mail with the names of the birds - I didn't know there was a Little Blue Heron - but there he was in my guide.  Thanks for all the information, Hazel! :)  )

Today I did a lot of moving things around from one cupboard to another. Now that the weather is getting so hot, it was time.  While doing that I found things I haven't ever used, but don't want to get rid of, so I put them in the back of cupboards which freed up space in some other cupboards.  While moving the vacuum to a more available space, I vacuumed, too.  I'm feeling pretty organized and rested again.  I never did make coffee yesterday and had a bad headache last night.  Too late to have a cup of coffee for a fix, so a couple of Ibuprofen helped a bit.  First thing this morning - coffee!

At this point, I'm planning to spend the whole 14 days here.  The weather will be 80's and low 90s until then  - on the four days after we leave, the forecast is 97, 99, 101 and 100 degrees, so I'm heading north at a good time.

From Me and Dog, have a great Tuesday night, everyone!  :)


  1. I like to do extra cleaning just before we leave a site. Then when we arrive at our new location, we are ready to set up. You should always have your coffee fix!

  2. We are still such part timers, all the routien I have is to try to do the laundry before we move. I like to start the stay with everything clean.

  3. Glad you are settled in a good spot. Know what you mean about doing everything at once. I'm trying to get better about that. Lovely cormorants (sp?)! Maybe Judy will come along and help us with out bird IDs.

  4. We're spreading out our getting ready to go over the next week. However, when it hits 90 in the rig I really like to be able to turn the air on. Storrie Lake isn't booked up so I'm just kind of keeping an eye on it. Averages there are in the lower 80's but this year doesn't seem to be too average.

  5. When making up your bed looms too large to deal with, why not just sleep in it without having made it up? There are no "sheet police" to come along to check up on you! Katie has the right idea about how to get a good snooze on quickly!

  6. The birds are beautiful, and your tale of errands, cleaning, and reorganizing wore me out till I think I need to get my cat on my lap and have a nice nap!

  7. The birds in this post might be as follows:
    1. Ross goose white phase juvenile due to size and black beak.
    2. Little blue heron Due to 24 inch size and no other colors than blue.
    3. White pelicans
    4. Zebratail lizard
    5. Double crested cormorant due to dark eye being surrounded by orange face

  8. Looks like you will have lots of interesting things to see while there. Looking forward to your pictures.

  9. Glad you're settled, seems like a really nice place to be!

  10. If you are still there tomorrow (16th), I will be arriving in your neighborhood. With the winds out of the west, I should be able to make it in record time. Hope to see you!

  11. I hope the temps do not get too hot for you. When my RV hits 85 inside I can tell without looking at the thermostat. Then it is time for the A/C. I never liked A/C in my house, but need it in the RV if it starts to heat up. Usually I can open all the RV windows and turn on the fantastic fan to keep things cool. That site by the river looked very nice, but I like to have cell and internet service, too.

  12. The campground Paseo Del Rio Grande is not familiar to me. I really like hearing about it so I learn from your experiences.

    The lizard is absolutely fabulous!

  13. I liked the river site also, but depending on how long you plan to be there it would be difficult to not have internet. The lake is pretty, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

  14. I like it neat and clean before we leave as well. Gives me a good feeling.
    More than 16x zoom, huh? My Nikon has only 4x zoom compared :((, I would love to have your zoom possibility! But I fully understand how you feel. Same thing here. Birds on the water are waaaaaaay to far out for my equipment.
    Therefore I have to stick to the birds in my backyard.
    Awesome view from you dinette window!


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