Briefly, we left Storrie Lake because of the fires in the area and headed north. The day before we left I called Coyote Creek and Eagle Nest Lake State Parks to see if they had Verizon and Internet connections. Both assured me yes, Coyote Creek has free wi-fi and Eagle Nest has good Verizon.
We saw an alpaca ranch along the way; there were lots of alpacas in the fields and a sign saying they were for sale. When I saw them I pulled over into their driveway to get a good look and some photos. I've never seen an alpaca before - I'm assuming these guys have long fur like a llama and had just received a hair cut for their fur? Cute looking animals, and very curious. I wouldn't have known what they were if there hadn't been a sign.
We arrived at Coyote Creek, got set up, and NO Internet. (I had 4 bars for phone connection, but unless I have a Verizon tower I don't get an Internet connection. The towers in the "roaming" areaa only provide phone connections, per the Verizon employee when I called them last year. No charge, though, to roam.)
|Very nice campsite across the street from the creek.|
|Coyote Creek view from the bridge|
I packed up and asked a volunteer on the way out about the "free wi-fi" I was assured they had, and he commented that the signal only reaches to the electric sites, a tiny, sardine-packed row of sites, and the rest room area right next to it. No signal to the dry camping areas. Thanks! (If Internet connections aren't important to you, though, the dry camping areas along the creek were really nice. I would have happily stayed there for 14 days if I could have gotten a good connection to get on-line.)
Along the road on our travels, we encountered this bull right on the side of the road, outside the fence. I've seen this before - I guess they can roam, but they stay down where the grasses are.
We drove north to Eagle Nest Lake, arrived around 3:30 and got set up, and same thing, no Internet. !@%$#!
Also, after I got my computer out to just play some games and listen to a book on tape, I discovered that my computer had crashed, so I had no computer, anyway. But I could have used my phone or Kindle Fire to get on-line and do what I wanted to do. In any case, it is what it is, and I was stuck there for the night. I called Costco Concierge service - a wonderful service provided by Costco that I used once before. They took all my information about the laptop I bought at Costco less than 4 months ago, helped me run some tests on the computer, which showed the hard drive had failed, then connected us to HP where we had a three-way conversation about the warranty service and returning the laptop to them. I had to wait until I had a physical address for them to send mailing labels and a return box and needed to confirm with Bluewater Lake that they would still accept a package for me.
We were camped right above the lake and it would have been very nice if I could have gotten a signal for the Internet. (All the sites at Eagle Nest Lake are dry-camping. NO hook-ups at all.) There are Prairie Dogs all over the place up there. I saw some crossing the roads on the way to Eagle Nest Lake, and once we were camped, I could see a bunch of them near our site. They, too are very curious. Every time a new camper arrived, some would pop up out of their holes and watch the new arrivals. They provided a little comic relief for me during the 90 minute phone call to Costco Concierge/HP Warranty Department.
In the morning we left, drove through Taos where I went to Wal-Mart and bought their cheapest HP computer and a cheap camera with a good zoom lens. My good Nikon is so bad now, I can hardly use it. (I thought this was interesting - I'm having problems typing on the new laptop keyboard. There isn't a number pad on the right side, and since I'm a touch typist, my fingers are going to the wrong places. I'm slowly getting better at the letters, but I have to visually place my hands at the correct starting point. The delete and backspace keys are in a completely different place. I have to re-train my brain-to-finger "memory muscles.")
Next we went through Santa Fe where they are apparently also having fire issues and we ended up in Albuquerque where I went to the only Costco in the state of New Mexico. I wanted to double check that they didn't have a better deal on computers and cameras, but theirs were much more expensive, so I'll keep my Wal-Mart computer and camera. I've been dying for fresh asparagus and artichokes and bought a big pack of both, then went to their tire department and had my tires checked. The pressure was good in all six tires, which I was very happy about considering all the driving we've done and temperatures we've been in.
Next stop was PetSmart for Katie's nail trimming and huge bag of treats. Then on to La Mesa RV where I got a new door latch. The high winds here in New Mexico caused my door to slam really hard a couple of times and broke the connecting arm from the outside wall to the hook on the door. Free fresh pop-corn and a bottled water later, we were back on the road.
We made three stops for gas during all the driving from Storrie Lake to Eagle Nest Lake on Friday and then the next day to our final destination. On Saturday we left at 7:20 am and didn't arrive until 5:30 pm. It was a long 10 hour day, half was driving and half was shopping at various stores in various places. All was good, though, and we got everything done we needed to do. The last hour was hard because I was tiring at that point, but happy that we would soon be settled again.
And we finally arrived at Bluewater Lake State Park! I have to highlight that in gold, because I was sooooo happy to arrive in a great park with lots of good sites, water in the lake (although it's still very low), beautiful trees, and good Internet signals through my Verizon phone. This is still my favorite park, even after visiting so many others this year. I was planning to slowly head this way, but because some of the other parks we visited were lacking one thing or another and we moved on quickly, we are here early. I wish some of the other nice parks had good signals, but maybe next year. I know they are all planning to have free wi-fi, and hopefully it will extend to the dry camping areas, too.
I got a few pictures along the way and missed a few, too. One of the best scenes I didn't get was driving along a country road with wire fencing soon after we left Eagle Nest Lake. All along the fence were hawks sitting there, lined up in a row watching for critters. There must have been 12 of them. It would have been a great shot! I also passed a small coyote trotting along the road in the opposite direction. Right on the roadside. I was surprised to see him.
This morning I again called Costco's Concierge Service and he called HP and I got set up for them to send me the labels and shipping box to send back my computer. Then when it's repaired or replaced (OMG I hope they can save the documents, photos, music, etc.) they will send it back by Fed Ex to Bluewater Lake.
I was a little frustrated by all the fire news, because I wasn't getting any TV, my computer wasn't working, and I was only getting Sirius radio, not local stations, so I didn't know where the fires were or how bad it was. Apparently it was a good thing we left Storrie Lake, but I haven't checked yet to see how the fires are doing now.
REMINDER: BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER - you never know if or when it will fail. I have my things pretty well backed up, and also have an on-line back up service, but in this case, I'll be backing up from the service to the other computer. It would cost more more to have that service on both laptops, so I'll see what HP can save, if anything, from the failed drive and back up what's missing. I was glad I had quite a few files backed up on thumb drives so I could easily transfer them to this new computer. This will be a "SPARE" computer now and I might, in fact, use it to back up important things in case I have another failure. Each laptop can back up the other.
And now, a question for all you RVers out there which I'm asking because I've had two expensive laptops fail in four months. When you are traveling, where do you put your computer? How is it stored to keep it safe? I put mine in Katie's soft-sided bed which is on the soft dinette bench seat, and cover it with a quilt so it's padded top and bottom. It should be completely protected from any little jolts on the road, and I was surprised to have a second computer fail me.
Time to go - I have an artichoke boiling, so I'm going to get it now and enjoy every single leaf while I'm catching up on your blogs. BTW, remember my "most annoying neighbors," the nesting bluebirds? Well, I have more annoying neighbors from my first night here. And they are humans. I'll tell you about them in my next post. :(
From Me and Katie, have a great Monday evening, everyone! :)