Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finally - we have landed

After a sleepless night because of the super strong winds all night long - I actually got about three hours sleep - I was pretty much done with windy weather and more than ready to leave Rockhound.  I was up at 6:30 and on the road by 6:45 am.  Don't get me wrong, I loved that park, but was so ready to move on to, hopefully, calmer weather a little northward.

We drove about an hour and a half, a very short drive for us, and arrived at Leasburg Dam State Park.  I was a little confused when we got there because the Visitor's Center was closed and I couldn't get a map of the park.  It's a small park with two loops, and after driving around both I didn't see any dry-camping sites. I finally talked to a camper who said the VC had been closed all week, and he thought all the sites were electric. 

I headed back down the road and on my way out I saw a Ranger fixing the entry gate.  He said there were five dry camping sites and gave me the numbers.  I went back into the park and found the sites, but most were already occupied and I didn't like the ones that were left. It was still so early in the day, I decided to move on and go to the next State Park, which was only a half hour away.

The next park was Percha Dam State Park.  It, too, is a very small park and was right along the Rio Grande.  I can see this being a great park once the water is let out of the dam, but so far this year the Rio Grande was dry.  I was in the dry camping area right next to the river, and it was all dusty ground and dry grass but there were nice trees.   If they could put some gravel on the dust covered ground, it would be a great improvement, but in this economy that's not going to happen.   I decided to stay for the night and leave in the morning. 

Katie and I took a walk at dusk, and Katie just stopped walking.  She didn't like the ground, either, and I had to carry her a little way before she would walk again.

Our campsite at Percha Dam State Park.

Look at the tire tracks in the dust. It would be bad if the wind picked up.  The dam and Rio Grand beyond. 

We took a walk around the park, the water in the foreground is the only water I saw in the river along the park's edge. 

There are some pretty trees in the park, lots of cottonwoods with pieces of cotton blowing all over the place.

Percha Dam State Park is one of the best birding parks in the state, and I could hear birds chirping and calling and singing all day long.  At dusk it was like a symphony, really beautiful sounds coming from the trees.  I think I'd love this park if they got a little water in the river and a little rain to hold down the dust.  I'd definitely try it again at another time.

There was a beautiful full moon rising and lots and lots of bird calls at dusk.

This morning we were up and gone, heading to the next state park, which was very close by.  After two parks that I didn't much like, I was hoping this third park would be a winner.

On the way out of the park, I saw a flock of birds in a nearby field. I've never seen these birds before. 

Flock of  Ibis in a field outside Percha Dam State Park

Onward to Caballo Lake State Park!

And it's a winner!  I couldn't believe it when I saw all the water in the lake.  I talked to a volunteer, Paul, this afternoon and he told me about the other dry camping areas, and Katie and I will take some walks tomorrow to check them out.  But for now, and maybe for the next two weeks, I'm as happy as a clam right here, parked above the lake with the mountains beyond.

Here we are right above the lake. There are many areas to dry camp, some overlooking the lake, some right on the sand.

Caballa Lake - there is a boat ramp with two boardwalks out to the water on either side.

Great Blue Heron fishing in the lake right below us.

So, we're here at Caballo Lake and very happy to be settled again.  It's still windy; according to Paul March and April are just windy months in New Mexico, but the ground here is more rocky than dusty, so I don't think we'll see dust storms.  He said they should soon be letting more water into the lake, coming from the snow in the northern mountains.  If so, this lake will rise and some water will flow into the Rio Grande at Percha Lake State Park.  I'd love to be here when that happens.

From Me and Katie, have a great Thursday evening, everyone!  :)


  1. What a nice spot. I told Peter that we have to get a smaller rig so that we can get around more. I didn't know about all these state parks. Thank you for sharing all the information with us.
    Poor Katie, can imagine that the dust plagues her.

  2. Didn't think you would care for Leasburg Dam SP. We love the Las Cruces area, with so many places to hike, so even though the campground isn't the greatest we always enjoy it there. It looks much better with water in the Rio Grande, though.
    I think you will like Elephant Butte Lake, too. And Truth or Consequences is a nice little town, easy to get around in like Deming. Have fun!

  3. I have been meaning to ask you if you paid to get the yearly State Park Pass so that you get 1/2 off on camping.... (I'm not sure on the details.... I look forward to seeing New Mexico at some point so I would be interested in the camping fees that you are encountering. In my book free is always best!!

  4. You know what they say: "Third time is the charm." Caballa State Park sure does look like a winner. I never think of N. Mexico as having any water so we will have to check that park out.

  5. Thats a nice place. We didn't stay there but did drive through a couple weeks ago on a outong.
    Up the road a piece is Monticello
    park. You would probably like that one as well. Or Elephant Butte state park.

  6. Love the picture of the moon with the bird flying! Glad you found a place where you and Katie can settle in for a bit and be comfortable.

  7. Would also love that site right by the water. I imagine its sound is really soothing at night. Looking forward to bird pictures.

  8. klbexplores - Yes I get the New Mexico state Park pass - it is a different price for NM residents and out of state campers. For out of state people, the annual pass is $225. That entitles you to a whole year of camping free if you are dry camping (some parks provide sites with water for free) or you can pay $4 for a site with electric. Some of the free sites are developed and some are just in an overflow type area near a lake. I've enjoyed both. :)

  9. New Mexico is definitely windy in the spring. We were there in May and felt like we were blowing away most of the time. But I still love NM.

  10. Wow! What a beautiful site you have. It definitely is a winner.

  11. Hi Barbara and Katie...I agree with Gayle - Leasburg State Park is rather blah, and especially so with so many sites closed in the non-reservation section. Had you stayed, there was a relatively nice place to walk in the day use area, down by the dam, but since it's virtually dry, it's not as pretty as it once was. I'm glad you found water at Caballo! Debbie (and Elliot & Rupert)

  12. Check out the primitive sites along the river. There are some nice places with trees. Glad the wind finally stopped. It was blowing like crazy up here in Albuquerque as well.

  13. What a difference it makes with water nearby. I had no idea the Rio Grande would be so dry.

  14. Glad you finally found a nice spot. I don't think I'd like all that dirt either, especially if it got windy.

    We battled 30mph winds the first week or so we were in the Keys and we both decided, we hate wind! I hope it calms down for you.

  15. Isn't this RV life awesome? Finding the perfect spot to call home! Love the lake and your new place!

  16. I am a bit jealous of your seeing the IBIS. That's neat! The Great Blue Heron really looks peaceful, and I'm glad that you found a great campsite!

  17. Looks like a nice place. I might have to check it out sometime!

  18. Very nice! You're getting to some of the NM parks we didn't see in our big trip there a couple of years back. Love the NM state parks!
    Nina & Paul (wheelingit)

  19. Very nice! You're getting to some of the NM parks we didn't see in our big trip there a couple of years back. Love the NM state parks!
    Nina & Paul (wheelingit)


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