Colin and I are on the road again. We had a heckuva time outrunning the cold weather. Snow in Denver and freezing every night the week leading up to departure, we left in a tiny window of bright weather, snow before and after. Right up until the morning we left, we didn’t know if we’d be heading west to Utah or south to New Mexico. “Heads Carolina tails California…” Assuming greater chance of warmth, we went south. Colin has a way of finding the most incredible campsites. The first night we went to Kiowa National Grasslands in New Mexico, a tiny pocket of five free campsites far off the beaten path. It was full, but on the way in we had passed a little spot just outside the area, a giant swath of green with a view of the low mountains. No fires allowed. That was OK, we had prepped pasta salad and coleslaw, and could make hot tea on the camp stove.
We didn’t leave until early afternoon. The spot was so nice, and we were enjoying finally being away from people (trip motto: “Let’s get the hell outa Dodge”) and back into nature again. We fixed and improved a few things – it’s not a trip if you don’t pull out the toolbox – and just lavished in the details of being in our camper once again. We took a dusk hike and vowed to get out of breath every day for the next three weeks. Progress so far: one in a row.
We continued south, just going a few hours today and once again up to a spot of Colin‘s findings in the Cibola National Forest near Corona and Galinas. We arrived around 6pm, found the perfect spot, and took a little walk with Katie. Bear scat. Must be careful to put away everything, even the rinse water which we collect under the sink.
Would it freeze tonight? No, not this far south. We filled the water tanks and relished and having some hot water to wash the dishes. A clear blue sky and a fire for a hotdog and a sweet potato, followed by s’mores. My gosh was it beautiful. And getting colder… huh… Before the evening was out it was already below freezing, frost on every surface, and we were scratching our heads worrying about the water tanks.
Reception: 5 bars. Texted friends. Received the advice to add vodka to the water. Bummer, we only have red wine and mulling spices. We ended up tucking our Solo stove, which we cap with a close-fitting metal garbage can lid, near to the part of the trailer with the most vulnerable pipes while we prepped for bed, so it would warm the trailer as it cooled off. Work the micro climate and hope for the best. By the next morning it was 43° when we were up. Warm and sunny and the pipes were just fine. Grape Nuts and sliced strawberries for breakfast, dump the ash in a bag to take and trash, pit toilet (may blessings rain down upon the National Park system’s utility unit) by the group campsite, and on the road again.