There is a certain level of discomfort in waking up in the morning and not knowing where you will sleep that night. Obviously we know where we will sleep—inside The Bullet—but we don’t always know where we will sleep—as in, what city, RV park, campground, parking lot, back alley. You get the idea. This seems to be an increasingly common theme with us. Each time it happens, however, we become more and more comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings that this scenario creates.
Our friend Jessica recently shared this image with us and it is perfectly relevant to our journey right now:
If you read our last blog post then you know that after following the Gulf Coast for many weeks, we up and left Texas without much of a plan. Okay…let’s be honest…without any plan at all. We knew we were heading towards New Mexico, and we’ve both seen quite a bit of southern New Mexico, so we at least knew we would be heading towards the northern half of the state, quite possibly towards the four corners area (Does that count as a plan?).
As we headed north on US-84 into Muleshoe, Texas, for what would be our last overnight in The Lonestar State (for now), Kevin was looking online at parks and campgrounds near Santa Fe (don’t worry, Suzanne was driving). He thought Abiquiu Lake looked interesting, so he called the park service phone number and they gave him the camp host’s phone number.
A camp host is a volunteer position. They usually work a minimum number of hours a week in exchange for a free spot at a campground. For more out of the way parks like Abiquiu Lake, this can save the county/state/whomever a lot of money because they have someone on the ground to manage things without having to pay an employee.
Our camp hosts at Abiquiu were Harry and Venka who, when asked where they were from, said, “We raised our children in Oregon but now we live on the road”. When Kevin called as we were heading into Muleshoe, Venka said she thought someone might be leaving the next day, which would open up a spot for us, but we should call back in the morning to confirm.
Some parks are all reservation-based. Others are first-come, first-served. Abiquiu Lake is a mix. Their odd numbered spots are reservable, their even numbered spots are not. When we called the next day as Venka had instructed, she told us she did, in fact, have one spot open up that morning and she would save it for us. Since we were calling her from a strip mall parking lot just south of Santa Fe and it was already lunchtime and we had no back up plan for that night, we were happy to hear the good news.
Abiquiu Lake is about an hour north of Santa Fe. Neither one of us had ever been to this area before so we had no idea what to expect. As we turned the corner into the campground and saw an incredible view of the lake and mountains in front of us, we were thankful that our plan of not planning had led us here to this beautiful place.
Our week at Abiquiu was spent hiking, trail running, kayaking, and eating lots of green chiles. It is a very tranquil place and we enjoyed the peace and quiet.
When we chose Abiquiu we didn’t know that this area was a significant region for the artist Georgia O’Keeffe. But we quickly learned that the mountain we could see from our campsite was actually Georgia O’Keeffe’s mountain. O’Keeffe is quoted as saying:“It’s my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.” Looking at one of her many paintings of Cerro Pedernal next to one of our many photos of Cerro Pedernal, you can definitely see the resemblance.
Georgia O’Keeffe painting:
Although Abiquiu Lake is off the beaten path, there is a great little general store called Bode’s just 10-15 minutes away that had everything we needed. Bode’s claim to fame is that they have been of service to “travelers, hunters, pilgrims, stray artists, and bandits since 1893.” Perhaps Georgia O’Keeffe shopped there too.
We left Abiquiu in pretty much the same situation we were in when we arrived: without a plan. We knew we were heading to Durango, Colorado, but we had no idea where we would be parking The Bullet that night. This whole not having a plan thing is starting to become kind of fun.
After a beautiful drive along Rt 84 and Rt 160 that took us through Brazos, Chama, and Pagosa Springs, we ended up settling down for the night in one of six spots at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango. That’s our red truck and The Bullet in the picture below, wedged between the little Airstream and the giant Fifth-wheel.
Let’s just say that the view out the back window wasn’t one of the better ones we have enjoyed so far (see photo below). And the parking lot was nowhere near as tranquil as Abiquiu Lake, but there was a laundromat right around the corner, which we desperately needed, and the fairgrounds was a great central location from which to explore Durango.
We’re discovering that whether we are parked at a beautiful lake or parked in a dirt lot with a view of a dumpster, we’re still enjoying the journey. This is adventure. And this is where we will pick up with our next blog post. We’ll see you on down the road.
Additional photos from New Mexico: