Not all those who wander are lost~ J.R.R. TOLKIEN
August 20, 2020
On this journey of discovery… I found my way to New Mexico in January of 2020, a new beginning for the new year. This was to be my longest solo trip yet taken, a full month on the road, and this time I was taking it in my ‘Sweet Chinook’. The mini, 21 ft RV is fully equipt, yet ideally compact. It was designed with a three-way system (generator, propane, and solar power) so wherever I go, I have what I need. It also fits pretty much everywhere, and is easy to pull on and off road. This makes it an ideal travel companion. While I had taken her on a few small trips, this was to be a ‘mostly’ off the grid adventure with only a few campgrounds planned where I can plug in if I plan on staying a few days. My starting point began in western NC and heading straight west on I-40 and then returning home through Louisiana to visit some family for a few days.
ASHEVILLE, NC – day 1
I had planned a 3 day/24 hr drive, though I got there a 1/2 a day early as the anticipation to start the journey pushed me forward with only making a few stops along the route. When traveling like this, you never really know where you will be on the road, so I made a point of always finding a sunrise and a sunset shot within my surroundings if possible. When my eyes got tired, I’d just find a place I feel safe to pullover, and draw down the shades. Could be a public parking lot, a rest area, gas station, or just a side of the road easement. Options are endless… no more driving while exhausted! Safety first 🙂
CHECKING OFF THE LIST
SANTA ROSA, NM – day 3
- As I arrived in Santa Rosa is when the journey officially began. My first stop on my checklist was Route 66 Auto Museum. A place to stretch my legs and get into my zone with camera in hand. From this point on, the camera will be a part of me, never leaving my side. Upon entering the museum, I was blown away by what was hidden inside. Packed full of antiques, memorabilia, a really sweet owner, and a few custom built vehicles that really caught my attention. Worth the stop! – $5
- St Rose of Lima Catholic Church & Rose of Lima Chapel and Cemetery
- Historic Power Dam Falls – As a birder, and wildlife photographer, seeking water in a desert is often key to finding life. And what I quickly realized is critters don’t seem to be to scared of vehicles as they are of people. So I used that to my advantage and took pictures from inside. Above the waterfall, created by El Rito Creek, is a small marsh lake full of dabbling and diving ducks. – free
Los Alamos, NM – day 3
- Anderson Overlook – I arrived with time to spare and set up the tripod. As I waited, the temperatures in this region dropped very quickly. So cold it seeps right into your bones. I ended up sitting in the RV, clicking the cameras remote trigger on a cord from the open window. Technique isn’t important if you get your shot. Brrrrrrr!
- I ended Day 3 at White Rock Canyon Overlook. It was dark and icy when I pulled in, so I settled in for the night and awaited the morning sunrise. I overslept a bit, and the sun was already rising as I rushed to get dressed. The temperature upon awakening was a brutal, 9 degrees. There was no time to set up the tripod, so instead I fumbled with my camera, trying to get the right settings as the sun was rising fast and my fingers were already painfully frozen, despite spending extra $$$ to buy special gloves for this trip. I was a little disappointed they weren’t toasty warm. Makes me wonder how cold they would have been without them?
Though this was a great location with plenty of trails for hiking, I didn’t linger to long here as today was the first planned monument and I wanted to get there before the crowds arrived. So I had a quick breakfast, secured the counter top items, and readied the RV for driving.
While I know the basics of the places I choose to visit, I make a point of not researching them too much. I want to be surprised, and overwhelmed with awe when I first take it all in. Monuments, national parks, BLM properties, and most overlooks are always guaranteed to be spectacular. Throw in some off the beaten path locations, and it’s sure to be amazing adventure. So far so good!