Amarillo, Texas to Logan, New Mexico (10/6/2019-10/8/2019)

Rant warning. Cody Jinx Radio on Pandora.  “Diamonds and Gasoline” playing, Turnpike Troubadours.  What a great day it’s been.  The weather has been perfect!   Today I’m at the Ute Lake State Park in New Mexico.  I don’t know why I have this desire, want, need to be in Texas and New Mexico.  I mean, I can enjoy the outdoors just as easily in Alabama, I know, I know.

I arrived at Ute Lake State Park in Logan, New Mexico, despite my aversion to cold weather.   I bought a “Little Buddy” in Amarillo, determined that I wasn’t going to give in (I was close).   I had heard about it on one of those many YouTube videos that I watched about van camping before starting this trek. What a great invention for a tent camper / van camper.  

Cool building in Logan, New Mexico
Logan, New Mexico.
I just sat and sat looking at this building. Oh, the possibilities!! Logan, New Mexico

The first camp site I picked had lots of great shade and I spent the first night there.  Shade (hello, what are you thinking, this is not summer), you need sun lady!!   I decided that I wanted to spend another night but changed spots to a totally open site. Yes, sun!!! Stretch and I walked around the entire loop (quite large).  Around 3, we did it again except we went exploring down by the lake.   I was being very cautious but had to slap myself (mentally) that there aren’t any ‘gators here.  Do have to keep my eyes open for snakes though.

Beautiful campground and campsite, well situated. This was my shady spot.
Ute Lake State Park, NM
Ute Lake State Park, NM
Ute Lake State Park, New Mexico, Sunrise

I want to stay here, but I pay close attention to the weather and there’s some sort of cold front arriving on Thursday. Going to get down to freezing. Now I need to move further south.

Before we got to New Mexico, we drove through Northwest Texas.  I had inferred in a previous post that I was very disappointed in that I was expecting cowboys, longhorn cows, cattle drives but instead I found giant, alien-like, noisy wind generators.  I found it!!!  The town of Wildorado, Texas, west of Amarillo.  I saw cowboys and cows, in a cattle feeding lot. I’ve never seen so many bovine in one spot. I was really hoping to see them being driven across the millions of acres that I’ve crossed since I started driving, but I’ll have to settle for the feedlot.

Cattle Feedlot in Wildorado, Texas

Vega, Texas. I’m in love with that little town.  The landscape changes quite significantly after this area, like something out of a Clint Eastwood western. Life must have been so hard but so rewarding. 

Vega, Texas. Cute, historical town on Old Route 66
Says it all
Justice of the Peace in Vega, Texas (too cool)
Hope you can read this. More history.
“Vega, the town you never want to leave.” How true.

Many, many (Jimmy Carter era, many) years ago, Ed, Patrick, Ashley, Kim and I visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield Memorial. I can see myself standing looking around and feel this terrible sadness overcome me. We then visited the nearby Crow Indian Reservation. I remember saying to my husband, Ed, “I’ve been here before, a long, long time ago.” Still always feel that way when I think about that visit. No, I’m not claiming to be Native American (a la Elizabeth Warren), but I’ve never felt such a strong feeling before. I’ve never been a follower or believer in the afterlife (perhaps I should be), but that’s as close as I’ve ever come.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I was born in the wrong century. (Sorry for the political innuendos).

Meaher State Park, Spanish Fort, Alabama (February, 2019)

My very first test of van camping was at the Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. Stretch and I were able to get a tent site and I set up our sleeping arrangements for the night. The site came with water and electric. .

The tent camping area next to the boat ramp

Stretch and I spent 3 nights in all and were able to hike quite a bit around the campground area. There is lots of shade in the tent area. The boardwalk which is accessed through a dirt path to the south of the tent area, a fishing pier, kayak launch area and boat ramp area are all near the tent site area and the cabin area. There is an area for raising bees and some type of agricultural site set aside for private individuals which I guess give additional revenue to the Alabama State Park (good idea). I also noticed that they seem to have a storage facility for RVs.

Additional revenue for Alabama state parks

One thing that I noticed is that Meaher State Park doesn’t have receptacles for the disposal/recycling of monofilament fishing line. While walking along the fishing pier I picked up quite a bit of used, broken fishing line. It sure would make it easier for fishermen to dispose of their line if the Alabama State Parks would install bins like the ones I’ve seen in other states. Florida has a very active and great recycling program. Here is what I’ve seen in Mississippi. They are usually located at fishing piers, boat ramps and like areas. http://www.dmr.ms.gov/index.php/monofilament-recycling-program/9-monofilament/detail/99-monotube#

If you are a nature lover and photographer, I believe you will enjoy this state park, as much I did.

Sunrise taken from my campsite at Meaher State Park
One morning it was foggy and windy at Meaher State Park
Great Blue Heron fishing in the shallows off the boardwalk at Meaher State Park

The bathhouses were nice, clean and well lit. The park itself was clean and I felt safe in the area. The cost of the tent site was more expensive than I expected but for the peace of mind and for my first experience, I paid the fee. I would recommend this state park, I just wish Alabama would offer discounts to seniors. Oh well!!