Quiet Sunday after a Noisy Night

Sunday July 5th 2020

Today was a little warmer day than the past several. The cloud cover was a little less dense most of the day and the wind of the last few days was gone. The temperature peaked a little above 90 degrees.

View of the clouds to the northeast just before noon,

Fireworks in the surrounding area continued last night until after midnight. I could see a few of the air bursts, but for the most part it was just noise. Sleep didn’t come quickly, but I made up for it with a late start to the day this morning. Most of last nights overnight residents had departed by the time I got out of bed. The RV park last night, but it is making up for it tonight. The park appears to be full.

This is my last night here. Tomorrow I am heading east to Amarillo Texas. It will be a very long travel day, but additional stops in New Mexico don’t make sense with the current quarantine order for travelers. All I’d be able to see is the RV park from my campsite. I plan to stay in Amarillo for a little over a week. There are a number of outside recreational opportunities in the area. Hopefully, Texas doesn’t put a “stay at home” order or a quarantine order in place while I’m in Amarillo.

View of the clouds to the northeast at sunset.

Most of the day was spent watching TV and reading. Late in the day I got most of the outside travel preparation tasks complete. The inside tasks are half complete. After breakfast I can finish the remaining tasks. I want to get an early start tomorrow.

Fourth of July Fireworks in Grants

Saturday July 4th 2020

It was another day with a lot of monsoon flow clouds. The sky dribbled on the earth for a minute or two in the afternoon, but overall it was a dry day. The temperature peaked in the mid to upper eighties.

Clouds over the mountains to the northeast.

The Grants New Mexico fireworks were visible from the RV park. The official town fireworks were a long way away, but there were many private shows around the area that also brightened the night sky. I really like taking pictures of fireworks. This time around the distance and the wind made it more difficult. The bursts didn’t last long before the wind blew them away.

Hanging Out at My RV Home

Friday July 3rd 2020

The temperature got into the mid to upper eighties today. It was a mostly cloudy day. The monsoon weather pattern is bringing in high level moisture from the southwest. The cloud cover thickened during the day. Around the supper hour a few drops of rain made it to the ground, but if you blinked you missed it.

I spent the day reading and watching TV. It really was a normal stay at home day. The difference is knowing that a generalized government order directed at travelers from other states was keeping me home. I’m not the type of traveler that puts the local population at risk. The amount of interaction I have with locals is minimal to non existent particularly in these times. I really don’t want to be where I’m not wanted.

The RV park has really filled up tonight. I’m not sure how many will be staying for the weekend. My guess is that most will continue to travel in the morning, but unlike other nights this week, a few will remain until Sunday or Monday. Travel on a holiday weekend is best avoided.

One of the local residents.

Quarantine ?

Thursday July 2nd 2020

Today was a little warmer and a little more humid. A monsoon weather pattern is starting to move into New Mexico. It is bringing more cloud cover and humidity. So far, it hasn’t brought any rain to this area of the state.

Clouds moving in over the mountains to the northeast.

Yesterday the governor of New Mexico issued new pandemic control measures. In addition to re-enforcing the mandatory mask order with a fine, she ordered travelers entering the state by any means to quarantine for fourteen days. I’m not surprised. This state has been very proactive fighting the virus.

Later in the day the clouds thickened over the mountains to the northeast.

Figuring out all of the ways I’m impacted is not very clear. Being out of the campground playing tourist is certainly not in the cards. The worst case scenario would mean I have to extend my stay here for another ten days to complete a two week quarantine. The most likely scenario is that when I leave here on Monday I have to leave the state.

To implement that plan, I’ve booked a stay in Amarillo Texas as my next stop. It means a long travel day of about 370 miles with one fuel stop. My original plan had two more stops in New Mexico, but what’s the point if I have to stay in my RV home. I doubt I would even be allowed to stay longer than one night anywhere in New Mexico. One place I checked with in an attempt to shorten my travel day was only taking same day one night reservations.

This whole thing is very fluid. I’d pack up and leave now, if it wasn’t a holiday weekend. Finding a place to stay in a state that is taking travelers on the long weekend isn’t easy. There have been several different interpretations of the Governor’s order on TV. The inn keepers seem to be responsible for implementing the order, but there isn’t any specific enforcement mechanism. Hopefully, things will stay in flux over the holiday weekend and I can escape the state on Monday.

Just like Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this park cleared out of all but the longer term residents by today’s 11AM checkout. Around 1:30 a new set of RVs started to arrive. There aren’t as many tonight, but I counted fifteen new arrivals so far. I expect all of them to leave in the morning. If they don’t it will be telling. I’m not sure what, but it will be telling something.

Sandstone Bluffs Hike

Wednesday July 1st 2020

Today’s temperature peaked in the mid eighties. The lower wind strength is probably the cause of the slightly warmer temperature. It is still below the normal for this time of year in this area.

I hiked around the Sandstone Bluffs area of the El Malpais National Monument today. To reach the bluff it was necessary to drive a mile and half up hill on a very washboard gravel road. It was an uncomfortable ride. The sandstone rocks are interesting and really standout against the dark lava rock on land below the bluff.

When I got back to the RV park this afternoon, it was as empty as it was yesterday. My RV home stood alone in my part of the campground. Yesterday I had new neighbors before 2PM. Today it was after 4PM before I had new neighbors. I was beginning to wonder if they had closed the park to new arrivals. In this strange times anything might happen. By darkness the park was as full as it has been since I got here on Monday.

Cactus blossom of the day,

Getting Familiar with the Grants New Mexico Area

Tuesday June 30th 2020

Today was a sunny day with a lot less wind than yesterday. It still wasn’t a calm day. The wind rattled my RV home off and on all day. The temperature here above six thousand feet was in the low eighties.

After getting the rest of my setup tasks complete, I took a drive to get familiar with the area. Grants New Mexico was founded as a railroad town, then became a mining town and is now somewhat of a tourist town on old route 66. I’m not sure if it is the current pandemic or a general economic down turn in the area, but I saw many rundown and closed businesses. Outside of town there is a lot of open land some of which is used for cattle.

One hundred thousand years ago there were several volcanoes in this area. Dark brown and black lava rock indicative of lava flows from long ago dot the landscape. The campground I’m staying in is right on the side of one lava flow. To the south of here in the El Malpais National Monument other features of the volcanic activity can be viewed. Over the next few days I’ll try and find some trails of vistas that are open. The visitor centers are closed.

This campground is very much an overnight stop. The park was pretty close to full last night, but by the 11AM checkout time my RV home was all alone in a row of sites. There were still a few other RVs in the row behind my RV, but the row in front was also empty. My the time I returned from my familiarization tour a few other RVs had arrived. My night fall the park was about as full as the night before. People are traveling. The RVs are from all across the country. From the east coast I spotted plates from South Carolina and New Hampshire. California and Oregon represent the west coast and Texas, Minnesota and South Dakota represent the central part of the USA.

Travel Day to Grants New Mexico

Monday June 29th 2020

Today was a travel day. I wanted to get an early start to get ahead of the forecast heavy winds, but it wasn’t to be. The heavy wind woke me up around 6AM. It wasn’t going to let me beat it, so I slowed down to a normal pace. I was on the road by 10:30AM.

Interstate 40 east bound from the Winslow AZ area is a slow and steady climb to the continental divide east of Gallup New Mexico. Occasionally on the drive I had a helping wind from behind, but most of the time the southwest wind was just pushing me around on the road. There were gusts reported in the fifty MPH range. It was not a fun travel day.

Site 22 at the Grants NM KOA Journey.

I arrived in Grants New Mexico at the KOA Journey around 2:30PM Mountain Daylight time having lost an hour leaving Arizona in Standard time. It was only three hours of driving torture. Entering New Mexico there were several message boards informing that Masks are required in New Mexico. I took the time to mask up before entering the office to check in. I was greeted by an unmasked women behind the desk. The only thing virus unique about the check in was the comment that the gold pens had been sanitized. Who knows why they needed my signature. The credit card was processed from the online reservation.

This is my first night east of the continental divide in over thirteen months. I’ll be here for a week before moving on toward Albuquerque followed by eastern New Mexico. This area has some National Monuments and nature areas to visit. I know the visitors centers are closed, but I hope the trails and vistas are open. So far I’ve seen some high cliffs and lava rock in the area.

Last Sunday in Arizona

Sunday June 28th 2020

The temperature peaked around ninety today, but the cooler temperature came at a cost. It was a very windy day. My RV home was rocking in the howling wind all day. As the sun set in the evening the ferocity of the wind let up a little, but it was still breezy.

My RV home alone in the desert

This is my last full day at Homolovi State Park. It is also my last full day in Arizona. I’m only leaving the state about two months later than I’d planned and via an entirely different route. Such are the ways of plans in our Covid infected world.

I like Arizona. It’s a nice place to visit with lots of things to see. I much prefer visiting in the fall and winter months. The late spring and summer temperatures are out of this world hot. I’ve been out the Phoenix area for over a month trying to stay ahead of the heat by gaining altitude. The high temperatures in the Winslow area are about fifteen degrees cooler than Phoenix, but it is still hot.

Last sunset in Arizona.

I got many of the travel preparation tasks completed today. Tomorrow I have about one hundred and eighty miles to travel. I’m heading east to Grants New Mexico. Crossing into New Mexico I lose an hour. The time zone doesn’t change but New Mexico follows daylight savings time and Arizona doesn’t. It will likely be a little over three hours of travel, but four hours on the clock.

Slow Saturday

Saturday June 27th 2020

Today was a do nothing kind of day. It wasn’t until I couldn’t find the morning news programs on TV that I realized the weekend had arrived. Even my cell phone wanted to take the weekend off. The battery had run down overnight because the charge cable wasn’t connected correctly.

The weather was nice today. It was partly cloudy with a good breeze out of the southwest. The temperature was in the mid nineties during the afternoon hours. Tomorrow and Monday are forecast to have more clouds and more wind. Since Monday is a travel day for me, I shouldn’t be surprised. For some reason, lately it seems to be windy on every travel day.

This was a slow potpourri kind of day. I did a few chores, watched some TV, researched more travel options and took a couple of walks around the park. Overall nothing to write a blog entry about. This is one of those nights that my commitment to writing a blog entry every day is a real challenge, but if I miss a night I might form a bad habit.

Last Grocery Run in Arizona

Friday June 26th 2020

During the morning the sky was blue with a few puffs of white clouds, by afternoon the sky was filled with white clouds along with a few gaps of blue. The wind also had its moments during the afternoon hours. My RV home was rocking a bit in the wind every now and then. Overall the temperature made it back to the upper nineties.

This morning I got caught up in the White House briefing on the state of the Pandemic. It came across as a half hearted pep rally with a lot of spin control. I didn’t hear anything new or enlightening in the hour plus briefing. All it did was put me into survival prep mode when I got to the grocery store later in the day.

Monday is moving day for me. I’ll be changing states into New Mexico. I’m not one hundred percent certain what kind of Covid restrictions I might encounter, so I planned to stock up on groceries today. With the added influence of the White House briefing I found myself stocking up a little more and even going a little overboard in one case. Over the last few weeks I’ve manged to stock up on TP, but not my normal septic safe brand. Today, when I found my old reliable TP brand, I bought it. Now I just have to find a place to store it.

Today’s experience at Walmart was a little different than all my other Pandemic visits. First I had to wait in a socially distanced line outside for a few minutes to get inside. There didn’t seem to be as many people inside, but this is only a medium size store. The other major difference was the presence of masks. I only saw a couple of people without masks. The fact that the city of Winslow now requires masks in indoor public places is the obvious influence. People still weren’t following the directional arrows on the floor. Maybe the city needs to enforce jaywalking laws inside buildings. Forget I said that. I don’t want to give the politicians anymore ideas.

Very few of the campers I identified yesterday as weekenders stayed. Tonight there are a lot more campers in the park. I have to do better with my guess that most are here for the weekend.