Location: Home, then Conchas Lake, Bell Pointe Campground, New Mexico. 35.428573, -104.192930.
I’m guessing a five hour drive, on the edge of our maximum one day travel. I always promise I’ll remember what time we leave, but always forget before we conclude the trip.
We drove almost the same path as we did when driving to Fort Sumner. Carrizozo, Vaughn, Santa Rosa. Stopped at the big convenience store in Vaughn to find their restrooms were out of order. Margo comes out quickly. “We’ve got to get back on the road for a couple of miles so we can pull over and I can potty.” I patted the side of the travel trailer, “But Margo, we’re carrying our own toidy.” Man, is it nice to have a toilet only 20 feet behind the hitch. As we left I wonder how much money we could have made renting out our toidy to other travelers.
We took out across the rolling plains. At Santa Rosa we hang a right onto IH-40 and travel 24 miles to a two lane and somewhat bumpy NM129. A nice NM104 to the state park entrance. Caught sight of the water much too briefly before the road fell behind a long, rock covered retaining wall. Our first comment was, “Who put all these rocks here?” Thousands, probably millions of rocks. Then up high to over the dam. Another single lane road over the dam. This one much longer than the one at Fort Sumner.
Saw the castle icon on a dam support. I wasn’t aware the lake was managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Going to a state park along the lake so I guess New Mexico manages the land around the lake while the Corps manages the water. Drove through the Corps facility near the dam. A small park. Big shade trees. Lots of grass. Wonderful. Then it was back to the sparse desert look. There’s a long beach area with quite a few unoccupied covered shelters. Nobody at the water’s edge. Only a few vehicles at the boat ramp. Boy, this place is practically dead. Perfect.
The lake is a beautiful blue-green and backs up between white cliffs. Huge, rounded boulders lined much of the water’s edge. A reviewer wasn’t wrong when they complained it was hard to fish the lake unless you had a boat.
We passed a fire station, a visitor’s center, and a tremendous eyesore of a falling apart mobile home park. Down a hill and there was our home for the next five days, Bell Pointe Campground. Margo’s new travel buddette, NCLady, was already set up in a nearby site. We set up on, put out chairs on the leeward side of the enclosed shelter, then visit with her. Went for a walk of the loop around the park. Nice little park.
How is it that five hours of sitting in a vehicle is so taxing? Margo was especially tired as she fought the steering wheel and a darn good wind most of the way. I did nothing but sit and play with navigation equipment and try to make the dogs share the back seat. DotDog as usual, stretched out in the middle and acted like traveling was the worst event in the universe. HappyDog was relegated to the leftover ends. She likes to watch the goings ons and spent much of the trip in a most uncomfortable looking position, butt on the edge of the seat and both front paws gripping the back edge of the large front seat console. I think her belly dangled in the foot well the whole trip. Definitely not good for her body. We spoke of how to enclose the foot well so she would be more comfortable. She also needs to feel the blast from the air conditioner or her panting will cause humans to go berserk.
We go to bed early knowing full well that the winds would be picking up progressively over the next three days. That’s one of the problems with making a reservation far ahead of time. You have to take the weather as it comes. About half the sites are First Come-First Get. Fishing tournament folks will start coming in on Thursday. The Ranger says all the sites will be taken by Friday.
I was almost asleep when Margo asked, “What was that sound”. I listened. She was right. There were two wind noises. The usual wind through the vegetation, but even louder was a sort of low tone from what I believe is the wind through the boulders along the cliffs. I treated it as a low lullaby and fell asleep quickly.
Maybe we can get some fishing in before the winds pick up. After all, this is the premiere bass and walleye lake in the state.