Location: Conchas Lake, Bell Pointe Campground, New Mexico. 35.428573, -104.192930.
Food. We need food. Thirty plus miles on NM104 to Tucumcari, NM which we had never been in before. Found the Lowe’s Grocery. One reviewer called the store limited. Obviously, they are used to very large grocery stores. This one was sized to serve the community. Wasn’t real big, but wasn’t real small either. Found everything we needed. NCLady’s Class C was in the parking lot when we finished shopping. Not sure how we didn’t bump into her as we re-roamed the unfamiliar aisles.
We took a leisure drive back and were surprised to find NCLady on our tail. She admitted she drove that Class C like a bat out of hell.
We stop at the Army Corp of Engineers property overlooking the dam, 35.407038, -104.191196. The place is small but wonderful. A park with picnic tables, tall trees, and real grass, an anomaly in New Mexico, A large group covered picnic area which was filled with public school kids from Tucumcari, six hole frisbee golf course, horseshoe pits, volleyball court, a small building with a large petroglyph, a 2′ wide core sample, and a small museum hosted by Michael, a knowledgeable young man.
We visited the visitor’s center and read about the construction of the dam. It was part of the New Deal designed to put people to work. Done with little mechanized equipment so more men could be hired. Now we know how all those rocks got on the earthen dam. Hard scrabble men put them there one at a time.
They also built the town that was needed for the workers. They even had a large theater and a baseball team. Four years later the dam was finished and the buildings were torn down to be used elsewhere.
In a land low on green, I knew I would return to this place again. We fight the wind to home away from home.
I do so admire the concrete tables and enclosed shelters designed to last for a couple of centuries. Today it became a good wind block. Tenters had it bad. Our neighbors in a large four-man tent said they laid down for a nap and woke up because the tent was hitting them on the head. Tents were tied and retied on every attachment point available. They must have done a good job because we saw no tents rolling down the roads.
We set up for dominoes. I strapped the large picnic tablecloth down with paracord to make a smooth shuffling surface. The dominoes wouldn’t stand upright. NCLady brought over a pack of cool domino holders.
We taught NCLady to play straight (or counting) dominoes. Cut my teeth on dominoes. Many an hour watching and listening to the shuffle and slap of dominoes on tables. Margo is a cut throat player. “If you can’t count — cut.” Never sit to her left because you will have to play immediately after her. You will be crushed. NCLady thanked us by contributing margaritas which had to be large so the wind wouldn’t blow the glasses over.
At dark we headed indoors. We had secured the TV to the wall to get it out of the way. All the online reviews say there is no television reception what so ever. On a lark, Margo turned it on and bing, bing, bing — got three channels: PBS, a cartoon, and something else I can’t remember. Thank you previous owner for putting in a bat wing looking antenna booster. Reviewers also said there was no phone service. Perhaps they were wrong about that too. I started my AT&T phone. Four bars out of four. The device must be drunk on such strength. I sent a text to my sister in Texas to confirm. She replied. We DO have cell service and strong like a bull. I see a tower in the distance. Must be new. NCLady tells us her Verizon has zero bars. She borrows Margo’s phone to try and reserve an extra day. Nope. All sites taken.
We have high hopes that our next visit we will have wifi. We saw ditch digging equipment near the fire station and a big roll of plastic tubing. If I had to make a wild a**ed guess I’d say they were putting in fiber optic lines. Travelers expect nothing less these days.
I will mention the campers were well behaved. No rowdy parties. No music. Nobody had fires going because of the wind. Margo knew there would be a wind issue and planned all our meals to be cooked in the travel trailer. It was even too windy to use the electric skillet on the picnic table. I’m not sure the food would have stayed in it.
The winds strengthened. Couldn’t go outside without getting sand in our eyes. Shrubs near the trailer were almost laying on the ground. The travel trailer felt like we were at sea. So much so that we took anti-nausea pills. Good chance of rain tonight, and tomorrow the winds will reach their max.