Location: Percha Dam State Park, Arrey, New Mexico.
We head out early to Caballo Lake to fish in calmer water. Got some great places picked out thanks to our March trip. Caballo Lake is maybe a couple of miles away. We go to Percha Flats where most people don’t go because there are no trees. We have a secret in our truck bed — a new canopy — which will let us hang out as long as we want. Darn, there’s a guy in a travel trailer over there running a dang massively loud generator. On the right is a family under their own canopy playing loud, loud music. Sigh.
We head to our favorite shady cove. Argh! We are stopped by a net barrier. Beyond it, the water covers the camping area we played in months ago. Looks like the lake has risen another foot or so even as massive amounts are being released down river. The fire ring Margo built must be under a couple of feet of water.
We have a second shady cove. We take a loop along a hill. Darn it. There is a family camping there. We try a couple more spots and are becoming frustrated. Finally we find a spot about 100 yards from the second cove. Down an incline steep enough to make Margo wonder if she can get back up. The beach is all smooth flat rock, the size of an egg or smaller. It was fabulous to walk on. A strong wind was blowing in our faces so we let the dogs swim or facsimile thereof. HappyDog did her usual impression of a drowning dog. She inhaled a half gallon of water in the first swim and gagged her lungs out for 5 minutes. DotDog wouldn’t get in deeper than her belly. Margo got in the water and DotDog ran behind the truck. If momma gets wet that means DotDog is going to get dragged out deep enough for her to swim.
One last place — the old dirt boat ramp. A small truck almost runs us down as it speeds around us. A jack*** willing to risk our lives and property to secure the spot before us. Not sure what the old lady was thinking since her grandson was already setting up a tent on the only dry place.
Tired and disgruntled, we go to Riverside Campground which is right below Caballo Dam. The campground looks awful. All the, what may be salt cedar trees, are dying. Did they do a release of the salt cedar killing beetles there? We did see insect traps in some of the trees. The problem is they’ve done little to replace what is dying. Soon the park will be without shade. I cross it off my list of future visits unless I bring my own shade.
We get a nice shady spot under cottonwood trees near the water. I fish for maybe 15 minutes. The water is so fast that our bait floats back to shore. Not far from us a guy is measuring the water amount with a setup much larger than the fella at Percha. He sits on a little bench and uses a motor driven cable to stop at various locations across the way. We hang out and head back to Percha a little after noon. We agree that in the future we will have to do our good fishing Monday through Wednesday.
Our curiosity about crop harvesting has been rewarded. Activity commenced. A guy in a white truck has wandered through the onions near the road. A large tractor has appeared in the field and appears to be plowing between the rows. Margo went out to watch and came back to say that the plow actually had a rotating horizontal bar behind the blades. This bar was dropped a few inches below the surface and pops the onions out of the ground.
We were in a great spot to watch the goings on. We got out binoculars from the truck and the spotting scope we carry in the cargo hold.
A few hours later, tractors with three-point hitch decks brought over big bins and workers dumped them off every five rows. Weren’t they smashing onions? Small trailers with two port-a-potties were delivered on each end. Chairs with water coolers were dropped off.
Workers started arriving. All in all about 20-25. The field nearby was empty, and they drove right out into the field. Out came what looked like round laundry baskets. The workers, some on their knees and some standing, grabbed a handful of onions, snipped the stalks off, and dropped the onions in the basket. There wasn’t a wasted motion in the bunch. When full they poured the onions in the big bins.
After an hour or so a large wheeled forklift began gathering the full bins in groups. The groups made sense when a honking 18-wheeler with a flatbed arrived. The forklift began filling the trailer. Three bins high. I think two across. Not sure how many in the length.
All this was going on in 100+ degree heat. Late afternoon it began to rain – big, cold drops – and everyone left. I think they went to another field that wasn’t being rained on.
Toward evening we headed over to the park showers. I forgot to buy bath shoes so had to shower in my good tennis shoes. At least the water was warm. Got good exercise pushing the button. Sometimes the flow lasted only two seconds.
We got a couple of TV channels and had phone service. For some reason I couldn’t send text messages with photos.
For supper Margo surprised me with squash lasagna. It’s regular lasagna with the addition of layers of squash. She didn’t have enough tomato sauce and, unlike the sorta sloppy lasagna I’m used to, this was firm and chewy. I liked it.