Posts Tagged With: nm

Boondocking at the City of Rocks

Well we finally did it! We bought a generator and tried boondocking for the first time. Boondocking or dry camping is camping with no hookups, meaning no electricity, no water and no sewer. We have done no sewer many times, and even went without water a couple of times where we just had to fill our water tank before we got to the campsite, but this was the first time camping without electric. We quickly learned what we could and could not do with the generator. For instance, we learned we can’t use the A/C at all, and we can use the microwave oven briefly (like maybe 30 seconds). The coffee maker works, but you can hear the strain on the generator. Most campgrounds don’t want you running a generator all night, and we wouldn’t really want to run it that long anyway, so the nights are very dark and quiet.

All in all our first attempt at boondocking went very well. We had beautiful weather, and we couldn’t have picked a better place to try this out.


Campsite among the rocks.

One of the benefits of boondocking is being able to camp in some pretty amazing spots out in the middle of nowhere.

City of Rocks State Park is in Faywood, New Mexico. We stayed at this park a couple of years ago in an electric and water hookup site, but these sites tucked in among the rocks are so much better! At night the skies were so dark we were able to see so many stars!

We had an interesting experience when we first pulled up to our site. A minivan was already parked there. I figured someone just stopped for a few minutes to take pictures or something so I got out of the truck to let them know we needed to pull into that site. The guy that was already there barely spoke English so I had a hard time communicating with him, but he basically said he was staying in that site and we were welcome to join him if we wanted to. Okay, that’s never happened before. This site was a reservation only site and I knew we had reserved it and there weren’t really that many sites in the park that we could fit in with our big rig. So I called the Visitor Center where I had just checked in and let the ranger know about this awkward situation. She sent some park rangers out to deal with it. They let us know that the guy just didn’t understand he couldn’t take reserved sites, so he went to find another one. Still, it made us feel really uncomfortable because it was like we had him kicked out of that spot, but what else were we supposed to do? He was only in a minivan and could basically fit in any site, and we didn’t really have any other options.

After that uncomfortable start, it took us FOREVER to get leveled in this site because it was on a slope. Finally we got set up and learned how to use the generator. Then we had a nice surprise! Our good friends from Ditching Suburbia just happened to be passing through this area on their way back to Texas and stopped in to spend the night with us.


Hanging out with Mike & Crissa Boyink of Ditching Suburbia

We enjoyed beautiful sunsets and wide open spaces at this campground.




Our campsite had a cute little nook tucked in the rocks with a picnic table and fire pit.



Fat Cat liked climbing on the rocks.



This park has a whole bunch of rocks to climb on, it’s like a playground of rocks!











Our campsite is way back there in a cluster of rocks

City of Rocks was such a fun place to try out our first time dry camping. Now I guess we’ll have to get more adventurous and seek out some free BLM lands to camp on.

Categories: New Mexico | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Cochiti Lake Recreation Area

While visiting northern New Mexico we stayed at Cochiti Lake Recreation Area.  This has got to be the most beautiful site we have ever had.  I could never get tired of these views!





The morning after we got there we woke up to a very cold morning and an amazing view of snow-covered mountains off in the distance.


I was super excited to find out that the Boyink family of Ditching Suburbia was staying at the same campground for the first few days we were there.  I have been following their blog since before we “ditched suburbia”.  What a treat to have the chance to meet them in person and get to know them better.


Just before we took this picture with them, we got to admire this awesome rainbow.



There was so much to see and do in this area, and no way to see and do it all in the time we were there.  I guess we’ll just have to come back again someday.

While there we did make it to several fun places including Tent Rocks National Monument, Santa Fe, and the Turquoise Trail.  They all have their own blog posts.

We also met up with some other Fulltime Families in the area for a couple of roadschooling field trips.  It’s always fun to find out there are other FtF’s nearby.  We went to the ABQ BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque.





And the Explora Science Center also in Albuquerque.





I sure will miss the spectacular view at this campsite, but at least I know we’re moving on to more spectacular views.  I love this nomadic life and the constantly changing scenery!


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Tent Rocks National Monument

Tent Rocks in Cochiti, New Mexico is one of the coolest places we have hiked.  It almost ranks up there with Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon, a couple of our favorites from last year.  Beautiful views, rock climbing and a slot canyon all add up to awesomeness!





We had never hiked through a slot canyon before.  A slot canyon is a narrow passageway between tall cliffs and rocks.  You have to be very careful not to hike through those when there is any chance of rain because flash flooding has been known to occur in these narrows and hikers have unfortunately been trapped and killed in places like this when that happens.  We hiked here on a day with no rain in the forecast.






The view from the top was incredible!  My pictures really don’t do it justice.




Jesse is trying to stuff a pine cone in a hole in the rock and Jake is just looking silly.




This park is pretty small and the hike only takes about an hour or two.  There is also no Junior Ranger program or Visitor Center here.

For such a small park, it really was an incredible hike! I love being back out west where we can hike in places with views unlike anything I have ever seen.

Categories: National Parks, New Mexico | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Drive Down the Turquoise Trail

We drove along the scenic Turquoise Trail between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  There are a few cute towns with shops and places worth stopping for a visit.

Our first stop was in the town of Cerrillos.  There wasn’t much going on in this town, but we did find a gift shop with a petting zoo that the boys loved.


Jesse really didn’t like the animals slobbering on his hands.


Jake didn’t mind.




Then we stopped in the town of Madrid which had a lot more going on.  This town was a little crowded and it was harder to find a parking spot for the big truck.

There was a cute little spot called Connie’s Photo Park where we took lots of these types of pictures.








There were lots of cute gift shops like this one.


And we stopped at Jezebel’s old fashioned Soda Fountain for some milk shakes.  Yummy!


We continued down the trail to the drive up to Sandia Crest.  Tinkertown was a cute museum that we stopped at along the way.  This is a collector’s paradise.





I think that Mark Twain might have liked our traveling lifestyle based on this quote.



We made it up to Sandia Crest which is more than 10,000 feet above sea level.  It was freezing cold up there so we didn’t stay long.  We were all wearing shorts because it was in the 70’s down in Albuquerque, but in the 40’s up on this mountain.



The most exciting part of the day for the kids was finding snow up on the mountain.  They only wished they had worn warmer clothes and shoes so they could have played in it longer.




And the least exciting part of the day was a flat tire on the truck.  My goodness it seems we have been keeping the tire companies in business lately!  And Chris has become quite the expert at changing tires.


At the end of the trail we got to Albuquerque where we rode on the portion of historic Route 66 called the Musical Highway.  For about 1 mile you can hear the song America the Beautiful playing as you drive along the road.  I really didn’t believe we would hear anything, but we did and we could hear it very clearly.  It was so cool!

We had planned to visit Old Town Albuquerque but the flat tire put a wrench in those plans.  Once we were fixed up and back on the road we were all ready to find some dinner and then head home for the night.

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