Thursday, October 30, 2014


We ended off last post with a picture of the Torivio Tribe. We were so happy to finally meet them!

Pat has been a follower for a few years now and had offered for us to stop by on our way through Moriarty last year. Sadly, his kids were sick at the time so we didn't visit. 

Knowing fairly early on that we would be passing back through Moriarty, I let Pat know - hoping that this time it would work out. 

We are happy to meet friends that we have made through our blog and are happy to accept such a gracious invitation to stop by and visit for a few days.

I did take a lot of pictures while we were there but not the first day - we were much too busy visiting at first.

The next morning we were invited to McCall's Pumpkin Patch by Josh - Pat and Pam's eldest son which is sixteen and works at the Patch. We wanted to pay ourselves but he wasn't going to hear any of that - his gift to us. 

So generous.

Pat was nice enough to drop us off. The Pumpkin Patch was actually only open to the public on the weekends - this was a weekday when the Patch is reserved for school groups. It was busy though.

The first thing we did was take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch. Each person is able to choose one pumpkin. Since we had to carry them around we choose a medium sized one to pass on to the Torivio kids and we took a second smaller one for Cassia to decorate.

Once off the hayride, Cassia was pretty excited to go see the animals.

This was pretty neat - a large spider web.

And of course we went through the corn maze - the first time for the three of us!

Then to the corn bin. We thought it was sand until we got closer. Pretty neat idea - playing in corn kernels.

While Cassia did that - Derek learned to make a corn husk doll. 

 After all that we went back to see Josh. If you can believe - now he insisted on buying us lunch! It was very very very good - especially the green chile stew. Cassia is holding Derek's completed corn husk doll. A nice keep sake.

Our first visit to a pumpkin patch - we had a great time! 
Thanks again Josh - your generosity was amazing. What goes around comes around - we'll get you back for that one day.

Later that evening - the Torivio's treated us to a BBQ. There's Pat on the right cooking up a storm. I've never seen so much food on a BBQ before - guess that happens when you are starting with a family of 10 and then adding the visitors!

Always a lot of activity going on with such a large family. Being such a small family, we really enjoyed being ensconced in all the excitement and activity.

The next morning we checked to see how many of us could visit in the van - NINE!

A nice picture of James and Jeremiah.

And three of the five girls - Mary, Madison and Mackenzie.

You can imagine that Cassia was on cloud nine with all the kids and someone else's toys.

A group picture before we left - with me instead of Pam and still missing Josh. Rest of us are Pat, Me, Molly, James, Madison, Mary, Mackenzie, JJ, Meagan, Derek and Cas.

Thanks again Torivio Tribe - we had a great time! We'll be back!

As I have mentioned before - traveling is great - seeing beautiful places is great - but really - meeting and visiting with people - such as the Torivio Family is what makes it worthwhile. 

We were all sad!

From Moriarty we headed east to Clines Corner and then south on the 285 - our destination for the day was Bottomless Lakes State Park - just east of Roswell.

A very lonesome couple of hours. We made it to Roswell by late afternoon. Following a stop for groceries and gas we continued to the Park. If you are wondering why we didn't stop in Roswell it's because we were here back in 2011.

Arriving just as the sun was setting.

A nice - albeit narrow - drive to get to the Lea Lake Campground.

Nice to be back in a New Mexico State Park! I'll have more pictures next post.

Our visitor that evening - which didn't last long with Rufus around!

So, that was our time in Moriarty. Now one of our favourite annual stops.

I'm closing in on our posts - only a few more to go to catch up.

As mentioned last night - we are in Texas. 

Today we had our new fuel pump installed at the Ford Dealership in Kerrville. From there we headed to Laredo where we are now spending the night. 

We have completed our shopping and will be ready to cross the border into Mexico tomorrow along with Chris - and head to his place south of Monterrey. 

We go on and on about wanting heat - well - we've got it. But with over a year of cooler temps we are really feeling it. We'll need some adjustment time……

Hasta luego - nos vemos en México!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


With a rising of around 6:00am at Angel Peak Monday morning - we were on the road pretty early!

Too bad we had to leave - it was such a nice respite. Too bad that all the relaxing we did for the two days was sucked dry from our trip that day into Albuquerque….

A last look at our great campsite at Angel Peak Rec. Area. 
Only one other camper when we were there - the second night. A couple from Idaho who came because the campground at Chaco Canyon was full.

Following our six mile gravel road trek out of the rec area we were back on highway 550 - now headed south.

Not the greatest of pictures - just to show that we crossed over the Continental Divide. I've lost count how many times we have done that over the years.

Our map shows the entire length of the 550 from Bloomfield to Albuquerque with dots - which means it is scenic (or so they say). That's a bit much - beautiful boredom maybe. Not a lot to see - I had to remind myself to take photos. 

By the way - DON'T get your gas at the Apache Nugget Casino like we did - hang on until Cuba - much much much cheaper!!!!! Darn!

It DOES get scenic however for about the last 20 miles or so…

Following this picture it wasn't long until we were rolling into Bernalillo - just north of ABQ where the 550 hits the Interstate. Thankfully there was a Home Depot right there - we stopped for lunch and to do some research. We were in ABQ for two main reasons - Pep Boys for our fuel pump and our last visit to Trader Joe's until Spring.

No pictures to show for the rest of the afternoon. If you are on 'a life made simple' Facebook - you may know how our day went. We arrived at a Pep Boys just after lunch and were there until 7:30pm!! It's in the past now so we try not to think about it - we were so frustrated.

Because our fuel pump has been failing since we bought it last January at Pep Boys in Harlingen, Texas we decided to get it changed out as it was still under warranty.

Although we told them straight off that the problem was the fuel pump they spent the first few hours doing a diagnosis - we found that out later from the mechanic who was told that our engine light was on - which wasn't the case. Later when Derek went to check in the shop about what was going on we learned that the mechanic had snapped off the fuel pump and had to get a new one - this at 5:30pm.

In the end they tried to charge us $238 for the labour even though they didn't mention once in the six hours that there would be a charge. We refused to pay on those grounds and they did relent and let us go.

So - dark, late, no dinner….

We headed to a brewery.

La Cumbre wasn't really on our list for this trip - but we knew where it was - it was close by and we knew we could sleep there overnight because we were there in January with Roaming Pint.

We were sure happy to see a food truck parked outside of La Cumbre! Here is Ryan from the Greek Geek - we went with two gyros. Yum. Thanks again Ryan - nice to meet and talk with you!

Derek took this picture - our only one. La Cumbre has a nice sitting area upstairs complete with a sofa - we spent the next few hours hanging out. 

The next morning, after our stop at Trader Joe's we headed east out of Albuquerque. 
We were done.

Next up, just 40 or so miles up the road to Moriarty.

What's in Moriarty?

Why another craft brewery of course!

Whereas the stop the night before at La Cumbre wasn't in the plan a stop here certainly was. We've been planning to come to Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. since our last visit  also last February.

Not only do we LOVE their beer but the artwork is great too!

The Alien Amber Ale - one of our favourites.

Here's Kat our hostess. Thanks again Kat - it was so nice talking with you. In the end we were there for a few hours and met many of the locals - it was a good time.

So - that was a good reason to visit Moriarty again - BUT we had another, even more important reason for visiting this town. 

A stop in to meet and visit with the Torivio Family. And here they are - a group picture at the end of our very very fun two day visit. Pat and Pam have eight - that's eight - great kids! (Oldest son - Josh is missing - he was at work)

I'll give you the details on that, next post.


I'm still way behind on our posts. Since then we have been to two New Mexico State Parks and Carlsbad Caverns AND we are now in Texas.

Just so y'all know - when I can't keep the posts up to date here, I do try to let everyone know the goings on with the Wood Clan on our Facebook Page

Tonight we are in Kerrville, Texas - awaiting the delivery and installation of our new fuel pump in the morning. On the way here - our second Pep Boys installed fuel pump quit on us - time for a new solution to our problem. Fingers crossed that a new fuel pump - more suited to our van - will be the answer.

Then - on to the border! Yup - we are Mexico bound - that was fast - right?!

First stop is not to far in - we are headed to visit with our friends Chris and Juan - we are pretty excited about that. I should be able to get the blog up to date while we are there - although I have a feeling we'll be pretty busy visiting with them - such fun!

For the next few days we'll be getting some shopping done and getting ourselves situated at the border.

See you in Mexico! Or I guess - you'll be seeing US in Mexico - ha!


Monday, October 27, 2014


As usual, when we are stealth camping we are up and out pretty early. We don't want to overstay our welcome, after all. A nice stay in the parking lot of Ska Brewing however.

It wasn't a long ride before we were into New Mexico. Ahhhh New Mexico - we are quite found of you. We've been to New Mexico many many times, however our two week tour last January while waiting for the Gordon Lightfoot concert in El Paso was tops - we covered a lot of territory. Now we are entering New Mexico in the NW corner - new for us.

Once into New Mexico we headed to Farmington for groceries and then on to Bloomfield for gas. We also found potable water at the gas station - sometimes you just need to ask.

Then on to here! Neat eh! It was love at first site. THIS is looking towards the location of the Angel Peak National Recreation Area. The turn off is 15 miles south of Bloomfield. It is well marked - road 7175 to the east. This photo was taken about 1 mile in - we stopped quickly at the first info pullout - we didn't stop long we knew we were headed in 6 miles.

Six miles on a gravel road - but really it was ok - the first bit was somewhat washboardy - most likely because of the heavy truck traffic. There is a land farm at the beginning - strange - never heard the term land farm before. Anyway, there is also a lot of oil and gas activity in this area.

At the end of the road is a large loop with nine campsites spaced out along it. It really reminded us of another favourite boondocking campground of ours - Buckeye Recreational Area by Buckeye, Az. 

This is the view from our campsite.

Which is here. We were completely surprised that we were the only ones there. It was Saturday, so we were a bit worried there would be a weekend crowd. None - zero - zilch.

Ahhhhhh - what's that sound? Silence. Well, not complete silence….

There was a hummmmm - what is that sound? Turns out there are generators dotted throughout to run the wells. So - it really was like we had a few neighbours that ran their generators 24/7. Not to bad but definitely noticeable except for in the van. Good to know - right?!

It didn't take long for Cas, Rufus and I to go exploring.

The campsites on the inside of the ring are linked by these pathways.

Cassia and I were on the hunt for pretty rocks - the area was full of agates - our favourite. 

While mom rock hunted, a little girl I know couldn't resist playing in the sand.

Later, we headed out for a hike. This area was just over the hill from our campsite. Ahhh - one of the generators we have been listening to. Just when you think you are out in the middle of nowhere.

The view is quite breathtaking - as you can imagine I took a ton of photos. I tend to go a bit crazy in areas like this. From your vantage point it may all look quite the same - but in person it seems to change at every turn. 

That's Angel Peak - at nearly 7,000ft, composed of river deposited sandstone.

You probably could get to Angel Peak if you wanted to but we didn't. This hike we went up and down five 'hill's to get to the last and our final destination. 

I can't say I was in love with the path - most of the time it was ok - but some areas got really narrow and really steep.

You're right - I really shouldn't be looking down but I take this job very seriously you know!

Hey! That's me! This is my 'I made it' - look or my 'I'm a star' - look.

A few spots were a little touch and go.

Proving that he is the smartest member of the Wood Clan, Rufus opted to stay behind.

 Just a bit narrow. Gulp.

Awwww - my knight - has come to help me across.

'Someone' always needs to get ahead…...

Hey a dinosaur bone! More likely a piece of petrified wood.

And if we weren't sliding down on our butts we were hoisting ourselves up and over.

And then we returned home. WoW! Are we ever out of shape - but that was fun - right!? Right?!

Later, we were sitting over at the site beside ours drinking tea and waiting for the sunset. And - oh - being dinosaurs too. 

If possible - the formations looked even better with the setting sun shining on them.

We were waiting for a great sunset picture but it really didn't happen - the next night it did though which you just have to wait a bit longer for.

The next morning - Derek, Cassia and Rufus struck out on their own. They were headed to the bottom to walk along the dry creek bed.

They made it down alright but had a heck of a time getting back up. By the time they made it Cassia was 'sick' and crying and Derek was sweating. Ok - maybe not the best idea. All recovered quickly though. I really should have warned Cassia about Derek's 'death marches' which I have fallen victim to many a time.

I think the animals are much happier in the shrubs.

By the afternoon, it looked like we were in for some rain. It was very strange because the clouds were all around us. We watched for hours, convinced we were next, but it never really came - just a few drops. 

By this time I was comfortably reading my book, so I was happy when Derek said he was off to take some pictures. Who knew how amazing it looked out there. So - the rest of the pictures below are Derek's. I was so impressed with what he got. 

Great pics - right!? Brings tears to my eyes.

Because we were in the middle of nowhere  - the evening dragged once it got dark. We were in bed by 8:15pm and therefore…..

Derek was up at 5:45am - it took a bit but he was able to capture the sunrise.

The last picture - the sun shining on Angel Peak.

It was a good two night stay. Cassia and I were sad to leave.

But leave we did - as always - we have miles to cover.

From Angel Peak we headed into Albuquerque - we don't mind Albuquerque for being a large city. We spent a few days there last January and were surprised at how easy - well fairly - it is to get around.

This time we are on a mission - we have two stops - Pep Boys to deal with our fuel pump and Trader Joe's.

Turns out it was a much more challenging stop then we figured it would be - that storey next post.

Sorry for the delay on this - as usual I am really behind. We are now headed to Carlsbad Caverns and then Texas by tonight. Still a few posts until I am caught up.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...