New Mexico Truck Camping Hints

Every day I am learning more about this truck camping.
At times I have yearned for a cooler , but have found that an icy stream works pretty darn well. (When you have one!)
Camping CoolerThe bug screen that Susan helped me construct needed some reinforcements. Susanna, in Taos, did a magnificent job of sewing on reinforced webbing with Velcro. I can now rip it down quickly and am not worried about tearing the Velcro off.Bug Curtain for Truck
Susanna's WorkAbove is the strap from an old bag that Susanna sewed onto the curtain cloth. Below is one of the five Velcro patches.

Susanna's DetailIn the last blog post I mentioned that I was needing a shade that 1) I could put up and take down quickly 2) that protected me from sun. This is how it is starting out. I may switch to Velcro since I love the bug screen set up so much. I know the “Command” hook will not last with the extremes of temperature.

The pvc in the picture below is holding the excess material down. Easy, quick and that is where I store the pvc anyway.


I liked the white cloths that were up there first. I will look for some material to do it up right in the future.

Useful Odds and Ends:
The picture below is my collection of straps. I use them often. I sometimes buy a crummy bag in a thrift store if it has a good strap. Many, many uses.


Then, of course, is the industrial strength Velcro. Works even in the extremes of temperature changes and being stuck to aluminum. That and duct tape hold everything together!


Helpful Odds and Ends:
A collection of magnetized clips (I think for potato chip bags) are surprisingly useful. A fistful of medium size carabiners are extremely useful for hanging up keys, whisk broom, hats, anything!

I have used only 3 bandaids and a bit of Neosporin. I have a fist full of antibiotics, aspirin, Advil and never touched then in 2 years. I think living outdoors keeps one healthy.

Mice in the engine compartment are evil. I have tried WD40, essential oil of peppermint, dryer sheets. Nothing works. The latest suggestion has been ammonia, sprayed all over the engine and the tops of the tires. That has worked so far, but I do hate to carry a single use item like ammonia.

Washing up:
I have found that I am totally allergic to washing dishes. I tried spraying dishes with vinegar and water. Did work, kinda. Have segued to hot water in a solar bag. When the sun is out it works. No sun, no dishes. Works for me!

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Truck Camping Budget July, 2016

July 1- July 31, 2016 Budget
Spent Budgeted
Food 80.08 120.00 39.92
Camping, Laundry 178.00 45.00 (133.00)
Entertainment 14.24 30.00 15.76
Gasoline 42.58 152.00 109.42

The entertainment was for a breakfast in the Sipapu Lodge and a breakfast in Taos. I didn’t count any of my non smoking celebration, it was from “gift” money. The camping expense was way higher than budgeted.  I spent a couple of weeks in National Forest Campgrounds. They were lovely and cost about $9.00/night with my Senior Access card. The joys of getting older!  I still managed to save $32.10 over the budget, even splurging on camping.

I don’t think I will stay in the National Forest campgrounds again. I found that within a few miles of any of these campgrounds I could find a free spot. Here is a spot that is about ten miles from the Junebug campground. Up about 3/4 mile on a single lane dirt road. Free and next to a beautiful stream and 1/4 mile to a great hiking trail. Next time!boondocking

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Junebug, a National Forest Campground

I have no idea why I stopped at the campground called Junebug. It was tiny and crowded and noisy with dogs running loose and children screaming and the smell of charcoal lighter in the air.
Before I camped at the Junebug campground I found a sweet spot to stay for a few days near a stream.
Secret Spot campingSecret Spot ButterflyYes. It was a delicious as it looks. But how did the Junebug campground turn out so wonderful, when the first impression was so awful? It was the other campers. I first fell in love with this family:Junebug Three K's

He is an oil worker. She home schools the kids (because the history taught in schools is not right). They fed me steaks, the girls jumped into my arms and hung on like monkeys, they clued me in on great places to camp, and they invited me to their house for dinner in December. They helped change my mind on the compatibility of conservatives and liberals. Then there was Troy, who refuses to drink Starbucks coffee because the company is too liberal. Troy at Junebug Troy gave me a trout every day he caught one. Troy had coffee with me and we talked of everything except politics, religion or sex. He has a wonderful homemade shaving set up that caught my eye.Troy's Shaving set upHe also helped change my mind on the compatibility of conservatives and liberals. So did Cory, Stan and Darryl. I learned much at Junebug Campground.
Now for some hints:
I stuck up some towels on one side of the carapace (not for privacy, but for sun shade) and am now contemplating curtain construction. Curtains The little fold up table is great for positioning the solar panel.Solar table
In a few days I will be headed to Cimarron Canyon, a New Mexico State Campground. Maybe.

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Agua Piedra in Carson National Forest

Two full weeks in Agua Piedra Campground. At 8,529′ it was perfect weather for July in New Mexico. Cool at night and cool in the mornings. A nice campground, with oodles of walks and oodles of birds. I spent hours watching a pair of  ravens talking to each other, many pairs of flickers, and lots of unidentifiable flying things.Agua Piedra Campground
And oodles of chipmunks. Yes, I know I am not supposed to feed them.  I couldn’t resist a Cheerio to one who showed up every morning.
Agua Piedra Chipmunk
There was an inspiring camper, Sylvia (84 yeas old) who had been studying the flowers of the area since 1953. She was a wealth of information and put me to shame with her hiking abilities. There was also beautiful group camping area with an old cabin.Agua Piedra CabinAnd oodles of flowers.
Agua Piedra FlowersRight now I am in Taos, NM in a hotel celebrating 1 whole month of not smoking cigarettes. A friend from Asheville, Marlis, joined me and we explored and ate and laughed. In Taos we ate the best meal from a food truck that the two of us had in a very long time. Spelt and grains and kale and tomatoes and cilantro and so good we still haven’t stopped talking about it! Agua Piedra Food TruckThen we found our new favorite beer, Kirin. Agua Piedra BeerWe hiked around in the Carson National Forest, looking for interesting camping spots.Agua Piedra MarlisAgua Piedra Pickett

Then I panicked when I thought the gas tank had ruptured. There was gas spreading all underneath the truck. Aggh! Found it was actually a ruptured canister of gas on top of the truck leaking. Phew. The panic forced me to join AAA.

Now I am headed to a higher altitude for the rest of July and August.

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Coyote Creek State Park

With the New Mexico State Park‘s Annual Pass I can stay in any State Park for 14 consecutive days. For free. I plan (kinda) on arriving at a state parks on a Tuesday or Wednesday, to get a great site. And I also plan arriving several days before or after a holiday. Coyote Creek State Park looked like the perfect place to hunker down over the 4th of July.

It was ideal. Showers with nice hot water, a shelter, drinking water twenty yards away, interesting hikes, and a sweet creek running throughout the park. I couldn’t see a neighbor  unless I tried.  The weather is ideal (45 at night, 80’s in the day). I had to hang the blanket in front of the shelter since it was facing due west, and the afternoon sun could be fierce.
Coyote Creek Shelter
Coyote Creek Set Up This was a great place to settle in. There was all kinds of wildlife (bugs, fish, birds and more birds, gophers, prairie dogs, and unknown noises) to investigate. There was a nice hike that had colombines and rose hips and bugs.Coyote Creek Trail There was one place in the park that I fell in love with. A beaver dam. And in the mornings and evenings there were warblers and hummingbirds and beavers with babies.Coyote Creek Dam

There was something to investigate every day. I fell in love with clouds and prairie dogs and strange bugs. The weekend of the fourth of July was full, but no fireworks, no hooting or hollering. I slept well every night. It was a magical place. (So magical that on my second day there I threw out all of my tobacco. Its been 14 days and I still don’t want to smoke. Magic.) The bug below loved the truck window. Every morning she was there.Coyote Creek BugCoyote Creek Bug  I met a woman who had been on the road for five years (and she turned me onto the best NM rock book). I met a man who had 33 mosquito bites on one leg. I saw a family  with 4 kids, 4 adults,  airline wheeled luggage, price tags still on their tents spend three hours setting up the 2 tents. They were laughing. So was I.

I hated to have to leave.  14 days were up. Now I am in Mora, New Mexico getting some groceries for the next camp out. No telling where the next stop will be. But I have gotten some good clues (“Don’t go there, its all ATVs and motorcycles. Ten miles further on the left is a great hikers campground.).

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