Datil Well

Camping at the well

Datil Well Recreation Area Campground has one of the 15 water wells along the old Magdalena Livestock Driveway. The old cattle trail was established in the 1800s and stretched 120 miles.  The ranchers were trying to get their cows to the railroad. The camping area includes 3 miles of hiking trails in piñon-juniper and ponderosa pine woodlands.

Datil Well CampgroundThis is a great campground in the middle of nowhere. It is open all year, but no water or fancy pit toilets until 15 April. The wonderful parts are the hikes, a neighboring grocery/restaurant, great tasting water from a deep well, and a shelter, where I made coffee in the mornings, listening to the birds. I did struggle with the wind. Several days had gusts up to 70mph. Aggh!

In the evenings, if the wind had calmed down,  I would bring out the lantern and write in the journal about the day. This Goal Zero Lantern is perfect for reading in bed at night, and it gets charged by solar. Or wind up. Goal Zero Lantern

Thanks to great, kind camp hosts (Carlos and Teresa) I was able to stay here for two weeks. Yummy. Next I headed to Pie Town, NM.

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Only a Topper?

Cold/rain/wind/hail. Some days I am inside the topper for several days. I glance, enviously, at motor homes, trailers, pop-ups. Should I get something else?

A trailer?    A trailer has to have hard sides. Bears like soft sides.The ideal one, for me, would be the Aliner Ranger 12.

Folds down, can be loaded with options (I would need off road capabilities and high wind reinforcement), and has good reviews. One good review, by default, is that there are so very few used ones for sale.

But trailers are one more thing to worry about. Insurance, licensing, theft, making it level so the propane fridge works, and dragging it behind into city traffic. And backing it up into tiny spaces. And not going onto some roads not knowing if I can turn around. Ugh.

Well how about a pop up?

Fleet pop up Ranger 12

Starting at over $17,000 these are great, but … money. And I would have to put everything down into travel mode to run into town. Hmmm. I could buy 10 acres of land for that amount.

Then there are vans. New ones are way out of range. My requirements for 4wd limit the availability. Starting, used at $20,000 and going into the $100,000 range puts them way out of my range.

So, thinking about it … I will stick with the truck and ARE DCU topper. Easy backing it up, easy unpacking and packing, easy going on very rough roads, already owned, titled and insured.

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Fears While Truck Camping

My biggest fear is  having the battery go out when I am in the middle of the woods. So I have a Trickle Charger that seems to keep the battery happy. I put it on the dashboard and plug into lighter receptacle and leave it until I have to move. But, like a person with  belt and suspenders, I have a hand held item, the  JumPack XL – Jump Starter/Power Pack that can start engines. This has saved several people who’s batteries died. I bought mine 4 years ago and it is still working fine. I charge the phone, the iPad, and the computer with it. I charge the JumPack with the solar set up.

I also carry jumper cables. I know. Over kill. But whatever it takes to make you feel safe on the road, DO IT!

The tool that I use the most often is an Allen wrench. Important Allen wrenchThe topper has a tendency to loosen, slide around/off and leak. Not fun, so I tighten and tighten after every bumpy road or any day when I have run out of chores. Hint: On your build make sure you have access to the areas that need periodic tightening. I didn’t and was sorry.

NM Caballo CampingAnother perfect spot in the New Mexico State Park System. I was camped on the banks of the Rio Grande, which was a trickle when I arrived. 2 days later they opened up the dam for spring irrigation  at 2100 cfs .  The river filled and then birds came and the fish and the anglers. It was a great spring view.



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Still Cooking while Truck Camping

It has been raining, so I have been thinking about cooking while truck camping. (There are more thoughts on alternatives to a truck topper here.)

breakfast ingredients while truck camping

The breakfast drawer holds my favorite oatmeal oatmeal:
Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal – 20 oz – 2 Pack. I put it in a ziplock bag, mixed with dried cranberries and pecans.

The milk (Peak Dry Whole Milk Powder) is divine. Tastes creamy. Can add it to cold liquids and it dissolves instantly. Great in hot chocolate or in cereal or coffee.milk for truck camping

To cook with I use ghee (ANCIENT ORGANICS 100% Organic Ghee from Grass-fed Cows, 32oz) or olive oil. The ghee is great. Holds up to heat and cold, tastes great, has a high burning point.

I love cooking oatmeal for brunch … if the wind isn’t howling and its not raining. Right now I am in a NM State Park called Riverside (part of Caballo State Park) on the banks of the Rio Grande. Birds are singing me awake every morning and easing me into night time.riverside campground

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Cooking While Truck Camping

There are certain problems cooking when living in a truck. Wind, rain, cold, heat and space. And trying to keep eggs and vegetables fresh with no refrigeration (would rather have books than a cooler).

I have a plastic bag of oatmeal mix (Scottish oats from Bob’s Red Mill with toasted coconut, pecans and cranberries) that is my go-to breakfast. If its not raining. If the wind is below 30 mph.

My favorite, when I have eggs,  is this process: I fry the eggs on top of a box of soaked potatoes, then cover them.

eggs cooking while truck camping

The key to all of this is steel plates and bowls.  They wash easily, don’t break and are inexpensive. Compact Stainless Steel Dish Set for Home and Outdoor Use, with Small Plate, Bowl, and Cup 

Dinner is usually a soup made from dried veggies (Harmony House Foods Soup Mix, Dried Vegetable, 12 Ounce Quart Size Jar) with dried mushrooms and a part of a pack of onion soup mix or hot and sour soup mix.

Posted in Kitchen, Truck Camping Choices, Truck Camping Hints | Tagged , , | 5 Comments