Moving on – to Pena Blanca, NM

10/2/16 (Sunday) in Pena Blanca, NM (Tetilla Peak Recreation Area-COE)

Because we had a 4 hour trip ahead of us we left early at 7:45. Remember those mountains that were surrounding Trinidad? That’s what we headed into right off the bat. As we neared the top our engine was struggling, even in low gear, which wasn’t normal. I heard little beeps and asked John if he knew what was instigating that sound. He noted that he had messages; low coolant and the check engine light. Strange, since he’d just put new coolant in the radiator. Naturally, once we crossed the peak, no more issues. I’m hoping that maybe the new coolant hadn’t sufficiently made its way through the radiator when it sent the message. We’ll check on it tomorrow once the engine has cooled down.

Along the way we saw pronghorn! How cool to just see them along the freeway, of all places. They seem so exotic. We were traveling too fast for me to get any photos, but you’ve seen them in my photos at Yellowstone. Lots of prairie so we also saw cattle and horses.

Loved this rest area in New Mexico, which is on the Santa Fe Trail. They had covered picnic areas that included fire pits. The moths were so cute, all furry.


We goofed as we were nearing Cochiti Lake (our original destination) and turned at the Visitor Center sign. Almost immediately we could see the road ahead was gated closed and there was a narrow path up to the Visitor Center. As we were unhooking the car so John could turn Miss Journey around we learned that this is Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta time (9 days)! Yikes, we hadn’t made any reservations. Plus another, smarter, camper stopped at the Visitor Center sign. The wife drove the car in to where we were and we explained that the campground was on the road they were still on. So there was another camper looking for a site. Thus we ended up following them to the campground gate only to see that no one was manning it. They had parked their rig and took off in their car, so we did the same. We found some people at a restroom and asked them about a camp host. They pointed to where they were camped. We got there shortly before the other couple (Dan and Ruthie). The camp host graciously explained that they did have 2 sites available and we could choose first since we arrived first. She also called a nearby COE campground (Tetilla Peak) and found there were lots more available there (20 miles from where we were). It was more rustic, with a 10 mile road in that had potholes, though. The other couple decided to go there and we did too. It seemed we’d have better choices, the distance to Sante Fe and Albuquerque was similar from either campground and I hoped that road wasn’t too bad. Luckily, it wasn’t so bad and we had shelters here as well as 50 amp power and water (not available at both sites at Cochiti). Since Dan/Ruthie had arrived at Tetilla Peak before us I figured this time they could have the first choice. In the end they preferred a view while we preferred a more level site. So we were both happy. So we’d arrived at Cochiti around noon but didn’t get to Tetilla Peak until 1, then it was after 2 before we started lunch. Whew! This was an 80 degree day to boot!

I took a nap, then we visited with Dan/Ruthie who were parked not real far from us. We had a lovely time sharing RV tales. They’ve been full timing for 10 years.

We finished our night with supper, TV and books.

Nice space!


Isn’t this a unique sink?



Lovely views even at our site


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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