Catching Up in White Rock
After leaving Taos Junction Recreation Site, I headed for the town of Taos for a shower and sundries. Taos, oft praised by motor touristas such as myself, struck me as a sprawling, artsy-craftsy town in a valley between high mountains. Kind of like some Colorado towns. Supply-wise, its road layout is a close-packed rat’s nest, where you have to hope that your destination offers parking off the street. This day’s resupply list was thankfully short. What they lack in supply choices, they make up for in art galleries and Spanish street and place names.
At this time of year, a hot shower is offered for a two bucks at the Taos Youth & Family Recreation Center. Good deal. I had to get a street address for it at the Civic Center in town, since neither my GPS nor my iPhone could deal with just its name. Once out and back in the Ford, I had to promptly finish up errands and determine a plausible camping spot somewhere. In this case, that meant one with an electrical hookup and a cellular signal. Two full days of heavy overcast and rain at Taos Junction with two more promised meant that even with a cell signal, I wouldn’t have the reserve battery power to catch up on the blog or keep running the fridge. Previous partly cloudy days had taken some of the steam out of recharging the battery pack, and the two rain days had nearly finished it off.
At the Rec Center in Taos, I had parked near an ancient Shasta motorhome, the kind where the flat windshield aims downward toward the pavement instead of being swept back in typical aerodynamic form. It was tired, but its aluminum slat siding still gleamed where it could. I was back in the Mighty Furd and just beginning to look up my next destination when the denizen of the Shasta appeared at my window. It seems that his motorhome, from the 70s I think he said, was waiting for a new distributor cap that would take a week to show up. Nobody minded his staying here because he was practically a fixture in the area and knew everyone in town. He had been a master mechanic, he said, so getting his rig going again would be no problem once the part showed up. He also had relatives in the area, his mother among them. She was 88 years old, which impressed me mainly because he himself looked to be between 75-80 himself. Some people weather more badly than others, but there was no way he was close to my age. This apparent disjoint, his eagerness to keep me strung along in conversation, and his offer to show me the inside of the Shasta made it seem like a good idea to relocate the Ford in order to feed in Stop #2. If in doubt, move on out.
I finished my errands and decided to take a chance on what I thought was free BLM camping to the southwest. It looked like an electrical connection was available. Nope, that campsite was not free, and not affordable for any length of time. I thought I would take a look at a boondocking site near Los Alamos. By the time I got there, the sun had just set, rain was about to hit, and I was going to have to settle for anything for an overnight. The trail down to the coordinates looked like a definite problem for mud, particularly with more rain on the way. I took another track and found that promising to become interesting, too. So I found a level spot near the entrance on relatively high ground and set up camp, aware that my solar wouldn’t stand a chance surrounded closely by tall pines. Overnight only. It was quite a downpour that night!
The next morning, I looked up an affordable campsite with electrical hookups located nearly an hour northwest. The drive was nice, though the many hills pulled the Ford’s fuel gauge down faster than I preferred. Once I arrived at camp, I found the sites having electrical hookups blocked off from use. Oh well. I made an executive decision to drive through the rain to White Rock Campground, which is simply a parking lot beside a tourist center. It offers power, among other things. Two days there would allow a full recharge in spite of the dark overcast, and serve as a launching point to explore a couple of potential boondocking spots further east.
Apart from anxiety-ridden dogs left alone in rigs while the owners tour the area, there isn’t much to complain about in this lot. Overall, it’s pretty quiet. Payment is done via an automated credit card gismo, the electrical hookups work, and there’s a dump station with potable water source as well as dumpsters. It’s not perfectly level, but not sloped enough to cause any noticeable issues. It makes for a decent jumping off point for further travels, and worked well as a way to both get online and avoid discharging my batteries too deeply during the recent spell of dark skies.