Friday, May 12, 2017

AZ and NM Headin' to the Ranch

Shey loves it when I mess with him until he wakes up.

Quick morning fire to warm us.  Then we smother it

and say goodbye to Luna Lake

Back onto 180 and we pass through one tiny town/village after another.  All of which, I would love to live in, but would  most likely be too isolated for my coffee shop loving partner-in-life.

We aren't particularly hungry, yet, but we happen across the Adobe Cafe and Bakery in Reserve, NM and stop in for coffee and brunch.  It's homey and has a selection of local game on their menu.  You can tell, this is the place the hunters from out of town come to when it's hunting season.  Next door is a cool little shop, where I pick up some more mexican blankets, because I use them for everything and 10 just isn't enough.......

Elk patty, eggs, sausage and gravy, potatoes and veggies.  All very good.

We jump back in the car and head toward Gila, NM.  Shey reaches toward the dashboard and pushes "search" to scroll through the radio stations.  Static, static, static, static, native american chanting.....we look at each other and smile.......static, static, static, static.   So, there is one station and it is indigenous music.  We enjoy listening for a few minutes then turn it off and point out natural interests as we pass by.

Gila, NM.  Is a cool little "town" with a couple buildings and the Gila river running through it.  Love it.  A couple turns and we arrive at Kenneth and Kristina's adobe schoolhouse that was renovated into a home.  Rhea greets us.

Kristina loads us in the truck we take a drive around the ranch.

Healthy livestock chillin' in the shade.

Lots of these little guys around.

Lotta Bull.

The view isn't too shabby, either!

Then we ran across this guy.  

Zip the wonder dog and Kenneth. (twins)

After the tour we scooted back to the house to hang with the rest of the gang.



Kristina made us a wonderful meal of chicken, famous hatch peppers and rice.  It was pretty amazing!

We enjoyed catching up and visiting on the front porch.  K and K are a pretty great couple and it is always nice to hang out with them.  They have a very cool place in Comfort, TX, but we were happy to get a chance to see their spread in NM this time around.  We told stories and listened to all the cool info about the surrounding area, people and irrigation system.  Late in the evening, we headed to our sleeping accommodations, under a lit up, star filled sky.   A cozy trailer with stellar AC!

AZ and NM Ice Cream in the Desert

Our time in Flagstaff has come to an end.  One last Matador coffee.  An amazing breakfast at La Bellavia. (where we watched a dog, who was hanging out with his three college aged human friends, pick up girls for them, as they faltered and goofed it all funny)    

And we are on our way!  Headed south east of Flagstaff and eventually into New Mexico and the Gila National Forest.  

The landscape changes drastically, from aspens, to pines, to bush to desert.  What an amazing route to drive!  

We stop at Lyman Lake State Park off 180/191, pop into the sleepy ranger station and gathered information from the youthful couple working there.  Ice cream was available in a cooler and we sat on a hot picnic table, while happily slurping up the melting drumstick and ice cream snickers.

A quick hike up to some of the petroglyphs that can be found, overlooking the lake.

The sun was beating down on our shoulders and we had the place to ourselves.

Pretty cool landscape.
Windy and sunny with a perfect vista.

After stretching our legs on the hike we hit the highway again, moving from desert to climb back up to the pines and aspens.

We move through the town of Alpine and start looking for a place to stay.  There are many forest service roads here to pull off on, but we finally decide on a campground that is closed for the winter.

It's the Luna Lake campground in the Apache Forest and it's quiet and lovely and amazing.  We spend an hour walking around the lake and watching a bird dive repeatedly down to the surface of the water in hopes of catching a fish.

I'm still amazed at how far we have come with camping equipment.  26 years ago, I scrimped and saved until I could afford, one by one, a tent, synthetic sleeping bags and a camp stove from, what I considered a very "high end" store, Target. (certainly not water proof and no sleeping pads)  Now this  little bomb-proof tent from Mountain Hardwear goes everywhere with us, along with our down sleeping bags and fluffy pads that pack down to nothing.

So much downed firewood to be gathered and a lovely flame to warm us through the evening.

Nothing better than sitting together around a campfire.

My new favorite soft beanie.  It's a bonus that the hand dyed colors are gorgeous.

On to a great nights sleep, until the two motorcyles (who tried to be quiet, but how quiet can you be on a motorcycle?) and motor home with kids arrived late at night.  Should have stayed in the woods off the fs road.......

The good news is, if you have to get up to pee during the night, the sky is filled with stars.  The sky here has little light contamination and the stars are vivid and spread like powder.  It's worth stumbling around in the dark to see.

Kari Lindner