Sunday we left Colorado and we are headed to Arizona. Since we had never stayed in a New Mexico State Park, we planned our first stop at the Santa Rosa Lake State Park, east of I-25 just off I-40. We love the typical New Mexico scenery. This is the Pecos River Canyon in the park.
Santa Rosa Lake was formed when the US Army Corps of Engineers built the dam in 1981 across the Pecos for irrigation storage, flood control and sediment retention.
During a stop at the Corps' Visitor Center, we learned that the lake is frequently available for boating, fishing, jet-skiing, scuba diving and water skiing. However, water levels fluctuate and sometimes there is only a flowing Pecos River there. They recommend calling ahead to check on the water level before coming out to pursue water sports. Did you know that the Jesse James Gang once stole a Corps of Engineers' payroll? They did during the late 1800s in either Tennessee or Kentucky. That is another interesting fact we learned in the visitor center.
We also located two geocaches in and near the park. To learn more about geocaching, click here. John is showing me where he located the first cache.
Santa Rosa has some interesting old buildings. This is the 1909 Guadalupe County Courthouse.
The town hopes to convert this old Ilfeld/Johnson Warehouse into a museum and businesses such as a brew pub and farmers' market.
Did I mention scuba diving? Santa Rosa has a blue hole. The 80-foot deep natural spring is astonishingly clear and has a constant water temperature of 62 degrees. There are scuba training platforms at 20 and 25 feet. Those platforms are the white squares you see in this picture of the Blue Hole.
We spotted an interesting business in Santa Rosa, which sits along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It is a automobile distribution center. We had never seen one before. Many new vehicles are shipped by rail, then off-loaded at various distribution centers, where they are transferred to auto transport trailers and moved to dealers by truck. Here you can see the rail cars in the background and trailers in the foreground. Sorry the photo isn't too good, I shot it as we drove down the road.
We left Santa Rosa Tuesday, planning to spend a couple of days in the Bluewater Lake State Park just off I-40 between Grants and Gallup. But after driving through two of the camping loops on narrow, curving roads difficult to navigate with a 36-foot 5th wheel trailer, we drove on to Gallup and the USA RV Park. Highly rated, it is clean and well equipped, but has the hated (by us) side-by-side hookups and the sites are very narrow. We planned to drive on to Mesa today, but the Valley of the Sun was hit by violent thunderstorms yesterday, with more of the same predicted for today. So we are staying put for one more night.
This is the kind of RV park where you can observe other RVers closely. Across the road from us there was an older Country Coach. As you may know, many motorhome owners are obsessive about cleaning the outside of their rig. It had rained before we got here. We watched the Country Coach owners using towels to dry off the windows and all sides. Then it rained again and they repeated their actions. It rained overnight and before the sun came up this morning, they were out there, polishing the outside. But is was cool enough outside that dew settled on the RV and so they repeated their polishing an hour later, before driving out onto the wet and dirty highway. You can be assured we aren't that type of RV owners.
We drove into Gallup this morning and checked out the El Rancho Hotel and Motel, "Home of the Movie Stars."
You can read more about the hotel by clicking here. Apparently numerous movies were filmed in the area during the 20th century and many of the stars stayed at the hotel. Here is a photo of part of the restaurant's menu. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see that items there are named after movie stars.
The hotel interior is really interesting. This is a view of the lobby from the mezzanine.
Have you ever seen a player piano that is this ornate?
The mezzanine walls are covered with autographed photos of movie stars. Here is John looking at one set of pictures.
Tomorrow, hopefully, we can drive to Mesa.