Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A pig in a poke

When the forecast for freezing nighttime temperatures made it clear it was time to split from Heron Lake, Lesa and I sat down to figure out where to go. We wanted to keep staying at state parks (hurray for the annual pass), so where was one in the Goldilocks Zone—not too cold, not too hot? Also, not too far.

Manzano Mountains State Park looked like it could be just right. It was hard to tell, though, because the online information was sparse. It's a small park. What if all the campsites are full? And there was an alert about some parts being closed for a tree thinning operation. (Insert whining, buzzing chainsaw noises.) But, being the bold adventure seekers we are (just ones who don't want to freeze or roast if we don't have to), we packed up and hit the road south.

South from I-25 we broke out of the mountainous region and into grasslands. Surprisingly, I like grasslands. Driving through them, anyway. Not so much staying in them. And it was very windy. "The park is Manzano Mountains," I thought as I drove. "It better not be false advertising." But then the land started to roll and grass gave way to junipers, scrub oaks and pines. Good.

There were several empty campsites, with plenty of room between them. Lesa managed to snag a huge corner lot.

There are shelters, patios, tables, barbecues and fire rings. Some sites have electricity, for an extra $4.00 a day. The restrooms are closed, though. A couple of chemical toilets are there instead. A very pleasant campground. And the weather is almost as if we custom ordered it. Our gamble has paid off.

I broke into a big grin as we approached the park. Ah, a cell tower just a mile from the gate. Five bars of 4G service. Now, if only there were showers, I'd be in paradise.

Happy happy joy joy. Lots of cellular, no rain.

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