Friday, June 12, 2020

On the move

I bid farewell to Rancher Lou this morning. It had been a nice, stress-free couple of months with my good friend, but I had to go before I succumbed to the homesteading virus and started looking for land.

Today’s drive took me through familiar territory. North on 180 through Cliff, Glenwood and Alma; east on 12 to Reserve and Apache Creek; north on 32 to Quemado; and east on US60 to Pie Town—home of disappointing pies.

The Cosmic Campground is along the route. Its main draw is night sky watching. There’s an area with concrete slabs where people can set up their telescopes. I knew it was closed because of the pandemic, but I checked it out anyway. I discovered there’s dispersed camping along the road in. There was a spot with a really nice daytime view—and a 4G signal!—but it felt too early in the trip to stop. Another time.

I made a short diversion from highway 32 to check out the Fox Mountain fire lookout tower. I got a little over half way there when I decided the road had gotten too nasty and probably wouldn’t get any better. The Rolling Steel Tent had handled it with ease (no 4x4 necessary) but it was annoying and tiring. I returned to the dispersed camping area at the beginning of the road, peed, straightened out the van’s well-shaken contents, and stretched my legs a bit.

I arrived in Quemado at lunch time. Fix something, or try the Largo Cafe? Easy choice. I’m tired of cooking for myself. I scanned the menu. Oh look, a green chile cheeseburger—a New Mexico staple. Now, I had a wonderful green chile cheeseburger at Sparky’s in Hatch. They advertised at as the world’s best. The Largo Cafe’s version is every bit as good. Thick, hand-formed patty, juicy, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, the right amount of bite from the chiles… Two thumbs up.

There’s a free campground in Pie Town run by the town. It has seen much better days. Well, all of Pie Town has seen better days. But it’s a decent place to camp—except for the totally trashed toilet and non-functioning water spigot. Oh, and no cell connection for me despite the tower right in the middle of town. I discovered the campground backs up to BLM land where the usual dispersed camping rules apply. But the road is rather sandy. It might not pose a problem, but I’ve had enough unwanted sand experiences, thank you.

Tomorrow I’ll continue east then north, eventually reaching friends near Taos. More homesteaders. Ergh.


  1. We once camped along that sandy road. Once.

  2. I really enjoyed the cheap but not free camping at Datil Well east of Pie Town. I think it was 3$ a night. Water, toilets and free internet to go with nice shady sites.

  3. The best boondocking at the cosmic is past the campground.