Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rockets, and the Truth or Consequences of BLM camping

On the way out of White Sands, we stopped at the missile range museum for the morning. It is really worth the stop, there are a lot of atomic bomb and cold war history displays, and plenty of rockets.

There is a restored V2 display indoors, a V1 buzz bomb, early US WW2 rockets and the whole progression of technology up to about the 80's.

Read the plaque on this, it may be the origin of 'plugging in' a computer program.

There were too many pictures taken to post, and the wild horses (and tired family) had to drag me out of there.

So it was later afternoon by the time we got to the town of Truth or Consequences (abbreviated as TorC on many local signs). We checked out the library for a little while, and there are some hot springs resorts in town, one of which we had a look at. It was nice, but it wasn't really for us. (campsite $50, plus $30 per extra person / child.

Our next planned option for the night was BLM land across the Rio Grande from TorC. For some reason the town is only on the west side of the river, and the east is mostly empty ranch land. The road we took in was about 5 miles back along the river from the only nearby bridge, to where we found a fair spot at the end of the road. It was fine to get there, but it did require 4wd at a couple spots with sand, steep hills, or dragging the skids on the back of the trailer. Most of the way the bushes and thorns were brushing the sides of the camper, but not usually the truck.

We had our latest minor camper collision damage. Close to where we ended up camping there was a cattle grate that was not so flush with the ground, and an overhanging tree at the same time. The last spot to turn around had been a mile back, so I was motivated to get across it. We were looking mostly at the tree to not rip off the solar panels, pulling those branches away. We were not watching the front bottom of the camper, and that's where we got it. I bent over the stabilizer jack mounted under the frame, and had it partly wedged in the cattle grate. We reversed a foot or two, which actually straightened the jack some, removed the 2 bolts holding the jack, and continued through.

After pulling through, there was a wider area where we parked and scouted out two potential areas to camp at. At this point I noticed that the whole fence section along the road, next to the cattle grate, was easily removable. Doa! I've got to remember this, to look for removable fence sections at tight spots. There was a spot in S.Dakota last year with the same idea, where there was a mud pit beyond a cattle grate, but the fence next to it was removable. So on the way out in the morning, we took down the fence, and replaced it after we passed.

The area we chose to camp at was nice and quiet, we didn't see anyone all night.  

The location was a dead end for us with the trailer, due to a steep area with loose rocks & gravel back up out of the river wash, just beyond where we camped. I was thinking the truck alone might not get up it.  But the next day an old 2WD van came by, waved to us and bounced right up it.

The next morning, I had a little redneck repair fun.  Using a big winch strap (from the roadside a couple weeks ago), stretched from under the wheel of the truck, we straightened the jack enough make it useable again.
after horsing the camper across the high cattle grate

winch strap under the wheel of the truck.

a little cranking on the winch strap, and reversing the truck

not perfectly straight, but ok.  The screw shaft is a little bent too, might tweak that another time.

On the way back out, we realized there was a shortcut across the river, and so we only had to drive about a mile out to get back into town.  That's the Rio Grande we're dipping our toes in...
 The next day we moved on, checking out another little BLM spot (according to the map) on the north side of TorC, called Turtleback.  It was really a great spot, but we were spoiling the view from the golf course down below.  Two guys came up from the golf course and asked us to move on, no the golf course owns it now.
It was getting late in the day, having done laundry in town, and a big grocery shop.  Our backup plan was Elephant Butte SP just north of TorC, and it turned out real nice.  Camping allowed anywhere, right on the lake, just don't get stuck  in the sand.  The laundry came out first thing.

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What do you think, where should we go next?