On the Road Again, Leasburg Dam State Park Overnight

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I was up early this morning and was on the road at 7:45 a.m. I had hitched up the trailer to the truck last night, so all that was left to do this morning was tl pull the wheel chocks, unplug and stow the power cord, and connect the power line to the truck. It seemed good to get back on the road again. My feet were itching to go after sitting still for an entire month!

I drove a little over 300 miles today and arrived at Leasburg Dam State Park in Radium Springs, New Mexico just north of Las Cruces by mid-afternoon. I took it easy driving and stopped frequently to walk and stretch my back. It was pretty tight and sore but not terribly painful so I was able to manage just fine. I also changed time zones advancing an hour so I'm back on Central time.

I have a lovely pull through camp site with a gorgeous view of the desert on my passenger side and out the front of my camper. On the driver side I have a neighbor across a wide road and behind me I have a quiet neighbor that's about 75 feet away. I love this park! It's peaceful and quiet with beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife.

Spring has come to the desert and I noticed a big difference in the landscape as I drove along today there were vast fields of yellow that I couldn't identify but managed to snap a quick picture out the window using voice command. The landscape is becoming green as both cactus, trees, grass, and flowering bushes put forth their leaves and flowers. I passed large cultivated fields of onions, which I could identify , and other vast green fields of crops which I could not identify as I whizzed by. The trees in the large pecan groves near Las Cruces are beginning to sprout their green leaves. Everywhere I look the landscape is coming to life.

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Dexter and I took a short walk after we arrived at the park and enjoyed seeing these beautiful Claret Cup Hedgehog Cactus blooming all around the desert floor. The Desert Willow is also beginning to sprout yellow flowers and the soap tree Yucca have huge white flowering heads.

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It was still pretty warm and the sun was high so Dexter and I took a little rest. I stretched my back using a hard styrofoam roller ( AKA the torture device), and felt the muscles loosen up and let go. I finished reading the book The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery and what a treasure of a book it is. This is one that I will definitely read more than once. It was interesting, full of heart, and offered offered fascinating insights into these amazing creatures. I can't wait to revisit the New England Aquarium when I'm back in Boston and see the octopus again in person! Now I'm trying to decide which book I'll start next. I have three more waiting in the wings that I purchased at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy, and Eating Stone also by Ellen Meloy. I'll keep you posted!

I went for another walk late in the afternoon and enjoyed quite a nature show! I saw a beautiful Road Runner with a large branch in his (or her) mouth who must have been scurrying off to build a nest. I also saw a nice Jack Rabbit loping along but wasn't able to get a picture of either of these creatures. I did however manage to capture a few shots of this little fellow who is perched at the very tippy top of a small tree. He is a species of hummingbird I have not encountered before called the Black-chinned Hummingbird. Quite a handsome fellow!

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Next I caught sight of some cottontails out for an early supper. They gave me a curious gaze, and then scampered off into the underbrush.

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On my way to the river I spotted this Wild Herps Lizard, a White- Winged Dove, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

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Far overhead, as I hiked along, I saw at least 10 different flocks of geese or, more likely, sandhill cranes, flying in loose "v" formations heading north. Their migration reminded me of all the travel trailers I saw leaving the campground heading north back to their homes in Minnesota and Oregon and Washington in the past week. Once April arrived, all the snowbirds began to fly home!

I found the river flowing swiftly and filling its banks. Water was spilling over the Leasburg Dam, and the mighty Rio Grande was cutting a beautiful path through the desert floor. Water, especially running water, is such a magnificent sight in the desert. I enjoyed another glorious sunset here at the park. I hope to have a restful night and then will head north myself tomorrow, bound for Santa Fe.

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Dial Soap Revisited, Getting Ready to Roll, DeAnza Birds

Today I woke up feeling significantly better. My back has been limiting my activities for the past two weeks so I was very happy to feel a bit more like myself! Now here's the interesting part...dial soap..... Those of you who have been with me a while may remember that when I crossed the USA on my maiden voyage with Wild Thing back in September of '17, I stopped at a campground at the Merry Widow Health Mine in Basin, MT where I partook of the healing radon waters and learned from a fellow visitor about dial soap being a remedy for back and sciatic pain. I tried the remedy back then and found it did seem to help my sciatic pain, but as the months went by and I remained pain-free, I forgot all about the remedy until yesterday, when I realized I was no longer keeping up with my "soap-in-the-bed" routine. Hummm...given the amount of pain I've been in, I was ready to try just about anything to get back on track so, last night I unwrapped a new bar of plain white dial soap and slipped in between the sheets with me (down by my feet!), and lo and behold, today I am much better!! Now I know the skeptics among you may say that the relief I'm feeling is the result of the fine chiropractic care I've been receiving, the stretching I've been doing, the time I've spent on the hard foam roller (torture by the way), and time itself. You may also say that this little bar of Dial is a just a placebo and that the relief I feel is all in my head. To all that I say, Hallelujah and pass me another bar of soap! I'm just so glad to have a pain free day I don't care where it came from! I'm just hopin' it continues to improve and that I wake up tomorrow still feeling good! And I will, by the way, keep that bar of soap in my bed and change it every month just like I was instructed to!

After doing a little jig around the camper, I spent the day collecting my art supplies from the art room and my sewing supplies from the sewing room here at the park. I cleaned and packed and ran errands. I'm pulling up my wheel chocks on Tuesday morning and heading north...well, just a little bit north! I'll have an overnight in one of my favorite campgrounds, Leasburg Dam State Park, just north of Las Cruces, NM then it's on to Santa Fe Skies campground in (you guessed it!) Santa Fe, NM! I'm very excited to be able to spend 10 days in Santa Fe. That place has been on my bucket list for many years and I can't wait to check it out. From there I'll be heading back to Tulsa to meet up with family!

This evening as I was taking the trash to the dumpster, I saw a flash of orange streak by me into a nearby tree. I could hear the bird calling and followed the sound until I spotted a beautiful orange and black bird that could only have been a type of oriole. I scooted back to the camper hoping he would stay put long enough for me to get my camera. He did, but just as I pointed my lens at him, he took off. I followed him to another tree but again as soon as I got close enough for a shot he was gone over the fence. With camera in hand, I started looking around for other birds that might be more cooperative models and soon spotted the lovely pair of House Finch tucked in a tree. They were masters of staying behind the branches and moving around so it was difficult to get a clear shot at them, but I managed a few. I got a pretty good shot of Mrs. Wren with Mr. in the background but when it was his turn in the spotlight, he was much more cheeky and stayed mostly hidden behind branches.

I started walking back to the camper when a smallish hawk looking bird swooped by and landed on a utility pole near me. It turned out to be a beautiful American Kestrel. I snapped a quick shot of him on the pole, then followed him across the park as he joined his mate in a dead tree just outside the park. It was a reach for my 300mm lens (I think it's time for a longer lens!) but with the sun beginning to set, the golden light gave a warm illumination to these wonderful birds.

 

 

 

 

Heading back across the park I again picked up the call of the Hooded Oriole and followed it to find him buried behind the branches of a mesquite tree. I managed one shot for ID before he took off again. How brilliant his colors were! It is such an amazing gift to be in an area where just taking out the trash is a nature walk!

Another Back Treatment, 91° And Sunny, Unconventional Art Tools

I was back in Tucson again today for another chiropractic treatment on my back. Making progress slowly. It was a gorgeous day with a high of 91 degrees and beautiful sunshine. The heat here is dry so it doesn't feel quite as hot as the thermometer says. I had the camper open most of the day but closed it up late afternoon to cool things down with the AC for the evening. Once the sun goes down things cool off to the upper 50s or lower 60s so if the camper is cool it will be just right! While I was in town I stopped at CVS and bought some makeup application supplies that I think may work to help me blend and contour the pastels I'm attempting to use for the painting of the rabbit. Using my fingers is great but sometimes I need a smaller more detailed tool and I was finding the paper stumps were taking too much of the pigment off. I'm going to play around with eyeshadow applicator sponges, makeup sponges, and mascara applicators. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!