Day 1 – Beat The Heat 2021 Road Trip

We’re on the road again! We pulled out of Deming this morning around 8:50 AM after spending the last couple of days getting the rig loaded up and organized. We plan to be gone for 25 nights, traveling first to Colorado to the Durango area, and then skipping around to five different state parks in northern New Mexico, two of which will be new to us. Our goal in planning this trip was to get up to some higher elevations to get a little relief from the heat, but also to explore a bit of Colorado and add a new state to our RV map.

Over the past 5-6 weeks since we returned from our last trip, we made a few minor improvements to the rig, including a new Oxygenics showerhead. Andy also ordered a cargo carrier for the back hitch, but it never arrived–in fact, our credit card was debited for the original purchase amount just a couple of days ago, with no explanation from the seller (in China). Fortunately, it wasn’t critical for our trip, and we got everything packed away just fine.

Of course, before we leave on any kind of trip, there must first be some sort of emergency situation develop at the last minute. This time, we discovered a leak under the kitchen sink in the house late yesterday afternoon. It appears to be coming from the cold water faucet. Fortunately, I had a plastic bin in the cabinet under the sink that was holding bottles of cleaning products and supplies, so the water had just dripped into the bin. Nothing was damaged except a box of baking soda that was soaked. Rather than try to arrange a last-minute repair on a weekend, Andy just turned off the in-line valve to the cold water, and we’ll address it when we get home.

My other biggest concern is the refrigerator. Our house uses a swamp cooler instead of a refrigerated air-conditioning system. Instead of a thermostat, it just has an on-off switch, so the cooler is either running or it’s not. We couldn’t leave the cooler running the whole time we were gone, because we would have had to leave one or two windows open (life in the Southwest desert, right?). So we have the cooler turned off, and I’m not at all confident that our old refrigerator will survive the heat. I removed the salmon filets and a couple of chicken breasts from the freezer and put them in the RV freezer, so I don’t have to worry about those things. Anything else left in the fridge/freezer is plant-based, so if it thaws out at least it won’t be as rank as rotting fish and chicken would have been.

Anyway, fingers crossed. And yes, we WILL have a thermostat installed on the cooler before next summer.


Today we traveled 255 miles from Deming to Bernalillo, NM, just northwest of Albuquerque. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at the Fort Craig Rest Area, where we enjoyed a delicious southwestern salad bowl in the parking lot. After eating, I checked my geocaching app and discovered that there was a cache located about .3 miles away, near the beautiful Camino de Suenos (Road of Dreams) monument. I took the short hike, located the cache and signed the log. Geocache #68 was in the books!

The geocache was hidden under that pile of rocks near the base of the monument.

After leaving the rest area we had another two hours to drive to reach our destination for tonight. We’re staying at the Coronado Campground, which is owned and operated by the City of Bernalillo. We got a 30-amp pull-through site for $25, which is not bad. The campground has a gorgeous view of the nearby Sandia Mountains, and it’s also right next door to the Bosque Brewery and Restaurant. So we were able to enjoy a delicious meal while being treated to a killer view!

Site #9 at Coronado Campground in Bernalillo, NM. What a view!

Also right next door is the Coronado Historic Site and the ruins of the Kuaua Pueblo. In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, with 500 soldiers and 2000 Indian allies from New Spain, entered the Rio Grande valley somewhere near this site, looking for gold. They demanded and depended on assistance from the Kuaua people for food and supplies, and took what they wanted. Conflict between the pueblo people and Spaniards like Coronado led to the abandonment of this site within a century after first contact.

We were hoping to have time to explore the site, but they were closing at 4:00 and we didn’t get there until after 3:30. Maybe some other time!

But I did find a another geocache close by, and this one had a tracking bug in it. If you’re not familiar with the term, tracking bugs are little souvenirs that have a unique identifying number on them. The original owner will leave it in a cache somewhere and log it into the geocaching database. When someone finds it, they log an entry in the database, using the app, and then take the tracking bug with them. Every time they visit a new cache, they make another entry in the log for that tracking bug, so anyone can see how far it has traveled. At some point, they will “drop” it in a new cache for someone else to find.

Tracking bug I found today. I traded a domino for it.

And that’s what happened earlier today….someone just happened to leave a tracking bug in the cache just outside the entrance to this campground, and I noticed it in the log, so I quickly went and snagged it. I’ll be taking it with me to Colorado, and I may or may not leave it there. This particular one originated in California, and so far it has traveled to Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

We’re looking forward to a cool evening and a good night’s sleep before hitting the road again in the morning. Our destination for tomorrow is a boondocking spot in the San Juan National Forest, about 25 miles east of Durango near a little town called Bayfield. The area is called Saul’s Creek, and it’s supposed to be some prime boondocking. We’ll see!!

We had planned to spend four nights boondocking there, but then we had a change of plans. We decided we wanted to take the steam train ride from Durango to Silverton, which is an all-day excursion. In order to do that, we would need to have the RV hooked up to electricity so we could leave the air conditioner running for the kitties while we’re gone. So we’ll boondock for two nights, and then we’ve booked the next two nights at an RV “resort” close to Durango–the cost came to just over $60/night, but it’s worth it to give us some peace of mind while we’re on our excursion. Can’t wait to get on that train!!

Day 1 has been a good one! Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our travels!

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5 thoughts on “Day 1 – Beat The Heat 2021 Road Trip

  1. how hard is it to find places to park/camp both paid and unpaid? I heard a rv boom is happening as people arent working or working on line and with so many venues closed people are opting for the great outdoors (which sounds good to me).?


    • I think it depends on the destination. Around the Durango, CO area, it looked like the RV parks were pretty slammed, mostly with large fifth wheels and Class A’s. The area where we boondocked in the San Juan National Forest about 20 miles from Durango had plenty of room, but was definitely more suited for smaller rigs like ours, although we did see a couple of fifth wheels in there. But yes, there are for sure more rigs on the road this year. If possible, reserve in advance unless you’re comfortable with changing your plans on the fly. 🙂


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