2021 Wrap-up: State Parks, Boondocking, Family Thanksgiving

So sorry to leave you hanging with that last post! I just ran out of steam with the blogging, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t continue RVing! Let me get you caught up!

Summer Trip Wrap-Up

In our last update, we were just past the midpoint of our late summer trip through northern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. We were both struggling with summer allergies (Andy more so than myself) due to all the late-blooming vegetation around us. We had just pulled out of Coyote Creek State Park, and on the way out, some low-hanging branches had scraped across the roof of the rig.

Our next stop was Storrie Lake State Park in Las Vegas, New Mexico where we spent six nights (August 17-22). After arriving, we checked the roof, and fortunately nothing was permanently damaged from the branches. The TV antenna had been hit and turned sideways, but Andy was able to get it straightened out. Close call!

Checking out the roof at Storrie Lake SP

While we were at Storrie Lake, we celebrated Andy’s 72nd birthday with a couple of visits to Charlie’s Spic & Span diner for breakfast, including long johns (Andy’s favorite). We also met a wonderful couple, Pat and Buddy Bowlin from Orchard, Texas, who shared some time around our fire pit with us.

Andy’s birthday breakfast at Charlie’s Spic & Span in Las Vegas, NM

On August 23, we pulled out and headed for Elephant Butte Lake State Park. We planned to stay there for three nights, but the weather was pretty hot, the lake was very low, and Andy was still feeling pretty congested, so we only stayed two nights before we headed home on August 25.

Low water at Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Fall Boondocking

My birthday is in October, so I elected to celebrate by doing some boondocking fairly close to home. In early October we took Pepper the Prius on a day trip to explore the eastern part of the Gila National Forest northeast of where we live. We found some awesome places to camp near Lake Roberts, so we planned out our next trip to take advantage of some free camping.

On October 14, we headed to City of Rocks State Park, about 35 minutes from home. We chose a spot without hookups, so it was free with our annual State Park pass. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and we stayed there for four nights (October 14-17).

Our favorite spot at City of Rocks State Park

During our stay, I did a lot of hiking and geocaching, and I actually did the hike to the top of Table Mountain which definitely challenged my 63-year-old body.

Trail to the top of Table Mountain

From there, we drove to a boondocking spot we had scouted out previously, located about a mile off Highway 35 on North Star Road north of Mimbres. This site was located on a ridge with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. We had planned to stay for four nights, but enjoyed it so much that we stretched out stay out to five nights (October 18-22).

Sunset at our boondocking site on North Star Road

While we were there, we did a day trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument where we were able to actually climb up to and walk through the old cliff dwellings. The drive to the area was stunning, and the tour through the monument was spectacular. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was the most beautiful time of the year to be there with all the leaves changing colors and the near-perfect temperatures.

Exploring the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

This was the first trip where we had done any extensive boondocking in Lizzy 3. It was fun to finally pull out the solar panels and the Kodiak solar generator to keep things powered up. We also had to adjust our habits a bit in order to conserve water and tank space, but it was like riding a bicycle–all our training from our earlier boondocking experiences came right back to us and we made it fine.

Thanksgiving Trip to Mississippi

By November, both Andy and I, as well as my parents, had had our Covid booster shots, so we felt good about getting together for Thanksgiving.

We left for our trip on Tuesday, November 16. It’s just over 1300 miles one way, and since we don’t like to travel more than 250-300 miles per day, we made five stops in Texas and Arkansas before arriving at Tombigbee State Park in Tupelo, Mississippi. Since we’ve done this route several times before, we knew ahead of time where we wanted to stop, so the trip planning was easy.

Molly and Maggie in their hidey-holes in the cab overhead–their usual travel spot.

We stayed eight nights in Tupelo while we got to spend lots of time with my family. We had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, and over the course of our time there I got to see all four of my brothers and lots of their family members. Mom and I did our Black Friday thing at the mall, and I helped Dad with a few computer issues. We had a great time watching the annual Egg Bowl football game (Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State), and fortunately the Rebels came out on top (this year!).

Our usual spot at Tombigbee State Park in Tupelo, Mississippi

As we were traveling across Arkansas, Andy noticed that he was having some strong vibrations in the rig when he got over about 60-65 mph. So while we were in Tupelo, we took the rig to Southern Tire Mart to have it checked out. They did a front end alignment and checked the tires (said they were fine). We’ll keep an eye on things to see if it continues to be an issue.

Getting the front wheels aligned on Lizzy 3

We left Tupelo on Monday, November 29 to head back to Deming, staying in the same RV parks on the way back, just in reverse order. We arrived home safely on Saturday, December 4, concluding our RV adventures for the year.

For a list of all the places we stayed, check out our “Where We’ve Been” page for this year.

Wrap-Up and Future Plans

First of all, we are so happy with the decision we made last December to sell Lizzy 2, our Grand Design Reflection fifth-wheel, and return to our roots in a small Class C RV. Lizzy 3 has been a delight, especially with the slide-out for the bed and the bench-style dinette as opposed to the U-shaped dinette we had in Lizzy 1. The smaller rig is just so much easier to deal with, especially when fueling up on the road, as well as being able to slip into small boondocking spots.

Downtown Riverside RV Park in North Little Rock, AR

We’re starting to make our plans for 2022. If nothing changes, we plan to head to Arizona in February, starting with some boondocking in the Yuma area. From there we will work our way northward as the weather warms up, hopefully visiting some friends along the way. We don’t have any set destinations or time frames in mind, we just plan to stay out as long as we’re enjoying it.

We also plan to do some more exploring in New Mexico, maybe checking out the Lincoln National Forest around Ruidoso. We are also starting to think about where we want to eventually buy our “forever” retirement property, so we plan to use Lizzy to do some exploring in the area between Las Cruces and Albuquerque, possibly even up into the Farmington area just south of Colorado.

It’s so cool to be able to take your house with you when you want to travel a little bit!

We hope you all are having a happy, healthy and safe holiday season. If you’re RVing, we wish you safe travels, and hope to meet you somewhere down the road!

Thanks for taking time to read our blog! Feel free to share it with family and friends who might be interested in the RV lifestyle. If you want to keep up with our adventures, please subscribe. You can also find us on Instagram at Instagram.com/Suzanne.Hight if you want to keep up with us between blog posts. And we do occasionally post videos to YouTube–if you would like to subscribe to our channel, check it out here.

One thought on “2021 Wrap-up: State Parks, Boondocking, Family Thanksgiving

  1. Pingback: Back on the Road, Blowing a Tire, Camping Among the Saguaros | Just Call Us Nomads

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