March 13, 2008

Rodeo, NM

We have a lot of catching up to do. At some point we'll get posts up for Big Bend and the Fort Davis area. As for now, we're in the Rodeo, NM area. We've spent the last 6 days at a great RV park (Rusty's RV Ranch If you looked out the window of our trailer, you'd ask why we would stay so long in place that has so little. Looks can be deceiving!

We are right on the NM and AZ border, in a valley between two mountain ranges. The view from both sides of our trailer is spectacular. This is one of the birding hotspots in the country. We're a bit too early for spring migration but we are seeing lots of birds. Some highlights were the Arizona Woodpecker, Blue-Throated Hummingbird, Bridled Titmouse, and the Canyon Towhee.


This area is also huge with people who love to star watch. One of the counties has light restrictions placed on homes. We visited the home of an avid astronomy buff - Vickie and Rick Veno. After retirement they had moved to this area, set up a triple wide trailer and built an observatory connected to the house! After visiting the Davis Observatory in TX, I have to honestly say that this private observatory was more impressive! There are several other homes with private observatories.

Be sure to check out Rick's AWESOME astronomy website, featuring a tour of the photographic universe taken from this neat home observatory.

The mountains hold a wealth of hiking trails. We hiked Cave Creek Canyon with it's near vertical walls, abundant flowers & birds. The trail is next to a sparkling clear stream. We hope to backpack this area in the next few days.



The area is also big with people who fly ultralight aircraft. Here they call them kite planes. It looks like a lot of fun to fly just barely off the ground at a slow speed......just like a bird. There's a whole development around this kite flying - called Sky Gypsy Complex. It comes to find out that it was started by McAfee - of the antivirus fame. The whole complex is done extremely well with a cafe, coffee shop, and a whole setup of old airstreams and cars to match.

Next door to the campground is an equestrian center. I got the itch to ride again. So, today I took a ride into the desert with a cowboy on a real cow horse. Bob has been riding since he was three. He has done a lot of work with cutting and roping horses.

My mount for the trail ride was a 14 year old AQHA gelding - Dan. Dan had done some roping in his younger days. He now is a great trail horse. Bob says that he trusts anyone on him. I was impressed at how well behaved he was on our 2 hour ride. Bob's horse trotted the whole way while Dan kept up at a brisk walk and never seem to feed off of the other horse's anxiousness.
Bob's three Jack Russell Terriers joined us for the ride. We spent 2 hours walking through the desert - through mesquite, cactus and over rocks. It didn't bother the tough horses at all.

We leave tomorrow for either a few days in the mountains (if we can get a campsite) or off to Tombstone. Hopefully there will be some more updates next week.