Saturday, August 27, 2016

Coyote Creek Canyon State Park

Coyote Creek Canyon State Park sits about forty minutes or so south of Eagle Nest State Park.  It is located exactly as the name says; down in a low, scenic canyon.  The drive in was pretty exciting and once it actually made my pucker strings tighten, if ya know what I mean. (Barbara’s dad knows exactly what I’m talking about!  LOL) Driving down a steep grade into the canyon on a twisting two lane road that suddenly turns into a twisting one lane road can be a bit unnerving, but I handled it like a champ and we arrived safe and intact.

As usual, most of the electric sites sit side by side and as I mentioned before, that’s just not our style.  We like some space between us and the neighbors.  So, after searching the campground some we found an excellent non-electric site that suited us just fine.  It was at the back of the main campground.  Way back. All the way back.  Nice.

Looking up at our camp site.

Looking out of our lounge window toward the rest of the park.

When we were back at Eagle Nest and told some friends where we were going, one of them said “Nice place. You’re gonna catch some good trout there!”.  So, I was pretty excited about giving it a try.  So excited was I, that I went off and left my camera and my phone back in the RV!  No photos as proof, so you’re just going to have to believe this fish story.  Coyote Creek is an actual creek, and not the small rivers that I had been fishing.  It has several beaver ponds along it’s course.  I quickly found a nice hole and dropped a fly into it, working it upstream.  I had a nice hit and set the hook, but I set it just a little too hard.  I jerked so hard, anticipating a nice brown or rainbow, that the fly ended up in some branches of a nearby shrub.  I muttered something about missing the fish and commenced to pull the limb closer to me so that I could retrieve my fly.  THAT’S when I reached for my phone camera and realized I had forgotten it, because there in the top of the bush was my very first Coyote Creek fish… all 2 1/2 inches of it.  Yep… that’s not a typo.  The little sucker barely spanned three of my fingers when laid in my hand.  It was so small, I couldn’t tell what species it was!  I ended up catching two more fish while staying there, none over 4 or 5 inches long.  That’s my fish story, and I sticking to it.  Pathetic, huh?

One of the cutest rabbits I've ever seen.  It visited our campsite each morning!

Several days were pretty rainy at our camp site.  It is considered Monsoon Season here in New Mexico and the days usually start out half-way decent but the afternoons bring dark clouds, wind, thunder, lightening and rain.  That’s when I sat down and got a bit creative, writing a poem for Coyote Creek on a day that we were stuck inside while it poured outdoors.  I’ve been asked to share it here, so here it is;

Coyote Creek, NM 8-16-16
by Bud Burke

It's a lazy day in our Lazy Daze
here at Coyote Creek
For storm clouds came, bringing the rain
along with a chill that's bleak
And the rain plays a tune, here at noon
that makes a man's eyes droop for sleep
It's not even mid-day and there ain't no way
that I'm crashing to bed in a heap!
So I stare out the glass at wet, green grass
and at the birds sheltered under our car
At a few lightening bolts, with thunderous jolts
both near to our door and afar
And I watch others camp, in this cold and this damp
and wonder a bit of their ways
If they're as safe inside, as my wife and I
are here in our own Lazy Daze! 

Not sure why I didn’t take any photos of the rainy day.  Would have illustrated the poem perfectly!

On a sunny and pleasant Saturday I got up and decided to do a little photo safari, while giving both Barbara and I some much needed “alone” time.  So I grabbed my photo gear and headed out of Coyote Creek, working my way south towards a very small town named Mora.  Wow, there is so much to stop to see and photograph in just the 20 minute drive there!  I love photographing abandoned buildings, especially if they are in a state of decay, old doors and splashes of color where you’d least expect to find it.  I finally made it to Mora and wish now that I would have parked the car and walked the main street because I know I missed lots of photo ops.  I eventually made it to a place called “Ocate”, which I learned later was pronounced as “OAK-a-tay”.  There was a sign off the main road pointing back north for Ocate so I thought I’d do the drive and check it out.  Know what was there?  Nothing.  Just a road sign and a couple of delapidated buildings that were in such bad shape they weren’t even interesting.  Guess at one time it may have been a rancher’s supply center or something.  Anyway, I was gone for about 4 or 5 hours and below are just a few of the shots that I took.

The main event of our stay at Coyote Creek Canyon was hooking up with the couple that owned our Lazy Daze before us, the original owners!  We met them at Hatcha’s Cafe in Mora for a really nice luncheon.  From there, they invited us to drive up to their place where we spent several hours talking about our Lazy Daze RV and the art of full-timing.  They are a very nice and interesting couple who I am sure we’ll meet again next year, when we are back in this area.

We left Coyote Creek and went back to Eagle Nest for a three day stay, renewing our friendships with the fine people at West Lake, going back out on the pontoon boat (the high winds chased off the waters real quick-like) and Chuck and Nettie once more. We also met another couple who actually live down at Elephant Butte Lake, which is just a bit north of Truth or Consequences, NM.  It’s on our route as we head south and they wanted to exchange phone numbers so that once we arrived, they could show us around the lake and where the good places are to eat.  How’s that for fate??!  We also used our short stay there to get some teaching on preventative maintenance and found out that overall, the rig is in great shape.  I just need to do a little sealing up on the roof before anything disastrous happens and that’ll be it for awhile.

Early morning fog on Eagle Nest Lake.

That about sums up our latest little adventure and brings me pretty much up to date on the blog.  Hope you enjoyed reading it and please feel free to leave comments below. We really do enjoy hearing from you!!  Also, I’ll be doing another post real soon about a National Park that Barbara and I visited just the other day. So interesting!!  Thanks again, and hope to hear back from all of you!


  1. I have a question for you, What would you do different now that you have been on the road for a while.
    Is it more expensive than you thought it would be? Can you live off the grid and stay on some land run by the BLM? As always I have enjoyed your blog. It is really interesting hearing your experiences first hand. Have you thought about bicycles for exploring where you stay?

  2. Hi Bill.

    I'm not sure that we'd have done anything different. Much pre-planning went into this before we sold out and left Ohio. Maybe the only thing we would have "liked" to have done different was the type of RV we are living in. We have now looked at some of our new friend's RVs and realize that most of them are like apartments on wheels. Pretty spacious! But, we bought the best made until that we could afford. A QUALITY 5th Wheel/truck or a quality Class A was not in our budget to buy.

    As for the expense, yes, it does seem to be more expensive than what we originally planned, but like Barbara and I keep telling ourselves; "It's a learning curve and adjustments and old habits need to be made and broken.". Month of June saw a pretty high grocery bill and we realized that it was because of our bing buying and not pre-planned meals. That's an example of old habits. Also, we ate out a LOT more in June and we hadn't figured on that but again, old habits came into play. Each month after June has seen a steady decrease in those "old habit expenses" so we are slowly but surely working our way to the pre-planned budget. Another unforeseen expense is our camping fees. We had planned, like you asked about, doing mostly "Dry Camping" and not incurring any camp-site fees. Our rig is set up for that but for some reason we've hooked up to electric more than we thought we would and that's $4 a night. It adds up quick! Also, we have stayed at National Forest Parks more than we had planned and that is usually around $8 a night. And then you have the unexpected stuff, which we DID plan for; 2 new tires for the car (bought one, still need to get the other), getting the TV fixed in our rig, etc. All that said, it's still a better lifestyle (for us), than being planted in one spot and trying to travel around while still maintaining a regular house. We are slowly, but SURLY, working our way towards our pre-planned budget. One of the things that we may do after we get thru this first initial year is "work-camp". As we travel about, we are taking notes of various campgrounds where we wouldn't mind staying 3 - 5 months at a time. Campers can apply for various jobs at the campgrounds and work anywhere from 10-20 hours each in exchange for free camping with hook-ups. THAT helps save your actual dollars. Some campgrounds even pay you minimum wage on top of the free camping. There are other ways to make money as well. So, once we're fully acclimated to the camping thing, we'll be looking into that come next year.

    As for the bicycles, we've kicked that idea around but honestly, the mountain terrains that we have stayed in so far are not conducive to riding a bike. :-) We ARE thinking of possibly getting one or two kayaks to get out on the lakes and explore the shorelines with. That'd be so much fun!

    One last note on this full-timing gig; It has to be a partnership. Both partners need to be in it 100% or it just won't work. A lot of sacrifices need to be made by both husband and wife and those need to be made willingly. It wasn't easy for us at first, but with each new month, we're finding that the routines are coming easier and those sacrifices that we made are becoming worthwhile sacrifices. Team work. :-)

    Thanks for your questions and feedback, Bill. I really do appreciate that you take the time to read the blog and give input. Blessing to you and your wife, my friend!