Beautiful sights

Beautiful sights
Horses at blue water Lake state park

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My job at City of Rocks

I am manning the visitor center.  I arrive at 9:30 am, then after unlocking the doors, I raise the American flag and the New Mexico flag. 

Next I put out the "OPEN" sign, and also change the sign on the door from "CLOSED" to "OPEN".

Next, turn on the television, get it ready to show the brief video about the Park and the rocks of the park.

Open the storage closet, and check the change bag to make sure the count is correct.

Get the weather report off my phone, and write it on the white board in the visitor center.

Open a few windows for air flow.

Answer questions, answer the phone, greet visitors, explain the park layout. Get guests to sign log book, use copy machine to make more park brochures, explain the park to visitors.  Sell yearly camping passes.

12:30 lunch for one hour

1:30-4:30 pm  Continue to help visitors, answer questions, answer the phone, take visitors money for camping if they didn't want to use self pay stations.

Show park video over and over and over and over.  It's it a really great video, and I'm glad visitors want to see it.

All the walls are covered with GREAT art!

The volcano from the past is depicted here.

The snake is a western diamondback rattlesnake.  He was living in the area next to the visitor center, and refused relocation, so was euthanized.

The rock table is a hands on display for visitors.

4:30 pm   Take flags down, pull in outdoor sign, turn off TV. close windows, put change bag into locked closet, pull closet closed, clean floors, dust center, change open sign to closed, lock Gabe's office, and close and lock main door.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Then and now

Preadoption photos:

I thought Power looked very uncertain when I took him for a walk during the adoption fair in Camp Verde, AZ. The adoption group is named Greyhounds of the Verde Valley.  I remember thinking that Power wasn't the least bit willing to go with me and was not interested in being cute or friendly during our meeting. I had to tug a bit on the leash to get him to come with me on the walk.

It was a blisteringly hot day, and no one with any sense would want to be walking around in that heat!  Power was walking pretty well on his operated foot, so that was encouraging.He still didn't want to walk around with this stranger (me).

Two months Post Adoption
I think he's learned that it's safe to relax!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I was so excited to see a jackrabbit this evening!  I had been seeing the desert cottontail rabbits, but they weren't as spectacular to my eyes as the jackrabbit.  He/she didn't seem to be afraid of my presence, and I used my camera for a few minutes!

I was also excited to see a canyon towhee!  They seem to be fairly common here at City of Rocks, and I appreciate that as well.

Lots of sparrows,( white crowned), and also house finches are scooting around in the grass and gravel. Also note the few Gambel's quails.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

park manager Gabe

Monday,  I met the park manager , Gabe.  He is a good looking young professional, and he was so kind! He said that he likes to give  his volunteers a few days to get settled into the life of the park before putting them to work.
So I relaxed and fixed up my yard with the dog fence and rugs, dog beds, and lawn chairs.  I also took the time to go throughout the park learning the whereabouts of the toilets, the water faucets, the numbers of the sites, etc.  I also took the opportunity to get my dogs used to the routes we would take on their exercise runs.

One day I went to Deming and got some groceries. Twenty seven miles isn't really very far, but I was spoiled by being at Quartzsite AZ with town just over the hill!

Today I worked all day in the visitor center, and learned the ropes of that job. Lois, one of the other volunteers showed me everything.  She's a good instructor. I learned a lot of the answers that I will have to know as time goes by.  I learned how to start the movie about the park, where the different literature is kept, where the cleaning supplies are, and how to get the statistics kept for the park. There is an envelope with our days worth of change, which has to be accounted for, how to work the cash register, how to make paid tickets, etc.

Many of the visitors wanted information about mammals, birds, rocks, reptiles, etc, and I had to learn what to say to them.

One thing I learned is that Gabe is a very well rounded and hard working guy. Then the toilets don't work, he fixes them.  When the water system is down, he fixes it.  He picks up the garbage bags at the campsites, retrieves the pay envelopes from the self-pay tubes, reconciles the cash register from the visitor center, makes sure that the visitor center volunteer has a supply of caqsh to use for maqking change, cleans the vault toilets, places toilet paper in vault toilets, cleans the showers, etc.  He is on call for any law enforcement needs that occur in the park, and he is in charge of first aid for the visitors who injure themselves trying to climb the rocks at the park.  He has only one paid employee!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Travelling to my Volunteering position

I wrote about checking out the Escapees Park in Benson, AZ.  When I left Quartzsite, I drove to Yuma, visited my friend Joy, and then drove on east on I-8 till I got to Benson, AZ. 

Power, the black greyhound had been in the motorhome since he joined our family.  But the motorhome has not been moving except to get to Quartzsite and then to go to the dump station every month.  He was not used to it moving down a highway, and he had a rough day.  He panted and tried his best to sit on top of me while we travelled.As the day progressed he got more relaxed but if we had a bumpy spot, he jumped up about a foot, and panted more!  Poor baby!

I stopped at the Love's truck stop for the night.  I had stayed there several times before, and was confident that I could find it in the dark.  I didn't want to try to find the Escapees park in the dark, since I had never been there before.  The next morning, I went to the Escapees park, and drove through the park.  The lady in the office gave me a warm welcome and a map, so I explored on my own.  I was quite impressed with the park. The lots are large and level, and the streets are on terraces on a gentle hillside.

The second travelling day, Power was much more relaxed and was able to lie down on his bed while we went down the highway, and he panted very little.
I was relieved to see the improvement.

Over the years, I have worked as a camp host, a fee collector at recreation areas, BLM fee host, but have not yet worked at a state park.  I've been wanting to do this, but have been non-agressive in seeking a position.  I applied at one park, but they were all full up for volunteers.  I asked at another park, but they were also full up.  So this year I wrote to another ranger, and surprise! He stated right away that he would like for me to come, and so this week I leave Quartzsite AZ, and go to City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico.

City of Rocks is a beautiful park with breathtaking rock formations.  Most of the campsites are situated in the spaces between the huge rocks.  So unusual and very inspiring.

Camping at City of Rocks State Park

The night sky is so spectacular that it takes one's breath away. Also there are 5 miles of hiking or walking trails.

I originally thought that the altitude of the park was about 4000 ft, but after a bit of research found that it is almost 5200 ft!  Surprise!

While I was parking my RV, I saw a canyon towhee, and a black throated sparrow.  These are both new birds for me for this year.  Now that camp is nearly set up, I will put my new camera to good use and see if I can get photos of the birds with that lovely 42x telephoto lens.  It's so fun to see different wildlife, and enjoy them.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Solar Panel Care

Solar panes are very self sufficient, in most instances.  That is one of their best qualities.

Some solar panels are installed to be elevated on a stand to get more solar gain. I see many people doing that, and I chose to not elevate mine, because I didn't want to have to remember to put them down before I drive.  To make up the difference, I added more solar panels to the roof.  I therefore get the same amount of solar gain as if I had fewer panels but had them elevated.

When the panels lie flat, they are a bit more prone to get dusty or dirty.  Occasionally, I need to wash or dust the panels to make them as efficient as possible.

I have a ladder on the back of my motorhome, as most folks do.  I don't mind climbing up, but when I get up top, I feel slightly unsteady.  I found that if I take a walking stick up, then I have really good balance, and can get the panels dusted or washed.  

While on the roof I check all the roof caulking and make sure there is no other damage.

For now the panels and the roof look good!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Escapees Parks

Several of my RV friends are starting to think of finding a place to retire to when they are too old to drive their RV.  I have a hard time thinking of them getting to that stage, but realize that is in all of our futures if we live that long.

One friend is already owning a lot in Park Sierra in Coarsegold California.  She likes it there but thinks she might like to go to a park that has more of her personal friends parked there.  

Another lady is looking into the Escapees Co-op in Parumph, Nevada, she found that there is a 3-4 year waiting list and a $1000 fee to get on the list.  The purchase price is about $9000 plus improvements.

I was checking out parks, and noticed that the Lone Star Corral in Hondo TX is the lowest priced of them all.  I was looking on the internet for information and came across the blog of a couple who travel with their 4 cats.   I love cats and pets in general, so decided to look at their blog.  It seems that they are quilters, and were travelling to the various Escapees Parks to research a park that they would like for their own future.  I really enjoyed reading their observations about Lone Star Corral in Hondo TX.  They basically said that it was very nice but too rural for them.

I realize that I need to visit some or many of the parks and begin to understand what I would like when the time comes. I think I would prefer a park that is not too far from shopping, since gas is expensive and driving might be a problem as I age.  One park that is near shopping is Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming New Mexico.  It's also a level park, so that walking and bicycling is easy.  The local area of the park is not spectacularly beautiful, but the park itself has some lovely cactus gardens.  The cactus gardens are only at the entrance of the park, and the campsites themselves do not have any beauty at all, but I might be able to ignore that aspect of the park.

I plan to check out the SKP Saguaro CO-OP in Benson AZ today.  That's a pretty area and I don't want to leave it out as I am travelling in that direction anyway.