Oklahoma Or Bust

We finally left Albuquerque and the desert on Thursday, April 26, and headed for Oklahoma City.  Our plan was to divide the trip by driving half way (about 4 hours) and spend the night in Amarillo, Texas.  We would travel the last four hours the next day.  However, the wind had its own agenda.

We have learned that traveling with a headwind or tailwind isn’t too bad (it’s better with NO wind though), but a crosswind is NOT something to fool around with in a high profile vehicle like The Beast (this is what we call our 40 foot RV).  When the wind shifted directions to a cross wing and the gusts became quite strong, we started looking for a place to spend the night even though we weren’t anywhere near Amarillo.

If you travel in an RV or any kind of camping trailer, there is an app that we feel is definitely worth the few dollars to download.  It is called AllStays.  We bought the Camp and RV version, but there are also versions for Camp and Tent, Walmart Overnight Parking, Truck Stops & Travel Plazas, Military Campgrounds & RV Parks (FamCamp), and more.  Here’s a couple of screen shots of the AllStays apps.

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Our AllStays app helped us find an RV park nearby by in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  It was called Santa Rosa RV Park and was a pretty nice park.  The area in which the park was located actually shielded us quite well from the wind.

Since we stopped earlier than we planned, we had all afternoon to explore the area.  The biggest and most pleasant surprise of all was when we googled “things to do around Santa Rosa, NM,” we found two lovely places to explore.

The first place we went to was called The Blue Hole.  It is a circular, bell-shaped artesian well that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the U.S. for scuba diving and training.  Since Santa Rosa’s elevation is a little over 4,600 feet, diving enthusiasts must use high-altitude dive tables to compute the dive profile and decompression stops when diving at the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is also open for public swimming, however, there are no lifeguards on duty.

The Blue Hole is a beautiful, clear blue body of water with a constant temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has a constant inflow of 3,000 US gallons of water PER MINUTE!  The surface is about 80 feet in diameter but expands to 130 feet in diameter at the bottom.  It’s depth is approximately 80 feet.

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The round floating balls mark different depths diving platforms (15, 20, and 25 feet).  The diving platforms are the outlined white squares.

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This diver is getting ready to go down.

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Can you see the diver’s bubbles coming to the surface?

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Swimmers have various platforms around the Blue Hole from which they can jump or dive.

Some of the water from the Blue Hole is siphoned off through a couple of canals and used for a couple of fishing ponds and a huge “swimming lake.”  The fishing ponds are somewhat unique in that they are reserved for children under 12, senior citizens over 65, and the handicapped.  The swimming lake has a roped off swimming area complete with slides and lifeguard stands, numerous entry points around the lake, and a small dock.  It really looked inviting.

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One of the canals siphoning off water to the fishing ponds and swimming lake.

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There is a small road complete with park benches between the two fishing ponds.

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The swimming lake. REMEMBER: the lake is the same water temperature as the Blue Hole! 61 degrees!!

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The second place we explored was Santa Rosa Dam & Lake and Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  The earthen dam has a height of 214 feet and is 1900 feet long.  It is the uppermost dam along the Pecos River and serves for irrigation water storage and flood control.

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Even though the dam was authorized in 1954 as the Los Esteros project, it created a controversy with the Fort Sumner Irrigation District which depended on the Pecos River.  An agreement wasn’t reached until 1971 and construction of the dam took place from 1974 to 1979.  The name of dam and lake was then changed to Santa Rosa in 1980.

The reservoir it created was called Santa Rosa Lake and it hosts a variety of recreational activities:  fishing (largemouth bass, catfish, and walleye), boating, camping, and other activities at the adjacent Santa Rosa Lake State Park.

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The earthen dam is on the far left side of the picture (built up with the rocks). That walkway out to the tower thing is not the dam.

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The lake water looks brownish; probably because of all the recent wind storms.

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If you look closely, you can see the lookout point structure that we climbed to the top in order to take pictures of the lake.

Not far from this side of the dam was a paved walking trail.  The trail had some interesting views of the dam and the lower Pecos River.  The river had carved a little canyon over the years.  You can see some of the canyon walls in a couple of the pictures as well as some of the desert plants in bloom.

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Look closely and you will see the Pecos River

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Pretty little yellow and white flowers.

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I have NO idea what kind of little desert flowers these are; for all I know they are just weeds!

All in all, our “unplanned” stop in Santa Rosa, NM, was an interesting success.  Now, on to Oklahoma City and time with the grandkids!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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