Sunday, October 16, 2016

Return to Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge Maxwell, NM (again!)

I left Pie Town with an extra piece of black cherry pie for the road and headed east with a final destination of Nashville in mind but with three weeks to get there.  Anytime I'm in northeastern New Mexico I make a beeline for the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge which I reviewed previously here:  Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge Review .

Blue sky over the Refuge.
It's a great place to dry camp and like I've whined about in the past the only thing wrong with the place is that you're limited to a maximum three day stay.

Lake 13 retained quite a bit of it's water since my last visit.
There were thousands of ducks on Lake 13 during my stay.

Ducks are a little hard to make out in this one.
This was my third visit to the Refuge so I guess it's officially one of my favorite stops in New Mexico.  Be sure to check it out if you're driving south on I-25 from Colorado into New Mexico.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pie Town!

I started the long trek back east first to Nashville to visit an old friend then continuing on up to Michigan to attend the Michigan State - University of Michigan football game the last weekend of October.  Looking at the path through New Mexico I saw a curiously named town that beckoned -- Pie Town, NM!

Hmmm...wonder what they sell here?
Located along US 60 in central New Mexico Pie Town is a community of 186 people that hosts a Pie Festival the second weekend of every September, so I'd missed that this year.  Importantly for RV'ers is the existence of a free camping area on the eastern outskirts of the tiny town where I stayed for a couple days.

The park was a little on the unimproved side but -- Free!
Here's the data sheet on Pie Town's Jackson Park:

Hookups:                                             None                                                                          
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                                                             
Water Access:                                     No                                                                  
Fresh Water:                                        No                                                      
Trash Service:                                      Yes                                                     
Toilets:                                                Yes (Porta-Johns)                                                       
Showers:                                             No                                                                              
Dump station:                                      No                                                      
WiFi:                                                   No                                                      
Level sites:                                          Yes                                                     
Laundry:                                              No                                                      
Store:                                                  No                                                                  
Pool:                                                   No                                          
Shade:                                                Yes                                         
Verizon reception:                                3G, 2 bars                                           
Internet reception:                                2 Bars                         
Cost:                                                  Free for 3 days

The Tank's campsite, note the free firewood by the fire ring.
Twin fawns just outside the Tank's back door.
 So what in the heck is there to do in a town named Pie Town?

Black cherry pie was great, not too sugary.
The economy of Pie Town is almost entirely based on selling pies (and regular food) to travelers passing through town along US 60.  It's a pretty sweet (sorry!) little niche that the Pie Towners have carved out for themselves and having a free three day campground is a smart marketing concept too.  If you drive along US 60 be sure to make time for a piece of Pie Town's pie!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Campground Review: Burma Creek Road Grand Canyon National Park

The early snowfall of Southern Utah chased me further south into Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon National Park.  Burma Creek Road runs more than 20 miles on a winding path through the hills of the Park and there are many great dispersed campsites along the road if you keep an eye out for them.  The road doesn't REQUIRE four wheel drive but I wouldn't recommend rigs longer than 25 feet attempting to get too far along it due to some extremely tight turns and switchbacks.

Burma Creek Road passing thru a patch of fire scorched forest.
After seeing the rough condition of the road I stopped at the first campsite I came along but didn't stay long because there was no cell reception whatsoever there.  I had walked up the road about a mile and a half from the original campsite and noticed my phone starting to get reception so I walked back to the Tank and relocated to the site with reception.  With my cell phone booster I was able to get a couple bars of 1X reception from Verizon so I stayed the night there.

The Tank's second campsite, North Rim in the background.
One of the advantages to my walking every day is I can locate superior campsites and relocate to them if I do find one.  It only takes about ten minutes to prep the Tank to move out so I usually move if another site seems like an upgrade.  After I overnight-ed at the Tank's second site I went out walking Burma Creek Road again to get my daily steps in and while checking my phone I noticed at one point I was receiving 2 bars of 4G cell reception from Verizon.  No rhyme or reason for this, there were no cell towers in sight and I was actually a couple hundred feet lower in elevation than campsite 2.  I walked off the road and found a suitable campsite where my phone was still showing 4G reception so I walked the mile back to the Tank and relocated for the third time in two days but it was worth it as I moved in to Campsite 3 just in time to stream the Michigan State football game.  No way I was going to do that with 1X reception!

Here's the data sheet on Burma Creek Road:

Hookups:                                             None                                                              
Fire ring:                                              Yes                                                                             
Water Access:                                     No                                                                  
Fresh Water:                                        No                                                      
Trash Service:                                      No                                                      
Toilets:                                                No                                                                  
Showers:                                             No                                                                  
Dump station:                                      No                                                      
WiFi:                                                   No                                                      
Level sites:                                          Yes                                                     
Laundry:                                              No                                                                  
Store:                                                  No                                                                              
Pool:                                                   No                                                      
Shade:                                                No                                                      
Verizon reception:                                4G, 2 bars                                                       
Internet reception:                                2 Bars                                     
Cost:                                                  Free for up to 14 days

Here are the GPS coordinates for Campsite 3 that had the mysterious 4G reception if Verizon is your carrier:  36.722780, -112.105273.

Campsite 3 with the great cell signal.
There were some great views from all three campsites.

The North Rim in the distance.
Sunrise over the Rim.
Burma Creek Road runs for 24 miles and I probably didn't get more than a quarter way along it before setting up at Campsite 3 so there are probably lots more really great dispersed camping opportunities along the remaining 18 miles, maybe you can check them out!

Thanks for reading!