A nice thing about RVing in November at higher altitudes, despite the cold, is fewer people. When we drove into Bluewater Lake State Park near Prewitt, NM, which is at about 7500 feet, it was empty of humans except for a camp host who was a day or two from leaving for the winter.

Photo by Terria Nightingale

What did greet us were horses. At first I thought someone had a broken fence but we quickly learned they were wild horses owned by the local Navajo. When I came around the corner of the closed Visitors Center searching for a pay station, four of them startled the bejeezus out of me.

If we quietly sat at our campsite, these horses would graze their way right through camp. Amazing!

I’m not sure that these were true wild horses, that is being from undomesticated ancestors, but we are happy to go along with the Park nomenclature.

The Zuni Mountains on the continental divide are the main water source for Bluewater Lake. One of the recreational activities that occurs here is ice fishing so it must get pretty darn cold.

On Saturday and Sunday while we were there, fishermen came to try their luck. Rainbow trout, catfish, and tiger muskies are the sought after species in this lake.

There are several hiking trails in the park. One day we hiked the Canyonside and the Dam Trail with our new friends from Salem, Oregon, Terria and Chuck Nightingale.

Just a few words about Terria and Chuck. They live in Oregon now but they both use to live in Alaska. Terria grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska. Oregon and Alaska are two areas we have long dreamed of taking Shiny. I really picked their brains.

The Nightgales had two terriers of which one, Toby, got tangled up with a cholla when we all walked to the far side of the lake. They don’t call them jumping cholla for nothing and as quick as a flash Toby had cactus spines embedded in his mouth. We humans were more traumatized then Toby, who was a trooper and barely made a noise. Two local fishermen came to the rescue with a pair of pliers. I have since learned that Toby is none the worse for the wear.

Susan knows from personal experience just how painful the cholla needles are. She got ‘attacked’ by one at Organ Pipe National Monument and let’s just say that her screams echoed around the canyon.

As usual Susan captured some gorgeous pictures. Click on them individually if you want to see them in more detail.

One day my weather app warned us of an impending winter storm so we decided to leave Bluewater Lake State Park a day earlier then we had planned. We drove to Flaggstaff intending to stay at a dispersed camping site near Walnut Canyon National Monument. When we got there we discovered the dirt road had just been graded and there was an 8 to 12 inch drop off on each side of the road. No way I’d take Shiny over something like that so on to plan B and Black Barts RV Park in Flagstaff for the night. We were lulled to sleep that night by the hum of traffic on I-40 and the rumble of idling tractor trailers in the truck stop next door.

As it turned out we got off of the Colorado Plateau just in the nick of time.

We met a Tito’s Vodka Airstream trailer at a rest area on the way. Of course we just had to get our pictures taken.

And we got swag!

In the 90 miles from Flagstaff, Arizona to Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona we dropped over 5200 feet in altitude. We got rained on but most importantly we avoided the ice and snow.

We made it to Dead Horse Ranch State Park to find not an empty park but a full one. Oh well, we will have to make the best of it. And rest assured, we did!


  1. You two are really having a great time and learning every day! We are so glad we met you and are excited to see you in Oregon!!!

    1. We are happy we met YOU and you bet, we are looking forward to seeing you again soon. Merry Christmas

  2. You are indeed out in the “wild West”, aren’t you? I loved seeing the horses so well nourished. And…Black Bart!! Where did we get that family term from? Love and hugs.

    1. I am not sure about ‘Black Bart’ and his origin in our family folklore. Maybe you could ask the question in the next Homefront. Thanks for reading the post!

  3. Traveling in the off-season is always our favorite, too. Although we do have to stay alert to the weather, don’t we? Your photos of the landscape details are so artistic. And you will love Oregon when you meander that way! (Of course, we’re a bit biased, being Oregonians. :-))

    1. Thanks for your comments, Laurel. And thanks for your compliment on my photos. I really do love to take in the scenery through the camera. Although, sometimes it’s just nice to be there and have that be sufficient. Happy Trails to you.

  4. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the dinners at Black Bart’s. Didn’t go? All the wait staff at Black Bart’s steakhouse are Music Majors from NAU and break into song every 5 minutes or so plus there are stage presentations.

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