I finished cleaning out the rig. The next task (on Friday) is to replace the ball joints which Buck's strongly suggested before I do any more extended travel. Repeat after me ... it's only money. It's only money ...
Some reflections from this last trip: The combination of inexpensive/free camping in New Mexico state parks and low gas prices mean that I can afford to do about as much of this as I want. I'm not sure when the next trip will be. Almost certainly not for a couple of weeks. And while I've thought a lot about focussing on New Mexico, I might head over toward the Quartzite area for a bit, just to check that out now that the big crowds have dispersed a bit and before it gets furnace-hot over there. We'll see.
I'm also thinking about my idea of staying in one place for longer than I have previously. Maybe spend two weeks in one place, which would be -- it just occurred to me -- the traditional length of a vacation back in the old days. If I stayed in a NM park with electricity, that would be about $56. Food would cost what it costs at home, and there's be no gas burned. It would shift my focus from going somewhere to being somewhere. If I was boondocking, a few cloudy days in a row would mean that I'd need to run the generator a while each day to keep batteries up. That would be a real change for me. Not sure how I feel about that right now.
I do really enjoy that moment heading out down the road. It's very reminiscent of standing at a trailhead with a pack on my back. Just as with a car trip, I make a point of stopping every couple of hours to stretch my legs. And it seems like 3-4 hours of travel a day is about right. Something like 250 miles/day. I get up early no matter what, so that means I can get in wherever I'm going about mid-day, which should make it possible to get a good site at my destination.
I've finally figured out how to deal with getting a site at a NM park. Each park usually has 20-30 sites for RV's, usually with electricity and water. Some of those sites are available through the online reservation system at http://newmexicostateparks.reserveamerica.com/ It costs $8 to make an online reservation. The remaining sites are first-come-first served, so if you get there mid-day there's a good chance of a site with no reservation charge. For me with my annual permit, that means $4 per night.
Some parks also have dry camping sites with no utilities; these are not available on line and are somewhat confusingly called "developed" sites -- presumably because they're more or less level and have a picnic table and shelter.
Got that? Good! There'll be a quiz!