Riana and Bandelier

The weekend at Riana Campground at Abiquiu Lake, New Mexico was so quiet and relaxing, we ended up extending a day until Tuesday morning. They don’t allow anyone to enter the campground after 10pm, but it was always quiet by dark anyway. There were a few empty sites through the weekend. The occupied sites had a mix of RVs and even a couple of tent campers. A lot of fisherman come here on the weekend to try their luck on the lake.

These folks look like they have a comfortable set up in their Tab pull-behind trailer

On Saturday, Donna went hiking through the Corps of Engineers Park. They have a few trails and she hiked them all and ended up at the beach for a swim. She was confused to see boats there, but it turned out that Santa Fe Adaptive Sports had reserved the beach to take people with disabilities out on the lake.

View of the Abiquiu Lake beach from Donna’s hike on a trail up on a bluff

While she was out, I investigated the trouble we’ve been having with the Cummins ISL engine in our coach. I have a loss of turbocharger boost intermittently with a great loss of power and when I have boost it doesn’t seem like I have full power. Digging around in the cramped engine compartment, I found an issue that isn’t good. We have a crack in the exhaust manifold. This is allowing exhaust to leak from the manifold and reduces the flow to the turbocharger impeller. This is not an easy repair, especially with an engine shoehorned into a diesel pusher motorhome. I think there’s more than one issue with the turbo boost, but the manifold will have to replaced before any further troubleshooting can take place.

In the afternoon, we rode the Spyder to Bode’s General Store in Abiquiu and split a green chile cheeseburger. It wasn’t as good as were led to believe – we’re looking forward to a Blake’s Lotaburger green chili cheeseburger in Albuquerque. We managed to outrun the daily afternoon thundershower back to the coach.

On Sunday, I watched the Moto GP race from Monza, Italy and NFL Football. Donna was more ambitious and rode the Spyder to Ghost Ranch – about eight miles up highway 84. She wanted to hike the Chimney Rock Trail there. It was a 3-mile roundtrip with stunning vistas at the top. She enjoyed the hike so much that after having a little snack, she decided to hike the 4-mile Box Canyon Trail too. But somehow, she ended up going past the turn-around and put in a total of 10 miles of hiking. Ghost Ranch was true to its name – very few people out and about there.

Heading up the Chimney Rock Trail

Donna found a friend along the way

Top of the Chimney Rock Trail looking back toward Abiquiu Lake

Donna shot a photo of an interesting looking lizard on the trail. I can’t tell if it’s a collared lizard with a lot of yellow coloring for whatever reason or a spotted whiptail.

On Monday, Donna got into cleaning mode and went to town on the coach. She even took out the screens and cleaned them along with the windows. I straightened the trailer out and reorganized a basement compartment. I had the Spyder in the trailer by evening and watched the Monday Night Football double-header.

After a quick breakfast on Tuesday, we got an early start and headed down to White Rock – a small town near Los Alamos. In White Rock, there’s a visitor center conveniently located on the main drag. It has RV parking with 16 pull-through sites and 50amp electrical service in a dedicated RV lot. It also has a shuttle stop on the street for a free ride to Bandelier National Monument.

We arrived around 10:30am and got situated. I paid at the automated kiosk for one night – $20. We caught the 11:30am shuttle for the 25-minute ride up to the Bandelier Information Center. From 9am to 3pm daily, the only way to access Bandelier is by shuttle – this reduces the traffic and the free shuttles run every 30 minutes. Bandelier National Monument encompasses almost 34,000 acres but has only three miles of public road and 70 miles of hiking trails. We were interested in the Frijoles Canyon with the Main Loop Trail and ancient ruins including cliff dwellings.

The Main Loop Trail is mostly paved and a fairly easy hike. It does have a few steep rocky sections and to access the cliff dwellings you must climb rustic ladders. We spent nearly two hours hiking and toured the entire loop and also went up to the Alcove section – a high cliff dwelling that requires a 140-foot vertical climb – including steps and ladders to the caves. The nice thing about this place is you can actually enter many of the old caves, rooms and dwelling sites.

Ruins of ground level dwellings and food storage rooms more than 600 years old

Another view of the ruins – the hole in the ground is the foundation of a kiva – a communal meeting room

The cliffs and terrain are rugged yet beautiful

The people lived in cramped quarters – Donna in a doorway to a cliff dwelling

This dwelling was roomier – adjoining rooms in fact

If you look closely you might pick out Donna 140 feet up in the Alcove

As we made our way up the canyon, a thunder shower moved in. We could hear the thunder rumbling through the canyon and about 30 minutes later we were cooled off by a few rain drops – it was in the mid 80s.

After riding the shuttle back to our coach, we walked across the street to Smith’s Grocery. What a great location – walking distance to grocery shopping – and a short walk at that. We were back in the coach minutes before clouds rolled in for the afternoon thunder shower. We had half an hour of off-and-on rain, then the skies cleared again.

Tomorrow we’ll move on to Santa Fe for a week stay. I have an appointment in Albuquerque a week from Thursday with Rocky Mountain Cummins to get the exhaust manifold replaced. Hopefully I won’t have any surprises there.

 

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