Day two started off badly. First, we discovered that temperatures around 25°F with no heater made for a very cold night. Also, with no heat, the moist breaths of two humans and four dogs condensed on the canvas roof of the camper causing a steady rain of cold water. Cara had taken the back bed. I had the front. The dogs alternated sleeping on our beds and the dining table, which substituted as another sleeping surface, and the couch. Poor Gus with his short coat froze, shivering all night at my feet. I tried to keep him covered, but he shifted too much to keep the covers on. All in all it was a miserable night. We planned to stop to buy a heater.
Then, it seems maybe we should have practiced breaking down the popup. It only took us an hour and a half to prepare the popup to be towed out of the RV park. Despite our dawn start, we were late. Our next destination was going to be San Solomon Spring in Balmorhea State Park at Toyah, Texas. But, considering our options, I decided instead to travel late to Artesia, New Mexico where Cara had located via her trusty IPhone an RV park with a rare empty space. Like west Texas, southern New Mexico was in the midst of an oil boom and oil field workers occupied most spaces. With that piece of information we headed for Artesia with an intermediate stop at Wilkinson Spring and Clear Creek, the homes of Gambusia heterochir, the Clear Creek Gambusia , another endangered and rare Gambusia. I’ll discuss this species in a separate blog.
Wilkinson Spring is on private property near Menard, Texas and, due to my lack of planning, we hadn’t contacted the owner for access. This was obviously Susie’s fault. In any event, we could get only about a quarter mile from the spring, but were able to access Clear Creek along the highway. We saw small Gambusia-like fish in the flowing water, but since they are endangered, we didn’t try to net any out. The photo above is Clear Creek.
From Clear Creek we drove west to Artesia, stopping to eat, exercise the dogs, and buy an electric heater. We arrived late and after dark at the RV park. We were getting better at setup and accomplished that without issue. There was snow on the ground and they air was crisply cold. The three shepherds enjoyed it. Gus much preferred the warmth of the camper.
The next blog will be: “Gambusia Road Trip – Day 3.”