|Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, NM|
It did get cold overnight, down to 28°F at 6:00AM. I think my Pelonis Ceramic Disk electric heater is dying. On full, it is only drawing 7 amps - according to the chart on the back of it, full should be 1500 watts or 12.5 amps. I missed the extra heat - it was down to 58°F in the trailer. I may pick up another heater the next time I go by a hardware store or Walmart, but I can still run the propane furnace if it is too cold.
I decided to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. I tried once before, but a sign stated it would take 2 hours from where I was & it closed before I'd get there, so I skipped it. I left around 9:30AM so I had plenty of time. I now understand the sign. Even though it is only 75 miles from the campground & only about 44 miles north of Silver City (where the sign was) NM 15 is an "interesting" road. Even more interesting is 15 alternate. Both have narrow winding sections with many switchbacks, steep fall offs at the side of the road, and for most of it, no center lines. Did I say narrow? I met some idiot pulling a 35' 5th wheel in the wider section of the road that would have been a disaster further along the way. I have no idea how he expected to clear some of the steep switchbacks; there is a sign at the start of the road stating no trailers over 20'. Maybe he lives on the road & isn't going past the windy parts...
I included a photo of a car that didn't make it, and the view from one of the pull offs along the road. If you go, do plan on taking your time. Much of the road is slow going, but through a beautiful forest, particularly the narrower 15 Alternate. It is like driving a paved jeep trail!
At the monument, I stopped at the visitor center, bought a "T" shirt (the second of the trip) and headed to the start of the trail to the cliff dwellings. They have volunteers at the start of the trail going over the rules, as well as volunteers at the dwellings. Very impressive. I'm always amazed at the ingenuity of the Native Americans that blended their housing so well with the natural surroundings. Most of the buildings are in caves or alcoves in the side of the mountain. Some are very large & deep, providing shelter from the wind & cold. 5 different caves with 40 rooms built inside them. Well worth the short hike to visit. I included a bunch of photos, the rest of which you can see at today's LakeshoreImages page.
I stopped at the Albertson in Silver City on the way home and picked up some food stuff. Couldn't get refrigerated fruit cups or a package of chicken burritos, although I did find some individual ones. On the other hand, I did find Alaskan Amber beer. While my favorite is Alaskan White, the amber is more popular. This is the first time I've found it on the trip.
Dinner was a chicken sausage & Bush beans.