NM, RV Park Reviews, Tiny Life, Travel

Heron Lake State Park ~ Los Ojos, NM

New Mexico has some of the best state parks in the country, IMO, and back in January of 2017 when we still had the truck camper we purchased a year pass but unfortunately never got to use it.  So when we got back on the road again in our Avion we decided we had better get our moneys worth out of it before it expired (01/31/18)!

New Mexico state park passes cost $225 a year for out of state residents and $180 a year if you’re a New Mexico resident.  Now that might seem like a lot but when you are camping and are in a non-electric site the cost is free!  If you choose a power and water site the cost is $4 a day and a full hookup site (where available) is $8!  Not a bad deal, IMO.  Also dump sites are available at most parks.

Our first state park of this tour was Heron Lake State Park in Los Ojos, NM.  Situated just 20 minutes from Chama, NM and fed by the Rio Chama.  This state park and lake offers many camping opportunities but if you’re looking for something with power and water there are only two options:  Blanco and Willow Creek.

Site #57 at Blanco. Large pull through, power/water and a picnic table with shelter
Willow Creek has smaller sites and not nearly as many pull throughs as Blanco so when we came through looking for a site we chose Blanco.  We found a large pull through almost immediately that was a non-reservation site.  All sites in Blanco have fire pits and picnic tables and some have covered shelters.  Our site had a shelter and was fairly private. Blanco also has a bathhouse with showers while Willow Creek has a bathroom with toilets only.

There are many hiking trails in the camping areas that lead down to and go around the lake.  All are easy paths to hike and offer beautiful views!

Hiking trails to the lake!

Heron Lake

A place to rest with a view of the lake
The only downside to the campsites at Blanco and Willow Creek is that none of the sites have a true view of the lake.  You can glimpse it from certain sites but there are no full views.  There are other dispersed camping sites down the road that you can see the lake from but none offer electric or power so keep that in mind.  Also, some of the other dispersed areas are not able to accommodate larger rigs.  Be sure to scout all areas before driving in!

Another view of site #57
Length of stay in all New Mexico state parks is 14 days and as we are determined to take it slow this winter we did stay the whole 14 days in Blanco.

Verizon cell service offers 1 bar of LTE but it can go in and out without a booster.  TMobile was nonexistent.

All in all, Blanco and Willow Creek offer nice pull through and back in sites that are fairly large and private, good amenities and lots of outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.  We will definitely be back!

Gorgeous pine trees!

It was wildflower season!

Beautiful sunsets!

Goodnight!
Eats & Drinks, Tiny Life, Uncategorized

Baked Green Chile Fries

One thing I love about being in New Mexico is the unique foods we’ve been able to try.  On our visit to Ojo Caliente this past July we were able to enjoy these fabulous Green Chile Fries!

Green Chili Fries at Ojo Caliente

They were fabulous!  Slightly spicy with a wonderful breading that made us go back for them three separate times.  🙂

One thing I love to do when we eat something from a restaurant that we really enjoy is to try to recreate it at home.  This can be somewhat of a challenge but it sure was fun.  Here is my take on these fries.  I actually baked them to keep them a bit healthier but all in all they were delicious.  The vinegar dipping sauce was a bit harder to recreate but I think I came pretty close.  Let me know what you think if you make them.  Always looking for feedback on recipes!  Enjoy!

Baked Green Chile Fries w/Vinegar dipping sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Vinegar dipping sauce (see below)*

6-8 large poblano peppers (or jalapeños or any large spicy pepper)

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons

3 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the seeds from all of the peppers and cut into 1/2-inch lengthwise strips.

Set up a breading station: 1 pan of 1 cup of flour, 1 pan of eggs beaten with milk, 2 tablespoons of flour and mustard, and 1 pan of bread crumbs seasoned with cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Coat the peppers in the flour, then in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs.

Arrange the chili fries on a nonstick baking sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes, turning once.

While chile’s are cooking, prepare the dipping sauce:

Ingredients for dipping sauce

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 tsp red pepper flake

1 tbsp honey or Agave

Instructions

Whisk together all ingredients until honey/agave is dissolved and then refrigerate.  You can make this the day before to help the flavors meld even more!  Just be sure to mix it up again before serving.

 

 

NM, RV Park Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized

Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort

On our way to South Carolina for our daughter’s college graduation (yeah!!) we stopped at Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort.  It was Mark’s 50th birthday so we thought we would have a nice little mini vacation before heading off to the heat and humidity of the south.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort
Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort

Ojo Caliente is famous for its waters.  Discovered by Native Americans centuries ago and then conquered by the Spanish in the 1500’s when they discovered it (and displaced the natives as well).  It holds a lot of history as well as the healing powers of the water.

There are many types of waters that are located here:  Arsenic, Iron and Soda water just to name a few.  There are multiple pools located throughout the resort with varying degrees of heat (89 to 104 degrees).

The resort has many different accommodations available including an RV park!  Now, as RV parks go, it is pretty basic and it is quite expensive for what you get IMO ($40/night) but it is still cheaper than staying in the hotel. 🙂

The RV Park consists of power and water hookups only (no sewer).  There is a dump station but they charge $20 to dump.  Kind of a rip off, I think.  The spaces are a bit primitive, unlevel and can’t really accept large rigs (30′ would be pushing it).  BUT there are many wonderful aspects to the springs that overrides the downsides to the park.

Our site at Ojo Caliente - fairly large compared to some
Our site at Ojo Caliente – fairly large compared to some

We spent 3 days at Ojo.  The first day we were so overwhelmed with all the springs we couldn’t decide which one we liked best!  On the second day though we knew we loved the Soda Pool the most.

Mark in the Soda Pool – 103 degrees, indoors and a quiet zone – no talking!

We also really loved the mud zone!  Yes, MUD!!! It sounds odd but wow did our skin feel great afterwards.  You get wet, then mud up and lay out to dry.  Then you wash it off.  Your skin is silky smooth and so soft!  Mark didn’t think he would like it but he had to admit it was pretty awesome.

All mudded up and baking dry! 🙂

One thing we especially enjoyed was the FOOD!  The Artesian Restaurant was amazing in every way.  We had lunch and dinner there every day and even breakfast for Mark’s birthday as well.  We really spoiled ourselves with the food!

That was just a sampling of the food.  We ate our way through the menu to be sure. 🙂  In fact, we probably had these Green Chili Fries 5 times while we were there.  SO GOOD!

Green Chili Fries. YUM!

For Mark’s birthday we did something pretty special – we rented a private hot spring for just the two of us.  It had amazing views of the cliffs, a kiva fireplace and we snuck in a bottle of champagne to celebrate!  Not something we would do every time we would visit but certainly an amazing treat!

Private hot springs, kiva fireplace and champagne! Happy birthday, my love. 🙂

All in all it was an amazing three days!  And the best part?  This is only 1-1/2 hours from our property in northern New Mexico!  How awesome is that?  Knowing we are close enough we can spend the day there or even take the truck camper for one night.  Yes please!  We will definitely be back!

Our beautiful view from the lounge chairs!