Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier
Salmon Glacier, BC, Canada

Sunday, March 15, 2015

City of Rocks SP....Bayard, NM First time dry camping...big learning curve Thank goodness for friends

While we were at Pancho Villa SP with our friends Steve and Debbie, we talked about still wanting to go to City of Rocks. Now this is a park with only a few electric sites and the rest are dry camping, boondocking or what you would call non electric. This means that you have no electricity to run the microwave, TV, hair dryer, coffee maker, etc. You can run your refrigerator on propane, you can run the furnace, you can operate a water pump to get water out of a water tank in the RV, you can use the hot water heater on propane and some other things however when you use those appliances it will draw power from your battery so you have to be careful not to discharge your battery to low unless you can recharge it again with wither solar power or a generator. I had neither but Steve had a generator. We thought we could just recharge each morning after using some of the appliances. So off we went to City of Rocks SP just 30 miles north of Deming, NM. We found a nice  on electric site up on a high part of the park next to some huge rock formations. Enlarge the photos for better viewing.

It took Steve and Debbie a little time to find the right site but finally they settled on one in a lower part of the park just down from our site. Once everyone was settled in and set up we made  run into Deming to pick up some medications for Glenda and Steve and then we stopped at the St. Clair Winery. They had some great wine, olives, jams, jellies, different types of cheese and crackers. So of course we tasted and we bought.

Steve and Debbie

Once we were done we headed back to the park and got supper started. We had some great New York Strip steaks, potato packets and salad. Steve and I grilled the steaks to perfection and the potatoes done just right. The girls had set the table and made a delicious salad.

The gang

After dinner we sat at the table and played Spades....girls against the guys. It took a while but the guys finally won. It was getting late so we all retired to our rigs. Everything was going good with our battery. We could use the water pump, the hot water heater and the furnace. Then when we woke up the next morning we noticed the refrigerator showed a message of low DC. I looked at the monitoring panel and it showed the battery was almost dead. That's not good since the slide outs and stabilizing jacks run on DC current and if the level is too low they don't work. Steve brought is generator over and we tried to hook it up to recharge my battery. However the Power surge protector wouldn't let the power through due to an open ground. That was weird since Steve had used the same generator and plug ins at his rig. So we ended up going directly to the battery to recharge it there. It seemed to work so we let it run for a while. It showed that we had 2/3 capacity so we took it off and started to explore. We climbed around the rocks and took several photos. There were even some guys practicing their climbing skills on the low rocks.

Glenda doing a photo bomb

What are you doing down there?

Guys bouldering

Glenda holding up a big rock

Touching the sky

Steve, Debbie, Hurley(the one with four legs) and Glenda

After climbing around the rocks we headed out on some trails around the park. We went to the Botanical Garden and then followed a trail to an observation point on a hill across from the park. Once we followed the trail up we had great views of the park and the different camp sites. I got some great photos of our rig in the distance. Some telephoto shots with some into between to give perspective.

View of the rig from one of the trails

Distant view of the park

Some telephoto

A lot of telephoto


and less

and regular lens
After being out in the wind and sun we all went back to our rigs and rested for a while. That evening Steve and Debbie invited us over for some stew that Debbie had made the day or so before. They ran their generator and used their oven to bake some biscuits to go with the stew. Wow....delicious. Then to top it off Debbie had bought some ice cream and she had some berries so we had scoops of ice creams with berries and then she surprised us with some lemon flavored olive oil drizzled over it. How decadent and filling. A perfect ending to the meal. Then it was their turn to introduce us to a game. They like a dominos game called Mexican went well with our excursion to Mexico while we were at Pancho Villa SP. I started out pretty good and kept my score down which is what you're supposed to do but Steve finally ended up winning with Glenda with the highest score. Not what you're supposed to do. It was late and we walked back to our rig to find that the charge we put in during the day was gone.
Now we were back to no power or at least minimal power. The LED lights did work but we turned off the refrigerator, we didn't use the furnace, water pump or water heater. We got an extra blanket and cozied into bed. We actually slept well except for fear that if we couldn't get the batter y charged up in the morning we wouldn't be able to get the slide outs in r jacks up to leave. So I texted Steve and he brought his generator back and we did a battery charge for about an hour. I turned it off and we had enough power to close the slides and get the jacks up. All was good.
This was a great learning experience. We only have one 12v battery but Steve has 2 6v batteries which actually carry more amp hours than one 12v. So that will be something we need to invest in. In addition if we did something like that then we could also either increase the number of batteries to 4 or 6 and then think about solar power or a generator. We're just not sure how much dry camping we will do in the future so it s still something we need to research and talk about. In any event we need to improve our battery bank no matter what. So we did our hugs and see you later's then we were off east to Van Horn, TX.
We can't say thank you enough to Steve and Debbie for their friendship, encouragement and assistance. We had the time of our lives and look forward to getting together again next winter. They are planning on spending a month in Gold Canyon at the Canyon Vistas RV Resort we will be at.
This is what our adventure was to be about and our new friends from Canada around the US are making it so. Thank you all. 

 P.S.....I still plan to post an account of our day trip to Mexico soon.


  1. Glad you enjoyed your time Boondocking with Steve and Debbie.
    You definitely need to increase your battery power even if you don't do any further Drycamping.

    I have been slowly setting our trailer up for exactly that starting with first making the battery storage rack then adding two AGM batteries. Next I ran cables to the roof where I installed a Junction Box where the Solar Panel will connect and two more AGM batteries. Our next investment will be the Controller/Monitor and Solar Panels. The following year we'll be heading out west after adding two more batteries and we'll really test it out.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Rick and Kathy, we certainly found out about the need for an upgraded battery bank. Like you I plan to start with more batteries - 6v and then look at an inverter and possibly solar in the future. Sounds like you know what you're doing and on you're way. Thanks

  2. Glad you were able to get the charge up enough to get in your slides and jacks...whew! Right after charging, the current on the readout is never correct, the batteries have to "settle" about half an hour to get an accurate reading. You might have to run charger and/or generator for more than a few hours to get yours back up to snuff. Another hint- Draining your battery down below 50% also shortens it's usable life and number of times it can be recharged. So don't do that too often if you can help it. Yup, increasing your battery bank will help, as well as adding solar panels etc. Even when the household power goes out at home in our sticks n bricks house, we just move into our motorhome till the power comes back on! LOL
    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard