east of Taos

A strange relo.

My present site has inconsistent and weak mobile data so it might take me a while to get this out. Luckily it’s all text-based (linux shell) and I use mosh to help manage the intermittency.

reprovisioning and stealth in Alamosa

walmart wifi

The walmart in Alamosa was large but had shortages that surprised me. Hoarding for the NFL season?

Wifi was fast (6mbps+) and I got all my data needs taken care of while shopping:

  • podcast downloads
  • pre-downloaded YT videos
  • Osmand+ mapsets
  • android apps
  • Amazon shows (Data Saver resolution)

walmart checkout

I did my shopping Sunday morning intending to defeat crowds. Unfortunately it also defeated the checkers. There were 3 lanes open and the lines went across the aisles into womenswear. Both self-service lines crossed the aisle, too. The checkers were amazingly slow, even by walmart standards.

It took 40 mins from the time I got in line to the time I paid. My checker wasn’t just socializing, she actually stopped checking while talking. When I was next up she was replaced by a young person (lucky for me) who could actually do the job. After being relieved the former checker didn’t go on break/lunch/home but stayed and socialized with (ie, distracted slowed) other cashiers! Amazing.

I forgot my ration of pot pies. Read on.


I tossed the perishables in the fridge and all the other bags up on the sleeping platform. I headed toward the nearest laundromat.

50% of the machines were out of order. All the washers were full, including 3 big frontloaders (my preference) that were finished washing and just sitting there. After 10 minutes of no action I found the “manager” and aksed if I could remove the unattended clothes. She said she would do it. She took so long to start heading that way (another 10 minutes) that an attended frontloader came open.

Manager appeared delighted that she had dragged her feet long enough that the problem fixed itself. She did not unload the other two so they could be used and make money for the joint. An owner-manager would have handled this differently.

My clothes got washed and the manager was now doing side work standing in front of the only working, open dryer. I reached around her legs to put my clothes in the drier.

The only good thing about the experience was the dryer was face-meltingly hot. I stuffed the clothes in the laundry bag and headed off to a local park to fold laundry, walk Muffin, and make dinner. The park had about a dozen water spigots, all of which were padlocked. The bathrooms were literally bolted shut, and the water fountains turned off.

I found a place to stealth for the night.

shower at the rec center

Next morning I headed to the rec center where I heard there were $2 showers. The front desk interaction was a bit odd; normally you pay the day use fee and do your thing.

This particular rec center required registration paperwork. Annoying but I wanted the shower. Even more strange, the clerk entered the info into their system in real time before taking my money. This whole town is an experiment in how to waste time and money.

Amazon pickup

I picked up my Amazon package in the tiny town of La Jara, a little town of ~800. It’s anomalous; usually pickup counters are only in larger towns.

heading south

I had about 2/3rd a tank and decided not to top off judging that I’d be driving uphill much of the way. I should have plenty of range and didn’t want to lug more weight that needed. I figured the gas in Taos would be pricier than Alamosa’s $3.75 but I was willing to pay it.

On the way out of town I stopped at a supermarket and picked up two Banquet turkey pot pies for the drive.

oldest church in Colorado

I saw a sign for OLDEST CHURCH IN COLORADO and would have stopped to see it if I weren’t being aggressively tailgated. The little Kia was so close I couldn’t see him in my mirrors unless he drifted to one side in the lane.

Rio Grande gorge rest area

The old Blu R1 phone that runs my dashcam software stopped taking power shortly before signs for a REST AREA appeared. I’d walk the dog and change the power cord to see if that worked (it didn’t).

It turns out this was the famous Rio Grande gorge rest area, 10th highest bridge in the U.S.

I couldn’t get the dashcam running, which is a shame since as soon as I pulled out to cross the bridge there was a bighorn sheep eating vegetation on the shoulder. Muffin stared at him through the open window.


As I rolled into Taos I was shocked to see gas was actually cheaper there ($3.05). When I come back down off the mountain I’ll fill up then.

boondocking spot

The foest is pretty thick here in the Carson NF. I finally found a spot about 15mi from town. 9,200ft, 0-1 bars of Tmo (and zero of Verizon). 72F and breezy. Sun Surveyor says the sun is available 9a-5pm in this spot, a bit more than I hope for.

As I was setting up I saw some chaotic movement about 150’ away. I thought it might be turkeys but they looked too big. I got out the binos and it was a flock of turkeys, taller and heavier-bodied than the other wild ones I’ve seen.

About a half hour later a herd of black and red cattle (Angus, I’m guessing) came through. Muffin was too tired from driving-induced anxiety to complain about them but a small bull was looking at her and walking in a straight line. I brought her into the van until they passed, as she seems to lack a healthy sense of fear around livestock.

inverter repair

One of the items in the package was a replacement brushless fan for the cheap inverter. It was marked for air direction but I took a guess and was right. It appears to blow more air than the OEM and is a bit quieter.

I stress-tested it by running the 300w rice cooker to heat up some canned chicken & dumplings. Success, and there are 3 more in the package in case I need them later.


twitter comment thread for this post