Chama, New Mexico

Summer/Fall 2007

Chama Quilt Show

Club Car

Cumbress Pass

Brazos Canyon Volunteer Fire Department

Mother with twins

Turkeys looking for breakfast

Hurricane Henriette
San Carlos

Hurricane Henriette
San Carlos--main street

Hot air baloon ride

One view of our
new property

Brazos River

Brazos Cliffs




Headed for
San Carlos

Well, it is now February 1 and we are in San Carlos, Mexico. We had a wonderful summer and fall in Chama, New Mexico. The summer temperatures were in the mid 70s to low 80s, which is much better than the temperatures in Mexico during the summer. Steve and I worked very hard on the cabin to get it in shape to last a few years. We also purchased 1.3 acres of adjoining land north of the cabin. It took us several months to cut and clear dead and downed timber that had accumulated over the years, but the property looked very good by the time we left on December 15.

Steve became involved in the Brazos Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, and I volunteered to act as secretary. The Department is made up of wonderful people who volunteer their time and efforts to protect the cabins and properties of the Upper Brazos. Before we left, Steve attended a “Vehicle Extrication” course in Socorro, New Mexico, along with two other Brazos firefighters. He had a great time playing with all the toys such as the jaws-of-life, hydraulic jacks, hydraulic scissors, etc.

In June Chama hosts its annual quilt show. Beautiful quilts by local residents are displayed all over town,  and some are for sale.

In July, Stan and Rhea from "Vagari" and Anita and Ron from "Liberty Call II" came for a visit. We went into Chama to watch the fireworks on July 4, and then on July 5, we rode the Cumbres/Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad as far as Osier. Osier is the halfway point, and we got off the train to have a very good lunch.  It was a beautiful day, and the scenery was just spectacular. It was a full day, but we all had a great time.

The wildlife at the cabin was just wonderful to watch. We enjoyed deer, squirrels, turkeys, birds, elk, and bear. The bears have learned that people mean food, and they love looking for food. Some people actually had bears coming up on their front porches. Steve had a shot gun and bought some rubber filled shells so that he could scare off any bears without hurting one.

In October, Bob Ruppenthal, a friend of ours, invited us to crew and take a hot- air balloon ride. We met in a field down in the valley, and it was a cold morning with frost on the grass. We helped to inflate the baloon, and then I was invited to take the first ride while Steve took the second ride. It was great fun and an amazing feeling to be floating in the air with absolute quiet except for the gas burner every now and then.

We had visits from many of our friends during our time here, and we loved having them at the cabin. It was so good to spend time with all of them.

At the end of October we decided not to sail to South America but to head across the Pacific instead. This decision meant that we had to order different charts and equipment to prepare the boat for a major crossing. Steve worked very hard compiling a list of all the charts we would need for French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and then New Zealand. We needed a life raft, mast steps, and of other equipment to upgrade the boat to make her ready for the Pacific. When we left, the Jeep was so full that there was no room left at all—zilch.

In November we started receiving snow, and by the time we left in December, we had accumulated some 40 inches of snow. The icicles hanging at the back of the cabin reached almost to the ground. Steve had to cut wood every day since the fireplace was our only source of heat. That meant that he got great exercise but was not enjoying it as much by the time we left.

We enjoyed the holidays in Albuquerque with the family. Brie came in from San Diego—unfortunately, her husband Tim had to work, and Drue came in from North Carolina. James, Josh, and Tim were all in town as was Steve’s brother David. We celebrated Christmas at Zelda’s home and then prepared to leave for Mexico.

We left Albuquerque at 3:30 a.m. on December 27, planning to drive to San Carlos in one day. However, about 3 hours south, we started hearing a noise. Steve thought that it was a front wheel bearing, so we drove into Deming, New Mexico, went to the truck stop, and asked for a reference for a mechanic. We parked at E&M and waited until 8 o’clock when they opened. They got us right in and found that both of the front wheel bearings were bad. We were out by 11 o’clock and decided to stop in Benson, Arizona, for the evening. We were tired from several nights with little sleep. The next morning we left and made it to San Carlos by late afternoon. After checking into our favorite Apartmentos Adlai, we went to check on the boat. The last time we had been down was in September during Hurricane Henriette. She had survived just fine and the new paint job on the hull was just beautiful.

We spent the next few days trying to get things organized on board and cleaned up a bit. She went back into the water on December 31. Steve and I bought a bottle of champagne for New Years, drank it at 9 o’clock (it’s midnight somewhere!), and crashed.

We began working on the many jobs that needed to be done, such as sanding and painting the cap rail, installing the life raft, mounting the mast steps, and many, many other small but time-consuming jobs. I did a lot of sewing of mosquito nets, covers for equipment, and mending the tears in Steve’s work pants. Royal Robbins would be proud!

During this time, we had a few minor mishaps. One day we were driving to town when we picked up a large (6-inch) piece of steel in our tire. Obviously, the tire was ruined. A few days later I broke off a piece of my back molar. The dentist in San Carlos couldn’t see me for over a week, so Steve asked our welder, who did some beautiful work for us, for a recommendation. He sent us to his dentist who replaced my filling with a new one (2 visits) and cleaned my teeth—all for $80. Next on the list was our hot water heater. Because of electrolysis, it had developed some pin holes that were leaking. We had to order a new one from the states, which took almost two weeks. We left San Carlos on Friday, February 8, and headed to La Paz.

You can follow our travels from now on by going to our blog at