Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Mexico-Land of Enchantment , Internet Amplifier and Antenna

Yesterday morning, we left Fort Stockton taking US 285 through Pecos, TX. to Carlsbad, NM.  We stopped at the Flying J in Pecos to fill up with diesel and we were glad we did! Diesel was $3.99/gallon in Pecos vs $4.17/gallon further down the road in New Mexico :)

A few miles down the road we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone. I’ve never spent much time in the Mountain Time Zone, but I think I’m going to like it. I already got an extra hour of sleep this morning :)

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That happened at the same time we crossed into New Mexico.

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The official state welcome sign from US 285. We whizzed by at 65 mph, so I didn’t see all the holes in the sign until today when I downloaded the photos. Do you suppose they’re bullet holes? Or just holes from flying highway stones? The cloudy area around “Land” is windshield bug debris :)

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The terrain here was rather dull and bleak looking.

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We continued on north through Carlsbad to our destination, Brantley Lakes State Park. Brantley Lake is 12 miles north of Carlsbad.

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The campground is those little, itty, bitty things you see off in the distance through the desert.

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New Mexico State Parks have a reasonable and different fee structure. All sites start at $10/night. If it’s a primitive campsite with no hookups, that’s the whole fee. If you want electric, it’s an additional $4/night. If you want sewer, it’s another $4/night. Max is $18. There is no charge for water. There are very limited sites with sewer, but if you can get them, that’s a definite plus. If you plan to spend a lot of time in NM state parks, they make it even nicer for you by selling you an annual pass which is good for unlimited basic camping during a 12 month period. You would only have to pay your $4 or $8 for electric/sewer each time. It’s an excellent deal for NM residents, especially if you’re a senior. The pass is just $100 for a senior resident. Non-resident fees are $225 making it necessary to spend 23 nights to break even. As we will not be here that long, we passed on it but filed the info away for the future.

As you round the campground loop, you see Brantley Lake off to the right. Brantley Lake is New Mexico’s southern-most lake. The water level is very low from drought conditions, but the water is a lovely shade of blue.

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Coming around to the other side, you can see the damn with little water on this side. The other side is totally dry.

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You can see the Guadalupe Mountains in the distance.

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Lucy is parked in site 48, a small pull-through site with water and electric only. We were not one of the lucky people to score a sewer hook up :)

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Each site has a covered patio and wind break wall. I hope that wall works. It looks rather small next to Lucy. We are expecting very high winds tomorrow… sustained at 40 mph with gusts to 58 mph. We plan to batten down the hatches and ride it out :)

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It was 96° when we arrived. Today, it hit 101°!

Once we got set up, I fired up the lap top only to find we had almost no signal. Slower than dial-up and that was if you were lucky. Most attempts timed out. I don’t know why I was surprised. We are out in the middle of nowhere, in the desert!

It was time to try out our new antenna/amplifier system and see if it really worked. We had purchased it in Rockport TX over the winter, and we got some degree of improvement there but most of the problem there was over crowded towers. This would be our first test of minimal signal in the boonies. This is the interior antenna. It’s velcro-ed to the ceiling over our recliners and the wire follows the woodwork and goes out through the slide seal by the table.

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The exterior antenna is mounted on a telescoping pole outside next to the slide.

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Both antenna’s are connected to the amplifier which we have mounted behind the refrigerator panel outside. We no longer need that access panel because we now have a residential refrigerator. There is enough room back there to mount the amp and there is a electric outlet back there to power it. I forgot to take a picture of that part-sorry :) This is, by no means, a permanent mounting. It’s just something that works for us when we need it. Most places don’t require it and it stays neatly tucked away, safe and sound, under the sofa :)

Rick got all his wires run and fired it up. I was standing by to test. At first, nothing. :(  But, within 30 seconds, everything was amped up and working like a charm. Whew! I HATE to be without internet! I can do it but it’s not pretty :)

The system we have is sold by Maximum Signal and can be seen here. It’s not cheap, but, so far, it seems to work. We have had times today, when the signal fell out completely and that would last for a minute or a few minutes and then we were back in business. I guess I can live with that if I have signal the rest of the time. In the meantime, if any of you have a connection with Verizon and can talk them into building more towers out in the middle of nowhere, I’ll be your new best friend :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

15 comments:

  1. I believe those are bullet holes!!!

    Glad you got the internet connection so we can go on this trip with you;o))

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  2. That looks like about the same setup we have. We were some of the early buyers from Maximum Signal.

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  3. The holes might just be from rocks...but bullet holes sound more exciting!
    Be careful in the monsoon!
    BTW...can you believe there really was a time not long ago that there was no email, internet or online shopping? And when we did a school paper we had to look things up in those old Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedias!! It would definitely be hard to go back!
    Love you!!

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    1. Haha! I remember getting those Funk and Wagnalls at the grocery store...one each week with purchase!! It wasn't rocket science, but it did work...at the time :)

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  4. If we ever get out there, we plan to spend some time in NM State Parks. Hopefully, that deal will still be available.
    Internet in the boonies...priceless!
    Syl

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  5. Like you, I can do without the Internet, but i miss it. Aside from the blogging aspect, I do a lot of research on places we visit and not being able to do so is a pain. Yeah; we're spoiled :-)

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    1. Because we don't plan far in advance, I usually wait until we've arrived somewhere to do my research and to find our next destination. It IS a pain when you can't do that :) And, I am REALLY spoiled :)

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  6. Bleak? You should have seen it last year. At least this year there is a little green in the grass :). You did manage to score a couple of trees. Today, you might get an authentic NM dust storm to round out your experience. We can hardly wait.

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    1. Ha! I didn't even mention the invasion of the miller moths that we are in the middle of!

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  7. Interesting antenna setup. Glad to see it actually works as I've read about so many that don't.

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  8. I'm surprised to hear that there is no charge for water given the looks of the lake. Seems like water would be a precious commodity in NM.

    Crossing my fingers for you weather wise.

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  9. Hurray!The comment block is back. I've bookmarked today's blog site under "Internet Service" for our future RV fulltime research. Thanks again for sharing info and writing a great, informative blog.

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  10. Oh my, that wind! I REALLY don't like wind in the RV. Stay safe!

    I'm with Carrie. It really wasn't that long ago when we didn't have e-mail or internet. Now we can't possibly fathom living without it.

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  11. Thanks for the info on the Internet boost antenna. We get very frustrated in some areas, so we're going to have to bite the bullet one of these days and get a setup like yours.

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  12. My vote would be that those 'thar are bullet holes! Hee hee
    Have fun!

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