Storrie Lake Fourth
We got to Storrie Lake State Park on Wednesday and it looked like we had the whole place to ourselves for the fourth of July. The lake is great, about 4 miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, a hundred and fifty miles from the house. That’s the very first Las Vegas. No relation to the other one.
The arrival of the railroad in Las Vegas on July 4, 1879 brought new residents, respectable and dubious. Murderers, robbers, thieves, gamblers, gunmen, swindlers, vagrants, and tramps poured in, transforming the eastern side of the settlement into a virtually lawless brawl. It got so wild it resulted in many organized vigilante hangings.
Well, that was a different era. The town got itself cleaned up and in 1898 the first Harvey House was built next to the railroad station. This was actually on the old Santa Fe trail. Nancy’s grandparents immigrated there by train from Chicago and London in the early 1930’s. Closed since 1948 when travel by train lost it’s allure, that Harvey House has recently been restored and now open for business again, as the Hotel Castaņeda. Many movies have been made in the area, including my personal favorites, No Place for Old Men, and the Longmire TV series.
We just wanted a nice, quiet place to get away, camp and maybe watch fireworks on the fourth. Storrie Lake looked perfect, wide open with cheap, first come first served, very wide open free-form space for dry camping, secure and well managed. I could run into town or drive over to the nearby wildlife refuge.
As the fourth drew closer things changed. Our view of the lake was perfect but now it seemed our tiny Escape trailer was in danger of being surrounded, maybe even blocked in, by hundreds of Montanas and Cyclones and Wildcats, etc. They formed clusters around us, group parties with plenty of dogs and kids and boats and jet skis. Holey moley, Rochester!
Fortunately, I had picked a spot far enough from the lake but close enough to the mud flats that these big-boy arrivals could drive in front of us but not park there. It all worked out fine. Weather perfect, the 100 watt solar panel did good, a guy flew by sitting on his motorized hang glider, we had TV reception - watched the Macy’s Day fireworks, we did chicken on the Weber.
"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson