New Mexico State Park: Villanueva
Every time I drive east on I-40 I see a sign that says Villanueva State Park. I’ve always wanted to check it out and stay there but I just never got around to it. I was comfortable in my trips to Fenton Lake and Bluewater. R and I were trying to find a new place which was near Albuquerque. I turned to my list of state parks and saw Villanueva.
Villanueva state park is about an hour and a half from Albuquerque if you take the east route on I-40 and about 2 hours if you take the north route on I-25. We took the east route on I-40 which is how the GPS told us to go. After we turned off from I-40 the road was very windy and curvy and we had to go pretty slow. This trip was a girls trip and we took Evil Ellie and Lulu, the windy curvy road made poor Evil Ellie a bit car sick and R definitely had to roll the windows down for some fresh air and put her phone away. It was a beautiful, scenic drive though. The state park was at the end of the long, windy road so there were no cars passing. It was very quiet and peaceful.
As this state park was far from civilization and pretty isolated we took all of our own food (no In n’ Out Burger or Rubio’s or any restaurants). When I was young my dad took us camping in our little camper a lot. I’ve also tent camped quite a bit so I’ve learned a few food tricks over the years (apparently now they are camping hacks). When we were young my dad made us camping pancakes that were so delicious!!! Luckily, he taught me to make those pancakes (I wish I could remember more of the things he taught me before he died) and I’ve made them every time I’ve gone tent camping. This was the first time I planned ahead and made them in the RV and I think R and the dogs agreed with me that they were yummy, amazing, and delicious aside from the fact that camping food just tastes better. My dad always used a Lodge Cast Iron Griddle (they have fancy reversible ones now) and I’ve been using it for years and years. It’s perfect and every RV’er or camper must have one! Eating camping pancakes with a side of scrambled egg beaters with cheese for some added protein got my day started off perfectly.
On this trip I did plan to take Evil Ellie for some hikes (she is the best RV’ing dog and loves hikes, Lulu likes to relax in the RV with her mama) so I made a hearty breakfast and headed off for my hike! However, it turned out that the beautiful, relaxing river was calling to me after we walked down it’s bank for a while. I just had to get out my green chair and sit by the river. I read for a few hours, till my tummy called me back to the RV and forced me to eat. Ellie enjoyed sitting on my lap relaxing or in the grass sunbathing and it was a perfect day.
Fenton Lake State Park will always be my favorite because I’ve spent so much time there with my dad and the rest of my family but I REALLY liked Villanueva State Park and highly recommend it to everyone!
Daddy’s Camping Pancakes
These days there are so many just add water pancake mixes and those are acceptable. We have used those in the RV many times but they are just acceptable, not super delicious. For a special treat, try my daddy’s camping pancake recipe, you can even make it while tent camping!
- Large Ziptop bag
- Snap top container (I like disposable so I don’t have to haul it around when I’m done.)
- Spoon or Whisk
Note: this is easy to double or triple if you like
In the large zip top bag add:
- 1 c. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 heaping TBSP sugar (I usually add more sugar because I like the pancakes to be sweeter and crispier)
In the snap top container add:
- 1 c. milk
- 1 egg
- 1 TBSP oil (I use vegetable)
- Stir the wet ingredients up very well with a fork and then put it in the fridge/ice chest till you need it
Optional: Bacon Grease ~ If you want, fry up some bacon on the griddle before you make the pancakes (that’s how my dad did it), Use the grease to cook the pancakes in (or use butter/margarine.)
On the day that you are going to make the pancakes…
1. Preheat the griddle till water droplets dance but don’t evaporate, and then add the bacon fat/butter.
2. Shake up the milk/egg mixture and shake up the bag with the dry ingredients. If you want to use a bowl you can add the flour mixture to a bowl, make a little well in the center, pour in the wet ingredients, and then stir it together. There should be some clumps, don’t over mix it. If you don’t want to use a bowl, it is a little messier, just add the wet ingredients to the zip top bag with the dry ingredients, zip the top, and shake it up until it’s mixed. There should be some lumps.
3. If you used a bowl scoop a pancake size portion of batter onto the griddle and cook till bubbles form. If you used the zip top bag just pour some batter till it’s the size you want. Once there are bubbles and it smells pretty good use a spatula to flip it over. Repeat this process till they are done. Serve warm with syrup (I’ve found it’s very hard to find small bottles of syrup so I put syrup into either a small snap top container or a travel size shampoo bottle) or you can serve it with chocolate chips and powdered sugar (that’s how R prefers).
Camping at NM state parks costs $10/night, $14/night with electricity. But with the annual camping pass, you camp for free or for $4 with electricity hookup. R’s family got us one for her birthday this year and we are using it to death!
Fill the water tank AT the campground
Our campsite did not have water hookups, but the RV does have a tank and water pump. To save gas (and consequently money and car life, I imagine) we filled our water tank when we got to the campground, that way we didn’t have to haul it all the way.