11/28/15 Rich Strobel and I left at 7:00am and drove to Deming, NM in his little Prius hybrid. He averaged 55 mpg gas mileage for total trip with this efficient little car. I believe he said our round trip cost for gas was only $80.
11/29/15 Left about 7:00am for Socorro, NM. We stopped at Bosque Del Apache preserve and snapped a few photos of the cranes and snow geese. It was a beautiful partly cloudy day in the low 60's. Drove 20 miles to Socorro to check in at our Econo Lodge Hotel. We had a nice large clean room with two desks for our computers. Our trip companions Bill Remlinger and Lew Lipton arrived in mid afternoon. They also wanted to see the preserve, so we again drove to it and stayed until the end of sunset.
11/30/15 We got up at 4:45am every morning so we could be out to the bird preserve at sun rise. We first had our free very good and extensive continental breakfast every morning. I loved the fresh waffles and made one every morning on their large commercial grade waffle iron. After breakfast we headed south to one of the bird preserve ponds to set up for photographing the cranes take off. 4 to 20 cranes normally took off at a time. If there was ice on the ponds they took longer, waiting for the sun to aid their break out. The temperature was in the low 20's and most photographers used chemical warming pads in their gloves to keep their fingers from getting frost bite. Perhaps 200 + photographers from all over the US, with unbelievable equipment showed up every morning for the sandhill crane's take off. We usually stayed in the park at different sites for 3-5 hours and then returned to our room to download and review our photos and the perhaps take a nap. My companions always went again at sunset for more shooting when the cranes returned to the several ponds in the park. I normally skipped the sunset shoot as I did not like the low dark light conditions as the sun was blocked before actual sunset because of the western mountains in the distance.
We ate at the El Sombrero, a Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight. It is the 2nd best restaurant in Socorro.
12/1/15 Weather continues to be perfect for bird photography. We ate at the Socorro Brewing Company tonight. The beer was excellent especially the IPA. The food we had was bad. We all had pizza special. Bill got sick the next day from it. The cheese they used was from Mexico and unbelievably salty. My advice is to go here for beer, be very careful of what you order as the food is not good.
12/2/15 We ate at Bodega's tonight. By far the best restaurant in Socorro. The chipolte salmon was to die for. They have a great selection of wine and beers at this place. Another pro was that it was only a block from our hotel.
12/3/15 Lew and Bill want to visit the University of NM Tech campus to shoot ducks on the ponds. The campus was very scenic, but we found few ponds and ducks. Lew spotted a Geological Museum on campus and we all visited it. It had excellent displays of crystals, minerals, and gems. Tonight we ate again at Bodega's. Lew and I split a bottle of Seghesio Zinfindel. I had grilled Ahi which was good. The service tonight however was abysmal as they were over crowded and under staffed and my food came to me less than hot. So get there early to beat the masses.
12/4/15 Left at 7:30am for home. Stayed in Yuma Arizona at the La Fuente Inn & Suite which was a very nice hotel at a reasonable price of $80 for two. It even included free beer, wine, and appetizer cocktail hour. We had early dinner at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant.
12/5/15 We arrived in San Diego about 10:30am.