The Coyote Road Crisis
This entry is for Thursday, September 8th. It was posted late due to lack of internet signal. Photos are at the end in a slideshow.
For the life of me, I can’t find my New Mexico map.
Well, Miss Garmin is going to have to be in charge. I don’t feel like trying to find the dang map. I want to get going. I hope to God this trip up to 7,700 feet is not too treacherous. I take a last look at Storrie Lake, order Bridget to stop whining, push the button on the dash that says tow/haul, and we’re on our way to Coyote Creek State Park.
You know what’s going to happen, don’t you.
We’re cruising along, doing just great, taking the turns as directed by the GPS. “Turn left onto Coyote Road.” Uh-oh. This doesn’t look right. I don’t see a road anywhere. There’s cow fence all the way.
I can’t turn onto Coyote Road because Coyote Road is gone!
It’s been washed away or something. It’s a big, two-lane gully reaching up into the mountains. I look around. Cow pasture and mountains. Big mountains. No houses. And I don’t have the faintest idea where I am.
“Oh this is just great, “ I grumble and glare at the GPS.
“You’d better start recalculating, because this does not look good.” I drive on and soon the GPS says, “Turn left on Coyote Road.” Oh, don’t tell me. Are you going to call every road Coyote Road? Coyote Road (or whatever it is) is one-lane dirt. The road I’m on is paved and goes God knows where, probably a hundred miles out of my way. I take a deep breath, say a prayer, and turn onto Coyote Road.
Immediately I start having regrets.
The road becomes washboard so I slow way down. I notice there are no more shoulders, just ditches on both sides. The road twists and turns, and rolls up and down. It gets narrower and narrower. We keep gaining altitude. A huge mountain full of cougars and bears looms over us. Soon a pattern emerges. Every 100-300 feet, we approach a suicide hill.
What is a suicide hill, you may ask?
Well, tender reader, a suicide hill is when the road you’re on is one, very narrow lane with no place to get out of the way, because of something LIKE A CLIFF! . . . and you can’t see who’s coming at you going 70 mph from the other side. You drive up the hill to the crest and there’s that milli-second in time when it becomes unmistakably apparent that you are having a head-on collision, or you simply descend the hill. We face and survive about twenty suicide hills, give or take.
Good grief, will this never end?
There’s no going back. The gaul-darn GPS says I have six more miles to go. At one point the road is so utterly ridiculous . . . I mean, where am I, Tibet? Effing PERU? No guard rails at all. Occasionally there are a few metal posts, the kind you can push over with your foot, and they’re painted GREEN. I guess so they won’t clash with the forest background. For crying out loud!
Your mind does crazy things at a time like this.
I think, gee, what an interesting blog post this will make. I even consider getting out to snap a picture of the Road of Horrors. Why? So I’ll remember it?
Around another curve I see signs of life up ahead . . . A beat-up trailer with several ramshackle outbuildings. As if the road can get any narrower, it now becomes no more than a brush-lined path leading straight into their barnyard. Chickens scurry out of my way.
Was that a person ducking behind that building?
Well, at least I can turn around in this barnyard if there’s no way out ahead. I stop and wait, wondering what to do. Along comes a guy in a pick-up! My prayer answered! I quickly bring down the window and stick out my arm. He stops! He’s a dapper, older man with salt-and-pepper hair and beard, freshly trimmed. So much for the scraggly, bearded, backwoods stereotype! I ask if the road continues all the way to the highway. He responds wearily, “Yes, keep going to the fork and take the road to the left.”
His directions are correct and finally we take that left road.
It levels and straightens out. Yellow flowers appear everywhere! Along the road, across the fields . . . and blue sky with fluffy clouds. Little houses with people in them.
What? Did I just leave some sort of purgatory and now I’m in heaven? It’s absolutely beautiful all around us, especially . . . I don’t know how to put it into words just how very beautiful it is . . . especially the blooming highway.
A few more miles and we see the entrance to Coyote Creek State Park!
Just think of how much scenic country you would have missed if you had stayed on the pavement! I just programmed the same start and stop destinations on my Streets and Trips to see what it would do and it routed the same way you went. Got on google earth to follow your route and – Wow. Just remember if you get lost as long as you keep heading the same way you will eventually end up where you started seeing as how the earth is round and all. Just might take awhile… All kidding aside it looks like it is a great park and somewhere that I might want to camp someday. Glad you made it through the ordeal ok with your usual sense of humor.
Someday I’m going to Google that route to see what it looks like from the sky. I sure don’t want to see it again from the ground!
Thanks for reading my blog and following my escapades.
Looks like a beautiful park and known for trout fishing. I saw a note on the internet that says they have WiFi at that park? Verizon shows a local signal in that general area. Did you try WiFi?
No WiFi at the park. Verizon lies.
OMG, Sue 🙂
Your tale had me sneezing wine (EWWWWWWWW) onto my poor ol’ MacBook 🙂 All I can say is “Good for you, girlfriend!”. I’ll be sporadically laughing out loud for the next month.
Keep going with the flow ……….
Sue update: Received the following message from Sue at 2:47 pm Central time today.
“Just a quick note as I’m probably going to have to pay astronomical roaming charges in order to email and make blog posts. I’m not answering comments for this reason.
I’m fine! I stayed at Coyote Creek from Thurs. until Monday. Thanks for letting people know”
She didn’t say where she is but she’s fine. I’ll post again if I hear anything that she doesn’t post.
You may want to plan your route and get the maps ready the night before you move—and put them on the dash in the PTV. But your “adventure” makes a good read.
Wow can’t wait to see if you had to take the same road OUT……safe travels
Nooooo! I don’t have to take the same road out. If it were the only way, I would spend the rest of my life at Coyote Creek unless I could arrange for an airlift out.
I know I shouldn’t laugh but I was actually laughing out loud at this!!! I got an email from my Sister Susan and she wouldn’t tell me where she was going…Said i had to read it in her next blog!!! So much for having an insider’s scoop.!
Love to keep you guessing!
I would recommend installing the Delorme Topo map program on your laptop. I think that you would really like it. It shows the 3D view, the BLM land, and much, much more. You can even get a GPS receiver that works with the program so that you can see exactly where you are on the map. http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10742
Thanks, Christopher! I will do that. Right now I’m on a library WiFi and I’m trying to catch up on comments and blogging. I do appreciate the link.
I stayed there for a few days and it was very peaceful. It is a bit far to the next town so I hope you have everything you need 🙂 Sounds like your having an adventure …. see how brave you can be?
Sometimes you have to be brave because you don’t have any other choice! LOL
Not sure I would want to be that far back off the road. Depends on if I had internet connections. That’s kind of like our road out to Hell Creek but I hated it there. Convinced my hubby that we won’t go back there. But boy does it look beautiful. That might make me want to try it for a couple of days.
This part of the world is absolutely gorgeous!
Sue – you are doing great! They say the real judge of character is how you respond when your luggage gets lost. I know what it’s like to be lost on a bad road all alone. Compound all that by the potential inability to turn around and it’s not pleasant. But you persevered! What a pioneer spirit you have!
With Full Admiration,
Thanks for the pioneer label . . . although I hardly come close to what the pioneers faced. At least I didn’t have to worry about being scalped!
WOW! That was some road and to have the Casita behind you. Your good. Your post was a riot.
Keep on traveling and writing.
BTW my book came yesterday so I put down the one I was reading and started this one so far so good.
Hey, JoJo . ..
I’m glad you found my Crisis at Coyote Road a riot. For me? Not so much.
I hope the book does for you what it did for me.
It is said we learn from our mistakes; experiences that don’t turn out as well as we hoped… Be careful about following the GPS religiously; mine has steered me wrong more than a few times. I rely on mine too much and it often over rides my common sense. Just two weeks ago, while on my way to a remote park in northern Maine, the GPS directed along a dirt road. It got progressively narrower as the miles went by until it was more like a trail. I should have turned around but I was hoping it would get better; it didn’t. I was by myself and didn’t have ‘the crew’ to offer advice… hehe. Eventually a rock punctured the oil pan on my engine and I had to walk out six miles to call a tow truck and came face to face with a huge bull moose on my walk.
I’m experienced. I know better; another lesson learned. The tow truck operator told me I was the fourth vehicle he has towed out of that road with a punctured oil pan. Apparently, it’s the ‘old’ road to the park gate and hasn’t been used or kept up in decades. I gave myself a false sense of security by downloading the latest map to my Garmin Nuvi just the night before.
If you’re not comfortable with what you see, turn around, if you can, and go back the way you came. Hopefully there’s another way. If not, you’re pulling your home and always have a place to sleep and eat. This is is one of those “Do as I say and not what I do” suggestions. LOL.
I enjoy your writing style and look forward to each blog entry. Your words describe not only a vivid picture but they frame the view with corresponding emotion so I feel as though I’m standing there enjoying the experience as well. Thanks.
What an experience! I love Maine. However, the punctured oil pan, etc. . . not fun. Thank you for your positive comments about my writing. It makes me feel good to hear you feel like you’re standing here with me enjoying the experience.
sounds like your GPS’ settings need to be looked at.