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.
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!