|Springtime Campground, June 1999,|
Only photo I could find from that ill- fated trip.
That night it was almost impossible to sleep in the still air inside our tents. The next day we opted for a drive to kill time during the heat of the day. We drove south on FR 225 first to Luna Park and then on to FR 139 down to Monticello. It's hard to explain what these roads are like. They are more than enough to make flatlanders, city folk, and my mom( who wasn't with us and who has more than small problem with heights) weep. We drove on from Monticello to Cuchillo,buying ice, eating ice cream and looking around the old store( which is no longer there). We must've headed back to the highway making the drive into a big loop.
We were back on FR 225 heading toward our camp when it happened- a flat. This wouldn't have been that big of a deal except for the fact that when we found the hiding place of the jack, we discovered there was no lug wrench. We had just bought the Isuzu Rodeo( used) we were driving a few weeks before and hadn't bothered to check for this essential little piece of equipment, and really who would? Well, I do now, even when buying a new vehicle, I check to see where everything is stored and that everything is there. We ended up using the fix a flat, even though the tire was really too far gone, turned around and began driving to T or C to buy a new tire and a lug wrench. We could tell the tire was running too low, but we were determined to make it anyway. While driving along on NM 85, parallel and within sight of I 25, a man on the interstate, obviously seeing the danger of our extremely low tire, began signalling to us. He met us at the next exit, and with his lug wrench and jack, helped us change the tire. In T or C we had a new tire put on the only slightly bent rim,bought an extra jack and lug wrench and stayed the night at the Los Arcos Motel with it's wrought iron 70's swag decor. We called the Magdalena Ranger to explain that we had left our stuff at the campsite,but weren't there. I'm not sure what we were worried about- no one goes out there anyway. I'm sure he was puzzled too.
The next day we drove out to Springtime packed our stuff and were on our way to the second leg of our trip: Pennsylvania Canyon over in the Lincoln National Forest. We got to pay back the kindness showed to us by that man on the highway within the year when we gave a jumpstart to a couple that we just happened upon, stranded on a side road. They were a long walk from anywhere out on the Rim Road about 10 miles south of High Rolls in the Sacramentos. Other lessons learned: If you're going to camp from May to September in New Mexico either head for the northern half of the state or make sure you're up high, like 8,500 feet and above, or be near some water.