We left Albuquerque, New Mexico with a plan to drive to Flagstaff, Arizona where we would set up camp for another week. As we were traveling west on I40, we decided to stop by Bluewater State Park. When we reached what we thought was the state park, we were greeted with a bunch of muddy trails, a boat ramp in the middle of a dry field and a box to drop park fees into. Say wha?
After unhooking the jeep and having a play in the mud, I returned to google maps and discovered we had actually found the Bluewater State Park Recreation Area, and the real State Park and Campgrounds were on the opposite side of this half dried lake.
After a cursory glance at the directions on my phone, I noted that the other side of the lake could be reached with 2 left turns. I put the phone away (mistake #2) and off we went, left (mistake #1)
10 minutes later the pavement gave way to a fairly slippery mud road winding down the side of a canyon. Oops… No problem, I got this. 20 minutes later I was still on a slippery mud road deep in the Cibola National Forest in a 13 ton rig pulling a 3 ton jeep, when I met my second left which was, it turned out, mistake #3. It nearly cost me my marriage.
We began to climb. Now when you’re in a rig this heavy on a muddy road climbing is not what you want. Then the mud gave way to snow. Wonderful. In one particularly sketchy section, the floored RV could only manage 5 miles an hour, and had the hill not crested at that point, I’m certain we would have been stuck. At this point I knew that even if I could find a way to turn the rig around on this narrow road, it would be too dangerous to try to go back down the way we came up. So we had no choice but to push onward and up and up and up.
Every time I thought surely we would start descending to the highway the road got steeper. after 45 minutes of white knuckle driving, I took one glance back at Christine and knew that enough was enough, it was time to send out the scouts.
Christine and the kids stayed with the RV while I took the jeep ahead to see just how much trouble we were in. After 10 more minutes of sketchy driving, the forest gave way to a high plateau and I was greeted with the most amazing views including, way, way down below, the highway we once called home.
Perhaps more importantly, I found the sun. The snow was gone here, and the steep mountain road gave way to a gradually descending grade that appeared to head back down to the valley floor. YAY!
I spun the jeep around and returned to my anxious family. We decided to leave the jeep unhooked because we still had a steep snowy hill to climb. Christine followed behind with Sienna and the Jeep while Stewie and I soldiered on with the RV.
We reached the plateau safely, and I stopped the RV and walked back to Christine. “See, I told you just two lefts!”, I said to break the ice that was quickly melting away.
We never found the other side of that lake, but we did find ourselves lost beneath a beautiful stary sky, up there, on the plateau.