Adventure in the Desert

Saturday after I left Cochiti Lake was a nightmare day, so when I could stop at a truck stop with an abandoned RV park in the back, it was especially welcome and pleasant.

In my nice campground that morning, I noticed that my front driver’s side tire on the motor home was low. I drove the car to the nearby Indian gas station, only to learn that they don’t have an air compressor! The closest one is 15 miles toward the interstate highway! I was lucky to find an very kind old retired POW Vet Indian in a pickup truck who said he had a cigarette-lighter-operated compressor that might put air into the tire so I could get out of there. Not too surprisingly he had never used it before, so didn’t know how it worked! Somehow we did get a bit of air into the tire, then I emptied and cleaned my holding tanks and filled the water tank with good drinking water and hit the road, forfeiting my next night’s camping for which I had already paid.

I stopped again and got the tires properly pressured, then drove south through Albuquerque. My goal was a rural BLM free camping area, listed in the Ultimate Campground guide written by a camper I had met. But the open camping turned out to be on a tiny road for four-wheel-drives out in the desert, which was very rough, deep in sand and with virtually no place to turn around and go back! Nobody at all was out there. I admit that I was scared wondering how I could ever get back to civilization, but I finally did it. I found a wide spot and turned tight, without stopping or slowing down. Good thing I had a lifetime of experience driving in soft snow. I thought that if I stopped and got stuck, they might someday find my skeleton out there. My poor car was an inch deep in sandy dust, none of my ten tires were even black any more. I admit that although I was worried out in the desert, once i finally got headed out of there, I had to laugh out loud at my own stupidity and determination.

I hear that every RVer has some sort of adventure tale like this, but it’s the first time I actually felt anxious. And it was my own fault, because there were signs in advance this was a bad idea and I ignored them. Live and Learn! Now I’ll be much more cautious.

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