Weird to have biometric tracking of the last few days, even as limited as the Fitbit’s is. Yet just observing my resting heart rate, sleeping less, having less productive sleep and how tired I felt each day, it was time to come down from the mountain. The part I liked most up there, in addition to the wildlife (never would have thought I’d see wild horses and wild bearded dragons in the same place,) or relative too it at least, were the Cedar Creek trails.
They really were just right, challenging slopes, yet much easier foot steps. Walking over the loose and bed rock at Dog Canyon was difficult. In retrospect, I can’t believe I made myself walk up that mountain. I was scared. Looking down the mountain (hill) at the Oliver Lee State Park, it was steep enough at some points to give me the sense of altitude, as if I was sitting in an open airplane door at the same altitude. Same yesterday when I was driving, only much better.
The second park road that I tried to go camp on ended up being a lost cause of sorts. I enjoyed the journey and I’m glad I took it, yet at the end of it I turned around and went back to wear I started. I was a five mile forrest road to a small lake that looked nice on google maps. Now, I have pushed the car well past anything I have in the previous six years I’ve had it, especially yesterday.
Up, down, and around, switchbacks here and there. Wide enough for two cars to pass at most places, yet there were certainly a few narrow spots. And for the majority of it there were no guardrails. It was a pretty rough dirt road, bumpy with exposed rock, and in the high parts on the mountains (hills) the dirt was sunbeaten and rock hard. In the lower grassy flatland part of the road, it was often jutted and very severely jutted in some places.
One spot that I did get the car past, was on a curve off the road that obviously collected water from time to time. It was plenty wide enough for the car, yet the ruts in the road were twelve inches down at least, more than enough to bottom out the car if my wheels turned off from the narrow high spots of the road. On one side was a raised bern along the outside of the curve. The problem was the width of the raised portions was a bit wider than my car, and I didn’t think I’d be able to drive. Yet after I looked for a while, I was able to drive on the far left side of the road, with the drivers side up on the tall outside berm and my passenger wheels on what would have been the drivers side high spot in the road. To myself, I thought that was some severe off road driving- for a Mustang.
Just a bit further down the road split. To the left the road split and switched steeply back up the mountain. A sign was posted “Dangerous – Drive Carefully”. Being what I’d already driven through with no warning, I didn’t see the point in risking the car any more. Out here, they charge two hundred and fifty per hour to come tow your car out of the mountains. I continued on straight until I reached a gate, clearly labeled as private property. To my left was an open field, free for my camping pleasure.
Yet, it was occupied. With cows. And cow shit. A bit of low grassy land here, not much of a view, I pulled a three point turn and went back looking for anyplace I could camp. Nothing- wait, there was one spot on the outside of a switch back right on the edge of the cliff down (still, fifteen feet of space before the edge. Yet, sleeping ten feet away from the cliff just didn’t seem like a good idea, so I passed that.
At the end of the road, went back to where I started setup camp again, and that was that.
Thirsty, most mornings I wake up thirsty and reach for my water before for anything else. This morning was different when I flipped the lip and tried to take a drink from my water bottle’s build in straw. Frozen. I unscrewed the top and looked inside. It was cold enough to begin freezing water. A clear sign that this was my coldest night on the entire journey. Also, today is Devine Mercy Sunday.
At some point, I’m not sure when yesterday, I decided I’d be leaving in the morning. And I did, well, morning for me, I drove out at twelve oh five to get gas, lunch and get on the road. I hate the idea of twenty four hour drive. Yet, I’m breaking it up, or trying to. I knew I wanted to get a shower before I drove back to Michigan and I hadn’t found one available yet in Ruidoso. So I planned my first stop for another State Park, an oasis. Oasis State Park.
Going quickly today, I got there and parked in a first come first served campsite (free with my pass, if available,) and went for a walk. Seeing a lot of people going down the same path though the sand, I followed. Just a short walk over a dune and there was a small lake, very reminisce of the man made lake in Jal, NM. It is neat to see lakes be such a rarity here. So many people come out to enjoy them. The lake was surrounded.
Somewhere on the other side I met Curtis out fishing with his buddy Larry. As I was trying to keep a schedule, and I was standing, we didn’t chat much. Mostly about the difference in lakes and fish between here and Michigan. Back to my car I drove over to the showers. A great handicap shower stall, and two heads too. Yet these were not shower heads. They had been replaced with pressure washer nozzles. I understand conserving water, yet this was ridiculous.
After the shower I drove back to the campsite I’d picked and confirmed I did not want to stay. I filled up my two gallon water jugs and decided I wanted Burger King for dinner and found one available in Clovis, the next city on the path to Jackson. Enjoyed dinner, then found a dispensary, as this is now the very edge of New Mexico. Finally, I arrived at the Walmart here in Clovis, my campsite for the night.
Then I met Jimi Buffett.
And I don’t have the time to finish this story tonight either.. Oh, the details. Oh, the stories. He’s got clout you know.
Time to rest.