Saturday, September 1o
Tonight is our last night at Sims Mesa. In the morning the crew and I will leave and drive west to Arizona!
Sunset at Sims Mesa, Navajo Lake State Park, northwestern New Mexico
Sunday, September 11
Before leaving the state park, we stop at the dump station and trash bins. The Perfect Tow Vehicle and Best Little Trailer are loaded with plenty of water.
The “17 Mile Road Outta Here” takes us to Route 64.
We turn west . . . Blanco, Bloomfield (a stop for groceries), Farmington, Shiprock. As we motor across desert and past tan rock formations, my mind drifts from the present moment to the attacks that occurred on this date fifteen years ago.
I recognize Shiprock jutting out of the landscape. Haze or dust — I don’t know which — plus obstructions in my view, keep me from obtaining a good photo.
The crew becomes restless.
“Okay, we’ll stop for a few minutes.”
I pull over into a shopping center parking lot in the town of Shiprock. Bridget and Reggie take care of business. We get back onto Route 64 and continue our journey westward.
Well, that’s what I think we are doing.
I intend to take Route 64 into Arizona, followed by Route 160 across the Navajo Nation to Kayenta, continuing to Navajo National Monument. The original crew and I camped in one of the free campgrounds at the monument a few years ago and we enjoyed our stay very much. The elevation is high enough that air conditioning won’t be missed. I’m looking forward to that camp!
We never make it.
We don’t even make it into Arizona. I can’t explain what happens other than to say, about twenty minutes later I get the feeling something isn’t right. Now, remember, I’ve never driven this part of New Mexico before. It’s flat desert all around with dramatic rocks popping up occasionally.
Hmm . . . The sun should be behind us as we go west. It’s kinda’ off to the left of us. Something isn’t right. Where the heck is a road sign?
We keep going and going.
Finally a sign appears — 491 south.
Another sign — Gallup, 59 miles.
“GALLUP? I DON’T WANNA’ GO TO GALLUP!”
After the initial shock . . . .
Well, we sure as heck ain’t going back to Shiprock where I somehow left Route 64 west. Where are we going to camp tonight?
I did absolutely no research for camps in the Gallup area. It’s too hot to stop and fiddle around trying to find something online.
Oh great, “Caution: Road Work Next 22 Miles.”
We’re still in Navajo Nation, which is huge, bigger than some states. One doesn’t just pull over and spend the night. No boondocking. No RV parks. No campgrounds.
Lots and lots of desert.
I remember seeing a campground near Gallup in my New Mexico Benchmark Atlas.
Long story short, when we reach Gallup, we board Interstate 40, go east a few miles, leave the interstate at exit 26, go three more miles, and pull into Red Rock Park.
“You two have been such good travelers. Here it is 3 o’clock. You’ve been on the road all day. As soon as we’re settled I’ll walk you around.”
Red Rock Park is a City of Gallup (Navajo) park. It’s located in an area called Church Rock.
From the campground you can hike the Church Rock Trail.
Sites with electric and water are $20 a night. I choose an easy in-easy-out site in the less attractive section so that we’ll be away from the clusters of RVs.
Our site consists of packed sand, a picnic table on a concrete pad, and a cottonwood tree. It’ll do for one night. (See Bridget hiding under the picnic table?)
After a long, hot drive, the air conditioning is wonderful. I fix a tomato sandwich for a late lunch, then walk the crew.
Reggie is wired.
All day in the PTV has him packed with energy! Bridget gratefully lounges in the air conditioning while I take the Reginator on three additional walks before he’s wound down enough to go inside for the night.
Before going to bed, I adjust my thinking.
I look at the map and see many possibilities I hadn’t planned on.
When all is said and done, that wrong turn may turn out to be a right turn.
The crew and I sleep well with the windows open.
Monday, September 12
Breakfast, potty run for the crew, and I write this post.
Gosh, it’s already past nine! We need to get back on the road!
I hope to be able to drop in here later today from our new camp . . .
Our new camp in . . . Arizona!
NOTE: I threw this post together. No time to check for accuracy or to fix typos. Wishing you a lovely day. Bye for now… Sue
THANKS FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!
Church Rock, Gallup, New Mexico