Nice site, eventually
This was a one night stand along the way that seemed like a good idea on paper. The driving was going to be mostly slogging Highway 40, though I will note that almost as soon as we crossed the border into New Mexico, the landscape became more interesting. Expanses of yellow slowly gave way to rusty mesas rising up out of the ground. There was a storm on the horizon almost the entire day, just to our north, so we didn’t want to dawdle and get caught in it. With one stop at a Walmart in Gallup, NM, we cut it close, but scooted just under it.
Entering New Mexico
Richard got a lot of work done during the drive and we had pretty good service the whole way. We took a couple of little jaunts onto Highway 66 when it skirted 40 and it is always nice to get a break from trucking traffic. We made pretty good time though and got to the lake in the latter part of the afternoon. Here’s where it is really difficult to determine trailer worthiness of sites when you reserve them online.
Level site, glimpse of the lake
I had read the site descriptions quite closely and it seemed like the site I chose in the Pinon Cliffs loop would offer a nice view of the lake, with plenty of room for Dory. When we got there, we slowly drove past the other loops as the road got narrower and less paved. By the time we got to our loop, it more resembled a wide hiking trail than a campground road. The turnoff to the sites was steep and sharply angled and I became concerned about whether I’d be able to get out once I headed down. Richard got out of the car and walked the whole loop to check it out before I committed to the turn. I really don’t think that loop is meant for trailers, although we did see one set up right across from our reserved site.
No photographic evidence was collected during aborted backing job – here’s a pretty sunset
I tried backing in a couple of times into our site, and although we technically fit, we were at such a slant that it felt I might roll. At one point, Richard attempted to build a tower out of leveling blocks. With layers five high, Dory was still tipped so far to the downhill side, there would have been no way to even unhitch. I pulled the plug at that point and was mentally preparing for driving all the way back to the Walmart parking lot if need be. Instead, we drove back through the campground, looking for an office or camp host at least. We found neither. We tried calling the number for the park and never did end up getting anything more than a recorded message.
North Campground is a much more reasonable loop than Pinon Cliffs
Luckily, down in the North Campground loop, we stumbled upon some First Come First Serve sites that were normal sites. I pulled into the first one, site 70, and was oh so done for the day. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the rejected site (37 in the Pinon Cliffs loop). Neither one of us was in the mood for documenting in that moment.
Had we gone to the North Campground first, the arrival would have been far more pleasant, with glimpses of the lake in the background and a couple of horses meandering their way around the park. But at that point, I was getting frustrated with the progress, or lack thereof, of my foot situation, and the aborted site situation did not help. I was tired, Richard was tired, and it took until after dinner to unwind.
I don’t know if this place would be a fun destination in better circumstances. It might. Certainly there were lots of other people out enjoying the lake, even thought the water levels appeared to be very low. There was some guy down at the shore, with an impressive and long projecting voice, shouting “STEVE!” so much that it made us laugh. I hope Steve found him. It seemed important.
Onward to Santa Fe. I can fill you in on the visit to Urgent Care.
Total miles: 178.0, 16.5 mpg. Site 70 First Come First Serve in the North loop. Was 37 in the Pinon Cliffs loop. Abort. Very unlevel. Good dump and potable water. Enough service for Verizon to make calls and check ReserveAmerica. Spotty ATT.