Thursday, February 16, 2012

No cliff dwellings--and a delay

Feb. 16, 2012—The cliff dwellings will have to wait. We had planned to make the trip to see the ancient cliff dwellings in Gila National Forest yesterday. Getting there is a three-hour drive. Why so long? It is an hour to Silver City, plus another two hours to make the 44 mile drive from Silver City to the dwellings. I suspect it takes two hours because it is an almost vertical drive. I exaggerate. It is not vertical, but the road is very steep and winding. Piños Altos, a town just seven miles from Silver City, is 1,000 higher in altitude. And you just keep going up and up to get to the dwellings.

A three-hour trip to the dwellings, plus a three-hour trip back, in addition to the time we spent at the site would not have been a problem, except for one thing—the weather.

Tuesday evening the National Weather Station was forecasting snow/rain and a low of 19 degrees in the park. (Albuquerque, farther north and east got several inches of snow; I heard up to 12 in some areas.) Although it was supposed to get up to a high of 48 on Wednesday, the weather did not look promising, so we opted out.

There will be other cliff swellings to visit in the future. We intend to go back out west, perhaps in a year, during the spring or summer. Then we will stop to see the Anastazi ruins in Chaco Canyon, or one of the other sites that are open to the public.

So, the ruins were out. We spent yesterday doing housekeeping chores. I also went into Deming to make some calls to reserve RV sites for the next legs of our trip. (No cell phone coverage here at the park.) Our plan was to head out to Alamagordo and the White Sands Testing Grounds (and assorted stops), spend the night in Ruidoso, N.M., then stop in Roswell (where the aliens landed?) for a quick tour of one or more of the kicky tourist museums (such as Alien Zone) where we could buy a tee shirt. (Gotta have an alien tee shirt!) On Friday we planned to head down to Carlsbad Caverns for two nights, then off toward San Antonio for a four-night stay (after one day on the road).

Well, plans change.

It is now going on 1 p.m. and we are still here at Hidden Valley Ranch, waiting for a mechanic. We were all set to leave, when, during his “pre-flight check,” Jim discovered that we had no air brakes—a rather important thing to have. I say, “Better to discover that now, than when we were going downhill in the mountains.”

After failing to find and fix the cause of the problem, Jim called our Good Sam’s emergency road-repair number. He was told a mechanic would be here within an hour.

After waiting about two hours, I decided, just for fun, to check my e-mail. (Nothing else to do.) Good thing I did. And good thing we switched to Magic Jack telephone service at home, too. Magic Jack sends an e-mail with the voice mail attached (no need to call), each time someone leave a message. (This works even if the computer is not on.) Thank goodness! Our cell phones don’t work out here, and the office number Jim was told to give to the mechanic was a fax machine, so the fellow called our home number! Luckily I checked e-mail and listened to his request for Jim to call him. Supposedly he is now on his way.

Let’s hope this problem is a minor one and we can get out of here yet today. We’ll probably have to back up our plans by a day, but—hey—we’re retired! We can do that.

Until next time (when I’ll report on the repair),

Your Reluctant RoVer,

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