Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tale of two roads

There are two roads into the boondocking area Michael suggested. One approaches from the northeast, the other from the southeast. They intersect near where I wanted to be. I was closer to the northeast road, so I took it.

The pavement ended after three miles. The next nine miles were a combination of maintained dirt, unmaintained dirt, washboard, rocky patches, sun-baked mud ruts and a couple of stream crossings.

The first crossing was in a deep wash. The brown water was about two van lengths across and I had no idea how deep. The road on either side was well-packed gritty dirt with no deep tire tracks. I could tell others had driven through, but what type of vehicles were they?

As I was considering my options (including wading in, or turning around and trying the other access road) a quad came along and drove through the water. Oh, I could make that. And I did.

After more nasty washboard and rocks, the road crossed into BLM jurisdiction and became wide and smooth. Hurray for graders and National Monument budgets.

I reached the junction with the southeast road and, not having seen any dispersed camping spots I liked, I turned. Ah-ha! There were some nice looking campsites off this road. They were occupied. There was a narrow spur road to my right. I parked and walked about a half mile up. There were a couple of spots, but none worth putting more scratches in the Rolling Steel Tent. But finally, on another spur, bingo! A great spot with a view. It was a peaceful three days.

Then, as usual, I got itchy to move on.

I continued along the southeast road when I left. I could tell, without the aid of signs or maps, when I left the monument. The dirt road instantly turned rough, rutted and lumpy. But it was smooth as a bowling alley compared to the next ten miles of pavement. Potholes, patches on top of patches on top of patches, gaping expansion joints… I think I preferred the northeast road. At least it didn’t pretend to be civilized.

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