Today our friends Don and Sharon joined us on a trip to Fort Bowie, the 1880s site of the military operations that caused the surrender of Geronimo.
We drove eastward for a while, had lunch in a restored-train-BBQ-joint, and then started off for the final 30 miles to the turn-off for the park. When we got there, we discovered that the road was dirt, but seemed to be in good condition. We only had to go about 10 miles. What could possibly go wrong?
We found out what could go wrong when the mud got deeper, and the car started to slide. Having lived in the snow belt, John used his snow driving skills and quickly got us out the skid. But before long we came upon an RV, hopelessly stuck in the mud. We stopped to see if we could help -- there had been no other cars on this road, going in either direction.
The RVers were on their very first RV adventure and they didn't have a toad (towed vehicle). The husband really wanted to see Fort Bowie, so off they went in the RV. They tried to avoid the mud and ruts in the middle of the road, but found the shoulder was also too soft and got stuck. They had called the park's visitor center, and a tow truck was on the way. It arrived soon after we got there.
The truck was able to get them out, and the driver told us the road got even worse for a while, but eventually dried out. The RV had no where to turn around, so they were forced to continue on, and we decided to follow them. The RV went first, then our car, and the tow truck took the rear.
The road soon deteriorated into deep, muddy, slippery ruts. The motorhome in front of us was slipping and sliding, and we knew we were in danger of sliding off the road or worse -- we could have ended up hitting the rear of the RV if we all started sliding at the same time. But we made it through. As promised, the road dried out and became passable. After a few miles we stopped at a wide parking area for the Fort Bowie Trail Head, where we found out that the visitor center and fort were at the end of a 1.5 mile (one-way) hike! As we debated what we would do (we weren't really dressed for the hike), the tow driver caught up with us and told us a back way to get to the visitor center, which we gratefully took so we could get our National Park Passport Stamp. Most of the stamps are no where near this complicated to get!
The mountain ranges here were beautiful, and the recent rain that caused all that mud also threw some snow up on the higher elevations. We made stops on the way home for wine tasting and a hot apple pie -- made us forget about all that mud!