I was supposed to be in Colorado by now with great photos and memories from having visited Area 51 and Route 66, but the heat and a few restless nights left me a day behind schedule. Woody Allen once said “life is that thing that is happening to you while you are busy making plans.”
For the most part, my life has gone as planned, but there have been some adjustments along the way. As I was told by a friend with a background in electrical engineering, always include the “x factor.” In layman’s terms, what could go wrong, will. But, spending an extra night in Texas turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
After 433 miles, we arrived in New Mexico. With limited cell reception and sites such as www.reserveamerica.com & www.recreation.gov spewing out incorrect information, we knew that Clayton State Park was home for the night but we didn’t know what to expect.
The ride in was spectacular; an empty road about 12 miles off the main road. When I arrived to the ranger station, I was greeted by wild rabbits and deer. The newbie campers that we are, we were disappointed to find no sites with electrical or water hookup according to the campground map. Anny was not looking forward to primitive camping, but I was tired from riding in the heat and even though it was only 12 miles into the park, it was the longest 12 mile ride of my life. I made it clear there was no way I was leaving the park to search for a hotel, especially with the view we had. While our site was primitive, the restroom area was only a 5 minute walk away, and with a fire pit, we could cook anything. Electricity would be needed for coffee in the morning, but I can brew the coffee in the bathroom while I showered. In addition, since we finally got out of Texas, I knew at night it would be chilly and I would get a good night’s rest.
Our view is one that I still daydream about and Anny still mentions. On this trip we visited beautiful parks, but Clayton was special. We were secluded, surrounded by the mountains, overlooking the lake, and surrounded by wildlife. Watching the sunset just behind the mountains while eating a perfect cut of filet mignon wrapped in bacon, portablella mushrooms, farmer beans, and a cold Heineken, not only made this my favorite location of the entire trip, but probably my favorite ride ever.
With the cool weather, we slept for the first time without the rain cover. With city lights hundreds of miles away, the stars lit up the sky like thousands of LED lights. I have few regrets in life and only one regret on this trip; that I did not record the sky with time lapse photography. It was one of the most beautiful skies I have ever seen.
To sleep, we rolled the truck back towards the lake on a decline, to the point that getting out of the truck was easy as you would slide down without effort. At times I thought the truck would slide down the mountain. But the view when we woke up as you see in the photo, was breathtaking. The only thing that surpassed the beauty of our surroundings was being awaken at night by a pack of coyotes being territorial with another pack. Even a photo taken by Anny appears “spiritual” in nature. I haven’t researched it, but I’m assuming this area was once home to the Native Americans. It may explain our strong attachment to the land.
I enjoyed this trip like you cannot even begin to imagine. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat, but if I was only given a chance to visit one place again, it would be Clayton, New Mexico. I hope I can find the time to visit there again, this time, spending more than one day.
There are few moments in life where all the stars align and everything is perfect. Visiting Clayton, New Mexico was one of those times.
Plan as much as you like, but welcome any changes with open arms, it’s usually for the better.
total miles traveled- 2,187.
For more pics, click below.