Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

This road should’ve been my cue, even though Google maps told me this route
led to Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico
99.99% of the time, Google maps serves me flawlessly well. Then there’s that other .01%. Today was one of those days. 

Remember seeing that sign up in the school counselor’s office: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably wind up someplace else?

My Prius, high-sided in the sand from the front en route to Kirtland AFB Albuquerque NM.

This wasn’t my first visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico. but my other visits were long ago, limited in scope, and brief. I’ve never been to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. I did what I usually do when I have no idea where I’m going: I plug the address into my GPS application, usually Google maps.

My Prius’ front tire, in spin position near Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

The dirt road in the middle of nowhere should’ve clued me in, but instead, I let blind obedience lead me to follow my Google map directions instead of listening to my common sense. After about two miles of gravel road which became a sand road, my GPS cheerfully chirped “you’ve arrived at your destination”—in the middle of the sandy road in front of—nothing.

My Prius, it back-end also high-sided in the sand and rear tire in spin position
en route to Kirtland AFB Albuquerque NM.

I turned around, retracing my steps, or rather, tire treads [where the sand still showed them]. As I got within sight of the paved road [about 1/4 mile off], I puzzled over which fork in the road to take. Just then, Wayne called me from the air force base. I stopped the car, answered my phone, and told him I was lost. When I restarted my car, I realized the other fork in the road was the correct one to take, and promptly high-sided my car. That’s not hard to do in a Prius; my one complaint about it is its ridiculously low clearance.

I tried to back up. My tires spun. I tried to go forward. My tires spun. I got out and looked at my car: definitely high-sided. I looked for something to dig it out or provide traction under the tires and saw: sand, sand, and more sand.

Kurt, driving away in my rescue vehicle after he made sure I was good to go. Albuquerque, NM.

I looked up and by some miracle, saw a dirt biker. I gave the land equivalent of the swimmer’s distress arm signal. He rode up to see what was going on. Daniel, the dirt-biker, tried a bit of this and a bit of that to no avail.

“Do you know anyone who could tow me?” I asked. He told me he had a truck and could probably do it. About 10 minutes later, he returned on his dirt bike, followed by the Parks and Recreation truck. “His truck is better suited,” he told me. 

“Where were you going?” Kurt, the truck driver, asked. Kirtland Air Force Base, I told them. They scratched their heads, brightened, and said, “Oh yeah, up that road [pointing the paved road] there used to be a gate to it, but it closed, maybe about three years ago.”

Within less than 5 minutes, I was on my way.

“Don’t use Google maps,” Kurt and Daniel sagely advised as I pulled away. “And don’t slow down on the sand.” I didn’t.

Thanks, Daniel and Kurt, for being my heroes for the day, and refusing any reward, and insisting it was a pleasure to help.

As far as Google maps: follow it unless your common sense tells you not to; then follow your common sense instead. But I used Waze to get to Kirtland AFB.

Tomorrow I detour off from Wayne and our RV to see family in Colorado until Monday morning and may well hold off blogging until after I rejoin Wayne on Monday eve in Amarillo Texas. If you’re keeping count, day 11 was Grand Canyon area (we camped at Jacob’s Creek) to Red Rock Arizona. I mostly just drove that day, but may post the photos of Navaho Bridge once they decide to stop playing the hide part of hide-and-seek on my laptop.