So, we made it across the border.
That’s where the easy part ends.
We were travelling across New Mexico and chatting on ham radio (imagine that), when Kamille made the announcement that we were in “civilization” because there was a sign for a Sonic Drive-In. It seems we were over heard by a local, who proceeded to join us on the air and shared with us some of the local lore and points of interest surrounding Tucumcari, NM. After we were no longer in range, we kept traveling west when lunch time came upon us (strange how those things sneak up, isn’t it?) and we pulled into the rest area near Santa Rosa, NM. We parked the vehicles, hopped into the Cabin and made sandwiches. After eating, all three of us settled down for a siesta in the Cabin, when we heard the most gosh-awful squeaking/grinding noise out in the lot and I saw a blue SUV towing a U-Haul drive by. I told Kamille that I was glad that wasn’t my car and that we should have clear sailing from there out, then I promptly closed my eyes and nodded off. I was awakened by a young woman who walked up to the Cabin and said, “We’re moving from NY and it looks like you’re having problems too.” Wait, what? From NY? Gonna have to find a better opening line than that; I’m from NY and cynical of any stranger who just walks up and starts talking. It turns out she wanted to borrow our jack because her husband was working on their brakes (the squeaking/grinding car) and the jack he had didn’t go high enough. I grabbed my jack and headed over when I asked about her comment regarding us having problems and she pointed to the Shack and said, “the way the axle broke, that’s tough out here.”
Wait, what? Broken axle?
Once their car was in the air, I walked over to the trailer and took a look. Sure enough, it looked like the axle was broken. Nothing to be done about it at that time, so I wandered back over to where the guy was working on his car. One look and it was easy to tell his passenger’s side front brake was toast. He called around to some parts stores, but nobody was open/had the part/would deliver. In a stroke of Christian love, I decided I would drive him back to the auto parts store in Santa Rosa. So we chatted on the drive. It turns out that Ken grew up in Syracuse, NY and met his wife while he was in the Army. Her family lives in AZ and they moved to be closer to her family so they had driven to Syracuse, filled the U-Haul and were headed to Phoenix. Long story, shortened: we got his car taken care of and they went on their way. Shortly, with nothing else to be done (remember how much help Good Sam and AAA Roadside assistance had been a few days earlier in TX?), we were also on our way with the goal of making it to Albuquerque, NM and stopping so we could make an unrushed decision as to what we wanted to do about the Shack.
Now, knowing there was a problem and not wanting to destroy my band new tires on the Shack, we headed into Albuquerque and continued to yammer back and forth on the radio. I had forgotten that it was Field Day so there were plenty of people around to keep us company. I ended up talking to a fellow who lives in Albuquerque and urged us, repeatedly, to not stop in the city as there was a crime wave that was targeting trucks (pick-ups) and trailers, especially U-Haul, cargo, or travel style. Because I didn’t feel comfortable trying to get any further along the road for a repair, I felt a bit stuck having to stay in Albuquerque to ensure I was someplace I could get a repair. Once I located a place to repair the Shack, I exercised my lifetime Good Sam membership and looked up RV resorts in the area around the repair shop. I found the American RV Resort and it had excellent ratings which made me feel that my family and property would be safe; I wish my stay had been among those glowing reviews. Instead, here’s what happened:
Upon my arrival, I was told my cargo trailer had to go into overflow parking, but that there was no overflow parking due to renting the activities hall out for a non-camper’s graduation party. I was informed that there was to be no parking on open sites, despite many guests from the graduation party having parked on open sites.
The sewer connections are not standard and modification has to be done to your adapter to get them to fit.
Overnight, bicycles were stolen from a campsite.
I was told I was fine parking my cargo trailer in a certain place and the next day was lectured about having to move it.
Because of a needed repair, I extended by a night and not 10 minutes later was told to leave as it was almost check out. I explained I had paid for another night and was then told the kids couldn’t play with the outside spray head on my travel trailer (not in the printed rules they gave me) and I was lectured about my improper sewer adapter and how I needed to modify it to fit their system (which wasn’t even in use). I was also told that I had to move my vehicle off the site, despite the rules saying one RV and one vehicle – when I explained that I parked there because of the rental the night before, the park representative said, “Well, they aren’t there now, are they? You can move.” Overall, very rude staff and they are more interested in bringing in the dollar than making happy campers. I won’t stay here again.
In their defense, the owners did reply to my review:
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review, Mark. Please accept our apologies for the difficulties you encountered during your recent visit. We do have certain guidelines in place that we ask everyone to follow so that we can ensure all of our campers have a great stay. We’ll do our best to try and communicate these in a more effective way so that future guests do not have the same experience. We hope you have a great summer camping season and wish you all the best.
When did I violate the rules, and what expectations could they more clearly express?
Because I couldn’t take any more of staying there, and I was generally fed up with New Mexico at that point, I didn’t want to wait for the repair and continue to stay someplace where it had become obvious I wasn’t wanted. We left the Shack at the Albuquerque Camping World (fine group of people and no complaints from me), and pointed everything else west again with the intention of making it to Weed, CA within the following two days – after all, we were expected to assist with ham radio support of the Mt. Shasta Old Fashioned Fourth of July.
Arizona was uneventful, but as we traveled across the Navajo Nation (looking at teepees? and dinosaurs) I couldn’t help but wonder when, in my series of unfortunate events, I would again encounter Count Olaf.