Monday, September 17 – Walmart Saves the Day

As we turned into the entrance at Route 66 RV Park in Edgewood, New Mexico, our spirits immediately sank: we were staring into the bowels of an old strip mine. It turned out, that was the good part.

We had left Holbook, Arizona early that morning and driven through Petrified Forest National Park, rejoining eastbound I-40 around 11:30. It was a tough day of driving. Apparently the road builders in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico haven’t quite perfected the art of joining the main road surface with the surface of bridges. The uneven unions result in a severe see-saw motion as the truck and trailer cross these thresholds. I developed an intense headache as the day wore on an no amount of aspirin could relieve my misery.

So we were thrilled when we cleared Albuquerque (where I DID remember to “toin left”) and twenty minutes later saw the exit for Edgewood, figuring in about another 20 minutes we’d be comfortably seated in our RV.

Looking at the entrance from the main road we sensed the Route 66 RV Park in Edgewood, New Mexico was a haven. It features a few very nicely done retro pieces from the heyday of Route 66. Prominently featured is a small period diner. But as soon as we left the main road we quickly realized it was a mud pit. The entire park was packed, dried mud, in many areas pocked with deep ravines from a recent heavy rain. The park was deserted but for a handful of RVs. The one building that stood out, albeit mistakenly, as the office turned out to be something of a 3-walled barn or shed. We saw no public restrooms or showers and no laundry facility.

We persevered and did find the office where a kindly older man explained that the sites are $30 a night and offered to walk me to an available site. I had to nix his first two suggestions because of the afore mentioned ravines. Cody (our RV) is already missing one of the stabilizing jacks and the others hang low enough that a good trip over a ravine or bump could relieve us of another. We finally found a pull-through site that looked reasonably level and could be safely entered without damaging our RV. But once we managed to get Cody (at a skewed angle because of the tight turn) into the site we realized a deep ravine on the exit side of the site meant there was no way to jockey forward and back to get proper positioning in the site AND that in order to get Cody out of the site I would need to back out.

After discussing other options with the manager, I suggested we might need to abandon our plans for this campground and  head elsewhere. He suggested we abandon our plans for a nightly site and consider one of several monthly sites. He showed us the available candidates and we quickly found one that looked perfect: flat, easy in and out, with minimal ravines. I easily backed Cody into the site and began connecting to the park facilities (which by now we had learned did not include cable). As I did this the manager explained that the park water is not drinkable.

Right.

He explained the water is very hard, has a bad taste, and because of high mineral content it leaves hard water residue.

We figured for one night we could put up with that. My head was pounding and the thought of driving 80 miles for another campground was not appealing. At that point I asked if Mary Ann would mind taking care of paying the bill while I finished securing the site. As she and the manager walked toward the “office” she asked if she could use Visa to which he replied: no we’re not set up to take credit cards; we are cash-only.

Between us we had $20 cash.

Mary Ann and I looked at each other. I felt so awful that we were willing to overlook the starkness of the campground. We didn’t need a public restroom or laundry room. We could get by for one night without cable TV. No picnic table at the site meant we’d have to set up our little gas grill on the uneven dried mud, but life goes on. Putrid water could still be used to flush the toilet. Not a blade of grass in the place: no biggie.

But cash-only was a kick in the pants.

I unplugged from shore power, Mary Ann and I got into the truck and we made a beeline to Walmart, 5 minutes from Route 66 RV Park in Edgewood, New Mexico, where we enjoyed a free night: free of muddy surroundings, free of a paid site, free of electricity, water and heat.

Note to Woodalls: you need to update your listing
Note to everyone else: you’ll get a kick out of Route 66

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2 Responses to Monday, September 17 – Walmart Saves the Day

  1. Curtis says:

    Could have gone to Walmart first… Just sayin!

  2. susan says:

    And Wal-Mart saves the day again. So did you get kind of dependent on Wally World while you were out west? Love the story . . . too funny!