J. F. Rowan
After our Grand Canyon reservation canceled, it was almost like playing a game of “Whack-a-mole” as we searched for other camping alternatives in the Arizona area. With New England looking like it was going to close due to the Covid-19 drama, we received email invitations from a friend back home giving us options that would allow us to hunker down and camp indefinitely until things could sort themselves out. It would be a “known” set of resources and support with familiar surroundings. As one of my friends said, “Drop back to where you know.” As hard as it was, it was time to pull the plug and head east. It would be at least two months until we could get back into our condo in Mass. So a Connecticut base camp was our only option.
On April 27th, we packed the truck and pulled out of Dead Horse Campground picking a route that would take us first north on RT17 picking up RT89 east. Our plan was to stay at a hotel on the first, and last night of the trip back which would be 5 days in all. The idea being we could do laundry and showers at the beginning and the end before our hunkering down. As we traveled through Flagstaff we noticed and eerily thinning in the number of cars on the road and an increase in the number of trucks.
We had picked out the Hotel Albuquerque (New Mexico) as our first night's stop. As we entered into the city, the only thing that would have made entering any more dramatic would be a tumble rolling across the road. Street lights blinking in the middle of the day. No cars or pedestrians. Though we didn’t make reservations, our online source said several rooms were available. They might have been available at one point, but as we pulled into the parking lot, we were quickly stopped by a security guard who informed us that the hotel was closed until further notice. When asked where we could park, he shrugged his shoulders and said that many hotels were closed until you got deeper into the city. We did find a hotel about 3 blocks away. Only 20 rooms were made available but only 6 rooms that night were filled. The parking lot was virtually empty. We had begun to experience the shutting down of America. It would be a restless nights sleep before setting off in the morning. Our next stop would hopefully be an open of RV park...somewhere.