No Man is an Island…Unless He Lives Below the Wash on Paloma Trail


At least, my wife considers it an island. The Paloma Trail wash, along with the rest of our area, has been hit with steady rain for days now. Not the huge cloudbursts we often see during the monsoon months of July and August, but this long term mid-September super soaker has done what no single hit had been able to do in recent weeks.

The road across the wash is out again.

Not only that, but it’s super-slick mud right there and everywhere. Plus, it’s still raining. Pam and I drove up to see what the road (if any) was like. It was an interesting little two mile jaunt, beginning with the fact that I got our four wheel drive GMC truck stuck in the driveway before we even reached the street. It caught me off guard; I was putt-putting along and the bottom dropped out, turning putt-putt into spin-spin. Not an impossible situation, of course; I drove eighteen wheelers offroad in the oil patch for years. If I couldn’t get out of a little old mostly level driveway because of a bit of slick wet clay, then shame on me.

Once free of that glitch, we hammered on up to the wash, taking no more chances. Slickety-slide, you betcha!

That the wash would be impassable was pretty clear already. When we got there…yeah. The old road-across area, which had washed out early in the season, was pretty dramatic, sporting a taller sheer cutbank than had been there before. The wash was running, too, not a huge volume but enough to undercut a bit more bank so that we got to witness another half ton of wet dirt falling into the stream even as I was snapping photos.

The old road position across the wash on Paloma Trail, the cutbank deeper than the last time we saw it...and still raining.

The old road position across the wash on Paloma Trail, the cutbank deeper than the last time we saw it…and still raining.

Our #1 excuse for coming up to scope out the situation involved our newest (and only) employee, a part time companion for Pam scheduled to start work next Monday morning on September 22nd. She had called earlier, letting us know that she and her husband would be driving out to visit us in order to get a look at her soon-to-be place of employment. We were all excited about that…but could their four wheel drive make it through?

Uh…nope. The piece of road most recently in use had also washed away, or most of it had, leaving a smaller but still effective cutbank of some two feet in height.

The fresh new two foot cutbank guarantees no one will be crossing the wash for a while...without a helicopter.

The fresh new two foot cutbank guarantees no one will be crossing the wash for a while…without a helicopter.

We made the necessary call to head off our visitors and then headed on home, mud bogging, yee-haa!!

Like the song says, gotta get a little mud on the tires.

Then Pam checked in with her son…and Zach informed her that even if the wash had been crossable, the San Pedro River was not; Highway 92 was closed because of the bridge roadway being under water. The bridge on Hereford Road was also closed. The only route between Sierra Vista and Bisbee involved using Highway 90, adding a whole lot more miles to the trip.

The Sierra Vista Herald has a worthwhile article on the various road closures. If you decide to check it out, be sure to click on the article’s photo link. There’s an “extra photo” there that’s a dandy.

All this data is not pleasing my sweetheart. She’s feeling “trapped on an island”, worrying about “what happens if” we run out of this or that or have some unforeseen need to “get out” before the rains call it quits, the waters go down, the road dries out, and the contractor hired by our little neighborhood association fixes the crossing. It’s not a terribly logical worry; this spate should have run its course in a few more days, we have plenty of water and food, and life at the Border Fort is eminently comfortable as is. We are a tad short on gasoline for the little Yamaha generator that provides my work-all-night electricity, but no big. There’s at least enough for two more nights, the solar generator is handling most daytime power needs with no problem despite the overcast skies, and the big generators have plenty of gas in them for little chores like firing the microwave oven up for a few minutes at a time.

So no big.

But Pammie is a worrier and worry is seldom interested in logic. She may agree that no man is an island, but she’s convinced that a woman trapped on an island would be a lot better off if she could convince her husband to take flying lessons and buy a helicopter.