Last Update: 9/29/2017

Mud Bogging on Mesa de Cuba

Boggy mud puddle on Cuba Mesa, FR 88
Ol’ Vanholio got stuck twice atop a mesa in Cuba, N.M. This time his troubles was more ignorance than poor decision-makin’. At least, that’s what I tells myself!

A friend, seein’ that photo at top, had another view. He said, "Ya just keep tempting the gods of getting stuck, don't ya?" Maybe I do, maybe I do …

Well, here's what happened ...

Cuba Mesa Is a Great Camping Spot

This was my second time up at Cuba Mesa (aka Mesa de Cuba), a nice little hill outside, you guessed it, Cuba, N.M.

I like it 'cause ya got a little tree shade. It's 7,000 ft. altitude, so not too hot. It's also 15 minutes inta town for supplies, and ya got full bars on Verizon 3G and 4G. Oh, and this time a year, not too many weekend campers or hunters, so it's kinda quiet.

The dirt forest road in ain't too bad neither. Not even for my front-wheel drive, stree tired, low clearance Promaster City.  At least, not when it's dry …

Now, I did notice big ruts here'n there. But as the road was so firm and Vanholio read the soil as sandy, I figured they was leftovers from spring melt. But Vanholio was wrong – R-O-N-G wrong!

But Rain Turns Cuba Mesa Roads Into Slick Clay Mud

Tuesday night, a thunderstorm rolled it. It were a biggun, rained all night.

Wednesday mornin', Vanholio set out on his way. Didn't notice no problem drivin'. Then he came to that bog ya see in the top photo.

Them clay ruts is bigger'n ya think!
Why, I figured it'd be OK, so long as I hooked sideways ta make sure one a my tires had grab outside a puddle. But that's when I discovered the "sandy" soild up there actually is good part clay.

The van slipped, and the tires slid right down inta puddly tracks of them that went before.

I made it a ways, then lost momentum and traction. Wasn't lookin' good.

But did Vanholio panic? No, no, no! He tried doin' the forward-reverse rock. Almost made it out. But as I didn't, I didn't push the trick too far. That just digs your tires in.

Unlike the time I got stuck for three days on the big sand dune, there's was lots a good sticks around. So I took 20-30 minutes and made myself a traction bridge. That got my outta that puddle.

Then I Got Stuck Again – Taking That Top Photo!

Well, bein' a man who must tell his tale, I stopped the van to take that photo of the bog. The one at top a this post.

When I got back in the van – it's street tire tread full a clay – I couldn't make no purchase on forward. Just started diggin' myself a new hole, until the van's front bumper was hittin' straight mud!

So I got out AGAIN, dug the mud outta my way with my hand-pick. Then shoved some more sticks under the front tire. That got me goin' again.

Thankfully, I was pointin' downhill! Otherwise, I doubt it woulda worked!

Fishtailed My Way Off That Mesa – Like a Pro

Once I got movin', damnit, I sure as fuck didn't stop again. No sireee!  Nah, instead, I took it fast and slippery down the rest of the mesa, fishtailin' the whole way.

I kid you not, that damn van's back end was slippin' out near 30 degrees at times! Near as bad as drivin' on ice. And the whole fuckin' time, I was workin' to keep slippin' back inta others' ruts and the drainage ditches.

Made it off with no more problems. But I tell you what, it was a close fuckin' shave! Vanholio deserves some kinda performance drivin' award!

Bottom Line on Boondocking Mesa de Cuba?

Great place to camp. But if there's rain, stay down by the highway! Unless ya gotta 4WD and like mud boggin', that is.

Cover of "All the Whores I Knowed Before" a book by Vanholio! For sale on Click through.

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  1. Mud and I don't have a good history together.

    1. The mud remembers you fondly.

    2. Even though I said some abusive things about it.

  2. Anonymous1.10.17

    emergency strap chains for cars. works for me. have a pair in my van for 40 years. buy them at the farm store. ice cream. raz

    1. Chains for mud, not just snow and ice ... Damn, I coulda had a V8!