5. The Man On The Walkie Talkie
I lived in New Mexico for several years before moving to the Midwest. My friend, Amy, and I (both females) would spend many days exploring the remote corners of New Mexico, discovering abandoned ghost towns and enjoying the quiet, desolate beauty of the desert.
One afternoon in March 2010, we were traveling from Ruidoso to Albuquerque. Always up for exploring, we took a back road rather than traveling the more direct highway.
One leg of our journey had us on NM55. It’s a remote, teeny, tiny two lane highway. We loved those types of roads- up until that day.
This part of New Mexico is flat and desolate desert. You can see for miles. And there is virtually nothing except dirt and rock between towns- and towns can be miles apart.
So we were on NM55 going north. After a few minutes, we saw a white pickup truck up ahead of us going the same direction. Suddenly, he stopped his truck sideways in the middle of the highway- blocking both lanes. We were about a mile away from him and as we got closer, we began to get uneasy. We could see no reason for him to do this. We were the only other vehicle out there and we began wondering if we should turn around rather than come up to him and have to stop.
We were about a half a mile away from him, when he pulled over to the opposite side of the highway- but his truck was still pointed the direction we were going. We tried to relax a little. Surely, this guy was a rancher or something. Maybe he was checking something on his land.
As we passed him, we noticed a few things: 1) There was only one person in the truck- a middle aged guy who never took his eyes off us and 2) He was talking into a walkie-talkie.
A few seconds after we passed him, he pulled back onto the highway and started following us. But, he never got too close. He would get to within a few car lengths and then drop back a little and then speed back up again to within a few car lengths. We were getting nervous. We realized how alone we really were. We had seen no other traffic on that road and we hadn’t told anyone about our ‘great idea’ to take this detour. We checked our cell phones and neither one had signal- typical for remote New Mexico, but scary given our present situation.
Amy was driving, and speeding up, while I frantically checked the map, hoping to find a road that would have more traffic. There was no other road. We had to travel this one to get to the next town (Mountainair). Turning around to go back the other way didn’t seem like a good option.
After a few minutes, we saw another pickup truck coming towards us. He was going very, very slowly- maybe 20 MPH- if that. This pickup was old and beat-up whereas the one behind us was newer.
Amy had us up to 75mph (which wasn’t typical for us on these 55mph highways) and we blew by the old pick-up. As we passed it, we saw that it was another middle aged guy- and he was talking into a walkie-talkie.
After the white pick-up passed him, he pulled a U-turn and pulled in behind it.
As we watched all this, we could see the white pick-up truck guy talking into his walkie-talkie.
No doubt these two knew each other. We were being deliberately followed. And for the first- and only time- in my life, I felt hunted.
They stayed right behind us. We watched for obstacles in the road. We truly thought ‘old, beat-up pickup guy’ had set up a trap in the road and our vehicle would be disabled somehow. We talked about driving into the fields (we were in an SUV). But this was obviously ‘their territory’ and we were afraid of what would happen if we went off road and got cornered. So, we stayed on the highway.
By now white pick-up truck guy was right on top of us. We could see him talking into the walkie-talkie and he stayed right on our bumper. And old, beat-up pick-up truck guy was right on top of him. The three of us sped down the highway.
The white pick-up inched closer. His maneuvering and edging closer made it apparent that he was trying to bump us. I watched helplessly as he got to within inches of our back bumper. Amy floored it. We were passing 80mph and edging up to 90mph. The road was flat and deserted, but any little thing going wrong would have been catastrophic. We absolutely were not going to slow down or stop if we could help it.
The white pick-up pulled into the opposite lane and started to gain speed. The only thing we could think of was that he wanted to pass us and get in front of us. If he got in front of us and his buddy was behind us, then we’d be boxed in and trapped.
We looked frantically at the rocky desert on both sides of us. Our only option was to off-road it. Should we risk it? Could we speed through the desert and make it to safety in one piece?
As we topped a small incline, we saw a sign that said ‘Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument’ and it pointed towards a road on the left. And right at that moment, a blue pick-up truck pulled out of that road and onto the highway in front of us. As we came up on the blue pick-up, we saw the plates said ‘US Park Service’. We looked at each other and then looked behind us- both pickup trucks did U-turns and went the other way. We followed the blue pick-up to Mountainair and then made our way to Albuquerque.
I don’t know exactly what those guys’ intentions were, but they weren’t good. There is something seriously wrong out there. I notified the State police and they said they would keep an eye on things.
This area is very near Belen, NM which is where Tara Calico was abducted. It’s also about 100 miles from Elephant Butte, NM which is where David Parker Ray had his little secret torture laboratory. We didn’t put all that together until later. Even though David Parker Ray had died by the time this happened to us, we do believe that there are others out there like him.
And whoever abducted Tara has never been caught.
Or maybe we came into meth lab territory. But since this happened on an actual highway- rather than a back country road- I tend to discount the meth lab theory. Whatever is going on out there, it’s not good.