A long while ago while I was living in Las Cruces, NM I enjoyed back backing in the Gila Wilderness in southwestern NM. On one trip I was driving west of Silver City about 11 pm or so along US 180. This can be a very deserted section of highway late at night, not another car in sight for last 10 Ė 15 minutes. Anyhow, in those days I drove a 1967 Plymouth station wagon with a ski rack on the roof. On this trip as most others I had my two Weimaraners in the back end laying on a blanket covering my camping gear. Stage set now.
A car comes up fast behind me and then slows down to match my speed, what the heck? The road is long, straight, dry and no traffic- why donít you pass me??? We cruise along as a tandem driving team for a few minutes. At this point Iím noticing my headlights are getting dimmer and dimmer. I slow down to allow this guy to pass and he slows down to match my new speed. I continue slowing down, because now itís getting hard to see with my fading headlights. Well I figure my choices are limited, so start to pull over on the shoulder along a long straight section, thereís a lotís of that. Iíll just deal with what ever happens??? Anyhow at this point his red lights switch on. At least this might be better than some options late at night in the southwest. I know I had not been speeding and no traffic signals for the past 30-40 minutes, license plate good- so what?? As the officer comes up to my door, I see heís US Border Patrol. He starts to explain why they pulled me over- thatís nice. Apparently, my old station wagon and a blanket covering the rear cargo area fit the profile for a coyote, one transporting illegal immigrants. But, the ski rack and the two large gray dogs did not fit the profile. So they couldnít decide to pull me over or not for a long time. But, I made it easy for them. He politely asked what I was doing, and I explained the camping trip, gear and dog arrangement. That made him happy. At this point I decided to explain that I was having electrical problems. So all three of us popped the hood and spent the next 10 minutes trouble-shooting. We concluded that it was my alternator and since I had very little battery left to run headlights I asked them if they would serve as my headlights and lead me back eastward about 10 miles to a nearby campground. They happily agreed and with red lights going off we went as a tandem driving team again.