SAN AUGUSTINE PASS, New Mexico - Marina Gandara and her son Jacob had already spent 16 hours on the road home to Las Cruces when they encountered "mud rivers" running through Organ Mountains on Sunday night.
"We got probably halfway up when there were these "mud rivers," recalled Gandara. "We did not know this at the time, but there had been a mudslide. The whole road was covered in mud."
RELATED STORY: U.S. 70 in southern New Mexico reopens after mudslides
The Gandaras had been visiting family in the Dakotas. Marina and Jacob decided to take the scenic route home, driving south on U.S. 54 through Carrizozo and Alamogordo, intending to travel west through San Augustine Pass to get home to Las Cruces.
By the time they had arrived home, they had spent close to 22 hours on the road. Marina thanked the first responders who worked tirelessly to get the road clear so they could return home.
"My mom always said, 'We'll take any rain we can get,'" Marina remembered with a smile. "I don't know if I like the mud river portion, but we needed the rain. As long as people weren't injured and they got to a safe spot, that's the priority."
WARNING! San Augustine Pass on US 70 is CLOSED. Detours are on US 54 and US 380. Overnight storms in southern New Mexico caused flooding and mud slides on various roadways. Use caution. Do not drive around barricades. Crews are clearing the roadway. #NMDOTcares #FloodingSafety pic.twitter.com/DVSKKY1UHk— NMDOT (@NMDOT) July 12, 2021