And before my time runs out, I want to extend a HUGE THANKS to a few of my friends for sending us a bunch of goodies! Kelley, Ed and Toby have sent us care packages in the past couple of days and our food bags went from only containing peanut butter, Ramen, and oatmeal to Snickers, cookies, Pop Tarts, granola bars, beef jerky, Clif Bars, and most importantly liquor!
So we woke up in Apache Canyon the next morning just on the south side of the CO/NM border. It was a beautiful morning but unfortunately we were so far down that we didn't get any sunlight until we began riding. The first day of riding in New Mexico was not quite what I expected. I had anticipated cactus and lizards to line the road and to see tumble weeds bouncing by. Instead the scenery was much like Colorado but with the worst roads we have seen so far.
Today's ride brought us up and over the Cruces Wilderness and through the rolling hills of southern New Mexico. We were rolling to a crest for lunch when we heard a strange sound. It was one that was familiar to me but not really to Nat. I looked at his BOB tire to reveal our first flat, bummer. We pulled the tube out to reveal a small hole most likely caused by a thorn or the rough road we had been riding all morning. A quick patch job, delicious PB&J, and we were heading up the road to Hopewell Lake. It was nice to pull in just as the rain started.
The next morning started with a short climb followed by a nice, long descent. We lost about 2000 ft in a matter of 8-9 miles and when we got out of the woods, there lay the New Mexico I was picturing. The sky seemed to go on forever and there were cactus and canyons all around us. Before long we were in El Rito and it was lunch time. I was hoping they had a store so that I could get a bag of chips and some ice tea. What we found though was ten times better. It was a little hole in the wall restaurant called El Farolitos. They had $4 burritos and trophys everywhere claiming the best green chile in the state. We both sat down and ordered immediately. The thought of a day without PB&J was enough for me to order two burritos while Nat tried the quesadilla and a burrito. They were of course phenomenal and left of full as we left for the night's destination of Abiquiu.
I would like to forget the experience we had in Abiquiu but it basically involved camping at a camp area without bathrooms and very very unpleasant hostesses. Also Nat getting a thorn in his front tire in the first 5 minutes of riding. So the next day we got up and climbed what we thought was going to be a very difficult climb. Our guide booked warned to take the whole day to go the 23 miles to the top of the climb. Well it ended up taking us all day but mostly because of the weather. The climb itself was quite pain-free (in comparison) and we made it into a little camp spot in the woods by about 3pm. We got setup just as the rain stopped and had an early dinner before making a little campfire and heading to bed. It rained hard that night and made the roads pretty messy for us the next morning.
We again began the day the climbing to finish the last 5 miles of the climb from the previous night. Our goal was Cuba, NM which was only about 50 miles down the road and we knew we could easily make once the roads dried up. By about lunch the roads were dry enough to get some good speed up and really push to get over the climb. As always there were some cows to greet us at the peak and as we are finding to be true about NM, horrible roads to head down to get to Cuba.
Right outside of Cuba, I got my first taste of the flat tire blues. I had a staple sticking through the tire and into the tube. The problem with this is that we were being chased by a nasty storm cloud so I rode it flat the last two miles until I could get under some cover. To make matters worse, Nat was striking out everywhere he was calling to find us a place to camp. He then tried to call some motels to see what prices looked like in town. The thunder was starting to rumble and as I finished patching my tube, I heard his voice sound a little more upbeat. He had found a room for $38 that had a shower (we were going on a week at this point without one) and HBO. It couldn't be beat! We quickly rode over and checked in as the rain really began to fall. I was finally able to call some people back home and as I walked back in the room, saw that the Sox had won their afternoon games. Maybe things were looking up.
We walked next door to try and find some nachos and margaritas. We ended up going back margarita-less but some good nachos in our tummys. Not a worry though as there was a convenience store on the other side of us and we were able to get a 6-pack of Fat Tire Ale. As we sat down to a nice cold beer, I turned on HBO to see what was on. To my joy, Little Miss Sunshine was just starting (one of my favorite movies). The day that seemed like it was going to turn out another disaster turned out to be perfect.
Well time is running out here so that is it for now. We are hoping to be done in a little more then a week and hopefully can give you guys a couple more updates! Thanks for the comments as always and look forward to reading more at the next stop!
-Keith and Nat