I succumbed to the "black pit of despair" in the early morning hours, in a cold sleeping bag, lying in wet grass in front of a restaurant just into Colorado. Do I continue on to Platoro, just 22 miles up a forest road and move on from there, or do I ride back up 9 miles of La Manga Pass, and 21 more, over to Chama, NM and see if I can get to Santa Fe to fix my bike someplace ? My already weak front brake was making a new noise the afternoon before and I was using almost only rear brake, but I might have been able to overcome that and get to Salida in three or four days and get it fixed. I sat for three or four minutes, at the intersection of FR150 and 17 and thought, and then turned up La Manga and that was the end of my Tour Divide ride.
So here is the story of my trip through New Mexico ( at least I got one State done ! )
We had started 10 days before, on June 13. Paul drove me to Antelope Wells, NM, leaving Tucson around midnight and getting there at sunup. We meet Big Dave, Brian, Mike and Tim, there would be five of us starting north. Gear got loaded, tires got their last pump and at about 6:25, Dave said a prayer and the five of us started out. I fiddled with my GPS for a minute or two and Tim was doing something behind me and Dave, Mike and Brian were ahead. I soon discovered that staying up all night was a bad idea and by the time I got to I-10 my energy was down quite a bit. Tim rolled past me into Separ, and I got there as a couple of the guys were leaving and that would be the last I saw of any of the other TD riders.
Went inside the trading post, got myself a Fanta, went back outside, stretched out on the wooden bench and woke up about an hour later ! Guess I needed the rest. The sky had changed and some monsoon activity was starting and it was time to hit the dirt road across from the trading post and get on to Silver City. After a few hours, the monsoon finally overcame me. The wind was too strong to ride in, and then it was too hard to push the bike in, so I got to dig out my rain gear, to sit next to a bush and try to keep warm in a freezing driving rainstorm. It was pretty spectacular and left the road nice and muddy, making for slow going for the rest of the afternoon. Darkness was starting to fall and I was only about 3 miles from the paved highway, but another storm hit and I camped out with the cows overnight, with a bit of hail added in for good measure !
|Monsoon is building !|
|Huddled in the middle of nowhere !|
|Clear for a bit after the rain|