Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TD 2016 Never Give Up - New Mexico

Well, that was hard. My second completion of a northbound Tour Divide all done, I felt pretty good as I took my obligatory selfie at the Spray River West Trailhead in Banff and rolled towards the Fairmont Hotel ( no I did not stay there ).  I saw a moose grazing and took her picture, the second moose of the trip and then made a beeline for a hotel to get a hot shower and get out of those wet socks that I have had on for two days.
Me .. in front of Trailhead sign

Was a pretty good day, I had my only grizzly bear encounter that morning and rode in rain and slop all day long. Such a contrast from the first day on the ride, way, way back there in New Mexico, where I sat on the wooden porch of the Continental Divide Trading Post at Separ and contemplated asking someone if I could catch a ride to Tucson because I was toast.

Paul and I drove to Deming, got a hotel, supper at Blake's and early to bed. Up at 5 or so and off to Denny's and then the drive down to AW. We saw a rider right at I-10, and then some more later, turned out to be Mike and Norman Jolly. Then on to the border, out of the car, and a line up with Adam, Kevin, Michael and myself. A prompt departure at 8 am and the 4 of us go towards Canada.  The first thing I noticed is that my aero bars were completely crooked, so I had to stop, dig out the hex tool and readjust that. I thought I hydrated right and ate enough on the ride up, but by the time I got to I-10, I was bonking really badly and by the time I got to the store, I was toast. Adam was there a bit before me and handed me some ice, I drank a few Arizona iced teas and started feeling a little better, but wasted a good hour and a half.

Heading to AW

The Start
When I left a familiar thing happened, I got caught in rain. This time I wasn't lucky and I got stuck in the mud on Thorn Ranch. Enough mud that the tires on the bike would not move, just scoot along on the ground. Found a sagebrush stick, cleaned up some mud, moved along a bit and found a drier place. It was getting into the evening and it looked like more rain, so I pitched the tent some 30 miles short of Silver City and then had a thunderstorm sit right on top of me. Enough wind that a couple of stakes pulled up and I just pulled the tent pole down onto me and slept. The next morning the road had dried a little bit and I got to Silver City, ate at the Adobe, and on to the CDT.


The CDT went well, I had a minor crash in some loamy soil, and got up FR 150 into the Gila. I really like this area of the route, it's pretty, it's isolated and going northbound you still have your strength. On to the Beaverhead Work Center where the coke machine was fully operational and I met up with Mike Jolly and we rode together into the night getting to Horse Springs Church for water resupply.
Mike Jolly at Collins Park
Looking Towards Black Canyon in the Gila

Pie Town the next morning and we elected to head on to Grants with a to-go cheeseburger packed in our bags which we ate at El Malapais Monument. Always good to cross I-40, bit of a marker telling you that you are getting someplace and a room at a Motel 6 where three days of dirt get washed off in the shower.

New Mexico Apple Pie

The ride to Cuba is all pavement and went well, stopping again at Chaco Wash ( laundromat, post office, community center, general store and gas station ). Bruno's for supper and I met Bundy P and away we went the next morning into the Santa Fe forest.

I turned a corner on the pavement section close to where the campgrounds were and spied a black bear walking in the same direction as me. Had good distance and called out "hey" and got no response. Then I called out "Hey" a bit louder followed by "Bear" and he stopped, stood up, looked in my direction and left the road.  ( as if to say "you talking to me ?  ... I didn't know you were talking to me" )

That descent down Polvadera Mesa to Abiquiu ranks as one of the harder sections .. I certainly would hate to try to ride up it, with those tire grabbing cracks in the slabs of rock and sandy sections that threaten to pull you down, followed by a bunch of washed out rutted sections and a giant hole in one of the cattle guards. But getting to Abiquiu was great and Bundy had gotten there earlier and found a larger room and we split the room cost between myself, Bundy and Mike J.  We met Adam, who had trouble earlier with a pedal and was waiting a replacement.
Bundy getting setup for the night at Hopwell Lake
My House

The Coke can says "I'm on top of the world" and I am at over 10,000 feet on the Brazos Ridge
On the next morning towards Hopwell Lakes, where we camped with a chilly wind blowing. The next day we crossed the Brazos Ridge and on the descent found a family walking with 3 kids having broken the steering in their truck ... we all let some ATV riders know of their predicament and moved on towards Horca. Found the restaurant there had closed again, but a little gift shop up the street had microwave burritos and sodas, got an evening meal out of that and Mike J and I camped in a mosquito infested campground. Amazingly cold and yet the mosquitos were still moving about unimpaired.

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