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May 19-27

May 27, 2019

Jax and I have crossed into New Mexico, crossed the Continental Divide and crossed the 1,500-mile mark since the last post! We are spending Memorial Day weekend in Santa Fe to wait for the high wind advisories to pass and to visit a ranch that my great grandfather once owned, but that I had never seen. Our family left that business during WWII, but echoes of the ranch live on in us. My Mom’s stories of her and her cousins’ adventures on the 81,000-acre San Cristobal Ranch, now owned by the Singleton family, fired my imagination as a child, made me want to be a cowboy, made me dream big dreams. I think dreams like those and the possibility they might come true are some of the most important things our service men and women have fought and sacrificed for. Gratitude for that sacrifice is why Jax and I are out here. Please consider donating to K9s For Warriors to show your gratitude to those who risked their lives so we can pursue our dreams. Okay, back to bike tour-related stories after these three photos.

Two big parts of my life: family legends from the past and my amigo who is always “right here, right now”
Jax smells 81,000 acres-worth of interesting critters
A lot of land, a lot of history, a lot of work!

Wind has been our constant companion for the last couple of weeks. We’re about as aerodynamic as a brick. A strong headwind can double the time it takes us to get to the next stop, leaving less time to find supplies and recover for the next day’s ride. We have rolled along some rough roads, over some hills, through some hail and quite a bit of rain, but the wind has been the biggest challenge. At times I’ve had to pedal hard to go 7 mph downhill.

After fighting upwind for the 40 miles from Cortez, CO to Shiprock, NM, we turned east for a relatively easier 30 miles to Farmington. During that stretch, several people honked and waved, as many have done before on this trip. I pedaled along through the Navajo Nation and wondered why they would do that. Would I do that if I drove past some dude pulling a trailer behind a bicycle? I mean, the encouragement felt nice, but what was the motivation for it? My pondering was interrupted when a truck suddenly whipped in front of me and stopped on the shoulder. A woman got out and hurried toward me with a sack in her hands. She said, “We just had a cookout and I wanted you to have these cheeseburgers and hot dogs.” It was like the Universe slapped me across the face and said “EAT. Quit asking so many questions. Here’s some delicious food.”

Her name was Darleen. She knew nothing about why we’re out here, she just saw an opportunity to be kind and took it. We talked a little, I took her picture (it’s in the video below) and she told me what to expect on the road ahead. Then I wolfed down the food, sharing some with the Mighty Jax, while we watched an angel drive away. That ended up being a 10+ hour day of riding, but it was well worth the effort.

From Farmington, we moved on to Nageezi, near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. There were no campsites or motels, but the friendly staff at the Sinclair Station let us set up camp next to their picnic tables. Then we rolled another 49 miles to Cuba, a gritty little town that people seem to use as a launching point for hiking and fishing in the Santa Fe National Forest and San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area. Both of those stretches were windy, but the next one, from Cuba to Bernalillo, almost blew us away. That was a real grinder and, to top it off, something cut through my well-worn rear tire, through the puncture-resistant Kevlar strip and through the inner tube, making a big enough hole that the latex sealant inside couldn’t do its job. All I could do was mop up the useless sealant and put in a new tube, while Jax watched and waited. Afterward, we played with a plastic water bottle Jax found by the side of the road, then we rolled on.

In Bernalillo we met up with Rob, a friend I hadn’t seen for 30 years, and his dog Gordie, the only one allowed to sit in the front passenger seat of his van. Rob is an avid backcountry motorcyclist, a board member and leader of Backcountry Discovery Routes, the owner of Trailmaster Adventure Gear and an all around excellent human being. I forgave him for his excessive dependence on internal combustion engines 😉 when he used his van to take my bike to a shop in Albuquerque to get new tubeless tires. Jax, the bike and me in the back, Gordie in the front. Rob said even his lovely wife, Peggy, has to sit in the back. For the rest of this trip, I’ll be weighing the pros and cons of adopting that policy with Tammy and Jax when we get home.😉

We caught a break on the road from Bernalillo to Santa Fe, since the route turned northeast. It was amazing to have a brisk tailwind behind us almost all the way. This area has had high wind advisories since then, with winds gusting up to 55 mph from the south, which is the direction we’re headed next. Yesterday, we had a “dry thunderstorm,” with high winds, lightning and thunder, but no rain. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to die down to 20-30 mph, so we will ride through the San Cristobal Ranch to Clines Corners and try to get back on track again. Texas is close to 250 miles away, but it feels like we’re almost there.

Jax was not very impressed by the Continental Divide where we crossed it; west of Cuba, NM

From → New Mexico

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