The Road from Marshall Pass toward Salida, also known as The Land fo Milk and Honey. We will take a rest break in Salida and EAT PIZZA
We started running into the racers about a week ago, yeah thats right there are some folks out there crazy enough to race this route. The winner finished with an average of 170 miles a day and set a new record of 16 days! Most of them are in a hurry and don't stop for too long but I got a photo of Max Morris who is currently in 23 place. Best of luck to all of them.
Holy Moly! Gorgeous scenery heading up to Carnero Pass. AND an easy grade. what more could we ask for?
Our first GDMBR sign outside of Del Norte, Co. Immediately after this we get lost... Is there a connection?
Sitting on Stumps. 'Nuf said.
Summitville, before Indiana Pass. This is an EPA Superfund site. Horrendous mining practices destroyed this area, particularly the water ways. There is now a clean-up effort underway. MMMM, the water looks likes gatorade. perhaps we can fill our water bottles here? No! No drinking the water! It's got cyanide in it!
Heading up to Indiana Pass at 11.910 feet. The air gets thin up there, making it hard to breathe.
OK... so this is a bit of a long story so I will make it short. Steven Flowers is his name and he helped us out big time. In the next few pictures you will see us crossing a creek, we were lost but we didn't know it at the time. It turns out that we missed a turn and went down a different watershed than we should have, this brought us into the middle of nowhere. We were already stressed on food so getting lost was not the best move. Well almost nowhere, lucky for us we happened to run into the historic Cumbres Toltec railway at the Oiser creek station. Even luckier, the Osier Creek station is where Steven Flowers lives in the summers and prepares lunch for the train passengers. He hooked us up with an amazing Thanks Giving quality meal and his cousin David gave us a ride over a mountain and out to a highway where we would be able to get back on route. Many, many thanks.
Ah yes. Another failed creek crossing. We were bold, but the bottom was rocky.
Following the river into Platoro, CO
Aaron heading uphill toward Brazos Ridge. This Road just kept getting worse. This photo doesn't even come close to showing the madness of road erosion in New Mexico.
Gatorade Powder +Snow = Gatorade Slushies.
Many beautiful high elevation meadows along the way.
Cruising through the Aspens. Life on Easy Street.
We have taken refuge in the shade of many a tall beautiful Ponderosa pine.
...and the shade of old cabins. We sure do love our shady rest breaks.
Aaron? Is that you? No! It's Aaron's dog twin visiting our pirate camp spot outside of Canon Plaza.
The summer store is in a tiny town and is absolutely amazing. It started out as a summer lemonade stand for Joe and Silvia's children 15 years ago. The kids have grown and moved away but Joe and Silvia still keep it open and love to chat with the passing fisherman and cyclist. The summer store provided us with some of the best snacks and cold drinks of our trip, definitely some of the most memorable. Thanks Joe and Silvia.
We rode to the Abiquiu Dam to camp. The road there was REALLY stressful because it was paved and had heavy traffic. Lots of RVs towing boats. Anyway, somehow we survived and arrived at the Resevoir with time to swim. The Amazing camp hosts gave us cold water upon arrival. Later, the host came to our tent site with rocky road ice cream in waffle bowls. We are truly spoiled.
Bocci ball with some wild growing gourds that we found roadside.
Aaron crusing downhill. He likes to go fast! Too Fast!!!!!! This was a beautiful hill to go down, though the hot sun was not so delightful. We will make it to Abiquiu, the home of Georgia O'Keefe.
Campsite for the night and a HUGE meadow, half a mile across and one mile long near the top of the mountain. Not a single soul to be seen, save a few Elk snacking on some grass on the other side. Glad we have rice and beans for dinner.
Ah! The top of the climb... Looks easy doesn't it? Well, sometimes it is...at this moment we were semi-lost. A road was unmarked and we were sure to take it. It headed downhill, which is always appealing....but if we are wrong and have to back track, that is not so appealing. I often wonder if I should better document these moments when we are lost and looking at a fork in the road. It never seems like a good time to take a picture in the moment, but from now on I will show the truth of this ride through the photos! No more amazing views!
Aaron heading up a gnarly steep and bumpy road in the Santa Fe Forest.
It's Aarons's B-day and we have our first rainstorm. Luckily we are in the trees so we find shelter under this ponderosa pine. Snacks for everyone!
After leaving Cuba, we see this sign! We love us some Mountainous, unimproved roads! The first 10 miles are paved and then we hit the dirt as we enter the Santa Fe National Forest, which is totally gorgeous.
After our fifth continental divide crossing so far it was all down hill through this beautiful canyon into Grants, NM
On our way back out from our camp site we noticed a set of tracks right on top of our tracks. Yeah! That's a bear. Good thing we hung our food.
Share the road
Aaron rides over an old Lava Flow in the El Malpais Conservation area. Rugged terrain and very beautiful. Dont get burned, Aaron.
The stretch from Pie Town, NM to Grants, NM has very little water. Though we stocked up before we left Pie Town, it would be nice to get more. Our map says there is water at a windmill on the way. Little did we know there would be a Donkey guarding it. Aaron tries a second pass at sneaking to the water hole and evading the Donkey's clutches.
Some nice old cabins and churches along the route.
We're on the dirt and we are really excited.
Chip, the great divide racer, had told us about The Toaster House in Pie Town, NM. It's an amazing house that anyone hiking the Continental Divide Trail, or biking the GDMBR can stay at for free. With pizza, ice cream, showers, kittens...amazing. Thanks to Nita for makign this place happen.
Aaron finds a stick-bug outside of the magical Toaster House in Pie Town, NM.
On the way to Glenwood, as we sat in some shade, a pick-up pulled over. The gentleman driving finished listening to his song and then gently laughed. Green was his name. His wife owns the Super Salve Company that operates out of Mogollon, NM. He gave us the whole productline! We look good. Oh Yes. We look good
We begin to see the smoke from the Gila Fires, South of Glenwood. Not looking Good.
Hanging out with William and Chip in Silver City, NM. William is an adventure cycling trail angel, letting us shower up and rest before heading north to evade the fires. So far the smoke has not been too bad. On the left is Chip, a great divide racer. He will be leaving from Antelope Wells, NM at the border on Friday the 8th to start the race. The racer's typically do about 100-150 miles per day and finish the route in 20 or more days. INSANE!!!!!
At the Silver City Co-op, we gather supplies, including Kale from Route 1 in Santa Cruz! Long way from home.
Copper Pit Mine outside of Silver City, NM. One of many.
We made it to Hanover, outside of Silver City. It was a really hard climb, but there was some fun coasting on the way. Dave fed us gobs of pizza and pie and in the monring, breakfast burros. We parted ways, but not perhaps for the last time.
Alright! We finally got on the train to New Mexico! But, when we arrived at the train station in San Jose, CA we were informed we could not remove our bikes from the train in Lordsburg as we planned. The next closest staffed station was in El Paso, Texas. Should have researched this better! But, it all worked out. We changed our ticket and made it to El Paso Late Satyrday afternoon. Temps were in the high 90s and immediately after leaving the train all moisture was sucked from our bodies.
First the bikes go on the bus...
...then they go on the train.
We started riding North West, back toward Silver City, NM where we could pick up the trail on the GDMBR. El Paso seems pretty gnarly, but to be fair we were probably just on the main strip mall drag. And it was a drag...
Our first camp on the outskirts of El Paso on the site of a future housing development. We were up at 5:30 AM (way to go Aaron!) to make our escape before the construction workers showed up.
We finally make it to New Mexico, still on a road we never planned to ride on. It's good to be flexible when bicycyle touring. Another tricky thing is that we didn't have any maps for this portion as it was unplanned and no access to maps or internet. Luckily, we called in some brothers to help: Tommy, Cody, and Patrick. Coulnd't have done it without their help.
Our second pirate camp on the edges of the Rio Grande. Good swimming too! Coyotes yelped at night!
North of Las Cruces, NM. We begin to see evidence of the smoke from the Gila Forest Fire.
The dry ground beneathe the Pecan groves. Lots of pecan orchards in this part of New Mexico. These trees provided many moments of good shade in the 100 degree heat.
We even rode through some orchards for a bit to hide from the sun. Plus we were just itchin' for som off road ridding.
Yes, a camel.
and a donkey... best friends club.
Stefanie's Bane: 5 flat tires so far, all from this evil plant.
You can't tell, but Aaron is actually emptying 30 or more cockroaches from my pannier. MMMMmmmm.
Third pirate camp! YES!!!!! On the shores of Lake Caballo, another excellent swim spot.
This was a HARD day. We left Caballo Lake at 7 AM and finally made it to Hanover, 15 miles East of Silver City, by 8 pm. Lots of climbing. I'm guessing 5,000 ft. Luckily there was pizza at the end!