Sunday, December 6, 2009

Segment 9. Durango, CO, to Silver City, NM, Nov. 17 to Dec. 7, 2009, 672 miles, 6133 cum. miles.

This map shows our route up through 12/9/09...
Here´s Jason doing some alcohol stove cooking (bean/quinoa burritos) in a motel room in Grants, NM. This is a big advantage of alcohol stoves: no poisonous fumes and no odor.
In Grants we treated ourselves to one of our favorite meals on the road: all-you-can-eat buffet.
Round one:
Round two:
Round three:
The aftermath:
Sunset in Zuni Canyon leaving Grants...

Reunited with Cass, a British cyclist whom we had already met in Alaska and Montana. Here we have reencountered the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route after a month long detour due to snow and extreme cold in most of Colorado´s portion.
Jason repairing a flat.


Along the Chain of Craters Byway there was great dirt road cycling and some cool lava formations...

... as well as beautiful and remote New Mexican scenery...




In this section we crossed the CDNST again several times...

... and enjoyed some great open-space cycling...

The following photo commemorates a special night on the trail. The previous night had reached 0 degrees Fahrenheit and we hadn´t slept very well, so on this night (also 0 degrees) we instituted an all-night fire vigil, in which we took turns stoking the fire over 2.5 hour shifts, while the other two slept. During our respective shifts, Jeff repaired a flat tire (at 4 AM, in o degrees, a sort of record for him); Cass watched a movie on his laptop; and Jason listened to a David Grisman concert on his I-pod.

Arrived in Pie Town, NM after the all-night fire vigil, we encountered some nice folks who welcomed us heartily from the cold. We also encountered the Toaster House, a thru-hiker and thru-biker haven which is at a crossroads of American long-distance adventures (CDT, GDMBR, coast to coast cycling, etc.)

The following photo is an inspired and very accurate depiction of the sensation that a wayward cyclist experiences upon entering Pie Town and the Toaster House. The picture is from the journal that most guests sign upon staying.The next photos are from a Thanksgiving Day mountain bike ride that we took in the Datil Mountains just east of Pie Town... here Cass is struggling up a steep, loose and rocky ascent...


Here is Anna, an Australian cyclist who we met up with in Pie Town and who will accompany us into Mexico.


Our return ride to Pie Town that day took us through the Sawtooth Mtns., where we lost the track and rode open country for a spell in amazing light. Moments later we saw a herd of approximately 15 bull elk charging across open country (too fast to photograph) leaving a wake of dust, just ahead of sunset.

This was the scene for Thanksgiving dinner (we did potluck style at Pie-O-Neer Cafe) (photo Anna Kortschak)...

Our favorite pie from Pie Town: oat pecan crumble... (photo Anna K.)

One of the residents of Pie Town: roadrunner, or correcaminos.


Kathy and Stan from the Pie-O-Neer Cafe, two of our wonderful hosts in Pie Town.
The bearded fellow on the left is George, who had just completed the 3200 mile CDT. Coincidentally, he had thru-hiked the AT the same year as Jeff (2001). When our food box didn´t arrive in Pie Town via the USPS, he helped us out with a fair amount of trail food.The ride south from Pie Town started well enough...



(photo Anna Kortschak)


... but a winter storm was on its way in...

First we rode through cold and mist (after a night rain) through the plains of St. Augustin...

(photo Anna Kortschak)

... and then we climbed up into the Gila mountain ranges...


... where horrible mud stopped us dead in our tracks without warning, while strong winds brought snow flurries...

We found a little shelter for a lunch break...
... but the storm hit in mid-afternoon for real.
Unfortunately, Jeff´s chain broke after the onslaught of rain, mud, snow, and ice, and he was forced to do repairs in the teeth of a snowstorm... (photo Anna Kortschak)

(photo Anna Kortschak)

Late afternoon found us in this amazing landscape close to the Gila Wilderness...




... and evening found us camped here.
(photo Anna Kortschak)

The following day featured more high adventure: (photo Anna Kortschak)

Here Anna is displaying some hard-earned bruises from a fall in sand that had happened on our first day out of Pie Town.
This is the Wall Lake Road, and the cycling was world-class...


... but the following morning we were back in snow climbing out of Rocky Canyon and up towards the continental divide.
This tree is an alligator juniper:


Some well-deserved views after completing the Wall Lake Road:

And then we headed off on a side trip to Gila Hot Springs. The photos below are of the Gila Wilderness from above...


First we soaked for 4 hours in the evening...
... and two more in the early morning...


There was some amazing rustic art at the Gila Hot Springs.
Here are our bicycles upon waking after a night of below-10 degree temps at the hot springs. Covered in ice...
And this is Alan Campbell, who along with his wife Carla, was our generous host at the hot springs.


Sunset during our evening descent into Silver City, NM.

The mural in the plaza at Silver City.
The BikeWorks, a fantastic community bicycle workshop in Silver City...
... where Anna replaced her handlebars and straightened her front rack which had been bent in her aforementioned fall.
This is Jamie, our animated host in Silver City, at the start of a mountain bike ride just outside the town.
Mountain biking in an old mining site... it seems made for mountain bikes...


The house we stayed at in Silver City is also a giant puppet workshop!
Jeff celebrated his birthday with a singletrack ride along the continental divide...
... as Jamie led the way...
... but was confounded by this chain problem, due to an inopportune and puzzling collision with a rock, a root, and a chain that had been worn slightly too long.

2 comments:

whileoutriding said...

just to clarify. I wasn't 'struggling' up the rough descent. I was cleaning it with power and poise (-:

Anonymous said...

u gringo's be careful in mexico.