Day 66. 45.39 miles. We finished!!! Larry and Mimi arrived last night and Larry made omelets for dinner in the community house. We Slept in the camper in Hatchita. Fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast thanks to our camper friends. We headed out just after 7:30 am as we hoped to avoid the wind later in the day. It was a flat ride. Smooth road. 2 toilets and a chair in the desert. 4 dead Rattle Snakes. 2 live ones. Saw signs for Buffalo. One dead coyote. Mimi and Larry drove past with 21 miles to go. Lots of border patrol vehicles going by, some with horses and four wheelers. Tara laid in the road to prove it was the least driven paved road in America. (See photo…) she is still alive. We stopped for lunch. Nice weather. The wind picked up a little but it never became a tough wind. We saw a helicopter and then we could see a long line across the horizon which turned out to be the border wall. As we approached the border Mimi and Larry were there and Mimi was ringing the cowbells. We had a photo session and stripped down our bikes so we could pick them up for border sign photos. It took a while for us to organize all the gear and bikes on the camper and then we headed towards Tucson. We stopped at the Dairy Queen and camped at Crazy Horse. Larry and Mimi made a great dinner and we enjoyed it outside as the evening was warm and beautiful. Tara, would you do it again? Yeah! But on a mountain bike!
On top of the world…..
Day 65 Record day for miles. 80 miles today to total 2,683.6 miles. One day left!!! We rode our bikes down the hallway to exit the Motel 6. For our $52 room, Lois became the maintenance man, cleaning drains and unclogging the toilet. She’s one of the most self sufficient people in the world and a great asset on an adventure for addressing all issues head on! Stopped at the Javelina Cafe for coffee before leaving town. As we left Silver City we bushwhacked up the bank to get onto the trail. Had to remove pickers. First few miles were up and we stopped and chatted with a few members of the SC Bike Club. Then we went down and down which is always fun. We turned onto the dirt road for the planned rest of the day. The gravel road was in good shape and we passed a large horned bull and a donkey and lots of cows. I’m still talking to them. We arrived at the Separ trading post. Historic and stupid expensive $$$ we had ice cream and snacks and decided to go another 27 miles to Hatchita. The first 7 miles from the trading post were on the frontage road that was all washboard. It was sad that our last dirt section sucked. 🤬 then we road 20 miles on the quietest paved road in America. There were only a couple vehicles but of course the ones that passed were fed ex and border patrol vehicles. We arrived in Hatchita and had instructions to stop at the store to get the key to the community center. A couple of boarder patrol agents were there with a trailer and horses. And big guns. The community center had food, cots and a flush toilet. Spacious. And a stage just calling out for a performance. As I sat outside talking on the office with John, and man in a truck with a big knife stuck in the back of his pants stopped and offered us some fresh carrots, peppers, and squash. Then he just drove off. We await the imminent arrival of Mimi and Larry in a camper.
Day 64. Zero miles. 1,365,765,678 calories. Being grateful for our lives, this adventure and refueling in Silver City for the last 2 day push to the Mexico border. Not much to say except we all tried many of the local eateries. These are the photos of my refueling tour of Silver City. Breakfast out. Yoghurt and sparkling water in the room, then an ice cream snack before lunch. Then we discovered an artist lady with the great cookies. Then we had pizza and sparkling water for lunch. We hadn’t seen Lois and Jon all day but they knew we were in town from the cookie lady. How did the four of us happen to interact with the same cookie lady? We met them in the bar for root beer floats and beers. Then we went to the grocery store- cookies and pop corn for an after lunch snack and to pick up lunches and fruit for 2 days. We ended the day at Domino’s Pizza. I have worked hard today to replace the butt that fell off at mile 58 yesterday. It is critical if I’m going to make it to Mexico. I did buy a new lightweight titanium spork to feed myself on future adventures. I have a plastic one but I had already broken one of the plastic ones and it has become THE most critical piece of gear!! Some shots of town with lots of murals. We are in the desert now too. And the guys at the bike shop were nice too loosen my pedals in preparation for packaging up my bike for the flight home. I have a good life, great friends and am starting to think about returning home to John and my family. Very grateful. Larry and Mimi will meet us tomorrow night to share our last day and arrival into Antelope Wells on the border. Our ride tomorrow is about 50% on dirt and 50% on pavement. The forecast is for sunshine. Mixed emotions as this great adventure moves into the last few days.
Day63. There can be too much of a good thing. (Not really, we are just complaining for fun.) 64 miles on the road today and my butt fell off and we left it in the ditch at about mile 58. We all prefer to be on the trail but with all the rain, it wasn’t an option. We left Jon of the hook with his promised performance last night as Tara and I had planned a rendition of “Bicycle Race-I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike” by Queen. We were going to sing and ride around the indoor pavilion but we started late and because it was dark, I had a strap dangling off my bike that wrapped into my axle and rear brake. Failed performance, which was great because I can’t sing. Tara, like a true performer, carried on. …while the audience came to my rescue and extracted the strap. Tara then also quit the performance. Before bed, Lois gives us the update on how many million hours we will be in our tent before sunrise. Generally it is 11-12 hours until daylight. Sounds torturous until we lie down and can’t get up. We had read about seeing javelinas in this location and that they smell like a skunk. In the night, the pavilion smelled like skunk. I think the javelinas were about and we smelled the same odor a couple times today in the ride. We stopped at the trading post before heading out and had a couple breakfast items. The early part of the day seemed like the opposite of our previous days. Generally it has been clear in the morning and clouding up and raining in the afternoon. Today it was cloudy in the morning with big breaks of blue sky. We all wore our tights until late afternoon. We stopped at a gas station in Cliff, the only thing in Cliff besides a few houses for lunch. They had a nice picnic table in the shade where we could observe the tall cowboys because of their boots. That also had real spurs. The morning was comfortable, we climbed out of Glenwood and looked at all the rivers, some with water and some without. Muddy brown from all the rains. The afternoon was a long, long grind. We smelled the javelinas but only saw a dead one on the road. The last approximately 25 miles was all up hill into Silver City. Did I say it was a long grind? We went over a continental divide crossing and barely had the energy for a celebration dance. The last 2 miles were downhill going into Silver City. We stopped at Dairy Queen and then mustered up enough energy to go into the grocery store before heading to our fancy motel 6 for the night.
I talk to the coWs. Really.
Day 62. 39.3 miles before the rain showers. Reserve to Glenwood. I talk to cows. Every time we pass them. Good mooooorning or please mooooove out of the road. They almost always respond to me, either looking intently at me or verbally responding. Lois thinks I’ve lost it. But she really knows I never had it. I’ve always been weird. Tara knows it and still spent 2 months with me in a single tent! Hunters left early. The first one at 5 am. The road in Apache Creek was flooded last night and the hunters were discussing whether they could get through this morning. On our ride, we Climbed up through a winding canyon and saw our first Yucca plants. The downhill was a great reward and Lois ran over a tarantula by mistake. The rivers that were all dry 2 days ago are now roiling brown muddy flows. Stopped in Alna but decided to pass on a second breakfast, as we thought the Glenwood Tavern would be the location to while away the rainy afternoon. That was a mistake as the Tavern is not open on Mondays. Went to the Glenwood post office to mail a few cards and Talked with the clerk about accommodations in “town”. We decided to “camp” at the town park. We stopped at the trading post to inquire about a room but it was out of our budget. Our Canadian friends are paying 1.38x us due to the Canadian exchange rate! Yikes!! We had lunch hanging out at the trading post and started to the park just as it started to sprinkle. We saw a few deer on the one mile trip up to the park. The local RV park had told us the town park had a covered gazebo so we could get out of the rain. As we approached the park there was no gazebo in sight…… but it actually had an open sided building with picnic tables! Tara used one to share a hip flexor stretch. We are going to sleep on the carpeted stage! Dry! There are water spigots so we have all the water we want!! Jon went to use the nature bathroom and found some new prickers. (See photo.) Tara and I used the swing set and slide after the rain stopped. We rode back to the trading post for some snacks before dinner to kill some time. (I already ate the Thai pasta from Mimi as an early afternoon snack….) Tara is starting to think about her new job that will start a couple weeks after we return home. Mimi and Larry and coming to Antelope Wells in a camper to pick us up. We are hoping to be able to give John and Lois a ride to the train station. 3-4 days left and we will begin our journey home. We are headed back to the the park with our dollars shortly for Jon’s promised adult dance performance tonight. Pictures tomorrow! Stay tuned!
Day 61. 0 miles. In Reserve, NM. Waiting out the weather today. Before breakfast we deliberated to go or not to go. To ride or not to ride. To risk the weather and ride in the rain or to lounge in a hotel room all day. Started with a normal” trail “ breakfast in the room. Then walked to town for a coffee for Tara. Well, we were in a restaurant so I felt compelled to give them business and I had a second breakfast. Great biscuit with lots of butter. We stopped into a small store and the town was redeemed. The shop had everything a hiker, biker, or Hunter would need: Even slime for tires, dehydrated refried beans (doesn’t everyone need those!!), elk call whistles, jewelry, ice cream and anything you could want! Catering to the clientele. When we left there was a huge black sky overhead and the crows were watching the storm arrive. We walked to the post office to buy a stamp and realized it was Sunday. Then the rains and hail came down!!!!! Wow! We were then at the ATM and stayed under its shelter, with just our feet getting wet as the streams ran down the roadside. When it let up a bit, we ran across the road to another grocery. We got junk food and cocoa. Walked back to the Mountaineer motel and had cocoa (with marshmallows) in bed (and were glad We didn’t ride today) and made phone calls. Rain day chores include washing mold out of water bottles, drying shoes, cleaning shorts and socks, studying the map, repairing the bikes, trimming eyebrows (If you know me, that was not on my to do’s list). Trimming the beard (that could be on my list!) and connecting with friends and family.
And eating and using a flush toilet. We lounged early afternoon and worked on the bikes. Then we walked in the rain to Bill’s Bar. An experience. We were the only nonlocal, non-hunters and not in camouflage. One bar tender and one fryer so each order was one-at-a-time. We decided to go back to the hotel and make trail dinner food- beans and rice. On the topic of food, my bag of gorp morphs everyday with additions and deletions. The peanut butter pretzels are great. Raisins, peanuts, bridge mix, cinnamon dog biscuits, m&m’s, peanut m&m’s, fruit chews, junior mints, I want circus peanuts, and really those are cinnamon cookies that just look like dog biscuits.
We had a good day off. Heading to Glenwood in the morning.
Day 60. 74.02 miles today for 2499 miles in total. Packed up from Pie Town RV park and went to Does and Bucks for breakfast. (The pie place with chef Larry) I had a cinnamon roll and a breakfast sandwich and 2 large cups of coffee. Lois said it was the best tea on the continental divide and she had two cups! Dropped post cards at the post office on our way out of town and met the caretaker for the toaster house, the local hostel. The road was solid but you could see where it had been wet and muddy. The mountains looked volcanic. One of the bolts on my rack came loose today and needed tightening. You learn the normal noises your bike makes and you quickly become aware of any odd noise that is not normal. We climbed up most of the day before lunch and stopped for lunch in the sun surrounded by ponderosa pines and oak trees with tiny little leaves. The mountains came closer all day. The last 10 miles on the trail were mostly fast downhill with a lot of rattling due to the washboards. We saw a Coyote today and an elk. Our first elk while actually riding. We also saw an elk skin hanging over a conservation sign. We assumed it was a statement from a hunter. Lois dodged a snake at high speed and also a small tarantula. We passed a couple of continental divide trail hikers (both Japanese) and we also crossed over a continental divide crossing today. When we intersected the pavement we saw Caroline whom we met last night. She had just finished that section and her husband Doug was there with his truck to pick her up. We had hoped to catch up and ride with her today but it wasn’t to be. She has ridden the whole CD trail alone….. when not with her husband in the airstream….. she is brave. We made an alternate plan (reroute) for the afternoon as the forecast was for storms with rain all day tomorrow. It was about 40 more miles on the road to the town of Reserve. On the road we were passed by two angry truck drivers and we were single file. It was really the first time we’ve had a bad interaction with a vehicle and there were two in a short period. We got caught in a storm for about an hour of heavy rain. When we are on pavement, We all take turns in front, 1 mile each, and then you go to the back of the line. It makes the miles go faster and helps everyone get a break. There are mile markers on the road so it is easy to track your “turn”. We are in a hotel now and it is pouring buckets. Lois vetoed the first hôtel with a bad gut feeling. This one is really new and clean so no chance of bed bugs tonight! This town is a bit scary. Thunder and lightning. Good call on our part to be in a hotel and dry tonight with heavy rains forecasted for tomorrow. Tara and I changed up the beans and rice menu tonight for broccoli, mashed potatoes, carrots and tuna. It was a good change! We think we can finish in about 5 more days of riding. Hard to believe we have been riding 60 days.
Goat heads and pie town
Day 59. Hunters drove past our tents before we were up this morning. They commented: “divide riders” and just went past. Goat heads. Just as we were ready to leave, Tara realized we had the dreaded thorns called”goat heads” in our tires. We had been told not to pull them out so we nervously left them in and rode. Tara’s rack bolt came loose and required a new screw. We saw lots of Mud lava - mud, hardened like rock. Moon over landscape. Jon had a flat and expertly put a plug in the tire. We don’t like goat heads! We passed a Windmill water tower and Lois ran the gauntlet to check it out but we couldn’t figure out how we were supposed to get the water out of the tank. Oh well. We kept on riding. Lunch on the road. Rolling hard pack. TLC ranch where we stopped to get water they put out in cooler jugs. We were grateful to have it and it was cold. We saw a hiker there, resting in the shade and he looked beat. The Bucks and Does restaurant at Pie town was everything we hoped for. Miracles happened there. 1. We all ate pie. 2. We all ate dinner. 3. A friendly couple (he had raced the divide in 2018 and now they were on a road trip in their van) paid for it all! Thank you Diane and Jim from Kansas! You rock and have great Karma. 4. After they left, we ate more pie. 5. We needed “Stans”, a liquid tire sealant for our tires because of the goat heads. Jon asked about the nearest store (22 miles away) to get sealant and the chef/owner (Larry) went in the back room and came out with a jug of “Stan’s” and an injector from a previous rider. Tonight we are at the Pie Town RV park. We all have tires filled with liquid sealant to fight off the goat heads tomorrow and we are all full of pie. We met a single woman rider, Carolyn, whose husband is following with a camper. They gave us drinks! Thank you! We hope to ride together. Another great day.
Best day yet! Back on the trail!
Day 58. Best day yet! Woke up to Practically naked Ranger Ross in the kitchen with the cats eating the butter. Then Ross cooked with it. Ici. Our first hostel experience was interesting. There were 3-4 other continental divide hikers staying there as well. We had a room with double Queen bunk beds. We are getting closer to Jon and Lois every day. Soon we will be 4 to a bed! It’s probably a good thing we are almost at the end of this journey. 🤣 There was a great bike stand and tool set at the hostel which was great. We washed clothes and hung them out overnight. I hung out the tent this morning to dry from yesterday. No solar power left early this morning so no lights and no internet when we got up. We left the hostel after breakfast and rode our bikes to the grocery store. On the way we were stopped by Sasquatches, or is plural for yeti - sasqui? We Shopped for Groceries for six days, the longest stretch yet with no re-supply And we had to pack water for 2 days so our bikes were the heaviest yet. After shopping, Tara was missing a bag of food, realized when we were packing our bikes in the grocery parking lot. You realize how much packaging material there is when you needed to fit it all on the bike! We even let the air out of the chip bags and cracker bags, anything with air in it gets opened and squished. First a bag of rolls was mia, then the broccoli, an avacado and apple. The prior customer must have absconded with an extra bag! The store replaced all the missing items. Our next stop at Walmart was for some additional dehydrated food for John and Lois and bike lights for us for the back, a bike lock and shampoo. Finally on our bikes and headed to the route- 9 miles before we even started the day! We climbed up through a canyon. 14 miles. Dusty road- trucks with wood. People are allowed to collect firewood on national forest lands I think with a permit. We stopped for lunch about 10 miles before the summit of the day. Tara lost a shoe and was Worried it had fallen off her bike. Really she was holding them both….. are we losing it?! Yes! Nice canyon climb with red and horizontally striped mountains towering over us. Smelled a skunk at lunch and speculated it was a wild pig. (Per the book.) road through lava fields and then we passed the Oso Tower Lookout. The lava fields are large flows of lava that look like a river flow. They go on for miles and some are higher than others. The road was hard with dried out mud. The warning sign was intimidating (see the photo!) but we believed the weather had dried the road enough to make it passable. It was bumpy but fun. We passed the poi of a log house that wasn’t too exciting. Tara set the Guinness book of world records / heaviest bike to hold vertical/upright while simultaneously peeing. (No pictures but Jon was quite impressed.) We wild camped tonight. The animal of the day was giant ant hills! Happy to eat some heavy food to lighten the bikes for tomorrow but conserving our water as we don’t know when we will find water again. The day was sunny and warm, with shorts and short sleeves! An adventure in scary night noises this evening. I felt great today, attributing it to the great dinner last night but Lois was tired at the end of the day. We all have good days and bad days but tomorrow will be a great day when we get pie in pie town!
Made it to Grants!
Day 57. To Grants. Most miles yet in one day, 72.1 miles. Today felt like New Mexico. Warmer. The coffee at the gas station was free this morning as we waited for the sun to crest the horizon to dry our tents. No frost this morning which was nice. My first day in as long time with no toe warmers in! Blue sky, sunny, warm, light wind, sage brush, and a snake. All miles were on the road. We saw a live rattle snake (Lois jumped 3 feet on her bike!) in the road near the top of the climb. We had about 30 miles of flat/downhill to end the day. The winds were light but it a long day on the seat. We passed a very large mine. We passed under a tunnel where the mine had built a road between the mine and the processing plant. As we came into the town of Milan we had to wait for a long train. We road from there to Grants on historic Route 66. We are staying at our first hostel tonight. Queen bunk beds so this should be interesting. We had a nice dinner of shish-k-bob chicken, salad, and asparagus from the grocery store. Felt like a real meal. The hostel is solar so when the power is used up, the lights will go out. The hostel owner works for the forest service and reviewed the route with us. He believes it is dry enough to ride, although there are diversions around the puddles. We will go back on the dirt roads/trail tomorrow. We are headed to Pie Town (2 days) and then Silver City (4 days later). Zzzzzz.
Tara, Mimi and Jen love life and adventure.