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Not my local ride (New Mexico bike camping trip)

A couple of months back, I posted for suggestions and feedback on a Santa Fe to Albuquerque ride, plus possible side trips.  Here's how it went!

 

day -2: eat lots of good NM food ("red or green?") and fight down the vague vestiges of a not-quite 'flu.  Green chiles cure almost anything.

day -1: as before, and pack the bikes.

From New mexico Nov 2010

 

day 1 (where'd zero go?)...Santa Fe via bike trails and coffeeshops to the open road, passing the garden of the god(s and goddesses) 

From New mexico Nov 2010
 
From New mexico Nov 2010


to Madrid..

From New mexico Nov 2010

 

for dinner (buffalo burger and local free range wagyu burger) and music by the Ruebarbs ("soulful blues," actually very good country roots music) at the Mineshaft Tavern...

and a little beyond (side of the road, behind a juniper, between the prickly pear).  

From New mexico Nov 2010


30 miles, +522 ft, -1365 ft. Feeling fine.

Day 2: a very pretty day.  Shorts and shirtsleeves for me.

From New mexico Nov 2010


From New mexico Nov 2010

enjoying greenness, rocks, and occasional bursts of local personal expression, like the bottle-fence property.

From New mexico Nov 2010

From just South of Madrid along route 14, early dinner at the Lizard Grill (where 14 turns off to the Sandia crest), then mostly downhill to the Turquoise Trail Campground (legal camping, this time).  

 

24 miles, +1572 ft,  -860 ft

Day 3: exactly according to the forecast, there was a bit of wind, some spattering of cold rain in the wee hours, then snow falling and melting for an hour or two.  The sleeping bag was warm and comfy.  And get this, we HAD to sleep 12+ hours a night.  Great happiness.

From New mexico Nov 2010

We got up and packed up around noon, found a coffeeshop a mile or two up the road, and had quiche, pastry and coffee until the sun peeked out around 1:30.  The wind was picking up, too. The end of route 14, a couple of hundred feet with a punishing headwind, then a turn up past the ranger station and into the hills on route 337. The happy result of atmosphere and topography? A playful-to-powerful 15-25+ mph tailwind boosted us up the pass (the steepest part of the trip) all the way to the general vicinity of Oak Flats campground.  Uncrowded roads and lovely scenery.  No pictures because the camera battery got cold.

13 mile, +1047 ft,  -591 ft. 

Day 4: the cafe and convenience store were open, so...breakfast burritos (yay!), double espresso for Pieter, a brief charge for the camera battery, then onwards and downwards (and upwards and downwards) through a range of subtly different landscapes, to Mountainair.  Idyllic route 337, now passing through odd "land that time forgot" land grant communities (the sort that say, Amish-style, "respect our way of life, no photographs," like chilili) on to sensible and functional route 55.  The shoulder was sometimes non-existent, but the drivers mostly gave us a wide 5-10 foot berth space when passing.  Traffic mostly did not exist, at this time of year.

From New mexico Nov 2010

47 miles, +1020 ft, -1909 ft. mysteriously, Pieter is drafting on me for some of the run-in to Mountainair, and he seems confused.  We find a nice motel room and a huge dinner at "ancient cities" cafe.

Day 5: I'm fine, Pieter is coughing like crazy and running a fever by 2 AM. Oops, guess that was a 'flu.  I prevail on him to take some meds (tylenol passes muster if I refer to it as paracetamol).  Did he get a flu shot?  Why, yes.  So we ply him with green chile chicken soup from the local coffeeshop, vitamin C, peppermint tea, and hope for the best.

0 miles, and I managed to buy a very nice cast iron chile pepper from dragon ash forge. Leroy himself shows off the forge and his work, which is fantastic. "Ancient cities" again, then back to bed.
Day 6: No fever, and we've got good weather, not much headwind, a gentle descent, and the threat of a storm moving in the next day.  We agree that, worst case scenario, we camp along the side of the road again, and that's no misery.  "Ancient cities" for breakfast, and we're off.
About those ancient cities?  There's a reason for the name.  We have to stop.  The new bits are from goatherds in the 18th century.

From New mexico Nov 2010

the older parts are a Spanish mission church + pueblo (ca 1620) on top of and surrounded by older, buried native ruins.  It's a national monument, showcasing rare (for the new world) flying buttress construction and (relatively) thin walls.

From New mexico Nov 2010

From New mexico Nov 2010

Interesting insights into the "christianization" process are provided by a kiva (circular, partially underground ceremonial space) built into the church courtyard.  It seems the new religion was presented as being compatible with the existing sacred practices...at first.  So were the agricultural practices.  I can't speak to the efficacy of the religions, but the introduced agricultural practices and combined tithing and taxation appear to have been literally, well, ruinous. The whole thing self-destructed in a period of drought, after several attempted uprisings and executions.  Descendants of the survivors now live in TX.  

Down, down, down towards the plains and the Rio Grande.

From New mexico Nov 2010

 

Cows, trains, arroyos like mini grand canyons. (Long yet pointless debate over the correct parsing of "mini-grand.")

From New mexico Nov 2010

down to the bottom, happy to have circumnavigated mountains.

From New mexico Nov 2010

mesas, barbed wire, pickup trucks doing 90 mph (but very politely so).

From New mexico Nov 2010

And so, and so, to Belen (where stray dogs chased us twice in town, once getting their teeth on Pieter's shoes as he yelled "ride! ride! don't stop!") to the Railrunner--the (subsidized) clean, cheap, fast train that loves bikes and says "meep meep" when the doors are closing.
43 miles,  +325 ft, -2041 ft to the train....by train to the Albuquerque train station.
Another three flat miles in Abq to wonderful Claire and fantastic Tai, who had hot posole, clean towels and playful cats waiting for us.  And then we all coughed and ate and lounged and talked and admired cats and slept, and coughed and ate and lounged and looked at petroglyphs and napped, until we had to go home.
The end!

From New mexico Nov 2010

(moulton disassembled and padded for the suitcase)
With thanks to all who chimed in on the route and helped make this possible!!!!!  
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