Today was a good day. We woke up a 6, broke camp, and headed to El Rito. We stopped at the snack stand in Canon Plaza that was in the movie, then rode into El Rito for lunch. Ate a great lunch of Mexican food, rode to Abiquiu to resupply then did a 24 mile climb to camp. It was a long 24 miles with rock alternated with sand but we made it by around 6:30 then cooked supper, Ramen again! J We got ready just in time for the first rain of the day, God be praised! It is almost cozy in the tent.
After the horrible day in the rain the day before, it was all I could do to force myself to crawl out of my sleeping bag. It looked like it would be a clear day, but after days of rain I was beginning to despair of ever staying dry for one whole day. As we set off I was starting to get worried. The road was in better shape than the day before, but there was still a lot of moisture than made us have to weave from side to side to avoid wet patches.
|This car was randomly stranded up in the mountains. Drug kingpin?|
After we climbed for a while we finally got to the top and descended for a while along Spring Creek which reminded me of home. J Not much later we hit pavement and rode through the small community of Canon Plaza. There we stopped at the Snack Lady’s Shack for some sugary treats to get us to some real food at El Rito.
|Hurry up I'm starving!!|
|Come on Joseph, It's dead!|
After a few more miles of pavement, where Joseph almost rode off the road to get away from a dead snake, we turned right and ran the gauntlet of dogs in Vallecitos. Luckily they must have been sleepy that day because it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was led to believe. Once again we climbed up and over a ridge, then flew down the other side without incident into El Rito. As we leaned our bikes up against the front of the only restaurant in town, I noticed a dent in my rear wheel. It must have happened when I hit a cattle guard at around 20 mph with not enough air in my tires. With nothing I could do to fix it except worry, I walked into the restaurant for some real food. After gorging ourselves on burritos drenched in chile sauce, we climbed back on our bikes and headed toward Abiquiu. Abiquiu was about 18 miles from El Rito but we were able to make it there in less than an hour since it was mostly downhill and we had a tailwind. We stocked up on about 40 dollar’s worth of food and drinks, then headed up a steep dirt road that wound through a deep canyon.
|A much better ride than a stagecoach or a horse|
|Beautiful New Mexico skies|
By this time it was around 2 PM and the temperature was climbing rapidly. We ground up the canyon in our granny gears with almost no wind to cool us from the stifling heat. We crossed the stream at the bottom of the canyon and then struggled to climb out of the canyon as the already steep grade began to worsen. Finally out of the heat we rolled across a mostly flat plain until we started to climb Polvadera Mesa.
|I'm getting pretty thirsty by now|
We had filled up our water bottles at the store but by now our water situation was getting a little worrisome. We kept our eyes open for moisture as we began to climb up the dry sandy road but there was no potable water in sight. Miles later we still hadn’t found any but by this point we had more on our minds than our rapidly emptying water bottles. The road gradually degenerated until we were riding across a path that was made up of boulders alternating with deep sand. This went on for mile after mile but we did finally get past it. Just as we were trying to find a spot to stop for the night, two or three elk ran across the road right in front of us.
With clouds grumbling at us from several miles away we decided we should try to set up camp before it started raining. As Joseph set up the tent I cooked some more Ramen noodles using the least water I could; it looked like we would not have another good source of water for another 50-60 miles. Just as we got our stuff under the tent and then got in ourselves. Instead of the pounding rain we had been experiencing over the last few days the drops pattered down on the tent fly, soothing us to sleep. The day had had its ups and downs, but I had recovered from the past few days in the rain and I was ready to hit it again tomorrow!