Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 27: Middle of Nowhere to Cuba NM

I woke up already thirsty. We had rationed water the night before while cooking, and I had just over one water bottle left. Joseph was slightly better off but not by much. We ate a few bites of breakfast, which we washed down with a few swallows of precious liquid, then started climbing yet again. I was hoping we would have a short climb to the top of the mesa, then a gradual downhill to Cuba, but my hopes were not to be realized. By now I was starting to get a little tired of the horrible New Mexico roads. 

At one point the road disintegrated into a surface that was more football sized rocks than dirt. After slowly bouncing down the very steep road from one rock to another, I finally reached the bottom where sat an exercise bicycle in the middle of the road! I hadn’t seen Joseph for quite a while so I decided I had better wait for him. Ten or so minutes later he showed up, short a water bottle. One of the water bottles on his fork legs had bounced out from the rough road and he had spent some time trying to find it. He wasn’t ready to give up the search so he got off his bike and hiked back up the rock field to see if he could spot his bottle on foot. To kill some time while he searched, I made use of the exercise bike to improve my cardio. 

After another ten to fifteen minutes he showed up, still without his water bottle. We then made our way over the next 40 or so miles of rollercoaster terrain. We would have a short downhill of a half mile or so, only to hit a climb of similar length. I ran out of water at around 10:30 so I began looking around for a water source. The map said there were several cattle tanks around but after looking at a couple which were either dry or filled with abominable looking water, I decided maybe I could wait for just a little longer. After what seemed like hours upon hours of riding (it was), we came upon a road that was only was paved but even had yellow painted lines on it. Soaking in the luxury of a smooth road, we flew down a very steep downhill into the little town of Cuba.

            The first thing on our agenda was some food and drink. We found a little pizza place, ordered our pizza and drinks, and slouched wearily into our chairs waiting for our food while drinking soda after ice cold soda. After gorging ourselves on calorie laden pizza, we gathered up the leftovers, and went looking for a grocery store. After finding one we restocked our supplies for the next day or so. After leaving the store we decided we would get a motel room. It was 120 miles to the next town and we did not feel like riding all night after going for hours with no water. We went to the nearest motel, which turned out to be surprisingly affordable at a cost of only $45. While we were getting our room I happened to look down the street and saw some other riders only a few hundred yards away. We got our room key then pedaled over to them. It turns out that the tire tracks we had been following for the last three days belonged to them. They were riding in the Tour Divide, the race that takes place each year on the GDMBR. We started riding in Montana just over a week after the race started in Banff Alberta, and we were now catching up with some of the racers! They were in almost last place but it still gave us an ego boost. We chatted for a while about the rest of the route and what our plans were for the next few days, then rode back to our motel room.

After taking some showers and relaxing in the air conditioning for a few hours we walked down the street to a restaurant where I had some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. This stands to reason in a state that was settled by the Spanish several hundred years before Americans started moving in. While we were inside it started raining so hard I was afraid the roof would cave in! It stopped soon after and we walked back to our motel bathed in the aromatic scent of sagebrush and wet pavement.

The next day we had 120 miles to Grants so we set our alarms for around 5:00. With our bellies full we collapsed on the soft beds and mentally prepared ourselves for the distance and heat we were sure the next day would bring.

Til next time,

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