Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I am finally past the big mountains in New Mexico. Emory Pass was 8228 feet. The views from the top were awesome as usual from mountain tops. I just can not capture the grandeur of the vistas with my little pocket camera but I included a few pics here anyway.
I left Silver City right as dawn was breaking. There were two choices for roads. One went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings and the other went by a giant open pit copper mine. I chose the giant open pit mine because it was flatter and much shorter than the other route and I have been to the cliff dwellings before back in the 1970's.
The road was rolling hills with various changes in scenery as I went up the grade. I was getting tired much faster than I am used to but I was climbing and working hard at between 6200 and 8200 feet in elevation where the air is pretty weak to say the least. The weather was perfect. Sunny but cool with a light breeze. I took some pics of the copper mine and then I just got into my work routine of pumping and letting my mind go blank. Letting my mind go blank seems to be getting easier as I go along in this ride. I had to rest a lot and a few times I walked a short distance to get my lower legs some blood. I do not use my lower legs when I ride. I can only push with my heels. I lose a lot of power because of that but it really only hurts me when I am doing a steep long uphill.
I was resting and walking at one point today and a truck stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift. My mind said no, that is cheating, if you take the ride you did not ride across the entire country. My legs however spoke up much quicker than my mind did and said yes right away. So I put my bike in the pickup and took a short ride with them. We stopped for pics here and there but I did not realize that my camera battery was dead so I missed a lot of great pics. It is very difficult to see the screen with my sunglasses on in the bright sunlight and I just did not know the camera was dead. Each time I turned it on it showed the pic I wanted to take and I pushed the button but the pics did not show up on my chip. Such is life. I think I still got enough pics for the day.
I met a Canadian family, Mom Dad and two boys riding on tandem bikes at the top of Emory pass at 8228 feet. They had just come up from the eastern direction which is a single very long uphill climb. We talked for a while as we rested and ate some food. After they left I used the restroom and when I came back out my bag of food was gone. I thought Yogi the bear only existed in the cartoons. I have no idea what or who took the food. It was just some bananas, sardines, candy bars, cookies and a gatorade.
My original plan was to sleep at the top of the mountain but with so many hours of good light left I decided to take the downhill run of 4000' drop in elevation. Now that was fun. The worst uphills are past me now for this ride. Tomorrow I go to El Paso. Maybe I will stop at the Alamo in Texas but more likely I will just pass through the big cities except for Austin which I really like. I am starting to like the lonely time on my bike in desolate areas like I just passed through. Just me and nature...more later