Continental Divide Trail - Page 12
I rode a short downhill into the town of Cuba. I made it to the post office where I had a tire to
pick up for the bike, but it was 8:15 and they didn't open until 10:00. I rode to a little café
where I had a pricey but good burrito, then stocked up on food at the market. By the time I
had my tire changed and mail sent out, it was 11:00 and looked like rain. My maps and
guidebook both make it very clear that the dirt roads in New Mexico become impassable
when it rains, so I took the paved alternate.
About ten miles into my ride, an old junk Ford pickup passed me, slammed on the brakes
hard enough to lock up all four tires, slid off into the right ditch, came back onto the road,
and tried to take off in my direction, but the engine died. I grabbed the only weapon I had,
which was the inch long blade on my multi-tool, and waited to see what happened next.
The truck stuttered to life in a big blue cloud of smoke and pulled up next to me. There
were two young Mexican guys inside. The driver asked if I wanted some weed. I declined.
He asked a few more times telling me it was great stuff and waving oncoming cars past as
he held a pipe out the window. Finally they left, turned around and slid to a stop next to me
again. The passenger tossed me a can of Pepsi and asked if I wanted a ride. Again, I
declined and off they went. I drank the Pepsi and kept pedaling.
I made it a few more miles before a black cloud was on top of me. I lifted the bike over a
fence and set up the tent behind a small hill. A couple of guys rode by on horseback. I
asked if I could camp there and they said it was fine. It rained for a few minutes and got
pretty windy. In the end, most of the rain fell a few miles to the west on the dirt route. I
probably would have had to sit half a day if I'd have taken that route, and it probably would
have been worth it.
After an hour in the tent, I packed up and headed on. I've been chased by vicious dogs
three times today, and each and every sign along the road is covered in gang graffiti. The
traffic on this road is light, but after the incident this morning, I'm really wishing I had my
gun. I would have brought it, except Canada has stupid handgun laws and I learned in
Alaska that it's a pain in the ass to ship a gun. The people here remind me of the people in
Alaska, as well. It's a hard place to live in. The people are really nice, but I wouldn't turn my
back on my stuff here.
I'm already way over budget on this trip, so I probably won't buy a gun for the last five days of
the trip, although I will look in Grants tomorrow. I will, however, find a big stick to beat dogs
with, and probably buy a nice big knife.
|8.29.2010 - Afternoon phone
message from Adam
I'm in Grant, New Mexico today, so I
have about 390 miles left to go! It's
been really hot, so I'm stopping at a
convenience store to rehydrate.
I was really bummed out last night by the pickup encounter and all the graffiti. Bears don't
scare me much; people do. I was ready to quit and probably would have if I weren't only five
days from the border.
I tried to give today a fresh start and keep my spirits up, but had to fight a stiff headwind all
day. It was pretty miserable. The scenery was pretty, but monotonous, and I earned every
mile I covered today. Traffic was very light and all the cars were very nice and gave me
plenty of room when they passed, so that was good.
After 60 hard miles, I rolled into the town of Grants. The only place open in town to get
groceries was the Walmart that was off route 4 miles downhill. I stocked up and had no
desire to ride back up to catch the gravel route. I checked the map and realized I was on
the 38 mile paved alternate for this section, so I'm riding pavement for a bit. Traffic is light,
the wind has calmed some, and I'm in really pretty country, so I'm happy except for the
desert mosquitoes. I really didn't expect them here.
I seem to be developing an allergic reaction to my tungsten wedding ring. I got a bad
blistery rash from it on my left hand and moved it to the right and got the same rash there. I
feel really, really bad about it because Kelly wanted white gold, but I talked her into tungsten
because it's so durable. There's no way I could have known this would happen, but I just
feel really crappy about it.
The headwind has been a major issue all day. It was even windier than yesterday, and
never let up. I've been so frustrated the last few days since this is the flattest part of the
whole ride and I should be laying down huge miles. Instead, I rode 75 miles in eleven
hours. There are little sand dunes all over the road now, so I know it’s been windy.
I rode the first 20 miles of my day through the very pretty El Malpais National Monument. El
Malpais means the badlands. It was a giant lava field on the right side of the road and
huge sandstone cliffs on the left. Very pretty. Then, it was 30 miles of grueling windy gravel
to Pie Town.
Pie Town, as one might imagine, is known for its pies. I stopped at the super hiker/biker
friendly Pie-O-Near Café. Lunch was over, but they heated me up two heaping bowls of
stew and I finished it off with a great slice of blueberry pie. My map said there were cyclist-
only lodging options at the toaster house and just said ask in town. I wasn’t planning on
staying, so didn’t ask, but the waitress told me all about it, so with my free piece of apple
pie for the road in hand, I pedaled over to the toaster house for a shower.
It’s called the toaster house because there are toasters and a CDT emblem on the gate. A
lady owns it, but doesn’t live there. She just keeps it unlocked and stocked up with
supplies for people on the CDT. It was a great place. I really wanted to stay, but I also
really want to finish this ride, and I’m close, so off I went.
At Pie Town, I switched to my final map – Section 6 – Pie Town, New Mexico to Antelope
Wells, New Mexico, 303.1 miles. I covered 20 miles of it tonight as the wind died down, but
am pretty stressed out about tomorrow. I have a feeling it’s going to be a windy one, as
well. I really just want four nice days in a row so I can be done with this thing. I am thankful
Pie Town was such a great stop. I needed some friendly people.