"Fresh" - I Am the Weakest Link - CycleBlaze

June 15, 2016

"Fresh"

Day Fifteen: Cuba, New Mexico to a Primitive Campsite off Forest Road 70

This was a short, pleasant day in which nothing much happened.

I was up early. Our bike clothes had gotten filthy from the dirt roads of the last few days, and I wanted to clean them properly, so I was the first (and only) customer at the nearby laundromat at 6:45. The place was owned by a friendly older couple, and each came in separately to talk. The man provided what turned out to be some accurate information about road conditions, and also described at length his hatred of humidity, which he had experienced on his occasional trips outside this part of New Mexico. I nodded along, even though I don’t really hate humid weather, and in fact missed it when I lived in arid Utah for a while.

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Joy had decided last night that the best course of action was to start around midday, and do a half day of riding to get part of the way up the mountain. I was agreeable, although I don’t think I’ve ever left so late in the day on one of my solo bike tours.

We checked out of the motel about 10:45. The jolly lady who owned the place commented on how “fresh” we looked today, and took our picture. She also offered us the use of her car if we needed to run errands. I will have fond memories of the Cuban Lodge Motel, even though (as the lady cheerfully admitted when we checked in last night) the WiFi doesn’t work very well (or at all), and it takes a while for the water to get hot. The place had a friendly vibe, and it was there in my time of need after my difficult day in the desert.

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We rode about a mile and stopped for lunch at El Bruno’s, a good Mexican restaurant, and then we started the big climb, the majority of which was on a quiet, smooth paved road. The climb was long and steep at times, but it was much easier riding on the pavement than dirt. As usual when we do this sort of thing, I would get ahead of Joy, wait for her to catch up, and then we’d sit in the shade a while before continuing.

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We turned off the pavement onto gravel Forest Road 70, which was much higher quality than other unpaved New Mexico roads we’ve seen, but also, alas, busier with car, truck and ATV traffic for the five or so miles we were on it this afternoon.

This was national forest bordered by a wilderness area, and we rode around for quite a while looking for a place to camp that wasn’t too close to anyone else. In a very uncharacteristic move, I rashly suggested “cowboy camping” (no tent) next to a stream, but Joy rejected that as “too hardcore”

Eventually we found a nice patch of ground far enough from the road that we couldn’t be seen, lugged the bikes there, set up the tent, and ate chili mac for dinner. We were at 9,000 feet for the first time, and I went to bed in my long pants and wool shirt.

Joy’s ironic license plate. She got us these a few days ago as a surprise. Mine reads “Bubba”, a marital in-joke which I will certainly not explain in this journal.
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Today's ride: 15 miles (24 km)
Total: 524 miles (843 km)

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