GALLUP, NM – I've seen fireworks shows at golf courses, football stadiums and along lakefronts. Never have I seen one at a rodeo grounds, where the announcer translated everything into English from Navajo, and where an errant flare set off a series of explosions that lit the scrubby undergrowth on a hillside.
We had read about the fireworks display at Gallup, so we got an early start at El Morro. We passed by the huge Inscription Rock and headed downhill into the Zuni Pueblo Reservation. A sign posted the rules: No pictures. No alcohol. We turned onto Route 32 and missed the Zuni Pueblo itself, one of the 7 Cities of Cibola sought by gold hungry Spanish conquistadors. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/04/day-53-celebrating-the-fourth-in-navajo-nation/
EL MORRO NATIONAL MONUMENT, N.M. – We passed through several nations today; those of the Isleta, Laguna, Acoma, and Canoncita. They're all pueblo tribes that thrived here before the Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries enslaved them. English is spoken here, but it's not the native tongue.
None of that mattered to us this morning. We awoke out in the desert while there were still a couple of stars in the sky and the sun was brightening the East. We walked back to our bicycles hidden under the railroad trestle …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/03/day-52-bicycling-through-reservation-lands/
SOMEWHERE IN ISLETA INDIAN RESERVATION, N.M. – When things are going well, I tend to leave things too much to chance … at least until I'm brought up short by lack of planning and bad decisions.
That's why Bruce and I spent the night in our sleeping bags on a dry wash under the stars next to a railroad trestle. Except for the occasional freight train, the only sound was a soft breeze and the startling yelps of coyotes. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/02/day-51-we-run-out-of-options-and-camp-in-the-desert/
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We spent much of today riding on the Turquoise Highway. It looked like plain old blacktop to me.
We left Santa Fe in a light drizzle, which quickly burned off. It was such a mellow Sunday morning that Bruce wore his headphones as he pedalled along. He was spacing out near the center of the road when a car came up from behind and couldn't pass. I expect the driver was afraid of honking and scaring Bruce to death. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/07/01/day-50-bicycling-the-turquoise-highway/
SANTA FE, N.M. – I seem to keep repeating this in my journal — “this place reminds me of Annapolis.”
Of course Santa Fe doesn't really remind me of Annapolis, but there are aspects that are similar. Same with Taos, Ouray, Ste. Genevieve.
Santa Fe is steeped in the Hispanic culture, Annapolis isn't. Annapolis sits on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Santa Fe sits at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
The similarities? Neither are the largest cities in their states, but they are the state capitals. Both have campuses of the liberal arts St. John's College. A large part of their economies are based on eating and drinking and partying downtown …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/30/day-49-another-day-off-hanging-out-in-santa-fe/
SANTA FE, N.M. – Most of the day, I felt that I was no longer cycling through the US, but had slipped south of the border. The Hispanic culture here, mixed with the Native American, is very strong.
For instance, after Penasco, we followed a road that reminded me of cycling in the Alleghenies because it rose and fell like a rollercoaster. We passed through some towns, such as Las Trampas, that had a mission older than most of the Colonial era buildings back home in historic Annapolis. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/29/1984-bike-tour-day-48-like-being-south-of-the-border/
TAOS, N.M. – We've covered almost 3,000 miles on our cross-country bike ride so far, and I don't remember any place as unique as this. I almost feel like I'm in a different country. Much of the area sits on a plateau, so its flat like Kansas. But it's arid, so there's only dry brush around. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/28/day-47-the-route-might-be-flat-but-it-aint-kansas/
ASPEN GLADE, COLO. – This is rough terrain, and we crossed back over the Continental Divide and bicycled in and out of New Mexico today. We're still making progress to the Pacific, though it doesn't seem so.
We said our goodbyes to Gunter and Elsa (they said they didn't want to hold us back, although I doubt this because they set a torrid pace), and pedaled south on Route 84 to Chromo. Nothing much going on here except a second breakfast. After leaving the mountains, we're in some high plains here. A landmark, Chromo Mountain, we watched approach for more than 10 miles. We passed it on our right, and continued over the New Mexico border…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/27/day-46-back-and-forth-over-the-divide/
PAGOSA SPRINGS, COLO. -We hooked up with a German couple on the road today who taught us about a new health drink, although we have yet to try it while cycling.
We packed up early at the hostel in Durango and took off. Anymore, I always feel better being back on the road, no matter how much I needed a rest day. Today we're following a new map behind the clear window in my handlebar bag. We're long-finished with the traditional Bikecentennial maps — that route veered north somewhere after Pueblo. We're on the Great Parks South Bicycle Route Extension map. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/26/day-45-this-health-beverage-tastes-better-than-gatorade/
DURANGO, COLO. – Note to self: If you're touring by bicycle, stay on the bicycle.
We've just returned from a strange and troubling adventure involving our reliance on a pickup truck we borrowed for the day. We're all safe and sound, but it could have turned out much worse.
Bruce and I had planned to take today off and take a $25 guided tour to the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, about an hour's drive away. The hosteler said we could do it cheaper if we rented a car, and what's more, a German hostel guest, Christiane, could go with us and make it back by her 4:30 bus ride out of town. …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/25/day-44-using-a-pickup-instead-of-bikes-to-mesa-verde-bad-move/