The Great Divide / Banff to Mexico - Day 34-45
DAY 34 & 35: sick days in Alamosa
Poor old Phil got some stomach bug which wiped him out for a couple of days. I meanwhile found a charity shop with a great pair of cowboy boots for $7 so HORRAY! Posted them to my pal Patrick in LA and I am still under $20 full cost. Happy. Museum closed both days but had time to relax, do admin for IYH and watch several movies which was very relaxing..
DAY 36: 30 miles to Antonito
Easy, flat with no wind and low traffic ending the San Luis Valley. Took it easy as Phils first time back in the saddle after being washed out for two days. We had a choice of 30 or 95 miles so we played safe as there is NOTHING between.
The scenic railroad starts and finishes here so had to watch it coming in to compare to my AVIEMORE train and very similar set-up and client base. Also stopped in at the local cannabis store to educate myself on how and what has changed since legalising it all. You can get drinks and sweets and lollipops now! What a giggle.
DAY 37: 65 miles to Taos/ New Mexico!
A surprisingly great day. We set off in "driec " (Scottish for dark and damp) weather but the roads were big, empty and still flanked by the mountains of the San Luis Valley. After 30 miles, an unexpected and delightful cafe. This was followed by an interesting visit to an Earthship Community. Never heard of them? Me neither but they make houses from recycled/environmental products. Very funky but we thought they belonged in Dr Who especially given their location in a desert like location. Next - Rio Grande Gorge. 800ft deep and 50 miles long it was an impressive sight from the bridge. Then the last 10 miles were type 3 fun as traffic came from a new junction and the heavens opened. No worries as got a cheap motel before 2pm and had time to explore the very cool and arty town of Taos. Never seen so many art shops with Peublo and Mexican artworks, jewellery, crafts etc. Awesome. Also found a bar with live blue grass band. They started with 5 but by the end there were 8 in a tiny bar. Loved it.
DAY 38: Taos
We thought it would be a shame to be so close to a World Heritage Site (Pueblo Taos) and not see it. It is an inhabited set of buildings that are over 1000 yrs old. So, we booked in for another night, cycled 4 miles to the site to find it closed for the day! Oh well, cafe culture and art walks. Bit like being on holiday! Visit the Kit Carson museum who is a legend of a mountain man. Phil bought me a GORGEOUS bracelet so worth the rest day just for that !
DAY 39: 58 miles to Espanola
Scenic route from Taos. Quite roads but Lumpy day (technical term for really hilly!) with driec but dry weather apart from 30 mins of rain but PERFECT cafe rescue at 33 miles when the clouds lifted and great views of the mountains. Then the next part of the ride took us to a wow moment as we turned onto a balcony road with a huge view of Sant Fe valley. Finished In a built up area and cheap hotel rather than negotiate a Friday night of city traffic through Sante Fe.
DAY 40: 55 miles to Madrid
Good move to do this stretch on a Saturday morning with low traffic as we had to take the state highway for about 7 miles but all good. Phil navigated a minefield of connecting roads to get to the scenic road south.
Stopped in Madrid on scenic route 14 as rude not to. Ridiculously arty town/road and live country music... 20 more miles or a wander and country music. Is there a choice??? Great place!
DAY 41: 70 miles to Las Lomas
AMAZING morning ride through the second part of the Turquoise Trail aka Route 14. Madrid was asleep when we left and Sunday traffic on this spectacular scenic route was sparse. Then we got onto the historical Route 66 with a bike lane and views to the parallel highway above. Then into the outskirts of Albuquerque which has more bike lanes than any city I know! Next part of the day was less pleasant on big roads but got to destination in good time. No rain or bad weather hooray!
DAY 42: 61 miles to Sorrocco
HEAD WIND for over 30+ miles! Great old highway almost all the way to El Paso (Mexican border) so next to no traffic and more scenic. Hilly and windier as the day goes on. Tired.
DAY 43: 77 miles to Truth & Consequences ( real name!)
Great that Phil is back to alpha male as he took the hit on the wind.. Tired.
DAY 44: 80 miles to Las Cruces
Same again. Great road and views but lots
DAY 45: MEXICO BORDER IN EL PASO! 78 miles
FINISHED! Banff to Mexico with an anti climax finish as no Mexican flag at the border so had to make do with a toll sign. Oh well, it's not the destination...... It's the journey!
Off on the train to LA to stay with out great mate Patrick who has Yorkshire tea.
Thanks for all the messages of support and sarcasm along the way and thanks to john and Jill for being such a great part of the journey. Now- where is that margarita?????