Socorro, NM to Pie Town, NM
We've been getting up at 4:30am lately, which is tiring but it means we get to see some incredible sunrises. Today was no exception. I rode with Jeff and Casey and Jeff got a flat tire not even 2 miles into the ride. The best part was that we Casey and I got to watch the sunrise over the mountains as he changed his tire.
The ride started out with a 15 mile gradual climb spiraling around a few mountains. The gradual climbs aren't nearly as bad as the steep climbs we had in Pennsylvania though. Plus, our host for the night was awesome and told us she would be waiting at the top with snacks and drinks! It was amazing to see her at the top and take a quick and delicious break. Right after our quick break we encountered some massive headwinds. Headwinds are incredibly frustrating because there's nothing you can do about them except keep biking even though you are putting in so much effort and not getting nearly as much out of it. To make it even better, we biked in the headwind straight through a large construction site! They were only allowing one lane of traffic to come through, and since we were taking so long to get to the other side, they let the oncoming traffic drive through before we had exited! It was one of the more terrifying experiences of the whole trip having a line of traffic driving at us in our lane--not to mention they made the headwind that much harder. Just as we were about to get out of the construction, two police cars with sirens came zooming by us! It was quite a relief to be down with that part of the ride and we quickly made it to the town where we were told a great cafe would be. At the cafe I got blueberry sourdough waffles and they were delicious. The perfect reward for a tough start to the ride. We barely stopped for first lunch since we had just eaten and instead just kept biking straight to second lunch. Most of the ride was either flat or a false flat. False flats can mean two different things--either the road seems flat but is actually a slight incline, or the road conditions make it feel like your tires are flat when they aren't. I've have both happen to me on this trip, but today was just the incline of the road type of false flat. To pass the time, we played some great games. It started as "I'm going to the grocery store and I'm getting _(thing that starts with A)_." The next person would say the same thing and ad something that starts with B, then add a C word, until you get all the way to Z and have to recite everything that is being bought from the grocery store. The next round was "I'm going on Bike & Build and I'm bringing _______." The list was pretty fun to make.
I'm going on bike and build and I'm bringing
Axe body spray
Quick release tires
Vicks vapor rub
Yellow handle bar tape
Our last one was "I'm going on a road trip and I'm stopping in _______." That one was hard since we had to name cities in the continental US, but the harde the category, the longer it took us and the quicker it felt like we made it to our destination. One interesting thing we passed on our way to Pie Town that Jeff was particularly excited about was something called the Very Large Array, or VLA. It's a collection of satellites in the middle of a field that combine to make up one of the largest satellites in the US.
The road we were riding on was long and Jeff ended up getting 3 flats over the course of the day! We took a few pictures but they all started to look the same eventually so I had to get artsy to mix it up.
Pie Town was around an elevation of 8000ft, so we were climbing for most of the afternoon and it wasn't always gradual climbing. However, it was still absolutely gorgeous to be back in the land of trees. It felt like we were riding through Colorado or another state that I equate with forests. Almost to Pie Town, we hit the Continental Divide!! That was a super exciting milestone to hit because it was both the highest we've been so far and a marker that we've really made it to the West.
In Pie Town, we stayed at a hostle called the Toaster House. It is an interesting little place that houses through hikers of the Continental Divide trail as well as cross-country goers like ourselves. It's free to stay there and the house is managed by a board in the town. The guest book was really interesting to look at and read people's stories that had stayed there.
Pie Town had a population of about 100 people, so the whole town was out when we went to dinner at their Community Center. We heard some really cool stories from locals and, as the name would suggest, ate some delicious pie! I had a blackberry pie with banana pudding on top and it was delicious. I also got this awesome picture of a cowboy!
The night ended with a bonfire and guitar playing/singing under an amazing sky full of stars. A local around our age joined us and had an amazing voice and sense of humor. It was the perfect way to end a really fun day.