Wednesday, July 22, 2014. We were up and at 'em early, having feasted on some long forgotten meal. Heading down to Sergeants, we had a great ride but were disapointed to find that the store/cafe only serves b'fast on the weekends. We did talk them out of some coffee and I chatted with the proprietor about the old days of Vince and Hallie LaCapra, owners of the store when I lived in Gunnison. Then it was on to Doyleville and the Cochetopa Cut-off. We went south a bit after coming out on CO 114 and then turning towards the Old Agency. We soon picked up the Old Cochetopa Pass road and took it over the top and down to where we turned south again from 114 to Carnero Pass. Nice dirt road up and over and down to La Garita where we had a great sandwich at the store/cafe. We rode the easy dirt on into Del Norte, opting to skip a few miles of sand! Once in Del Norte, we met up with my friend Bill from OKC. He made the trip all the way to Del Norte just to try out his new tent and spend a night with us! But he travels in style in his King Ranch F150 so it wasn't too hard on him I guess. That night we went out on the town and consumed a few too many adult beverages, one of which got lost. That's right, I lost a beer! We were sitting down to order our dinner in a little Mexican restaurant and I ordered a Negro Modello. As I was looking at my menu, I realized that everyone else had a beer but me. I said "Where's MY beer?" The waiter, who just happened to be standing there, said deadpan "It's down there," and pointed to the chair next to me. Sure enough, there was my lost beer, lying sedately on its side, contents happily pooling on the floor. He brought me another and mopped up the other. We decided that the culprit was a drop-leaf table that had a slope to it; the beer simply 'walked' off the edge and silently fell on the cushion of the chair. One other thing of note about this day: our camp. We camped at an RV park, $16.75 each, but found a tent site that was right on the Rio Grande River, a spectacular place. Bill is an avid fly fisherman and was sorely dissapointed that he didn't bring his gear.
Thursday, July 23, 2014. We left Del Norte fairly early and struck out south for Platoro via the Summerville Mine Superfund Site. Hard to tell exactly how they are cleaning up the mess but I guess they are doing something to spend our tax dollars. Platoro is a wide spot with a lake and not much else. From here we headed down to Chama where we gassed up and then made our way via pavement (US 84) to Hopewell Lake, our campsite for the night. Using Chuck's Golden Age pass, we spent a total of $7.50 for the three of us. We had running water and toilets close by and it was QUIET!
Friday, July 24, 2014. Today was the BIG adventure.....we discovered an alternate route from Hopewell Lake to Vallecitos, Forest Road 45B. Although it shows on the map, (switch the map to terrain and zoom in to get a feel for the cliff!) and we could see the Cannonshot (an ADV inmate who has devised GPS tracks for the entire CDR) track, we were the only vehicles to use it for many years. It narrowed down to a single track along a cliff face at one point and we kept going down because we were pretty sure we couldn't go back up! It finally came out on NM 111 a few miles down from where FR447 would have dumped us out with out any drama. I dropped my Wee once when I hit a rock and high centered before a Laugh In tip over. Chuck lost his DR on a loose drop off just about 50 yards from the pavement. The 1200 GS that Paul was riding had no problems though he confessed to being concerned and a bit worried at times. We went southwest from Vallecitos, eventually coming out at Abiquiu where we fed our selves and fueled our bikes. We started south from Abiquiu enroute to Cuba when, after a nasty rocky hill, Paul discovered a hole in his rear drive boot. We patched it with electrical tape but he was afraid the patch would not hold (he told us the little hill we had just come up was nothing compared to what lay ahead.) Since Paul was going to slab it back to Kremling (maybe via Albuquerque to see if he could get it fixed,) Chuck and I decided we'd had enough eventure for one day so we hit the pavement for Grants via Cuba. It was a long hot ride, especially for Chuck on the little DR so we moteled it in Grants.
Saturday, July 25, 2014. We were up and out early with b'fast at Denny's. We took the pavement down to El Malpies National Place where we made a side trip up to the Sandstone Bluffs. Pretty neat! (see photos.) When we came to the place where the dirt road to Pie Town started, there were six bikes stopped. These guys were riding the Divide all the way from the Canadian border but were much faster than us! We caught up with them again in Pie Town (they got there before the Pie-O-Neer was open) where we all feasted on....you guessed it, PIE! The Pie Lady advised us that gas was available in Datil (rymes with cattle she said) and it was not much further to the VLA. Chuck had never seen the VLA radio telescopes, and we found an alternate route to the Beaverhead Work Station that took us right by them/it. After a brief tour of the VLA, we took off and ended up on NM 59, a wonderful paved road that ends at the Work Center. We were within sight of the Center when Chuck discovered a flat rear tire. We pulled a 10p box nail out that had gone through the center of the tread and exited through the sidewall. The RideOn didn't work (it isn't highly recommened for tubes.) When we pulled the tube, we found out why: the nail had ripped a hole in the tube about 2" across. We were close enought to the Center to ride there on the flat and after fixing it, decided to camp there for the night. And what a night! First was the fireworks about 30 minutes after we turned in. Big rockets and strings of firecrackers. The the coyotes followed by a herd of horses about 4:30 am.
Sunday, July 26, 2014. We rode Forest Road 150 from Beaverhead Work Center to NM 85 and eventually, NM 152 into Silver City. This was our goal and the end of the actual Divide Ride for us. FR 150 was an interesting road with every surface you could imagine. The worst was the washboard sections, some miles long, that just hammered us, especially me and the Wee. We looked forward to the gravel sections and even the technical areas where the road and the dry creek were one. We even found very short sections of pavement, evidently for erosion control. Forest Road 150 is the 'off highway' portion of the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway. You can read more about the Byway and NM 152 here. Chuck and I split up at the copper mine overlook outside Silver City as he needed to make Socorro for the night. I took lots of photos along 152 and am going to try to get the story published as a Favorite Ride in Rider.
Monday, July 27, 2014I spent the night at a motel in Las Cruces and then hit the hot highway home via 90 and Alpine and Del Rio. It was over 100 in Del Rio when I passed through there! Good ride but good to be home!
Continental Divide Ride Part II