Dateline: Gallup, NM
Yesterday I drove out into USFS land to Quaking Aspen TH for local trails. I drove I-40 and exited @ Fort Wingate to drive up into forest. An older white Ford pick up followed me up road and turned in behind me. I’m paranoid for some reason and I think I fouled this dfriver and he followed mw out to settle some unknown score. I get out and start walking towards truck, driver is out walking towards me. i see a bike handlebar sticking over the bed edge and suddenly everything is cool.
Jack introduces himself, he followed me because of my van. He is a local and involved w/ these trails. We strike up a friendly conversation and offers a beer. Beer goes down and conversation goes on. Another midwestern transplant from Wis & has been thru SPokane. He offers a shower for Thurs. eve. I try and talk him in to a ride today to show me the trails but he said he felt he needeed to do house chores as he had ridden the last 3 days.
Another rider was in TH, Blaine, a Navajo Indian. He is havong some bike issues so i helped as i could. He shared some personal stories about spirits and Native Culture. He gave me an Indian weapon carving. He shared w/ me because he knows I am an explorer.
He left and Jack and a buddy show up on their evening ride. I offer beers and they down one & complete their ride.
34 deg in AM. Fridge cut out several times during night because of elevation in excess of 3500′, camped @ 7600′ there abouts.
Bfast @ TH and putzed around waiting for sun warmth. Beautiful day: sunshine, no clouds, no humidity, ride temp in low 70s. A pickup pulls in and a guy gets his bike and splits before I can ask for a rdie share. I leave a bit later following the well mapped trails thur P-pine & open forest floor, flat desert forest. I catch up w/ rider and ride his wheel for a while before we stopped. Met Doug, 65 yo local. We struck up a conversation & shared the ride. Doud is a tough old codger as he has ridden his road bike self supported just finishing a ride to SC. First rider I have ridden with older than me. he is a bit slower than me and I enjoy the high elevation pace that allows me to sort of breathe. Our trails split but we umplanned rejoined @ Sheet rock stock pen and chatted over snacks. We rode a new trail in system. These trails are mostly scatch & ride. later I learned from Jack that they can ride a trail in in about 6 months.
At the TH Doug said he was going to do another ride up to fire tower and I joined him following his wheel. We climbed the fire tower. Doug is a solitary person like me but we each allowed each other to share our selves. Iasked Doug if he ever thought about writing his adventures and he said no as there are so many other stories already. he invited me over to meet his wife & son & a shower. For another day.
I drove back into Gallup & called Jack to accept his shower offer. His house is SW w/ stucco & adobe. I know that if I ever build another house the inside will be the exposed timber & adobe. More great conversation. he seems to be leaning to a ride tomorrow. He is a grade school teacher and their school is on spring break. Really neat house like i would want. SW architecture.
Drove to Safeway parking lot for a grocery dinner. While eating Brett sees my van and starts up a conversation. He is driving thru and is a mountain biker and wanted to talk. He and his buddy are cooking out on the tailgate in parking lot.
Amazing driving E on I-40: Desert. Exit and climb S and low and behold I am in P-pine forest and no slab sandstone. What a change.
Emailed Stan the writer of the guide book and he replied and invited in several other people & I have a big ride for Sat. Cool.
So, off to drive back up into forest for high elveation acclimation.
Fastly typed competing w/ the clock.