Making time

Thursday I left Flag after preparing for a 3 day up in the Zunis stay then drove to McGaffey and Bill’s cabin for 3 days of hanging out clear of electronic distraction (sort of as I climbed up the hill behind the cabin and received at least 3G). I stayed on Monday for a solo ride then drove to Aztec for Alien Run which was yesterday then drive to Durango where I am now,

Now the nuts and bolts.

Interstate 40 absorbed old US RT 66 all the way to the Fort Wingate exit then the climb up to McGaffey. Road climbs and turns its way to the top of the ridge. Again a pickup spedĀ  up and rode my tail, I turned into Bill’s lane and parked in a spot across from the neighbor cabin. the truck parked at that house, he did not want me. Greeted Bill.

Bill is the spark plug for the trail system here. He and I exchanged ideas. The trails here wind thru scattered trees on mostly gentle elevation changes. Friday was his first ride of the season so he lead a pleasant pace and distance. I just sucked his wheel for navigation. Bill rides a fully rigid bike suitable for bike packing which is how he views the new trail system: bike packing.

Sheet rock tank

Our ride was leisurely that was enhanced by several long breaks. Bill sent me this pic.

Beautiful enjoyable day. back at the cabin enjoying the sun. Something here that there are no cactus on this side of the road. Bill made lasagna for our dinner.

Sat the race promoter of the 24 hour race lead us on the race route. The weather was threatening with serious dark clouds and strong wind gusts. A final piece of the ride crossed a meadow being buffeted by the strong cross wind almost knocking my bike out from under me.

Lots of alligator juniper trees

back at the cabin for more clubhouse hanging.

The cabin

Sunday the riders from yesterday minus the promoter showed for another ride, Bill’s 3rd of the season,he displayed increasing strength as we rode the easier trails on the cabin’s side of the road. The rides mostly climbed 100′ per mile of trail. Hand built working around the open tree cover for entertainment.

Bill left Sun for home down in Gallup. I walked up the hill for internet. As I hiked up the horse trail I spied motion uphill ahead of me. I raised my phone to my face after turning on the camera. I watched what appears to be a long tailed bobcat walk towards me. I snapped pics as it advanced. As it neared me I started thinking about defensive actions in case it took untold action towards me. It stopped when it realized I was in its way. It was about 40′ before it turned around and kept on going. I failed to transfer the pic from the phone to my computer.

I spent Sunday night at the cabin. I decided that I wanted to ride the tougher trails on the other side of the road. I remember that the trail crossed a cattle fence right at the start, I needed to check out the height of the fence for me being able to lift my bike over the fence. I drove down to the Hilso TH for the start of the ride. I walked over to the fence to see that it has been forced lower enough for me to lift my bike over. I started on Purple Haze. Trails pieces here are below grade either from riders compacting the dirt or were old cattle paths. The trail hit the paved road for a few pedal strokes to pick up Milk Ranch trail. This time I rode it counter clock wise as Bill described it in MTBProject, I had never ridden this part of the loop which part of it climbed up the namesake canyon. Some nasty pushing my bike up climb a bike spots. Spring flood flow displayed moved forest litter.

Milk ranch canyon easy part

Next was Quasimoto which continued the climb up onto the ridge. Elevation is plus or minus several feet of 8,000′ which continues to beat my breathing. Today I rode by myself without pacer Bill.

I approached a climbing turn and i stopped to gasp for breath. Ahead i saw motion on the ground, hmm, something to check out. It was a moth flapping a wing trying to get airborne with no success. Closer exam discovered tiny ants “attacking” it. Perhaps the moth had passed on its genes and was dying and the ants were part of the food chain. Which Wikipedia reports adults only mate as they have no digestive system or mouth parts.

cecropia moth

In the depths of the canyon a rider approached me, solo woman. We chatted a bit to learn she and her husband and 3 year old were on a road trip leaving from Gunnison. She got first ride of the day while dad watched the kid. Her route was the Milk Ranch loop allowing her to catch me again while on Quasi. I was heading for the van and beer, she told me to look her family up as they were on my route. I swooped down Berma which is now a decommissioned FS road. Her guys were at the TH. We chatted. He built a real treehouse near Gunnison that he told me about and invited me to check it out. They know some Gunnison people I know. They left as did I.

Next was driving more I40 then north to Aztec, NM. Windy drive cross wind. Little traffic. An Anytime facility is in Aztec for a shower. Cleaned I drove out to the Alien Run TH N of town on BLM land. I fixed dinner then settled down for the windy night. Forecast for Tues called for big stormy weather around noon. In the morning the sky to the SW was threatening. Better get ‘er done before the storm hit. I rode out Alien Run to the 5 mile shorter loop for my return.

Skies were threatening as I drove back to Aztec for a shower.

Cleaned I drove N to Durango, CO. Nasty windy drive. I turned north at an intersection instead of south thinking I was heading to Durango. Then the road got nasty with heavy rain and hail covering the road. NASTY. i realized that Durango was not getting closer so i turned around and drove thru the same shit which was no carved with vehicle tires. Safe. Corrected my direction driving into Durango. I connected with John here for a visit and a driveway sleep spot. He told me he was working on his VW Westy in the driveway leaving only street side parking which is against city ordinance. I decided that I would rather spend the night in Junction Creek FS XG legally that street side. I drove up to the almost empty XG and picked and paid for a spot. John invited me to dinner back in town. Having a paid for spot for a later night arrival was comforting. I drove back to town.

Anthony Diaz is a Turner rider racer who has figured out how to make Pike and Lyric forks act like a coil spring w/o the metal. I dropped my bike off for his work. He will revalve and place tokens to prepare the fork for its runt cartridge yet to be manufactured. I’ll prolly get it while in Moab, hopefully. Rainy day in town.

Dinner at John’s with his girl and friend Bob who showed phone pics of his world travels. I bid adieu towards 10 then drove back up to the XG in heavy rain. Nasty night snug as a bug in my heated van, the furnace on lower setting ran all night, this AM it was just above freezing.

So now I am parked at a metered spot waiting for my bike to be finished. Trails are too wet to ride anyway. Tonight John has cleared his driveway for a city spot.

Thurs is a laundry day here then a short drive to either Cortez or Dolores.

Parking meter is eating into my change bag, kind of like money laundering.