September 18, 2001

9/18/01 Arroyo Seco, NM

42 / 7923 miles

I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I can't figure out if I'm too cold or too hot at night. Woke up just as morning traffic was beginning to intrude on my beauty sleep. A short day to Taos planned for today.

Since I was camped near a stream, the logical path (at least if you've been following MY adventures) is up! And up it was. Sometimes I wish I could see what the terrain looks like from above. Maybe that should be one of my future adventures - See America from 100'. Instead of a winding road, it went up, down, up just like a rollercoaster. Not that I'm complaining, I had some nice downhills and could just let it rip because the road was straight. The highlight of the day was passing the D.H.Lawrence Ranch. Lawrence wrote "Lady Chatterley's Lover".

Coming into Taos, I was blessed with a shoulder on this busy two-lane. Not always in the best condition mind you, but better than nothing. Just when I thought to stop and ask where a bike shop was, it appeared. Like magic!


Talked to Dave and owner, Rey, inside "Gearing Up Bicycle Shop". Dave said that because most of the mountain biking around here was at the expert level, the town couldn't support more than one bike shop. Especially with Walmart down the street. Rey was able to help me find a good two-day route to Santa Fe. "Across some very beautiful country," he said.

More art?

Found an AYCE Pizza Hut but in the end, I should have sampled some of the local spots recommended by Rey, like "Michael's Kitchen". Had to pay a dollar for internet access at the public library, almost not worth it because of the slow connection during my thirty minutes.

Decided to head back north to Arroyo Seco and check out the Abominable Snowmansion Hostel . I know it breaks one of my NEVER GO BACK rules but my only other option was a RV Park. And who knows, I might run into the Swedish Women's Cycling Team at an International Hostel!

An old school house

On the way back, I wanted to stop at a few museums while I was here in Taos anyway. The first was the Fechin Institute [www.fechin.com]. Nicolai Fechin moved to Taos in 1927. His home is a mixture of Southwest adobe and Russian woodwork. My luck would have it that the museum closed at 2PM and it was 2:05. Oh, well, off to the next museum.

The Van Vechten-Lineberry Taos Art Museum [www.vvltam.org] was built by Edwin Lineberry as a memorial to his late wife and artist, Diane Van Vechter. My luck was continueing to hold when I discovered it was closed on Monday and Tuesday, today being Tuesday. Almost makes you curious as to what might happen next.

Nothing much left to do but head for the hostel. So, here I go, back the way I came, to turn off for Arroyo Seco. Headwind of course and a slight uphill climb on a busy two-lane with a disintegrating shoulder. Woopie! Isn't this fun. Bailed off the road repeatedly because of big trucks and crazy drivers.

Arroyo Seco is a very small town situated about halfway between Taos and the Taos Ski Valley. Not much in the way of businesses except a general store, hardware store and a few galleries. But it did have a few businesses unique for a small town, like the Yoga Center. Walked around a bit because the hostel didn't open till 4PM.

Talked with Jason who had opened Phat Bagel Company only ten days ago. Besides some great sandwiches, he also had art for sale and internet access. He said ski season won't start till after Thanksgiving. Maybe with the Olympics in Park City, UT, some of these other ski areas might get some new business this winter.

Promptly at 4PM, Sara opened the door and let me in. The Abominable Snowmansion has a huge common room with a circular fireplace, pool table, and a piano. Besides the kitchen, the dorms are on the first floor. There are a few private rooms upstairs, but also tipis and cabins out back. So, out of sixteen beds in the men's dorm, there are only two of us.

Had a bite for dinner, then spent the rest of the evening reading and listening to my radio. A couple of German girls arrived later but neither was sociable. And before I went to bed, a couple, Hans from Switzerland and his wife from Columbia, showed up after all the staff had gone to bed. What was I to do? So, I let them in.