September 22, 2001

9/22/01 Cedar Crest, NM

49.8 / 8077 miles

Chris had a full morning of errands, so we said good-bye while I was still packing. I hope she felt all my thanks as I gave her a big hug (although I tried not to 'crush' her). Dropped by the post office and needed to check my email one more time before I left town. Already, it's getting warm outside.

Leaving town on the highway was a much more pleasurable experience because of a wide shoulder. From the look of this part of town, it's all relatively new. Saw a bunch of other cyclists out for a Saturday ride. Then Becky Treadway rode up besides me. She was out on a day ride from Santa Fe to Madrid. I found out she was a PT working in Espanola. Growing up in Iowa, she didn't go to college until she was thirty. After graduating from Northwestern, she loves working here in the Southwest. Becky said she mountain bikes a lot but was planning on a three day bike tour next weekend. Today's trip was to check out the road bike and to get used to a different bike. Good thing too because after ten miles, she was having trouble with her front wheel. She was sure it was the wheel itself because the new tube already had a slow leak and you could hear the rim rubbing even though it looked true. It was nice to talk to her while we rode. But I'm sure she wouldn't have minded not talking about work. With my questionable job status, it was foremost in my mind. Becky decided to cut her ride short and head back, while I continued to Madrid.

Soon after I parted company with Becky, my shoulder completely disappeared. Traffic was moderate but mostly tourists so they weren't in a hurry. Pretty knarly terrain with a lot of short ups and downs with plenty of blind corners. Madrid was almost all galleries and artist studios. Looked like the only place to eat was at the Mine Shaft Tavern. Had the look of a biker-bar, complete with a line of a dozen motorcycles parked outside. "What the hell!" I said as I parked alongside the 'hogs'. The funny thing was that the bikers inside were outnumbered by tourists. But you could tell that when the sun when down, the bar definitely had a harder edge. My waitress called me 'hon' and wore black leather pants. Good food too.

The rest of the day was a repeat of the last few through New Mexico. The landscape just doesn't lend itself to any flat, level roads. In fact, I can't even imagine who hard it was to get around before paved roads. The combination of farther south and a slight decrease in elevation has definitely increased the temperature. I need to keep applying sunscreen or I'm going to be one leathery, crispy critter when I get home.

One guy I talked with at one of the gas stations didn't think it was a good idea to camp near Cedro. "A pretty rough town!" he said as he described how someone shot at his brother as he was building a road. So I thought of going just a bit further and finding a secluded spot just off the road. That was until I rode by a sign that said 'hostel'.

Marge and Jim have been running Sandia Mountain Hostel for about twelve years. And the surprising thing is that the guy's dorm is full. Most of the people here are using this as a temporary base while they look for work. Talked with Sandra, the hostel's lone female occupant, who after several weeks here has a possible job. The most interesting part of the hostel is that the owners also raise award-winning burros that have fee reign on the property.

Just stoppin' by to chat

Had dinner at Kokopelli Kafe & Bakery. Was tempted by the braised tofu but it was out of my price-range. But had a nice chat with Brenda, my waitress. She said "We have a lot of open therapy jobs if you like the area." Brenda's husband is a nurse.

Spent the rest of the evening just being lazy, writing in this journal and just browsing a few magazines. Holding my fingers crossed about a possible place to stay tomorrow night in Mountainaire.