September 23, 2001

9/23/01 Mountainaire, NM

58.5 / 8135 miles

By the time I went to bed, the hostel was almost at full capacity. Marge couldn't remember the last time that happened when it wasn't a group checking in. And we also had a night-time visit from Rusty. He's the stallion burro whose ribbons hang from the walls. Turns out Jim got him as a trade for an old truck. Rusty's race days are over but they have two more mares and one of Rusty's yearlings.

Looks like I'll be long gone from the cold morning starts soon. Didn't even need a jacket as I left. Since the Kokopelli Kafe was so close, I wanted to see what they had. Boy, oh boy! Was I in heaven. Their regular cinnamon roll was so huge it could feed a family. Even the mini seemed large to me, and only one dollar. Yippie, sugar coma!

Had a long fifteen mile climb up out of the valley. Because it had a shoulder and was near Albuquerque, I saw a lot of cyclists taking advantage of the good Sunday weather. "I'm tired climbing this hill and I'm not pulling a trailer!" one of the riders said as he passed me.

After that climb, the rest of the day was rolling hills with views of vast plains off to the east. Passed through a few land-grant communities in which the property is held in common by people whose ancesters were subjects of the King of Spain.

No where to take a break or even get a cold drink, so I rode all the way to Mountainaire without stopping. Outside of town was a white pickup and as I approached, Allen Stibora got out. "Your goatee is a little longer than in your picture!" he laughed. Allen found my website and offered a place to stay if I was headed this way.

Back at his home, I met Beth, his wife, who was the postmistress of Mountainaire for years before she was promoted to a branch near Cedar Crest. She made us a great dinner, complete with brownies! Turns out Allen has been section hiking the Appalachian Trail since 1995 and only has 200-miles to go. And he biked the Northern Tier, Seattle to Boston, last year. So we had tons of stories to tell.

Allen & Beth

More camera woes. Just got back the pictures from Oregon and Washington. Remember that little accident in Missoula where I dropped the camera while riding down the highway? Well, every close-up, especially all the people I met, are out of focus. People like my aunt and uncle in Oregon, Emily in Corvalis and the Japanese around-the-world rider. All out of focus! I should be thankful that the scenery pictures seem to be ok.