Predictable, and seasonably cold weather has not been a problem. Despite consistent hoar frosts come morning, an Alaskan and a New Yorker –by upbringing– aren’t deterred by temperatures less than half their age. A spoonful of rain, however, doesn’t go down so easy, not in New Mexico.
With a close eye on the weather, we’ve danced around bouts of precipitation, visiting Santa Fe and Albuquerque in the interim. Leaving Taos/Santa Fe after a few days, we enjoyed clear skies, cold nights, and dirt roads through Abiqui, and on to Cuba. A few challenges arose in snow-covered roads facing north, and their muddy south facing counterparts. Which to dislike more? The mud.
In Baja, the highlands were sometimes horrendously rocky, but the lowlands were depositories for infinite sands, loose or washboarded. We came to prefer the bone-shaking rippled washboard to loose sands; and the irregular rocky terrain of the mountains, to the washboarded sand. Baja was a treat, but be sure to check bolts and fillings for loosening, regularly.
Abiqui was once the secret rural hiding place for Georgia O’Keefe. Now it’s the once-unknown rural hiding place of a deceased O’Keefe– and lots of talk and visitors make it a little less charming. The landscape is still astounding.
More storms chased us out of Cuba, and into Albuquerque for a few days, reluctantly. Albuquerque has been the biggest surprise of the my travels– it’s a great bike city and a funky, youthful place. Guidebooks praise Santa Fe and Taos for being artists communities, enclaves even, but I suspect those days are over, despite a glut of galleries. Those towns are insulated; Albuquerque is alive and thriving. If you like sun, biking 365 days a year, green chili burgers, and taking short showers, Albuquerque is the place. It’s cheap, too.
The road ahead: I’m trading cut-off tees for skis and snow tires this winter, in Anchorage, AK. A few more weeks on the road– what’s left of the Divide, then headed for the coast. I may ride as far north as the Bay as the weather allows, but eventually the Coast Starlight will take me north to Tacoma/Seattle, where I’ll visit friends, and catch a flight to Alaska. Anyone on the west coast up for a bike ride? As weather allows, some overnight trips out of the Bay, or the Puget Sound, may be happening.
Note: a snow filled cassette, mud on Lael’s bike before it dried and froze, an Earthship in progress, a frozen and broken Kleen Kanteen, and fingerling hoar frost emanating from the Jandd logo of Lael’s pannier. Lael melts ice from my frozen Kleen Kanteen, while harvesting ice from my Carradice saddlebag, simultaneously. This was our only water for the day.