Monday, January 4, 2010

Three way AZ to Buckhorn NM

New Mexico has a cool sign. Greg loves chilies and is looking forward to eating some spicy Mexican food.

Snow! with shorts and a T shirt

The actual state border

This is at around 6,000 feet. It reminds of the Black Hills in SoDak

Dani looks deliriously happy to almost be at the top of this pass.

The view from the top of the pass

Another view from the pass

Looking back at what we have come up so far

Big ol' switchbacks!

See how steep it is?

This is looking at the pass from way down below

Three Way, Arizona to Buckhorn, New Mexico
Day 61
46 miles

Today we cross into our fourth state of the trip, New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. But before we could make it to the stat line, we would have to cross a large pass, known locally as the Needle's Eye. About 30 years ago there used to be a stone formation at this pass which the road passed through, only wide enough for one car...or horse and wagon. When they rebuilt the road they destroyed the needle. Today this pass is daunting and has many, many switchbacks. The elevation gain today will be greater than on any other day of our trip so far (about 2,600 feet), and any day to come. We did a great job and made it up the pass in great spirits. Up on top of the pass was a forest of Ponderosa pine, oak, pinon pine and juniper. The forest at the very top reminded us of western Montana and the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Just after the pass we crossed into New Mexico. From here the descent was nice and the country really opened up into grassy, high elevation plains, surrounded by huge peaks. The rolling hills, or as cyclists call them, “rollers” were really fun to ride in this area of the route. People around here are exceptionally friendly and nearly everyone waved to us.

Shadows began to grow long and we really pushed hard top get into Buckhorn before it was too dark. Here we stopped at the local convenience store and ordered a pizza while Greg tried to call his friend Nate. Nate is driving down from Grand Junction, Colorado today to meet up with us and ride for a few days. Nate says he thinks this area is some of his favorite riding in the country. We can't wait to ride for a ways with a good friend. We ended up meeting Nate later in the evening after we checked in to the RV park. We were able to relax and chat with the owners of the only store in town and then got a hot shower after a tiring day. We were very proud of our riding today and so happy to have Nate here with us.


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