|Trace The Mitten|
Happenings, Reflections, Ideas, Analysis
Comfortable weather today. The humidity feels better. The wind is not bad. I looked at the map and see that miles north, too many for a side trip, is Philmont Scout Ranch. As a Boy Scout I went backpacking through the trails. I would trace this back to be the origins of an outing like this tour.
My route now will follow Interstate 40. For some years Route 66 went north to hit Santa Fe and come down to Albuquerque to miss the mountains east of the city. Exits of the interstate will give me food, but I probably will need to sleath camp.
The peak shown here is the "Tooth of Time" the primary photo spot for Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron . The ranch covers 140,177 acres of the Sangre De Cristo mountains of the Rockies. I loved being able to hike there. I loved the sense of adventure and being outside. I continue this with my bike travels. It is easier for me to load my gear on my bike than put it on my back.
We have a lot of undeveloped land in Michigan, my home, and I see that here. There is arid land and I wonder what can they grow here. This what I found out. For our US consumption we get their wheat, beans, corn and sorghum. Hay is another dry land crop that works here. In some areas you find onions, potatoes, dairy, sheep, cattle, cotton, poultry and eggs. Their warm climate can produce sugarcane, tomatoes, bananas, mangoes, avocados, blue agave, coffee and pecans. Great to hear they can grow so many crops and plants in different places in the state of New Mexico.
Santa Rosa (Saint Rose) has more water than some of the areas around. In this state you can see the repeated influence of the Spanish settlers. The Pecos River flows through and there are some artesian springs. The humidity level today is 63% which can be uncomfortable for my breathing.
The Blue Hole is 80 ' deep and 60' wide. Sixty-two degrees will take your breath away. A steady source keeps it fresh.
The elevation increase is gradual and the west wind of 7 mph is not bad. Eighty four degrees is not too bad either. The Continental Divide is still 200 miles west and I know I will gain elevation as I proceed.
I enjoy riding the shoulder on a divided highway like this. There is plenty of space to keep me from traffic and most vehicles will move to the left when they pass. The big problem of the shoulder is the debris. Watch out for bits of metal. The steel belts in truck tires are troublesome. Always carry a tire patch kit, extra tubes and on a long trip like this I will bring an spare tire. The nearest bike shop ahead is in Santa Fe.
Many of the towns that I have seen started as the Rock Island railroad came through and eventually it connected with the Union Pacific. Now the Rock Island company is a small shell of what it used to be. As highways developed the trucking industry took over more and more freight hauling. Fewer trains and diesel engines meant less reasons to stop in some of these small towns and this effected their fate. When Route 66 started in 1926 it was a dirt road and did not get the first pavement until the mid 1930s. Once roads were paved this allowed for increased truck traffic and provided greater route flexibility for transporting goods. Intercity bus routes helped to move people without cars.
Here I am in warm, make that hot, New Mexico. It was 94 degrees in Michigan today, so is this any worse? Today the wind was from a westerly direction and I was fighting it most of the time. The road goes between the higher ground on either side.
I only went 13.9 miles today. 87 degrees. Wind SSE @ 7. That is a comfortable day enjoying the beautiful colors. Also enjoy the open sky at night too.
I get a great view of the sky. In Michigan we have dew settle on the tent at night, but here it is drier in the morning. I can put a tarp up if the dew will set. This is a photo of my bug bivy. The bottom is waterproof and the pole keeps the netting off your face. There is not much other room, beyond the mummy bag. I have a pocket for my glasses and flashlight I got this to keep the bugs off and out in the desert who knows what else may want to crawl over or in your sleeping bag (snakes, scorpions, and ?).