I made no set agenda; places to go or times to go, but just decided to follow whatever my feelings were at the moment. I guess I didn't want my brain to overload with such heavy decisions as, "where do I take my first pee break?" Looking at the maps ( I love maps, but that is another blog) I finally decided (loosely) to head towards Gallup, New Mexico and spend a morning riding the Soulcraft there on the local trails. Afterwards, I would mosey on up to Cortez and spend another day riding the trails there before tackling Mesa Verde, with the Pegoretti, the third day. The fourth and final day would be spent on the proverbial "40 years in the desert" trek back to Chandler.
I left Wedneday from work, ate Himalayan in Flag, and planned to spend the night in Holbrook. However, in a bit a bravura (or foolishness depending upon your point of view) I pushed on to Gallup arriving at midnight. All the cheap motels were filled and I finally decided to stop at a Days Inn. What could go wrong? Thye are a national chain usually known for their quality. Well, to make a long story short, sleeping on the floor of a rest area bathroom with a posse of chain smoking janitorial staff would have been more comfortable. Not an auspicious start to the trip.
But the morning dawned with a new hope and I set off looking for a typical Gallup greasy spoon for true Route 66 cuisine to power the motor for some good riding. I ended up at Don Diegos and it was a pleasant surprise. I made a couple observations while dining. The first is that no matter where I am travelling, I will order the absolute most dangerous meal before departing. 150 miles of open prairie without a bathroom? No problem! "Give me the Huevos Rancheros with green chile and extra jalapenos. Oh, and the Habanero Tabasco on the side." I will say they were amongst the best I've ever eaten and that the Mexican food in New Mexico is better than in Arizona. Yes, I know I am treading on dangerous ground.
The second observation was that rednecks are rednecks no matter what or where their origin. I will not repeat the conversation ( it was offensive and stupid with plenty of "hyuk, hyuk"s) but I do believe that if there is one thing worse than a redneck with a gun, it is a redneck that is computer literate. Some of the emails I receive (and delete) are proof of that.
I digress. I decided at the last minute to proceed as quickly as possible to Cortez and to hit the riding in Gallup on the way back. Highway 491 on the way to Farmington is one of my favorite stretches of road anywhere. It must be proof that I am easily amused.
This was the view I had during my first "pee" stop. Uh oh, too much information!!!
I made it to Cortez and stopped at Kokopelli Bike and Board to buy a trail map and find some nice local places to ride. These guys are great. I wish I had gotten their names. They gave me all the hot places to ride and which trails were best suitable for a fat old man on a singlespeed, etc.. But they never once looked down their noses at me. I highly recommend visiting this shop and shelling out the 15 bucks for the map. It is worth it. As an added bonus, they recommended the Dolores River Brewing Company for an "apres promenade" recovery meal.
Because my legs were a bit stiff from all the driving, I decided to take the easy 9 mile Boggy Draw ride outside of Dolores (about 14 miles north of Cortez). It was easy except for the 7500 foot elevation's affect on my lowland lungs. Plus, my legs were very stiff from driving. I will say as technically easy as this trail is, it now ranks amongst my favorites. I ended up riding the loop twice. It rained, there was sunshine, trees, ferns, water, frolicking naked amongst the pines with the forest creatures, etc... Absolutely beautiful! I am joking about frolicking naked, though. The world doesn't need or want another Sasquatch story. Especially one with a newly discovered midget variety.
I took the shop's advise and stopped at the brewery for a beer after the ride. I ended up having too many but it was worth it. The friendliest people in the world must live in Dolores, Colorado. I was treated like a long, lost friend. Of course, it might be because as a benefit of purchasing a Mug Club membership for my aunt Arlette. I received a 1/2 gallon growler of beer which I shared amongst all my new friends. And, the more we drank, the friendlier we became. YEp, it was a family reunion by the time I left. We sang, we danced, we frolicked naked with the forest creatures adn there were many sighting of a new tribe of Sasquatches.
For the "real food" portion of the visit, I ordered their Portobello mushroom sandwich. It was like none that I have ever eaten. Instead of being served like a hamburger, the mushrooms were chopped and mixed with onions, red & green peppers and cheese on a Hoagie bun. (The girl who made it was a vegetarian so she understood what we like). I give it Five Pinkies because it was a true Five Pinkie experience.
I decided after all this fun tht instead of camping, I would shell out the shekels for a motel room in Cortez. I decided not to stay in Dolores because I liked the brewery too much and down the street was a German Beer Garden. The potential for stupidity was too close for comfort. Unfortunately, as in Gallup all the inexpensive motels were full. My bladder at the bursting point, I took the last single room at a Best Western. I won't say the price, but I will need to camp out for the next couple of nights to make up for it.
Hallejujah!!! I walked in and discovered that the room is a suite. And, as a bonus it has a hot tub in the bedroom. So I will cut this off now while I soak my weary body in the waters of Elysium.
As an afterthought, beware the trail Ninjas lest they attack your tires!!!