John, I love your write-up, and I can especially relate to this, "*didn’t
have the right bike, too hot, too windy, too little water, not enough time,
not in good enough shape, not safe to go alone, and on and on and on." *Though
not into the wilds, but alone, I'm hoping to ride the C&O in spring,
self-supported. Thanks for the photos.
On Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 11:01:02 PM UTC-7, John M wrote:
> For years I have wanted to make a bike tour out of the quiet backroads and
> hidden corners of SW New Mexico where I live. But a whole litany of
> excuses, both real and imagined conspired against it—didn’t have the right
> bike, too hot, too windy, too little water, not enough time, not in good
> enough shape, not safe to go alone, and on and on and on. This year I
> became the new owner of a barely used Hunqapillar and resolved to make it
> happen. About a month ago I sketched out a rough plan and started putting
> touring equipment together. Last Thursday after spending way too much time
> agonizing over the final details and packing for my fears instead of my
> confidence, I locked the front door and soft pedaled through town headed
> south towards the bootheel of New Mexico, destined for the Chiricahua
> mountains just over the border in Arizona.
> I figured I could do 50 miles per day, with a mix of dirt and
> pavement—though I haven't had many rides over 15 miles in the last few
> years. More worrying than my ability to go the distance was the
> resupply—mostly of water, but also food. Water, like towns, are scarce
> out here and I planned to pack enough supplies to ride straight through
> each day without needing to count on uncertain water sources (cattle tanks)
> or stores that might be out of business or closed for the day. I spent 4
> days touring, camping in Forest Service campgrounds or just out in the wide
> desert on BLM land.
> Pictorial highlights here: Flickr photos
> Route info here: Plotaroute <https://www.plotaroute.com/route/298220>
> Other than the Chiricahua mountains which are justifiable famous among
> bird watchers (Trogons!) and outdoorsy folk, it was wonderfully desolate
> out there. Ranch trucks and the Border Patrol were about the only other
> travelers on the roads. On one 20 mile stretch of dirt road, I spent
> three hours spinning away in the small chainring, climbing in and out of
> small drainages without a car passing me, or even having one in sight.
> The bike did wonderfully—no mechanical failures or tire punctures. I had
> converted the Racing Ralphs to tubeless about a month ago to make sure they
> would be reliable. I still didn’t trust them completely and rode pretty
> cautiously to prevent failure out in the boonies. The bike came with the
> Albatross handlebar, and though I am more used to riding with drops, the
> Albas were fine. I definitely missed the lack of *comfortable* hand
> positions but they certainly didn’t prevent me from finishing the trip or
> having a good time.
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