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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reporting on: Saturday, May 23, 2009

Riding Route: From Albuquerque to Santa Fe

Elevation Climb: 5300 feet

Weather: Terrible!

Miles Ridden Yesterday: 66

Today we have a day off - and we really need it after the cold and windy climb to Santa Fe yesterday! We left the hotel about 7:30am in balmy, but cloudy and windy, 70 degree weather. About a half hour out the rain really started coming down and the winds kicked up to about 35 mph. We had our first SAG stop at mile 36. All of us were freezing cold by then...the temperature had dropped to about 50 degrees and we were wet and shivering. Several of us were ready to jump in the van. Margret, one of our drivers, started the van and turned the heater on. My fingers were totally numb and I sat holding them by the heater for 20 minutes before the feeling came back. Not a good thing! Margret gave each of us 2 pairs of plastic food serving gloves to wear under our bike gloves and we were ready to go again. It did the trick!

We headed on up the mountain and had lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern in Madrid. When you "belly up to the bar" at the Mine Shaft you will be served from the longest stand-up bar in New Mexico! We passed on the bar – but had a cup of hot soup…which was appreciated more than any drink would have been! Back out on the road the wind changed direction and the rain was directly in our faces. It was miserable! The slow climb on into Santa Fe was tough. There were several riders who ended up riding the remainder of the way in the van - but yours truly completed the ride all the way! Another challenge met! The first thing I did after checking into the hotel was put on my swim suit on and head for the hot tub! Ah-h-h to thaw out! The remainder of the day was cloudy and stormy.

Just a few words on the Turquoise Trail. It’s a 65 mile National Scenic Byway that begins in the town of Tijeras about 16 miles east of Albuquerque. Madrid and neighboring Cerrillos to the north (both designated ghost towns) have long been known for the turquoise nestled in the surrounding hills. The beautiful blue-green stone was first mined by the Pueblo people as early as 900 A.D. It was continuously mined by the Indians for centuries. The area was later discovered by Spaniards who also searched the area for silver and gold. In the early 1800’s, American prospectors moved into the area and in the 1880’s large coal mine companies began operations.

Last night we had dinner at “The Cowgirl Hall of Fame” restaurant. One of our riders knew the owner – who put on quite a feast for us. Kim and Nick, our daughter and son-in-law lived here until recently – and have given us a list of several things to do. First trek today is a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum…and then into town.

The forecast for the next three days is thunderstorms, wind and rain. We have 9 straight days of riding ahead of us before our next “day off”. That will be in Abilene, KS – where Carol is going to meet me. Her sister, Wendy, lives in St. George, KS – so I’ll get to see family along the way. A home cooked meal sounds good to me!

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