So. Said parts did not arrive when we expected them, which rearranged out timetable, and basically ran us out of time. I left Albuquerque quite sad, and quite alone, but determined to continue riding the Continental Divide.
After changing a flat front tire,
I headed out in the afternoon and picked up where we had left off–just north of Grants, NM in the Gilas.
Can you see the storm rolling in above? Sheesh. What to do? When lightening crack right beside me on the trail, I decided to park the bike and wait it out. Yep, the warmest, coziest, driest place I could think of was standing inside my Klim Latitude suit, so that’s where I remained. Helmet on, watching the storm. The strikes were so close that the hair on the back of my neck involuntarily stood on end.
(Here’s the link to the video below if you cannot see it: http://youtu.be/OzLOvg3Ibrc )
Well, after sloshing down the mountain, following the GPS, and getting lost, redirected, and ending up smack dab in the middle of some huge ranching operation that was strangely deserted, I was desperate for a place to stop for the night since it was almost dark. I ended up getting stuck in the mud, it got dark, and I CAMPED IN THE ROAD! I figured there wasn’t too much traffic since I didn’t see any tracks, so I parked the bike in a way to shield me and I set up camp. I didn’t sleep very well at all, between worrying about traffic coming along, getting up in the night to put on the fly, and the wind there on the plain howling through the tent.
Here’s a pic of my camp site the following morning:
Well, things just got worse from there. More re-routing, closed roads, roads that were marked as private but were really county roads,
and I was in a “state” by 10 am. I finally got rolling on the correct road (well, the track I was following on the GPS at least) and it was nearly washed out, super muddy, and nearly impassable in places. I was out in the middle of freaking nowhere, on roads that no one ever seemed to travel, and I was struggling.
The final straw was when I got stuck in a wash…I didn’t have enough fuel left to go backwards, so I could only go forwards. I HAD to get through it…and I got stuck.
Luckily, I didn’t tip the bike over or I would have been DONE! I don’t think I could have picked up the bike. I’d still be out there in the desert…
As it was, I had to take all the luggage off the bike, dig the wheels out, and then power-walk the bike with the engine revving and me walking beside the bike.
Here’s the wash (I went through the most solid part after I’d walked all over the thing and tested it)
It took me over an hour to get out of there, and 2+ more hours to get out of the desert. I finally emerged into civilization in Cuba (?) NM, and called Edward in tears. I didn’t want to quit, but I didn’t want to be out there in the desert struggling by myself. It’s funny the thoughts that come to you as you panic, as you are in extreme duress, and I kept thinking about all the possible (bad) scenarios. Edward asked me when I’d last eaten, and well, I couldn’t remember. A snack for breakfast? Ok, girlie, better take care of that.
After eating an entire footlong subway sandwich and talking to a kind local that even gave me some road advice, I gained heart and headed back onto the trail…this time into the Forest. I rode an absolutely amazing road for about 30 miles, and camped.
It was a nice spot, and I was super proud of myself, but again I didn’t sleep. This time it was because I was in bear country and it was THAT time of the month for me. Yeap, this always seems to be the case when I am camping in bear country, but this time I was ALONE.
PLUS, my peanut butter had leaked all over my pillow…which was highly aromatic. I DID place it about 200 yards from the tent just in case a disagreeable creature happened along, but then I was sleeping without my pillow. Oh yeah, and then some time in the middle of the night a coyote came along and was insulted that I camped along his hunting path…so he let the whole forest know I was there by barking at me for what seemed like an hour.
Tired, I got up, packed up, and continued riding. Things were great for the first hour, but then the trail started getting rockier and rockier…(no pics of this, of course, because at this point I was hanging on for dear life…) and then I came up to a steep rocky incline. That was it. I could probably have made it up the slope, but what was beyond that? And I certainly didn’t want to come DOWN that slope…I wasn’t even fond of retracing the four miles of babyheads I’d just been over. NOPE. I turned around. Navigated another way out of the forest, and when I hit pavement I decided I was done being a heroine, and was going to ride some pavement.
Next thing I knew I was riding some really fun PAVED roads in Colorado, and I was thinking that was pretty great.
End of the CDT for me. It was hard on my ego to quit, but after three days of fearing for my life and constantly being on the edge of my comfort zone, I decided to abandon the CDT and just. have. fun.
So that’s what I did, taking three days to get back to Idaho.
Besides, I had another adventure coming up in just a week’s time…
INDIA. Here I come.
(As you read this I am already on my way)