Somewhere in New Mexico to Las Cruces New Mexico
Today we reached Las Cruces. Our route took us more or less straight South. The head wind that we expected was minimal. It was another 60 mile day. I scooted out of camp ahead of everyone else for the first time. It was a pleasant morning and I made good time. About 10 miles in I encountered my first dog chase. I was followed by a little white guy, he did not appear to serious so I just pedaled faster and put him in my rear view mirror. About 10 miles later I encountered my second dog chase of the trip. One of my companions warned me in this part of New Mexico I would see dogs off leash in small towns, and he was right. This fellow, a bigger black dog, looked serious. I stopped pedaling and talked to him and he lost interest in twenty yards or so. Neither of these dogs were truly vicious, and I hope I don’t encounter one that is.
Head wind was not a factor today, but the morning’s ride took us through fog for about ten miles. It was really unexpected. It was a dense fog and it reminded me of Seattle. We finally came out of it just a couple of miles outside of Hatch, our designated lunch stop. Hatch is noted for being the chili capital of the world, and indeed, it probably is. I spent the morning cycling through chili fields. There were many little shops selling Southwest art and fresh roasted chilis. They roast them on the spot for you. The smell was delightful. I ate lunch at Sparky’s. Sparky’s claims to server the best green chili burger in the world. So I had to try one to see of the claim had merit. It did. The burger was very good, one of the best I have every had. Of course, everything you don’t cook when you are on tour tastes good, so I might be a bit jaded in that respect. But suffice it to say, if I end up at some point within 100 miles of Hatch, I will go back to Sparky’s.
Most of the afternoon was spent following the Rio Grande River. It is a majestic, slow moving, muddy red beast. At one point near Las Cruces, I saw a couple and their dog in the middle of the river running along splashing in the muddy water. At that point at least it was not very deep, because it was a small dog and it did not seem to have any trouble running in the water. I think when it rains the river can fill up quickly. The afternoon was spent crossing many dry washes that flowed into the river.
Since today was our first day with no real mountain climbing, I decided to celebrate by buying beer for the crew. We are now eight, seven plus our leader. I bought two 6-packs of Bud and a bag of ice. I’ll get back to that in a second. (Yes, I bought Bud. There are some people in our crew that have not yet had their taste spoiled by IPAs.) Try carrying 4 panniers, a handle bar bag, two large stuff bags on the rear rack AND two 6-packs and a bag of ice. I had to carry all of this 5 miles to camp, the last mile was up hill. I made it, and the beer tasted good, I would say very good in fact.
I noticed when camp was set up tonight that a lot of people are now placing rocks and other items around their tent stakes. My practice of doing that is catching on. That is of course to make the stakes visible so people don’t trip over them - which I did all the time before I started that practice.
Vertical: A few rollers.