Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Thu Oct 3, 2019

Day 19

Silver City New Mexico to Membres New Mexico

Today I had to make a difficult choice. Take the high road, or take the low road. There were two different routes to the town of Membres available to us. One, the high route, included a lot of climbing and crossing the Continental Divide two more times. The other route was only half as long with less than half the climbing. I chose the low route. I feel a bit like a cheater. There are eight of us now. Four went high and four went low. I’m just going to have to come back and do the high route some time. It would be fun to incorporate, the Gila Cliff Dwellings into that too. That would be a nice two or three day tour.

By taking the low route, I did pass through the area where one of the largest open pit mines in the world is currently in operation. I stopped for a good bit of time at the observation turn-out and read all the signs on display there. The signs explained the history of the mine, ownership, and innovations in mining that have taken place in the last 100 years. The pit was bigger than you can possibly imagine, bigger than I had imagined anyway. The giant electric shovel that loads 2-½ tons of rock in a single scoop looked like a tiny speck on the side of the pit where they were excavating. I didn’t take any photos. Open pit mining creates a huge scar on the land. Even after reclamation, you can still see that mining operations have clearly taken place.

At the end of the ride, I stopped in to a small grocery store/restaurant. I wanted to buy a six pack of beer to have and share with the beer drinkers in the group. There was a man in front of me buying some simple groceries using food stamps, nothing too healthy. He also had an item that didn’t qualify for food stamps. The lady in the store rang it all up. He tried to hand her money for the non-covered item, she said, “that’s ok, I got it.” It made me think about charity. We all need to take care of those we know or those we meet that are less fortunate than we are, but we also need to take care of those who have no one looking out for them. As I rode away from the store I saw a political sticker about the greatness of America. It was difficult for me to relate that sentiment to real caring in Washington D. C. Caring about the people living in this remote valley, and other valleys like it.

I stopped along the way today to write a few lines of a poem. I got in to camp so early today I might have an opportunity to work on it some more before I retire for the night. Tomorrow we ride over Emery Pass. We will reach the highest point of the tour, approximately 8,500 feet elevation.

Miles: 24

Vertical: 1,000