For $9 the Railrunner takes us from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. It’s 90+ degrees and riding there on pavement holds no appeal. I munch on turnips and carrots from Thomas at Stan and Rose Mary Crawford’s El Bosque Garlic Farm while the landscape passes by.
We ride city trails and bicycle boulevards. We see hundreds of hot air balloons take flight. We get to know our hosts, Tammie and Ethan.
I glance at my calendar, see it’s the first week of October, and that we probably need to get a move on. Tyndall’s itching to get his feet wet.
Adventure Cycling’s Route 66 takes us west out of Albuquerque. Much of the real Route 66 has been gobbled up by I-40.
The interstate is straightforward and my mind wanders. I wonder where all the truck freight is going, where it’s come from and what, exactly, is being hauled all over the country. I think about rereading The Grapes of Wrath. I-40 does have a large shoulder with a rumble strip and takes us where we need to go, just don’t get distracted by the casinos along the way.
Storm clouds circle, but we thread the needle and manage to stay dry.
Doug Johnson offers cyclist camping in his backyard, 15 miles from Grants in San Fidel off Highway 124. Instead of the tent, we sleep in his trailer. As rain patters on the roof, I’m grateful for the sturdy shelter.
We aim to reconnect with the Divide one last time in Grants, but recent heavy rains send us down a paved alternate.
Finally (finally!) we turn off Route 117 onto the dirt road that will take us to Pie Town. It’s solid and firm. Tarantuals and woolly bear catapillars march across.
We ride until sunset and camp among pinyon pines. Elk bugle all around. Three stumble into our camp. I’m happy to be back in the woods. It’s been awhile.