Out of a vast dead zone

SILVER CITY, New Mexico — Several milestones:
— We’ve crossed into New Mexico, the third state on our 3,000-plus-mile, transcontinental bicycle journey from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.
— We’re now two weeks into the trip, having covered about 730 miles since leaving San Diego on Sept. 20.
— We crossed the Continental Divide in New Mexico.
— And, perhaps most important, we’re in a place that has wi-fi and reliable cellphone service. We’ve emerged from a vast dead zone.
ContinentalDivideThe past three days — Thatcher, Ariz., to Three Way, Ariz., on Friday (41.69 miles); Three Way to Buckhorn, N.M., on Saturday (46.54 miles); and Buckhorn to Silver City on Sunday (37.11 miles) — have taken us through some very remote parts of the Southwest. Cellphone service has been very spotty and wi-fi unheard of in the primitive campsites we used in Three Way and Buckhorn. So maintaining this blog has been very problematic.

Trying to blog at Three Way

Trying to blog at Three Way

In Buckhorn, for example, a high spot along U.S 180 is referred to by locals as the “phone booth.” People drive to the spot to make cellphone calls because, apparently, it’s the only place in the area where a wireless signal can be received.
Some notes from the road over the past few days:
— On Friday night, we camped at a primitive RV park on Arizona 75 about 2 1/2 miles south of Three Way, Ariz., so named because it is at the junction of U.S 191 and Arizona highways 78 and 75.
The store at Three Way

The store at Three Way

The ride from Thatcher to Three Way was relatively short — only 41.69 miles — but it included a significant climb through an unnamed pass at an elevation of about 4,600 feet on U.S. 191 before dropping precipitously through Tollhouse Canyon on a seven-percent downhill grade into Three Way.
As we pitched our tents at the Ponderosa RV Park, five mountain goats perched on a sandstone butte directly behind our campsite kept a wary eye on us.
Taking a break in a forest of pines

Taking a break in a forest of pines

— Saturday’s ride from Three Way to Buckhorn was also relatively short (46.54 miles), but it included a very tough climb over a 6,295-foot pass along Arizona 78 before the crossing into New Mexico. That ride provided some spectacular and very diverse terrain — from the high desert of Three Way, through a range of jagged peaks, down into a forest of tall Ponderosa pines and then into the rolling grasslands of New Mexico.
Roadside wildflowers

Roadside wildflowers

— On Sunday, by a bit of luck, I was able to ride the 37-plus miles from Buckhorn to Silver City without carrying my usual 50 pounds of gear. By chance, a veteran guide for Adventure Cycling Association was driving a rented RV to California to lead a private charity ride across the country and he happened to stay at our campsite at Buckhorn. He offered to carry any gear that we didn’t want to haul on our bikes and drop it at our campsite in Silver City.
Hey, I’m not proud — or stupid — so I took him up on the offer. Some might consider it cheating, but I call it strategery, to use a word from the eccentric vocabulary of former President Bush. My aim is to get myself and my bike to Florida under my own power, and I’ll welcome any opportunity to lighten the load from time to time.
— We’ve crossed paths a couple of times with 16-year-old Jasmine Jordan, who is running from Los Angeles to New York in honor of a friend who died of cancer. She and her support vehicle passed by our campsite in Arizona one evening this past week and then we discovered she was staying at the same RV park we were using in Thatcher, Ariz., but we didn’t get to meet her.


1 Comment

Filed under Blogging on the road, Cycling across America, Journeys

One response to “Out of a vast dead zone

  1. Love the story about Jasmine Jordan. What an amazing young lady she must be.

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