A request: Friends from church. I have been unable to watch Conference. If you watched it, comment with your favorite talk (s), and I will watch those first when I get a day off.
And now for today’s post;
You know, there was only a 35% chance of rain, last night. Against the odds, sometime after midnight, it rained for two hours and supposedly there was worse thunder and lightning than the night before. It was so close that Ed thought it hit my tent (glad that didn’t happen). I was so wiped out that I only heard the rain, because I woke up to use the restroom. I have my own accomodation for that that does not require me to exit the tent–top secret stuff that I won’t divulge here, except to say that it doesn’t involve wearing Depends.
Once again, we packed up wet tents and tent footprints before hitting the road, which made for another late start for what was to be a 65 mile day with no significant climbing.
Right out of the chute, there was a headwind. For the first time, Ed and I drafted off of each other, with Ken drafting off of us, but not taking turns out front, due to the fact that he pulls a trailer. It gave each of us a break from the headwinds, which made us stronger when we were out front pulling. We made good time as we followed the path of the Rio Grand, passing through Arrey, Derry, Garfield and Salem on our way to Hatch.
Along the way, we saw flooded out yards and property, owing to the previous night’s rain. I was a little surprised at how brown and silty the Rio Grand was, and wondered if it is always mud colored, or if that was a result of run off from the storm too. Anyone have a clue on that?
Chili farms and chili processing plants seemed to be the primary industry for most of our route, though there were a significant number of pecan groves and a few cotton and maize fields.
Once on the road again, the wind was much stronger and now was constantly changing direction. Or maybe it was the road that was changing directions. Regardless, there was very little joy in the ride.
A stop at the Fort Sheldon Historical Site got us some air conditioned time to learn about both the fort and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The fort was established in 1865 along the banks of the Rio Grand and also along the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.
All that is left of it is just a few portions of adobe walls, but back in the day, it was a US Army outpost that protected locals from desperadoes and Apache Indians. It’s first soldiers where Buffalo Soldiers (African American infantrymen) who had served during the Civil War. During the 1880s, one of its residents was the post commander’s son–a boy named Douglas MacArthur.
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is another “place” I had never heard of before. It was gradually established, starting back in 1598, as a trade route between Mexico City and the San Juan Pueblo, which is north of Santa Fe. At first it was used by native tribes, but it later became a route for trade between Spanish villages and for missionaries spreading Christianity. By 1881, railroads had replaced wagon trails, so the route was decommissioned. It’s historical significance is recognized by 60 World Heritage Sites in the Mexico portion of the route being designated on the UNESCO World Heritage List, while the US portion of the route is part of the National Historic Trail system, overseen by the National Park Service. How did I miss learning about this during all those years of US History I had in school?
While Ed and I checked out the fort, Ken headed down the road to take care of his ride leader duties. Then along came Eric who gave us some inspiration as we rode the rest of the way to Las Cruces.
Eric and I stopped at Sonic for milkshakes, while Ed continued on. The last 5 miles to the Las Cruces KOA were almost inhumane. I don’t know who picked that location for a KOA, but they must not have known that bike riders could have a heart attack climbing the mile+ super steep hill up Highway 70 and into the parking lot.