It's official. We're in the mountains and loving life. The plains and flat scrubby windy countryside have given way to the rolling southern Rockies. The general opinion is as follows: it's about time. Texas and southern New Mexico was a real duke 'em out affair, an early haymaker to the face that found us limping into the urban sprawl of the Burque. Being able to ride northeast out of town, cut behind Sandia Crest on Hwy 14 and climb baby climb into the airy 7,000 ft cuts of the mountains was a gift, much appreciated from our previous two weeks.
And so it begins. A month of riding north then due west through Colorado and Utah, climbing and descending and discovering at 12 mph the meaning of the southwest.
This is a picture of Tyler cruising up the cut into our final ascent before seeing the best sign available in mountain ranges.
Oh yeah. Downhill signs. We had a five mile descent into the restored town of Madrid (pronounced: MAD-rid), which was an abandoned mining town from the 1950s-1970s, now inhabited by artists and restaurateurs seeking to please the swarms of motorcycle gangs rolling through town.
We ate at the Hollar and spoke with the owner Jeff. I thought we might have a Narratively story on our hands - Madrid is bonkers to see - but there seemed to be no startling personalities worth recording. So we ate our food and rolled on. I took a stupid amount of pictures of the rest of our ride, and had a hard time picking out my favorites.
It's all beautiful. Tyler and I rode into Santa Fe together. It seemed as if every two minutes we were telling each other to look left or right or straight ahead or straight behind at the wonder of the nothern New Mexico countryside. That day, those seventy miles, these felt as if we had finally made it West.
To celebrate, we sang Meatloaf.
And so we're now in Santa Fe, home of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. I ate sopaipillas last night and almost dropped my tongue out of my mouth. Life is very good.