Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Great Divide - Elk Creek, Ojo Caliente, NM

From: Mary
Sent: Wednesday, 9/3/03
To: Friends and Family
Subject: Stunner Campground to Ojo Caliente

September 2 - Stunner Campground to Elk Creek Campground (37 miles, 1750 feet)

Perhaps there's more to Evan's carbo-loading nutrition plan than I care to admit (especially in light of the low carb diets that are in vogue now). Last night I cooked spelt pasta with a peanut shrimp sauce.  When Evan and I rode out of camp this morning, I pulled ahead of him as we rode up Stunner Pass and stayed that way until we hit the top of the pass 4 miles later.  As you all know, this is highly unusual, but we both felt we were expending our normal amount of energy.  It's more likely that it was just the difference in our bicycles.  My full suspension frame and mountain bike tires, which are inflated with half the PSI (pounds per square inch) as Evan's cross tires, are ideally suited for the rough road.  He said he would gain on me when the road was smooth, but if we hit a rocky section I would pull away from him.  Of course, we can't forget about that BOB he's towing.  A boat anchor would slow anyone down.

Evan stopped to fish and I rode on alone.  I was almost to the campsite when I saw Jim riding toward me.  The ride was so beautiful that I turned around to View from Conejos River Roadride back with Jim.  We'd only gotten a few miles down the road when it started to rain.  We headed for a Mexican restaurant and called it a day.

September 3 - Elk Creek Campground to Ojo Caliente (17 miles, 1840 feet)

The trail just out of Elk Creek was a long stretch of pavement with a narrow shoulder.  That didn't deter Evan, who took off to meet his wife, Janeen, in Chama.  She'll be with him for the remainder of the trip.  Jim and I opted to do a section of the trail as an out-and-back ride starting at a dirt road north of Cumbres Pass.

My map reading skills proved to be lacking as I recommended a wrong turn just a few miles into our ride.  We thoroughly enjoyed our ride and didn't even realize we were lost until the rocky road we were on looped back on itself.  An approaching storm ended our ride after just 17 short miles.  A few months ago, I would not have considered a 17-mile ride a short one.

Three miles into our ride, we crossed the Colorado-New Mexico border.  As is now our custom, we brought along food and drink to celebrate the crossing.  Mary and Jim and CO/NM BorderWe sipped on port wine (poured into an empty water bottle) and nibbled on chocolate.  The port was one I found when I visited New Mexico earlier in the year with my high school roommate, Mary Sessom. Debbie brought the chocolate to us a few days ago.  Mary and Debbie, thanks for helping us celebrate our border crossing!

We realized we would need additional maps and information to help us navigate the motor home through New Mexico.  After we went to two Forest Service stations and received precious little useful information, I was reminded just how fortunate we were to meet the incredibly helpful Ray Hanson and the BOB Boys.

Jim and I went to Ojo Caliente for the night to soak our tired bodies in the hot springs.  A massage would have been nice, but we got there too late to schedule one.

Happy trails,
Mary

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