Mojave Rattlesnake [news]

03/05/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

 

This snake, a part of the Pit Viper family, was found in Box Canyon 10 miles west of Socorro, NM. Although this little guy is only three to four inches in length he will grow up to be over three feet in length. The first snake Paul & I have seen since we started this trip, along with the first stretch of beautiful mild desert weather. We were lucky to have spotted this small creature as he is the most venomous snake in the entire continental United States and quite possibly the most aggressive. Paul & I recently purchased the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to the Southwestern States and profiled this very snake before handling it. With Jeff Corwin resemblance I carefully plucked this snake from his ditch with a stick and hoped not to anger it.

Socorro, NM [news]

03/05/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Paul & I had just bought a dozen doughnuts at a local grocery store when we found the location of a café adjacent to a bike shop. Truly a marvel of zoning. We setup our computer to upload photos and toured the local shop, Spoke-n-Word Cycles. I had some work done on my bike, all for around $0 total and was pleased with the modern upgrade they bestowed upon my drive train. Paul purchased two magazines, The Rocky Mountain Cyclist, and we had intentions of making it a few thousand feet in elevation before the sun set that afternoon.

Riding West on route 60 (We were happy to be done with the 500 or so miles of route 380) we immediately noticed a change in environment as the rock cuts on either side of the highway showed beautiful marvels of stone and dirt, in brilliant earthy pastel tones. As the sun set over the snow speckled peaks ahead of us we looked back and up at the towering walls of the box canyon, title Box by the local Bureau of Land Management. Paul and I felt a slight tinge of remorse at our lack of climbing gear. We instead opted to take a peek into some of the lower level caves and enjoy the pitted and potted surfaces of the granite-like formations.

The tube to my B.O.B. Trailer seemed to have more holes than a cheese grater. I had no intentions of wasting many of my valuable patches to fix it so I called the bike shop up and called in a favor. Gratefully, through a few acts of 'Paying it Forward' and relative kindness through those in the biking community, a tube was hand delivered to us at our place of encampment. The mechanic stayed until dark. We enjoyed the personal touch and the chance to experience situations out of the norm.

We started up a fire with relative ease and enjoyed a treat of spicy sausage in our Ramen noodle dish. We woke up to our first morning without frozen water and moisture and improved circulation in our hands as the desert started to warm up to a pleasant temperature of around 40º F. Only a few days away would be the Continental Divide and another milestone behind us.

Valley of Fires & The Rio Grande [news]

03/04/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Carrizozo, NM, is home to those nearest to the Trinity Site (World's first atomic bomb exploded in July 16th, 1945) and is a memorable town for Paul & I. Riding into Carrizozo is best done without an airplane altimeter for we would have easily registered a 'stall'. With heated bearings and wind crunched faces we made camp at Valley of Fires National Recreation Area. Picking the most scenic camp site on the reclaimed lava field we had our own private shade tree and small lava formed grotto.

We cooked our hamburg and made a fire in the stone-cold lava overhang. The sun set over the Pacific Ocean, 900 miles away, and the desert chilled. There's something strange about the proud desert; A blank expanse where even nature shies from elaborate cultivation but instead sows seeds of true muscle and longevity. When at night, the desert cowers; Seemingly content, the desert is lost for hope of warmth. We blanketed ourselves in the magnificent expanse of luminous stars and sat by our fire. We heated the grotto and cursed the onset of the full moon and it's ability to attract our attention only towards it's intimidating glow.

With mechanical problems diagnosed in the cool morning light we went after a bike shop. A volunteer gentleman at the camp lent us the use of his pickup and we drove to Ruidoso, the southern-most ski resort in the United States. Looking west we determined we were officially surrounded by the Southwest region. We bought the National Audubon Society's Field Guide for the Southwestern States and biked through a land separated from everything Paul & I were familiar with.

Deviating from a true pioneering sense we decided to cross the Rio Grande by bridge instead of attempting the ford. In doing so, Paul is now the farthest west in the United States that he has ever been. This is truly new territory for him and even for myself... well... everyday since New England has been 'new territory' for me; For that I am constantly thrilled.

Southwestern Desert and Plains [news]

03/04/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

We have been biking now through some of the most arid and tumultuous landscapes in the country. We have seen lava fields and strange volcanic formations that tower over plains of cacti and agaves. Our only regret is that our days are spent making it to the next town. Which often holds our direct attention because of potable water sources. Therefore we haven't been able to write quite as much of our travels due to internet locations. We will have much to say in the near future as we travel across these ranges laced with deserts. Our current waypoint goal is Phoenix, AZ (our current midpoint to San Diego).