Great Divide, ALCAN and Dalton, and Costal Highways
Motorcycling Adventure #2
40 days, 10,700 miles, Jun-Aug 2011
Silver City to Reserve CS, 165 mi.
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Fueling up first thing in the morning, across from the motel. We stayed at the same motel and ate at the adjacent restaurant during our Hello America bicycle tour; see the bottom of page 8: "I was about to suggest we leave when Jenny decided on a bowl of soup."
Glory hole of the Santa Rita copper mine. My analysis was the same back then as now: "I hoped they fill it back in when finished." :-)
It felt good to be finally riding on the dirt roads. I had been worried about riding on the pavement on the knobbies all that way from home. I needed have worried, it didn't faze them.
A scenic ranch north of Mimbres.
Taking a break in the shade.
At the same spot.
Climbing into the cool forest.
This type of road would likely sustain much damage in a flashflood because it has no provisions for runoff. But then again, it doesn't get much traffic, so probably cheaper to repair when needed.
The route headed down into this pretty canyon. The road diagonalling back out is barely visible in this photo.
Nice stop along the way.
Open water is a rarity in these parts, so this is an often photographed spot. Actually part of someone's ranch.
Along with the water, I started seeing elk.
I saw probably 500 elk throughout the day.
I took this photo then went a little further, and this group came running across the road directly in front of me. It was pretty spectacular.
That was the end of the water.
Endless miles of road through dry terrain.
And endless rocks.
I had a funny feeling riding through this particular area; the people I met and saw didn't seem that friendly. Maybe they were tired of cyclists asking for water. But I sensed the problems ran a bit deeper than that, whatever they were.
I saw no cyclists to this point, but knew that they ride through here in droves. And they are mostly thirsty. There's no drinkable water for a hundred miles, other than at the wells of the infrequent ranches.
I had a five minute stand-off waiting for this bull (or steer) to get off the road. Actually I was backing up the whole time, because the beast was giving me what seemed a menacing look. It was standing still in the road, facing me; but finally it turned (as I was taking the photo) and moseyed off.
In 1992 Jenny and I had hiked this road, and this is how we obtained our water - from wells such as this. Like before, the days were windless; so I had climbed up the windmill tower and spun the blades by hand, while at the same time Jenny collected the runoff from the pipe in a water bottle. Now I was alone, so could not obtain water here. And I didn't want to bother anyone at the ranches, so had to go thirsty throughout the afternoon.
This bird (Western tanager) wants a drink but can't quite reach the water. I have found dead birds that have drowned in such tanks because they apparently fell in and couldn't get back out. So I usually leave a stick floating in the water so any hapless bird can climb on to that, and take flight from there.
Reaching Highway 12, I detoured SW to the small town of Reserve for water, food and fuel. There I met my first friendly motorcyclist of the trip, a local guy who stopped his pickup for a chat. He sounded like he knew the dirt roads in the area like the back of his hand. On my way again, I rode 5 miles back to a FS spur road, and pulled off the highway to find a place to camp.