U.S. Continental Divide

June 4

We left the hotel in Grants and proceeded up through a variety of ecosystems.  We were mostly in high altitudes where there were desert plants and lush trees.  At two points during the day we could not locate the Continental Divide trail. We had been using small Garmin units to which we had downloaded "breadcrumbs" – the path along the Divide.

This electronic trail was provided to us by a group that had traveled the trail before.  The trail at times is clear and easy to see but at other points there is just a rutted road that is barely discernable – you have to take a leap of faith and perhaps after a mile or so you will see if you have taken the right path.


Which way - the breadcrumbs will tell!

As we proceeded up in altitude there were fewer trees and at one point off in the distance we saw a huge drag line with perhaps a 30 yard bucket swinging as it was either mining coal or stripping the overburden from a coal vein.

Part of this ride was particularly strenuous because of the deep sand we encountered.  The trick with sand is to stand up on the pegs, put as weight back as possible and keep the power on so the front wheel does not sink down into the sand.

I have still not mastered this technique.  The going was slow and we were going to have trouble rendezvousing with the Thorntons who were set to prepare an elaborate barbecue.  With the route we had planned we realized this would not be possible.

Skipping lunch, Roger Hansen and I left for Abiquiu by road, leaving the rest of the group working on a lavish meal at Cuba, New Mexico's fanciest Mexican restaurant.

When we arrived in Abiquiu we inquired about primitive camping areas from the Post Office and the General Store manager both of whom had no knowledge of such areas but recommended some B&B's.  There was no wireless signal in Abiquiu so we traveled to the highest area to try to get a signal – but no luck.  Using the Sat phone I called everyone I could who might know how to get in touch with Jonathon Thornton and who drives up but Jonathon and Elizabeth and we hooked up with them at the side of the road.

We drove down by Abiquiu Dam (perhaps 15 miles from the town itself) into this magical canyon with a river running through it – it was the classic New Mexico multi-colored mesas and interesting geological features found in the Midwest.  We found a nice camp area and the one party that was near us left when they saw the number of people and guessed it was not going to be a quiet evening.

A little before dark, the other riders arrived – they had no cell phone connection but had somehow gotten word of how to find this strange place down deep in the woods.  We were unsure that they would make it and it was great to see them – exhausted but well.

Jonathon cooked the most elaborate meal I have seen at an impromptu barbecue.  He began by putting 5 chickens in a hole with hooks, built an enormous charcoal fire and roasted the chickens combined with the application of strange exotic seasonings.


Johnny tending the barbecue


Sister Elizabeth lends a hand

Rainy was chopping potatoes which they added to a Dutch oven with bacon, garlic and onions.  They put the top on and covered it with charcoal – and the baking begins.

A third culinary extravaganza was the pineapple upside-down cake (also made in a Dutch oven) where the contents where poured into the container, the top replaced and then covered with charcoal.


Upside-down cake successfully flipped!

Accompanying this feast were margaritas, wine, assorted cheeses and followed of course by cigars and tall stories.  Johnny was both a phenomenal host and a fantastic cook.


The party assembled!

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