Sunday, November 7, 2010
That is Emory Pass behind us as we leave Kingston
Where we just came from
11-6-10 Saturday We left the Black Range Lodge in Kingston NM after futzing with a contrary valve stem on Norb's bike. It was chilly as we began our ride to the top of Emory Pass at 8,828 ft. That will be our highest point during this trip. From our starting point, we climbed 2,800 vertical feet over a distance of eight miles to reach the top of the pass. It was challenging. The difficulty was compounded by the surface of Hwy 152 that was recently oiled and packed with gravel. Our tires picked up loose pieces of the oiled gravel and deposited the gunk on the underside of our fenders which, at times, prevented our tires from rolling. This surface was a perfect storm for flat tires. We topped out at 12:30 and stopped briefly to enjoy the view. Both below and around us were Ponderosa pine, juniper, spruce and fir. Woven within these various shades of green were oaks, cottonwoods, and birch flashing their fall colors of orange and yellow. The descent was a series of steep drops followed by climbs as curvy 152 clung to the side of the mountain. During one of the steep drops, Norb had a rear tube blowout. Ann was 100 yards ahead and did not realize Norb had dropped out of the parade for about 2 miles. Fortunately a nice family (the Wagners who once lived in Jasper, Arkansas) happened by and asked Norb if he was with a lady walking his direction about a mile down the road. These wonderful people then picked Ann up and brought her up to the spot where Norb was changing his rear tire. After we completed the tire change, the Wagners took Ann back to her bike. Norb then traveled about 10 feet before his front tire blew. Ann had deduced that either Norb had encountered some difficulty or had gone feral. The Wagners then returned, explained the situation, and strapped Ann's bike to the top of their SUV, delivering her once again to where Norb was now changing tire #2. The Wagners were our first guardian angels of the day. It was slow going on the descents because of the oily gravel. The climbs following the drops, even slower. It gets dark early in the mountains and with not a lot of daylight left and 15 miles of climbs remaining to reach Silver City, we stuck out our thumbs and met our 2nd guardian angels who materialized in a shiny red pick-up truck. This wonderful Hispanic couple drove us the last 15 miles and refused to accept the money we offered. They instead told us to donate it to CMN, which we will gladly do. To date we have had 9 flats and logged approximately 2,100 miles. Sunday is a rest day in Silver City. Thanks for your comments on the blog. We love reading them!