Taos to Chama
We’re in Chama, and I still have a few bites of Saturday’s banana bread left for tomorrow. Go me!
This was our longest day so far, at 98 miles. We crossed over two, anonymous peaks on our ride from Taos on US 64 – possibly a third if you count the false summit of the second peak.
En route to these anonymous summits, we crossed the Rio Grande Gorge del Norte, which was unexpected and spectacular. What must it have been like in the old days, out riding around and then, boom! This sudden gorge with the Rio Grande at the bottom. Fortunately for Felkerino and me they built this bridge for us so we didn’t have to worry about such a scenario.
After the gorge, we began a gradual ascent to Tres Piedras, which was also our lunch spot. The road was fairly empty of traffic, with most of the tourists not proceeding past the gorge.
I believe our route sidles alongside the Continental Divide here, but we have yet to actually cross it. Maybe tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted.
We also ascended to our highest elevation yet, topping out our day at 10,500 at mile 68, before dropping for 19 miles to a town called Tierra Amarilla.
Climbing so high made for deliciously cool riding. I wore an extra layer much of the day, and at one point Felkerino threw on a vest.
The final slog to Chama was not fun. We had a good shoulder, but many cars passed us in both directions, including one car coming at us as he passed around another car in the other lane. My favorite.
So much for keeping an eye out for cyclists, and we are running lights even in the daytime. Fortunately nothing bad happened, but I really dislike those moments.
Other than that, I must tell you that our day was a gorgeous one, especially the miles after Tres Piedras. In ways it reminded me of Lassen Peak because of its evergreens, meadows, and bright yellow wildflowers.
During the descent, I recalled flying into the Bluegrass Valley in the Virginia Highlands. Both are like descending into a pastoral postcard. Incredible.
The buzz of the day’s ride faded on our frenetic final 12 miles to Chama, but I am glad I wrote this post so I could revisit the beauty of the mountains and share it with you. Thank you for following along with this little tandem team, dear readers.