Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grants to Pie Town

Today I chose the initially paved Malpais Alternate, this did offer one reliable source of water and my first experience with a windmill. These windmills are the only source of water available for cattle and thus allows ranchers to maintain a herd in this arid environment. Since I have never seen one before, I approached it nervously until I had figured out its mechanics, now we're good friends. This route took me past the El Malpais National Monument and La Ventana Natural Arch, both spectacular views and mini side trips. Once I turned off the paved road I started to see the daily thunderstorms roll in, each one starts with wind and then an exponential increase in rain. Unlike many other parts of the route there is no cover in this stretch so I sat on the side of the road in the rain for half an hour. Rather risk sitting in the middle of nowhere then riding a lightning rod through the desert. Two lights in the distance led to a fellow teacher from Texas rescuing me from the rain and helping me with the last 10 miles. On arrival to Pie Town, I asked for the RV park which had been recommended to me in Platoro, although it didn't seem to exist. Instead I was offered the "Toaster House" owned by a women named Nita. It took me a while to understand the concept that there was a free house with a stocked fridge of pie's and beers, running water and electricity that was open to CDT hikers and GD riders alike, but I took full advantage of a sturdy roof and had a good nights rest.

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