Smooth criminal (& lots of wind)

October 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I spent nearly 7 hours of October 10th, 2012 updating my blog, somewhere downtown in Silver City. That afternoon, Colin, Anders, Mat and Ben rolled into town, too, and checked into the Palace Hotel. Kate and Lee had left a few hours earlier so now there were “just” five of us. We decided we would eat some good mexican food somewhere and then have some pre-emptive celebratory drinks for getting to Silver City. Click “Read More” to read what happened… (oh — and if the pictures are not sharp, that’s probably because of the software I’m using here. I had to install some crappy software on my memory card to at least be able to resize the images; I hope to upload better ones at home, if only for my own peace of mind!)After finishing up my blog I dropped some stuff at Alyssa’s place (my host, remember). She wasn’t there. I left a sixpack of Fat Tire Ale as a token of my gratitude, and a friendly note where I was, and when I would leave the next day. Then I pedaled downtown again. Food, fun & beers were had and around midnight I headed back to my sleeping adress, only to find out that I was locked out.

Oh, damn it… Locked out? At midnight? In a strange city? Bah!! Almost all my stuff was inside that house. All I had with me was my bike, ID, wallet and the clothes I wore. I was pretty pissed off; she must have seen the sixpack of beer and my note, to mention all my stuff (six bags!) lying around the house. This was either a big misunderstanding or very unfriendly. I am grateful for a place to stay, but if getting locked out is part of the deal, I’d like to know before rather than after the fact. To put it mildly.
Anyway, there was not much I could do about it. My first option fortunately worked: go back to the bar, drink more beers with the other guys and smuggle myself into one of their hotel rooms to spend the night. The other options (either waking up staff to get my own room, or make so much noise at my host that somebody would wake up) were feasible, but less preferrible.
The next morning (we are talking October 11th), after a few hours of sleep and a few hours of worrying about my stuff, I walked out with my bike like nothing happened and I was at my host’s place at 9:00 in the morning. The place was still locked. She must have been out of town. But still — yesterday, after the blogging thing, the door hadn’t been locked and now it was. So I was still pissed off about it. I walked around the house and saw the balcony, about two meters above the ground. I also saw that the balcony door was just flimsy thing to keep insects out. Lastly, I also saw a small ladder nearby. 1 and 1 quickly got 2 as I climbed the ladder, scrambled on to the balcony, unlocked the front door, carried my bags out, locked the front door again and climbed down from the balcony. Burglary, easy as that. Funny to steal your own stuff.

Fortunately, I wasn’t seen (or if I was, nobody called the cops). I checked into the Palace Hotel myself and as soon as I entered my room a wave of relief washed over me. Got my stuff back, got a place to stay, and the next day I’d leave town. Nice!

So October 12th Mat and I left for the Mexican border. The other three guys decided to stay a little while longer in Silver City. I however, had had enough. After stealing my own stuff and listening to nightclub noises in the hotel I wanted some peace and quiet. After a brief visit to Sonic (America’s Drive In — fun to park your bike in a car-specific lot) we rode highway 90 out of town.

Sonic — America’s Drive-In. I had a Coke here, infused with grape & pineapple flavour. Cool place.

View out of town.

Roadside facilities.

Separ Road. Note the virtual forest of yucca’s.


The Chihuahuan desert.


Highway 90 was boring, hilly and windy. We had been talking that morning with someone who claimed that there was one small climb and then it was all downhill and flats to the border. Somebody should give these people some feedback. Between Silver City and Separ (our first day after leaving town) we climbed more than 2500 feet (779 meters). That, my friend, is as flat as that beergut of yours.
Ah well. That’s just a littlebit of frustration I’m showing you. In fact, I had a pretty bad day. I don’t mind climbs, not at all, but nothing gets my goat as much as a headwind. And the winds that day were the worst of the entire trip. They were worse than in Wyoming. It felt like a final prank the Great Divide was playing on us. My panniers work a littlebit like sails. And the front ones are lower than the back ones, so I am one big moving surface for the wind to play with. It was as if a huge, open-palmed hand pushed back, back, back all the way to Banff. It was hard work.Nothing destroys my mood so much as a tough headwind.

Hard to capture wind in a picture. It shows here just a little bit.

Our last dirt road, stretching towards Separ.

When we started on our last dirt road, I was happy. After a few kilometers, I was grumpy. At one point I was ready to throw down the bike and camp on the spot, hoping the winds would settle down tomorrow. But Mat was sensible saying that there was nothing here to do but sit in the wind. So onward we struggled, until we reached Separ. Now Separ is really just a souvenir shop next to the Interstate. They have a horrendous selection of absolute rubbish that will make your eyes bleed, stuff that will haunt your dreams. But they also had soda’s and chips. I was very happy to have reached it and my grumpiness was gone in an instant. Plus, the campsite was way too much fun to be grumpy in.

Separ trading post. Apparently it’s been there since 1912.

A big-ass wooden tipi, for us to camp in.

Inside the tipi. Surreal — camping in a big, fake wooden wigwam, right next to the Interstate.

Car in parking lot at Separ Trading Post…

And its occupant.

Our campsite in broad daylight.

View from outside our campsite. Yep… there’s nothing.

I mean, the sign says so.

We stocked up on Gatorade and Pringles, because between Separ and the Mexican border there would be no more services. We had about 10 kilometers of dirt road left, the rest of the route would be pavement. Things were really coming to a close, now. In just over two hours we breezed to Hachita where we had camp in the yard of Sam Hughes. Who’s that you say? Read all about it in the next post…

Riding out of Separ, next to Interstate 10.

Nearing the turnoff.

The transition from our last piece of dirt road to pavement.

Last piece of dirt road. And a mattress. Don’t ask…

Anticipation builds… !

Day 65 (October 11th): Alyssa’s place – Palace Hotel
No riding – burglary, shopping and catching my breath at the hotel!

Day 66 (October 12th): Palace Hotel, Silver City – Tipi at Separ Trading Post, Separ
Riding time: 5:58:57
Distance: 81,69 km
Amount climbed: 779 m

Day 67 (October 13th): Tipi at Separ Trading Post, Separ – Sam Hughes’ yard, Hachita
Riding time: 2:09:54
Distance: 43,48 km
Amount climbed: 126 m