Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ruidoso Downs NM to Roswell, NM April 1

68.34 miles in 4:36....Today's ride was a tale of two different landscapes, with the dividing point being the only climb on the trip. Ruidoso is at an elevation of about 6300 ft, and we had the mountain coolness in the morning, as well as stiff winds all night. The first 35 miles of the ride was a stair cased descent, within the Lincoln National Forest. US70 is just a great road to ride a bicycle on. Ever since I picked it up, it was been a four lane with smooth pavement and a wide shoulder, with minimal traffic. Today it continued that way, meandering out of the mountains, with small, historical, western towns, that were the stomping grounds of Billy the Kid, and everyone involved in his story. There were  'loop roads,' that were basically old US  70, that paralleled the newer four lane, and allowed access to each small town. I stayed on the four lane because of the smooth lanes, plus I could look out over each town from the road's position above the loop roads, riding the side of a mountain range. I would normally like to cruise through the towns, but is had this little voice telling me these country  people might let their dogs run loose, and, really, there wasn't much to each town. There were lots of small, family horse ranches, with some cows and pigs mixed in. I followed an actual stream, with real water in it, which I enjoyed because I haven't seen much water that wasn't in a canal or irrigation ditch lately. The stream, called Rio Bonita, and another called Rio Honda, were on their way from the Sacramento mountain peaks to the Pecos River. The water in this area, in the east side of the continental divide, flows through the Pecos watershed through New Mexico, to Texas, and into the Rio Grande. This idyllic mountain scenario continued until the river, lined with cottonwoods, the only deciduous green trees in the area, bent to the right to go around a big mountain, and US70 went to the left. I climbed the only hill of the day, about 300+ ft over the course of a mile or two.
When I got to the top of that winding hill, the tail wind changed to a light headwind, and the temperature was noticeably warmer. The mountains, the trees, the stream, disappeared. It was replaced by straight ribbons of road that stretched on forever, slowly, once again, stair casing  down, gradually, in elevation. There was nothing but browned off grasslands for as far as the eye could see in all directions. The second half of the ride seemed like it took forever. The only thing of even the slightest interest was a roadside picnic table, with a historical marker, where I pulled off and read about the 12Atlas  missile silos that were in this area during the Cold War, until dismantled in 1965. I took a picture of what I believe is a base to one of the silos, but I'm not sure.
Eventually, Roswell began to come into view. Roswell is the sight of an alleged UFO crash landing in 1947, that was covered up by the government. I don't believe in UFOs, but there has been much discussion about this incident over the last 67 years.  I would have expected the city of Roswell to embrace this incident to their financial gain and tourist draw, but that doesn't really seem to be the case. As I entered the town I saw the sign that said, 'welcome to Roswell, dairy capital of the southwest.' Not exactly what I expected to read. Pam and I searched the town for UFO type stuff, and we found one museum that charged $5 and a couple of t shirt and souvenir shops, a few references to little green men on billboards, but that was it. They would rather be known as the town who produce cheese for Papa Johns and Pizza Huts all over the country, and being the home of the worlds largest flag football tournament. It also contains the military base that was home base for the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.  That seems to be what they really want to be known for, it seems. They did not pursue the whole UFO thing until the 1990's, when the town began to die, and some genius decided to promote the UFO controversy. The girl that worked the desk at the visitors center didn't seem to be too thrilled about it.

These deer were bedding down off to the side of the road.


Nice shoulder on US 70

Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing at our campground tonight!!!

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