March 11, 2016: Day 2 of “The Who in the Hell Thought this was a Good Idea Tour” Emory Pass

Up at 5:30 a.m. and feeling pretty crusty.

It’s amazing how much junk a person needs to ride a bike. I don’t recall it being this complex when I was twelve.

It turns out cocktail dresses and multiple pairs of stilettos aren’t necessary.

After a healthy, delicious, exciting breakfast. . .

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Finally, a good use for USA Today.

It was 50 degrees at 6:30 but the temperature dropped a little by the time we reached Hillsboro, NM which a very cute little town with one functioning business. Thankfully the business provides coffee and a bathroom– the only bathroom for many, many miles. The Hillsboro General Store has been there since the dawn of time. The two older gentlemen who occupy the table to the left of the entrance can attest to that fact.

Here is a picture of me ready to go outside the Hillsboro General Store and Cafe. (AKA the Last Bathroom for Miles)

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Well, I could just snivel for days how steep it was. Yes, it was steep. Yes, 5140 over 54 miles is (and there is no other word for it) Hellish at times.

Brantly picked me up and drove me past 4 miles of road with signs of washouts from snow melt. There were still signs of recent work-bulldozed mountains of mud and rock and wood beside the road and some freshly fallen rock in places. Most of that was on the descent after cresting the pass. Even going downhill that much gravel, mud, and rocks would not have been fun.

It was a long, long day and I never want to climb that much elevation in one day again. Ever.

That said, it was really, really beautiful. The road that runs up to Emory Pass- HWY 52- is also an NM Birding Highway and the birds were certainly out today. My favorite was a male Red-tailed Flicker who thought I was some new breed of huge, pink bird.and followed me for about 1/4 of a mile trying to get my attention.

Too tired now to remember all the beautiful stuff I saw. I took frequent breaks (every 15 minutes for the couple of miles right before the peak) but didn’t have the energy for setting up the camera and taking pictures I thought I would. Most of my time was spent drinking, eating, and breathing.

Tomorrow should be a piece of cake in comparison.

Here is a picture my husband took while waiting to refill my water bottles for me. Even with a horrible cold he is turning out to be the best SAG wagon driver a person could ever want.

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A picture of me with a smile on my face peddling for the feed wagon.

And after all this beauty from Hillsboro, NM to Emory Pass?

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Santa Rita Open Pit Copper Mine, second largest in the world.

There really aren’t any words to express this mine, which just goes on and on and on and on.

There were large barriers ringed with razor wire along this section, which was the only area where you could really see the actual mine activity. Ginormous trucks were creeping along up the steep, stepped sides even on a Saturday.

More tomorrow…