You have to be really tough to ride your bike across the country. You have to be able to sleep out under the stars on freezing nights. You can't be all worried about being clean.
On the other hand, finding a historic lodge from the 1880's an an old mining town in the mountains, that has a hot tub (heated by a wood stove!) is really hard to pass up. Especially after this the night before:
Observe the frost on the tent so thick I could barely roll up the rainfly.
Observe the prior days riding clothes rinsed and hung out to dry on the fence, now frozen stiff.
Despite the fact it was apparently in the 20's last night, I was just fine in Shannon's sleeping bag. (It's not the instance of Shannon's sleeping bag, but a different instance.) My friend Shannon got this +20 degree down sleeping bag at REI that compacts down to the size of a volleyball. I coveted it severely, and so I bought one too. It's incredible. I was totally cozy last night.
However, last night was at an altitude of 4000 feet. I am now at 6400 feet, and it can only be much colder, and I have to climb 2200 more feet in 7 miles first thing tomorrow morning. So I am here at the fabulous Black Hills Lodge, sitting in front of the stove heating the common room, after soaking my butt for a half hour in the hot tub, and I'm going to have a hearty breakfast tomorrow morning. This is great.
I am in the town of Kingston, which was a silver mining boomtown in the 1880s. You would hardly know it is a town at all now. There is a half mile dead end road off the highway with some houses on it. But if you look close, you realize these houses are often 1880's buildings from Main Street in the old town. Except what was once the wide Main Street is a little two lane road, with the rest of the wide old street transformed into front yards.
This lodge is actually a sprawling complex. There are chickens running all over. There is a greenhouse with banana trees. The people who run it make homes from alternative materials like bales of hay. There is a bale of hay house up behind the lodge. The only bad part about this place is I am the only guest. It would be great to come here with a group. Here is what the room looks like where I am now.
I only went 50 miles today, but I climbed 2600 feet. It was uphill all day, but not steep or anything. It was an easy day all in all. I started with 25 flat miles, continuing up the Rio Grande. There are reservoirs here, and they are not dry like the river, but they are not very fill. Then I turned west, and started climbing into the mountains. Along the river, it's agricultural, but as soon as I turned west, it became barren desert. As I climbed, the trees started reappearing and getting bigger. After 20 miles I came to another old mining town, Hillsboro, which is now full of art galleries for tourists. I had a great lunch at the general store, which has been in operation since 1887. More New Mexico food with green chilis, and "Bumbleberry" pie for dessert. This is mixed berry and rhubarb pie. It was great.
Breakfast was at a burrito place in Hatch. In the mornings, it's just three generations of the Mexican-American family who run it hanging out and eating breakfast. "You want breakfast? We can fix you something, sure. Where are you going on that bike?" I had a tasty choizio breakfast burrito.
There are no restaraunts in Kingston, so I'm eating out of the snack bag, which is fine, because it will be that much lighter for the big climb tomorrow.
Here is the route for today.