March 19 - 23: New Mexico

3/22 - Kingston (43 miles 773 total)
48 miles from silver city to kingston, NM
before i start with today's report, i want to mention an interesting comment kathleen overheard at the motel in silver city. a young woman in the next room said, "those fat old ladies who are riding their bikes are hogging all the washing machines." kathleen said to her roommate bryn, "aren't you going to say something to them?" & bryn replied, "she'll get fat & old herself soon enough." we're enjoying being the fat old biker ladies.
how gorgeous it was today!! it was 36 degrees in silver city this morning, so we dressed warmly. most everyone left by 7 a.m. in the first few miles we went up & down some good-sized rollers. at about 10 mi we came to a vista into a huge, canyon-size pit that's a silver mine. the van was parked there, & it was at this spot that vicky shared with us the wonderful 'trail mix cookies' that her friend jean had sent.
here is a photo of lots of us enjoying these delicious cookies. we new they were from maine when we tasted the dried cranberries. from left are deb, bev, caroline, marilyn boger, vicky, donna, patty, karen, sandy, roma, & kathy grubb. i knew you'd want the recipe, so jean sent it to me; i'll try to remember to include it in tomorrow's report.
we then coasted down a long hill, & near the bottom were met by marilyn, loralee's friend who lives nearby, who offered us chocolate-chip cookies she had made.
here are, from left, marilyn the cookie-baker, marilyn boger, donna, & caroline. this was an all-star cookie-eating day for us. you notice we have no problem eating homemade cookies at the top of the hill then again at the bottom.
we went up & down a lot today. our first major hill was from about 24 mi 'til 28 mi. here's donna riding amongst the beautiful rock hills on that first cilmb.
then we went back downhill. the biggest climb began at around 30 mi, but it was through gorgeous country. here's a photo of karen in the beautiful pine forest thru which we rode the last 7-8 mi to emory pass. the smell of the pines was heavenly.
roma took this photo of me at the vista spot from emory pass out eastward. way down in the middle of the photo is kingston, where we'd overnight.
it was a pretty steep downhill, full of switchbacks, to kingston....about 8 miles. kingston, a rollicking silver-mining boomtown in its heyday...the 1880's...boasted the largest population in the New Mexico Territory; it was home to "7000 miners, merchants, & madames." today this wooded valley is a quiet community of 30-some 30-some more tonight. the sign at the edge of town proudly proclaims that kingston is the "home of the spit and whittle club."
the B&B where we're staying, the black range lodge, has massive stone walls & log-beamed ceilings; it was built in 1940 from the tumbledown ruins of Pretty Sam's Casino & the Monarch Saloon. there are 7 "official" guest rooms here, but with our 30-some travelers, we're filling all sorts of additional nooks, crannies, & couches. visit the lodge here.
there are chickens & turkeys scampering all around the lodge, & a lovely dog named cookie (so fitting for us today!) befriending everyone in sight.
here's karen picking out some afternoon snacks while cookie patiently hopes for a handout. there's a porch swing hung from a tree in the yard with the largest set of wind chimes i've ever seen hanging nearby. the sound they make is mesmerizing. a sunlit patio on the other side of the lodge drew lots of readers late afternoon.
oh boy, our supper this evening, fixed by the lodge's staff, was magnificent: roasted turkey, dressing, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower & carrots, wonderful green salad, scrumptious bean soup, & delectable home-made (& still warm) whole-grain wheat bread. for dessert, pete, the lodge owner, served ginger-mint ice cream that he made this afternoon. we were waddling by the time we finished eating.
after dinner, catherine told us about tomorrow's route....90 mi to la mesilla. the first 26 mi is more downhill. after that, it's level riding along the rio grande valley. catherine & michelle will be at about 50 mi with lunch. some members of a bike club that catherine knows about are meeting us late morning & riding with us for 20 miles or so. it promises to be another day of adventures.
as a perfect ending to a most magnificent day, michelle strummed her guitar & sang for us after supper. we were celebrating having surmounted the highest point of our tour...8228 ft at emory pass. michelle says it's now all downhill to florida.
as a last note today, i wanted to tell you about some fundraising that caroline is doing on this ride. she's a pediatrician, her husband a cardiologist. for the past 10 years they have traveled to various overseas locations to help in starting hospitals where health care is desperately needed. a particular project of theirs is angkor hospital for children (AHC) in siem reap, cambodia. they have visited there each of the past 5 years with Friends without a Border, a not-for-profit organization based in new york & tokyo that funds & manages AHC (with no money from the cambodian goverment) . the hospital treats over 135 cambodian children daily. moreover, Friends has trained hundreds of cambodian staff for careers in medicine, nursing, & administration, with the goal of integrating the hospital into cambodia's healthcare system by 2007, when AHC will be run by a highly skilled, all cambodian staff. caroline recruits volunteer medical professionals to help staff the hospital & train cambodian staff. on this bike trip, she is hoping to raise the money to fund a bacteriology lab at the hospital.
if you'd like to help, please send your check, with "BIKE TRIP" in the memo section, to:

Friends without a Border/New York
1123 Broadway, Suite 1210
New York, NY 10010

for more info, visit the organization's web site.
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me, and I'll save your note and get back to you after the ride. Stay tuned....

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