Climbing: 2546 ft
I woke up cozy and warm in my little heated airstream, thankful for the heat when I looked outside to the cold mist and clouds coating the teensie mountain town. Packing up was easy, as it always is when I don’t have to set up my tent.
I grabbed a coffee at the lodge before heading out of the super beautiful Conejos River Valley. There were lots of cows in the road, and I felt like a cowboy herding them again.
In the morning, on the muddy road, I felt a sense of significance about the fact that these were my last miles off pavement. The road was pretty trash, to be honest, with giant muddy potholes. Sometimes, passing trucks wouldn’t slow down enough and would splash mud onto me as they passed. So, I wasn’t TOO sad about leaving the dirt roads behind. Still, I felt like I was saying goodbye to the scenery, the solitude, the remoteness.
The paved road brought another big climb (La Manga Pass) and more great views.
Within a few miles, I went off-route of the GDMBR. It felt very momentous. Instead of getting back onto the dirt road to go south into Carson National Forest, I stayed on highway 17. 😮 After a short climb up to Cumbres Pass, I made the huge (fun) descent into Chama, and was super pleased to find lots of scenic beauty on this route, too. I pretty quickly crossed into New Mexico, the last state on the Divide! The sign said the “Land of Enchantment”, and I did find today’s ride pretty dang enchanting.
Arriving in Chama, the first campground I tried was full, which got me worried. However, I soon found a place to stay (at the We Love Trump and Guns RV Park, from what I could tell 🙄). The campground was the loudest one I had stayed at on my entire trip—I think Chama was having some kind of town festival this weekend, and people were partying for sure. Lots of loud music, dogs barking, kids screaming until super late. For the first time of the trip, I took a Benadryl to put myself to sleep.