Now that I sorta have a ride to Arizona, or at least think I have a ride, there’s no hurry to get anywhere. I wake up late, make coffee and eat dried meats, and futter around in my really nice but really illegal campsite until almost 11.
Then back on the highway, headed east. The headwind I’ve had for the last three days is a crosswind now, and that’s way more bearable. Off onto dirt at the first chance I get.
Probably not IMBA approved, but it also didn’t cost $10,000 (or whatever the current operating cost of a dirt zamboni is) per mile to build.
I cross into Mesa Verde National Park, hop a gate, and pop out right next to the ranger shack. Crud. Possessing an offroad bicycle off of the park roads definitely isn’t legal, and I’m sure that entering the park from some cow trails instead of paying the nice lady at the entrance gate isn’t either.
Fearing a stern wrist slap and small fine (if they find me, I’ll just pretend that I’m clueless. Or maybe German) I retreat into the scrub oak and pump up my tires for a high speed getaway down the pavement.
Deep breath, fast spin past the shack, onto the road, and through the entrance gate like I know what I’m doing. I look back fearfully. I’m not pursued. Holy cats that was the tightest spot I’ve been in since I forgot about paying that parking ticket in January. So thrilling to be an outlaw in the West.
I stop by the visitor’s center to eat some more pepperoni. The place is swarmed by people holding iPads at arm’s length, lining up behind one another to take the same picture, over and over. Humanity has already recorded a few hundred thousand pictures of that brass plaque, why do these people think we need another one?
Then I took the few hundred thousandth and first picture of the visitor center, just in case everybody before me missed something. Because just like everybody else, I think my perspective is special and unique and unlike everybody else’s.
Some more spinning along, and coffee in Mancos where all the side streets are dirt and the historic district is one block long.
Up the pass away from town and trying to listen to an episode of Radio Lab. With the tiny phone speaker and all the trucks blasting by, I can’t quite make out why the punk kids in Cuba injected themselves with HIV. Maybe a few years on, they aren’t so certain either.
A car whooshes by and buzzes the rumble strip in the middle of the road. I coast off to read a sign (forgot to get a picture of it with my iPad) about the Spanish expedition that scouted the route the highway follows. It bums me out a little. Another car buzzs the rumble strip. This place would be so cool without this road. Motors and pavement make things so dull.
But they sure are convenient when there’s a prevailing headwind. I roll on towards Durango to try to figure out that carpool situation.