Trip Reports » G.E.T. Part 2 – roadie scum we are


bikes wait for riders, adventure

“Oh, what’s this? Forest road 215. We can follow it to Dix Mountain road and all the way up to Mule Pass.”

We’re about to go to sleep, and Lee’s pouring over the maps, dreaming of an alternate to our scheduled road ride. Sure enough, there’s something I missed in the maps — except that we had already seen how high the San Francisco River was running. If the 4×4 road required a ford at all, it’d be a no go.

At PJ’s cafe we found a local who confirmed what I suspected — more fords than miles on the San Francisco River “road.” I knew there was a reason Brett took trail instead of following the river (on the old G.E.T. route).

With full bellies we rolled out of town for the regularly scheduled roadie ride. Curiously, I couldn’t talk Lee into my last minute GPS track of Ward Canyon. We stuck with the highway and I grumbled a bit at all the traffic. Once we got a few miles out of town it got pretty quiet.

At the junction with NM 78 things got really quiet. Like 10 cars an hour quiet. We met a cyclist with an Australian accent and a Bob trailer. I saw the Adventure Cycling maps on his handlebars and realized we were now on the Southern Tier route. He’d started in St. Petersburg Florida about a month ago. He raved about how he’d just had the biggest and most continuous descent of his entire trip.

In other words, time to climb for us.

No complaints here. No boulders to muscle over, no hike-a-bike, no white-knuckle descending. Just pedal and relax. It’s nice when a 3000′ climb can seem easy and relaxing. I got into my own little rhythm and pedaled away from Lee.

As I cleared the pass I started searching for a shady spot to stop and eat an orange. Just around the corner a cooling descent led to the best spot on the planet to eat an orange. Thick ponderosa pine forest and a picnic bench.


If only all road riding were this good.

We continued riding through the forest to the New Mexico line, where we promptly descended into rolling grasslands.

we’re not the first cyclists to take a break here

Lunch at the Mule Creek PO. Friendly folks around. A settled state of mind seemed to pervade all of New Mexico. Quite a contrast from the bustle of mining AZ, or Tucson for that matter.

Even the livestock seemed more settled. Or maybe it was all in our heads.

Tail winds might also have contributed to our own calm minds. Anything is possible with a tail wind.

richie, road walker

A figured appeared, walking along the road. When I saw he was wearing jeans I immediately assumed it was someone who preferred not to be out there (i.e. hitch-hiking). But as we approached there was something about the way he walked. This guy was motoring.

Turns out he has been walking since Florida (for the last few months). !!! You can’t tell in the pic, but he does have a sleeping bag, though not much other than that. He seemed genuinely happy to be out there, not a care in the world. “I love to walk,” he says. He went to Florida to look for his brother. Couldn’t find him, so he started walking. Goal is St. George. He’s probably there by now.

We rolled into Glenwood and debated about what to do. 72 miles on the road seemed easy, but it does take a toll, and we wouldn’t make it far if we did continue. I had a plan to explore more GET-bike route as an out and back, but as we ate lunch the plan morphed into going to hike the catwalk trail (which is the main GET route).

So we rented a room, relaxed on the balcony soaking up the views, then headed out near dusk to ride unloaded out to the catwalk.

When we got there no one was around, and we scoured all the signage for anything indicating bikes were not allowed. It ain’t wilderness (for a few miles) and wasn’t signed, so we just kept pedaling.

Pretty cool to be suspended over rushing water while making your way up a narrow slot. I rode some stairs that were a little questionable, but I couldn’t help myself. It was the only technical riding of the day.

I’d never been to the catwalk, so I eventually parked my bike and walked a ways up the canyon. Very impressive, and the evening light dancing between the walls made it ever so.

We couldn’t stay long as the sun was setting, but even the ~5 mile ride back to Glenwood was just perfect. The road dead-ends at the catwalk, and we knew exactly how many cars could pass us — about none.

We hit “town” with enough time to stock up on food and watch the last rays of sun fade out across the Gila Wilderness.

This was one of my favorite days of the trip. A rest day, sure, but more to the point I felt like a tourist–like I was on vacation. Relaxed, settled, peaceful.

Welcome to New Mexico.

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