Day 29: (58 miles) This morning we were pleasantly surprised to find something we hadn’t yet seen on the continental breakfast line up- Apple Cinnamon Waffle mix! We shared a waffle, a blueberry bagel, and each had some muffins before hitting the road. The weather looked the best it had in days and knowing elevations was on our side, we had a hearty goal of 58 miles to pedal. The route would mostly be on side roads which tend to offer more scenery and less noise. We greeted the cows and the horse with a good morning as we whizzed by. We went through many “small towns” according to the map, but for the most of them only signs remained to decipher there once was a town- that and a few abandoned buildings which used to be thriving when route 66 was in its prime. We stopped for pb&j wraps and an orange in Laguna which was about our half way point. We got back on 66 which took us through some wonderful New Mexican landscape as the road sculpted through the rocks. The last 20 or so miles were spent on I-40 where we found the Route 66 Casino. Neither of us are much for gambling, but are for an all you can eat buffet for $9.99. We overindulged and enjoyed a relaxing night in a ‘Fancy” hotel.
Day 30: (33 miles) We made oatmeal with hot water from our room coffee pot to start the day. Just as we were ready to head out the door, Chris realized her had a flat. There was a lot of debris yesterday on the highway- honestly we were surprised we got through it with no issues. The truck tire pieces on the side of the road have wires that like to penetrate our tires, and have been the most frequent cause of flats. Once it was fixed, we were off for a short day and climb to Albuquerque. Not even a mile from the hotel we stopped to check out the Rio Puerco Bridge which was original to Route 66 built in 1933. It’s no longer in service, but we snapped some photos and appreciated the early architecture. From there we began climbing about 600 feet within a 3 mile period. While it was a challenging way to start the day, it made for an enjoyable coast and some pretty awesome views on our way into Albuquerque. Just as we were getting into the thick of the city, Andy, a cyclist we had met at El Morro National Monument rolled up behind us. He rode with us through the majority of the city where we pedaled on a bicycle path along the Rio Grand, some some teasing views of Old Town and had a tasty lunch at Starbucks where we were finally able to use on of our gift cards! After lunch, Andy parted ways with us heading for a friend of a friend who agreed to put him up for a night while he explores Albuquerque, including what he is most looking forward to- the Korean Culture which he heard was well supported in the area. We made our way across the city to the Roadway Inn a motel we almost instantly realized would NOT add up to what we had been receiving for our bargain rates. Never the less, we got our things situated and called for a Lyft to REI where we did some resupplying. From there we headed to Old Town where we wandered and appreciated the history and local architecture. At this point our bellies were rumbling again so we headed to what our Lyft Drivers had informed us was the most sought after Brewery in town- Marble Brewery. Finishing up our 1.3 mile walk there, we were greeted by Food Trucks that more than satisfied our hunger. Our meal consisted of a black bean burger, chicken fajita burrito, some fries and some NM green Chile to get some local flavor. To wash it down we sampled a red ale, IPA, and a double white ale. All in all it was a pleasant evening.
Day 31: (38 miles) After a continental breakfast that was as pathetic as expected we packed our bikes as quickly as we could trying to make as little direct contact as possible. The sprouts across the street was our first stop where we fueled up on bananas and a couple of protein bars. From there, the climbing began immediately. For the first half of the route we enjoyed generous and well marked bike lanes. We passed the ‘singing highway’ which consisted of quite the creative idea of rumble strips in the road, that when driven on generates the song “America the Beautiful.” We only got to hear bits and pieces as most of the cars passing were being considerate and giving us extra room so they missed the strip that produce the tune. Reaching Tijeras, the first town outside of Albuquerque we paused briefly to try to make contact with the Lotus- our perspective campground for the night. By the time we reach San Antonito we had tried four times to no avail. However, the Shell gas station in the town allowed us to use one of our gift cards to purchase a snack to keep our spirits up. The climbing continued for the next 18 miles to a pinnacle along a ridgeline leading to Cedar Mountain (7148ft) the last five miles of our ride were a fasted passed decent into Madrid, NM our planned destination the lotus was located .9 miles off the route along ‘Back road’. A rough dirt road which we grudgingly navigated in attempt to secure a plate to pitch our tent. Unfortunately, upon arriving our face to face exchange was no more effective than the six preceding unanswered phone calls. So we headed back to town in search of the only lodging option in the town of 200, The Java Junction Coffee House/Bed & Breakfast. Initially reluctant to shell out the cash for a night forecasted to be ideal for camping, we decided it was a better choice than climbing another 20 miles to Santa Fe, a choice we wouldn’t regret. We got our key to the quaintest B&B with skylights, stone countertops, a claw foot tub, outdoor balcony and a bed piled high with yellow an red pillows. It was beautiful, welcoming, and cozy. After locking our bikes in the back yard, we ventured around town which proved much more than the map led us to believe. Shops lined the street offering jewelry, clothing, pottery & art. We poked around the shops and got the low down from the locals on where to grab a bite. We had chips and salsa and Mine Shaft Tavern where we were treated to live music while we sipped on a tasty cranberry wheat beer. We then crossed the street to grab “the best buffalo burger”, made with local meat. It didn’t disappoint and neither did Madrid. We were pleasantly surprised with all that it offered for being such a small town.