I’m in Taos, New Mexico. I took a diversion after Trans-Am-ing the eastern half of Colorado because I didn’t really want to buzz the grasslands of western Oklahoma on straight-line fire roads; info brought to me by past-doers and the unceasing flat lines on the map … not one squiggle compared to Colorado.

So, I want to start with my 8.5-hour in-the-saddle day from Westcliffe, Colorado into New Mexico, instead of how I ended up here, enjoying a plentiful amount of red wine with my tomato bisque and pretzel dinner.

From my short, but technically steady dirt journey from Salida to the adorable town of Westcliffe, my droning about over-weighted-dual-sport-on-dirt fears dissipated and I was able to relax and “do it” … opposed to the ever-so-popular 80’s song that is now replaying in your head.

My Sunday dirt tour took me 99-miles to La Veta – pronounced La V-eye-ta, just like the cowboy pronunciation of Sal-eye-da – and 72-miles more to Trinidad where I planned to camp at Lake Trinidad; showers included. The ride was stunning with houses, not only ranches, 20-plus miles off the highways, let alone from any grocery store. But not only were these houses in the middle of … well, somewhere beautiful, but there was the occasional mailbox. Does the pony express still ride or maybe they’ve just transferred from ponies to Mules or Rhinos?

I passed weathered and abandon houses still partially standing, but preserved or guarded with “Keep Out” signs. There were also a couple of remote cemeteries showing the history of what once was, but also, due to the colorful flowers and maintenance, current life. But where are they all, what do they do, and more importantly, where do they get gas?

I continued on the trail from the lush green hills and canyons to the flat free-range ranch lands. I saw 100-times more cows to people, but when I did see the occasional biped I wanted to stop for their story, but I didn’t … now thinking, why the hell not?

As I crested a little hill, somewhere, I saw two Trans-Amers coming my way. They’re from Stockton, California and had trucked their rides out to Colorado and were on day-one from Trinidad doing the looong-haul to Salida. One of the nice guys was also on a KiLleR with about the same pack-load as I have. He was a big guy too, with stock suspension and his pre-load maxxed-out – hope he/it can handle the route. It gets steep in Utah and I can see those fork springs pancaking under his load.

“Are you on AdvRider,” asked the younger guy.

“Naw, just to scope info,” I replied, but now I know where to find out how they do. Best of luck to the friendly riders.

Buy this time my fanny was numb. My Trans-Am tortoise pace got me to Lake Trinidad at 5ish; lunch and grocery stops included.

“Campsite Full,” I read as I pulled into the parking lot, grocery bag on my lap, strapped to my Camelbak.

“Where are you headed?” asked the helpful campsite hostess.

“Taos,” I said.

Following her directions, I crossed the Colorado/New Mexico border into Raton, a mining town still flashing the storefront-fonts and neon style of the 50s, and continued to Sugarite Canyon – pronounced Sugar-eat.

I thumped in at 6:30 and the sweet hostess held the overflow spot while I hit the showers before they closed. (I didn’t realize until the next morning that in my need-to-clean haste, I ran into the men’s; hehe).

Back at camp, before I even set up my tent, Marian (with Mark from Santa Fe, NM) and Lisa (with Ken from Amarillo, TX) invited me – the panicked “please give me a place to sleep” moto-girl – for chicken fajitas. Why? Big hearts in beautiful people. They shared everything with me including cookies, wine and fantastic stories. I might just zip down to Santa Fe to join them on a mountain bike ride. I love being so time-less.

(Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon; half in New Mexico, half in Colorado)

Check out some pictures >>