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July 30, 2009 – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Rode Pecos River Valley Challenge









Another great day, was pretty chilly when we woke up .. 53 degrees .. so much for everyone who said we were going to roast in New Mexicin August! We ate another good breakfast at the Renaissance Inn and then packed upo and headed off to Pecos. Was a reallyu nice drive and we were surprised to find ourselves in a conifer forrest .. not the desert .. amazing variability in the countryside around here. When we got to Pecosm we weere supposed to park at teh Ranger Station and ride form there but there was a pack (two!) of wild dogs attacking cars as they drove by ... seriously .. they would stand in the middle of the road and lunge at the cars with their teeth as the cars drove by! We decided to not battle that gauntlet on bikes and found a school to park at a little further up the road.




The ride op the river valley was unbelievably beautiful again. It wasn't very steep and at times it even seemed like we were descending more than climbing. Soon enough though we had 500, the 800, then 1,000 ft accumulated. This ride reminded us all of riding Colorado last year except we never got above the tree line. Here are a few more pics front he ride.































Finally we got to some steeper climbing, but in reality ut wasn't that bad. We climbed for a few miles and then just as we were getting to Cowles, Paul was stung by a bee on his lower lip and his face swelled up like a giant balloon! It actually got much worse than this before it got better. Oh well, we decided to descent at that point and as we did wee ran into Bill who was just catching up to us.






















Here's a picture of Bill descending the climb. That's Paul's shoulder in the bottom left! We stopped to take a couple other pictures as we descended. Here are a few more. If anyone knows what the plant is in the picture below, please let me know. Looks like a flavor of cactus.























After we got back to the car, we changed and made the short drive to the Pecos National Historical Park to see the remnants of the Pecos Pueblo. Very interesting visit as the Pueblo had been into existence well before the Spanish explorer (Coronado??) came and took over while searching for the city of gold. It covers over 1,200 years of pueblo history. It's amazing, but at one time over 2,000 people lived in this pueblo. It is also a key trade route and is on the famous Santa Fe Trail. This area was also part of a Civil War battle, amazing area in US History.
























The pueblo was one of the key civilized areas on major trade routes and as such became a thriving city. Some of the remains of the living areas are shown to the right. Below is the second church built by the Spaniards after they were driven out once during the Pueblo rebellion.




















The inhabitants of the Pecos Pueblo as with all the Indians in this area used Kivas for spiritual ceremonies. A kiva is a subterranean room. You can see what they would look like from the pictures below. Obviously the above ground view shows a Kiva that no longer is covered.















Here is Bill emerging from the Kiva. We aren't sure what spiritual ceremony he conducted .. perhaps praying for us to stop dragging him around these mountains on his bike!


































This sign made us think twice about where we wandered off the path!















After we finished at the Pecos Pueblo, we headed back towards Santa Fe and stopped at Harry's Roadhouse Diner for Lunch. I had a Blue Corn Tortilla Turkey Enchilada with what they call Christmas Sauce. Christmas sauce is a mix between Red and Green Chili Sauces. Man was it good. I can't get over how good the food is out here. I think even though we are riding all these miles, I'll end up gaining weight!






After getting cleaned up and doing a few things, we went out to sight see again for a few hours before dinner. Luckily we missed it but there must have been a horrendous hail storm in Santa Fe as there were dime size pieces of hail still on the ground even though the sun was out. We stopped at the New Mexico Capital, but were truly uninspired by the plain design. We did visit Old Fort Marcy Park where we saw this beautiful cloud formation over Santa Fe.

























We ended up at Backroad Pizza for diner. I had a Feta Cheese, Pepperoni and Green Chili Calzone. Man was it good. All in all, it was another great day on this trip. It will be surprising if we can keep up the amazing rides and discovery of more beautiful scenery!