Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Days 35 thru 37: Albuquerque to Gallup NM (200 mi)

Forgot that I wouldn't have consistent cell service or WiFi availability the past few days, oh well. A little break here and there from tech is relaxing.

Day 35 I left I-40 for some back country roads through pueblos and reservations. In late afternoon I stumbled upon a mission church that offered me food. Food turned into conversation, which turned into an offer for shelter - that night was spent in a community center belonging to the Acoma Reservation. Technically I am not allowed to take photos on tribal land without permission, but I snapped a few of the surrounding area and will include them in a photo dump.

Day 36 (Labor Day) was a relatively short ride past the continental divide at just under 8000 ft. I saw only one park ranger in the afternoon, and camped alone at El Morro Natl. Monument. So from yesterday morning until now, I talked with literally no one. It's an odd feeling, and in fact I don't think I have ever gone more than a full day without conversation with a single person. Day 36 was definitely an exercise in self-sufficiency too; I packed in and out all of my food, water, and shelter. Sleeping alone in a National Park was pretty eerie to say the least... I got little sleep and awoke at 3 AM to something rustling around near my bike. Clutching my utility knife and pepper spray, I unzipped the tent to find a couple of coyotes poking around for food. I shined a light and scared them off, relieved it wasn't one of the bears or mountain lions depicted on the warning signs near camp. Or some homeless guy... oh wait, that's me! There are rattlesnakes around here too, but my two encounters were just pedaling by them.

Day 37 was a quick 60 miles, mostly downhill, to Gallup. I am here for the night and have yet to meet my host. She is teaching middle school on the Navajo Reservation. Aside from parts of Gallup, pretty much everyone around here is Native American. Originally I was surprised by this, but upon checking my maps realized that almost all of the past three days has been in and out of tribal land.

Tomorrow I begin my ride into Arizona

"Sorry kid, you can't eat your own food here. DOH regulations... yeah I know they suck. Here, hand me your water bottles and I'll fill 'em with ice water. There's a park two blocks down, you can definitely eat there."


  1. Hopefully you never have to test out the range of the pepper spray. A good pointy stick might be nice if findable. Also, are you going to Vegas?!

    1. Unfortunately, no - I'll be going south of Vegas