Day 34: Grants to Pie Town (Malpais Detour), 72.8 miles, 2,942 feet
Once again prompted with two options, I decided once again to play it safe at stick with the shorter road “Malpais” option for the first half (saving 17 miles overall), mostly to give my body a break and because it looked quite scenic and interesting. The last push from Pie Town to Antelope Wells would be difficult, and I needed a little rest to stay on schedule to finish by the 19th.
It seemed that most other cyclists had the same idea, as I encountered six people riding the divide who had made the same choice, including John from York, PA (near where I grew up) as well as persons from the UK, Germany and the US, one riding recumbent the full route. It was nice to see other riders after seeing none for almost 200 miles, passing the time a little faster and sharing stories. John mentioned that we should stay in the “Toaster House” in Pie Town. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but texted Anna with the info before I lost phone coverage.
I pushed on for most of the day solo, on rolling hills over dirt roads that were pretty ridable with sand in some places. The wind was still there at 10-15mph, but the route was more sheltered overall and easier in comparison to the long haul yesterday.
The “Toaster House” is a residence that has been donated for use of CDT hikers and Great Divide riders, managed by volunteers locally. It’s donation based with maybe a dozen beds and mattresses, a kitchen, washing machine and shower! Great place, reminding us of many donativo albergues on Spain’s Camino de Santiago. John showed up later after the famous “Pie” cafes had all closed, so we all cooked and ate dinner together. Two other families of “rock climbers” (or so they said) came into the house late into the evening, commandeering much of the space. Eventually we got the kids to sleep.
I decided to pack in for the next two days (180 miles) in order to save Anna about four hours driving to try and meet me at the Beaverhead USFS work station 100 miles in, where there was a reliable water source. I spent most of the evening repacking gear and food and making sure i had everything to complete the long segment loaded and solo. We planned to meet in Silver City and get a hotel after two days, the last larger town before the 124 miles to the Mexican Border (which I was hoping to do in one day).