I had a late lunch at the liquor store. It was my last chance to eat, and it’s also the name of this joint, “Last Chance”. It’s the only building in this town and there won’t be another for thirty miles.
Like a savage beast, I was tearing through a can of Fritos bean dip, and some cheesy crackers. I swallowed a large piece of homemade peanut butter fudge, whole, and washed it down with a chilly Weinhards Rootbeer.
I had slept on top of the Big Lue Mountians inside of Black Jack Canyon the night before. The road was downhill for the first half of the day. Four miles into my morning I came upon Frenchie and the two girls, Rachel and Olive. I spotted them first at Coal Creek where they had rested that night and then again at the New Mexico State border, and again in the small town of Mule Creek, and one more time in Buckhorn.
At the post office in Mule Creek is where we were told we would first find water. Frenchie finds the nozzle behind the building. Aside from a few houses, there’s nothing else out here except for some cattle ranches. I make my breakfast out front; Straw Propeller Organic Oatmeal. It’s delicious. Frenchie has a french press with him and strains me a cup of black coffee. I sit on the bench out front and relish the moment.
Shoeless Jo goes birzurk if there’s other cyclist within site. He wants to keep us all together; a herding dog. I don’t blame him for wanting to have company, but he barks his head off from inside the wagon that I’m towing. I tell him, “no singing” but that somehow only encourages him. Perhaps Jo only registers the word “singing” and he barks even more. But he looks really peacefull in his photographs.
I let the others get ahead of us by a few minutes. Now it’s just Jo and I all alone with the moo cows and an occasional passer by. At the junction of Highway 80 near Moon Ranch Rd, I sat and had a conversation with a man whose name I now forget. Out here in the middle of nowhere everyone drives a pickup. And everyone is perty friendly, even the cows.
At the Last Chance Liquor Store I say so long to Rachel and Olive.
I cruise down the backside of one hill, pedaling gently, then gear down and climb another. The wind is drying out my eyeballs and offers me little encouragement. Back in Mule Creek, I was told by a rancher that a storm is blowing in from the southwest and should be here by this afternoon. I’m doing what I can to try and stay ahead of it.
Now it’s late in the afternoon, and I’m riding into a headwind at 5 mph. It sprinkling on occasion. I calculate the distance to Silver City. The town is still another twenty miles ahead. And to get there I’ll need to climb several thousand feet over the pass and cross over the Great Divide.
Night is falling and so is the rain. I began looking for a place to stealth camp on the side of the highway. I considered sleeping on the direct opposite side of the guard-rail. A few miles further and I found a dirt road leading to nowhere. I pulled over and looked around.
Now it’s raining a smidgen more so I quickly set up our houseless home. After throwing everything inside, including Jo, I made my Top Ramen gourmet dinner and entertained myself by looking out of the mesh bug screen at the cars driving by.