Long before time was invented the Apache people had held their sacred gatherings here. I’m still at Faywood Hot Springs. Up the road from here, a few miles, a magical place exist. It’s name; City Of Rocks.
I had been loafing around at the hot spring for most of the morning, uncertain if I was going to be moving along or sticking around. It wasn’t until about noon that I decided I would stay an extra night, giving my body and Jo’s another nights sleep to recover from the miles we’ve been trekking. But really, it’s just absolutely beautiful in this place and I wanted to enjoy it a little longer.
I headed over to the soaking pool for a dip. Most of the other desert dwellers had the same idea. I shortened my soak in the one hundred and eight degree pool and opted for a short bike ride on an old empty highway. A flyer on the wall in the club house mentions a “Rumble in The Rocks”. It’s an event bringing a community of cyclist coming to enjoy the weekend, pedaling over the naturally formed obstacles. What really caught my attention was the feed wagon.
Chris and his wife May are camped next to me. They’re packing with them the cutest toddler, Azra. She’s old enough to walk, but barely. Jo likes children so if he comes up missing I know I’ll find him in their camp.
We’re met by Rangers as we enter the state park. They invite us in for free because we’re both on bikes. Making our way through the campground, we discover the group of cyclist we set out for. There are a few vendors here representing.
David is the creator of a non profit bike shop, Silver City Bike Works. He’s brought with him some youngsters that are thrilled to be riding their bikes through the rocks on a marked course. The kids are becoming boulder with each pass.
Neils is in the catering trailer and has burgers, dogs and pulled pork on the menu. I order one of each and take a seat under the shaded gazebo.
It’s mostly the youngsters that come over and introduce themselves to Shoeless Jo, although it seems that most are interested in him. I answer questions and spend some time sharing about our journey and getting to know some of these folks.
Joseph is a church pastor. He’s made the trip from Silver City, spending time with his family, biking for the day. We snap a selfie and connect through Facebook, creating a friendship.
Tim Davis, is the curator of this two day event; Rumble In The Rocks. It’s his third year organizing. Tim sits on the bench next to me with a wounded shoulder. He went over the bars. His pills are starting to kick in as we carry on in conversation.
The representative from Santa Cruz bicycles is nestled in the group with his rig full of demos, inviting me to join on an extended mountain bike loop. The offer is tempting, riding a six thousand dollar bike through this gorgeous landscape, but I decline and choose to digest my multiple meals instead.
What I’ve discovered is that everyone is joining together, forming a community of cyclist in this remote location. Everyone has different levels of riding ability. Families are excited to be here. The children are having a blast, creating memories, and everyone is making new friends.
Shoeless Jo is my best friend. I take him for a walk to explore the beauty of this land. I perch myself where I’m able to have a perfect view of all that surrounds me. Jo scurries through the rock crops, sniffing as he goes. He’s happy.
Back at the hot springs, Ruth and Timothy are visiting with another couple. Their picnic bench is the center stage for live music and a fine meal that I’ve been invited to. Under the star filled sky, Ruth and I swap songs, singing our favorites to each other and to all of the campers that can hear us.
At nine o’clock at night I stumble down the dark gravel path, making my way to my pup-tent. Shoeless Jo lays beside me, guarding me as I rest. I imagine he sleeps with one eye open; my best friend, Jo.