Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Boston Hill Mining District

Boston Hill is an old mining district on the southwest side of Silver City. It is within the boundaries of the town limit. Now it is an open space area for hikers and mountain biking. Tons of trails, but also tons of potential hazards. Here's a shaft that has been covered with a large cable net. Makes for an interesting bike ride.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Grey Line, by Brandon Teel

The Grey Line

PB&J and ice-cold water
Chatting, laughing, and pedaling ensue
Early on when the sun is high
Optimism reigns supreme and true

Stars and Bars in a bank that’s now a bar
It’s never too early for that brown liquid sin
There isn’t much going on with these elderly two
A quick frog sketch and a flash of skin

We follow the grey line of dust
Through the tunnel of muggy green
The soul-sucking heat envelopes all
Including our two-wheeled machines

Hiding from the sun’s evil rays
Only to later beg for it to come back
Our tires find washed-out ruts and sand
Possums and webs abound in the black

More frequent the intermittent lights become
I long to lie down and sleep
Only a few more dark miles to go
Gas station food, at least it’s cheap

Morning light brings with it muscles still sore
Pancakes, B’s & G’s, bacon, and hash browns
Opening the first brewhouse in sight
Sampling outweighs riding in this sleepy German town

Almost nothing stays open long enough here
So we climb a hill twice, to swig some wine
Tiger and other strangers are eager to chat
“Enjoy the f*ck out of Hermann,” we did, it was divine

Brandon Teel

Aug 2008

Katy Trail, Day 2

Aug. 2, 2008...We got off to a late start. We rolled out around 9:30 or 10:00. It was already hot.

We rolled along the trail. Kevin and I stopped on a bridged and watched the less muddy water of the creek mix with the muddy water of the Missouri. It provided us several minutes of entertainment.

I was riding ahead and met up with Brandon. We were about 2 miles or so from the Jefferson City terminal. Brandon was pulling a Burley bike trailer. It was like the Grapes of Wrath with all sorts of stuff in it.

I eventually got ahead. There was a section of trail that wasn't so fun. I think it was from Jefferson City to Tebbetts. This section was trail was exposed to the sun and close to a major U.S. Highway. The sound of the traffic just bothered me. The sun didn't bother me so much, but I would have much preferred to be under the canopy of trees.

When I got to Tebbetts, there was no water. I had two more bottles so I wasn't that concerned. I rode over to Jim's Bar and bought a Gatorade out of the vending machine and waited for the other guys. When they showed, we tried to buy water at the little convience store, but it was closed, so it was back to Jim's place.

Jim was a good ole' boy. He let us have water, but Kevin had to draw him a picture. Funny guy.

We continued down the trail, and there was no water in Mokane or Portland. Some where in this part of the trail was the "Mysterious Standing Rock". It was a pretty cool to check out.

After Portland, I went ahead at my own pace. The Univega was just motoring along. I blasted through Rhineland in the fading light. There were a few potholes and washed out sections that I didn't see in the fading light, but the bike kept going with no flats and stable as could be. I decided I ought to put on my helmet for the next 5 mile section to McKittrick. It got really dark and I was just kept riding by following the light colored gravel.

At McKittrick, I had a chance to look at the stars while waiting for the others. When the others showed, we rode over the bridge into Hermann, MO and eventually found the campground...but no food. Everything was closed. Brandon and I bought stuff and sandwiches at the gas station that we took back to camp and ate.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Aug 1, 2008...the Katy Trail.

We woke up early, packed Kevin's car and headed to Clinton, MO to start our Katy Trail tour. First stop was to get his dad so his dad could drive his car back to Lee's Summit.

Bikes packed, we hit the trail. The trail was hardpack gravel; a rails to trail project, therefore the grade were never real great.

Right off the bat Kevin had a blowout...probably had the tube in bad. That fixed we continued on.

The day was hot and humid. At Clifton City we discovered there was no water. Al, the Katy Trail Authority, rescued us with a jug of (questionable looking) water. He was a nice guy who scraped out a living repairing bikes and cutting wood.

At about mile 75, we reached Booneville and the Missouri River. We continued on down the trail a few miles beyond Rocheport to a place called Catfish Katy's. We rode about 95 miles. I had a sever case of monkey butt, but other than that, no other complaints. I was feeling pretty good. The Univega performed flawlessly.

Driving to Kansas City

On July 31...after finally leaving Palo Duro, I needed to drive to Lee's Summit, which is southeast of Kansas City, MO. I had a quick lunch in Amarillo at a Sonic Drive-in, and hopped onto I-40 eastbound. This was where I started questioning my sanity. Why was I driving 1200+ miles to ride bikes with guys I have never met in person? I decided to at least drive beyond the Texas panhandle and get into Oklahoma before making a decision.

The drive across Oklahoma was uneventful. I stopped a couple of times (once before OK City, and once after) at Love's Travel Centers to fill with gas, use the restroom, and to get coffee. Once I got to Oklahoma City and turned north on I-35, I was committed to driving all the way to Lee's Summit.

In Kansas, I continued on I-35 which turns into the "Kansas Turnpike". This interstate goes through Wichita, and the Flint Hill region of Kansas. I was impressed with the Flint Hills. The drive was beautiful and green.

The only stop I made in Kansas was at a travel stop on the turnpike. These unique service stations had a Phillips 66 gas station and a McDonald's/Circle K store. I had some kind of McDonald's hamburger for lunch and afterwards, I went to the Circle K part of the the building and bought a phone card and called Tania.

I made it to Lee's Summit around 12:30 AM...maybe later. I had to call Kevin from downtown Lee's Summit for him to come get me. I was really clueless how to find his house.

Once at the house, I had to prepare my bike for the ride the next morning. I did not get to sleep until 3:00 AM or so. Crazy!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Palo Duro Canyon

Got back from my road trip and now have my computer recharged so now I can update this blog.

July 30/31; Stop #1: Palo Duro Canyon is south of Amarillo, Texas. I driven through Amarillo several times, but never took the time to go look for, and find, Palo Duro canyon. I completed this road trip without the use of a map or GPS, so I just had to follow signs, my nose, and hand drawn maps provided by friends. Its a great way to explore.

Anyway got to Palo Duro Canyon, Texas State Park around sunset. I paid for overnight camping. I found my site and immediately went to bed in the camper.

In the morning, I got up for a morning ride. Using the basic map the ranger had given me, I found the mountain bike trails and poked around a bit.

I met a couple from London who were out for a morning hike. They were driving a rented RV across the USA via Route 66. I gave them a few recommendations of places to eat while in New Mexico on the Mother Road.

While riding, I met "Wild Bill", a local who was riding an Ellsworth Truth (full suspension). He was a good guy who knew Ray Molina. Originally from Rodeo, NM, he also knew Silver City and about Mimbres Man. I felt obliged to give him my last MM T-shirt. He'll enjoy it.

Bill showed me around the trails of the park. By the time we had finished, it was already 11:30 and I still needed to drive to Missouri, so it was adios Bill, took a quick shower at the park rest room, and hit the road.