Day 202

Datil, NM to Springerville, AZ
11523 mi

Coldest morning yet. I was close to shivering when I woke up. I begin my ride all bundled, one gloved hand at a time in my pocket to restore circulation. I worry a bit about my icy toes.

I climb over one crest thinking it’s the divide. But several miles later I ascend a hill in this wide valley, the jagged Sawtooth Mountains to my right, some softer peaks on the left. A sign designates the divide. I find it strange that the road continues to climb, but I’m able to imagine some topographies where this would be possible.

I’ve been looking forward to breakfast and pie in Pie Town, but they have closed the doors for these bleak months. I continue down into a valley, still facing the wind of course, to Quemado. There I eat and get warm at the Chuckwagon.

New Mexico still has some big hills and sweeping vistas for me. The wind picks up as I go, so it all goes by very slowly and with much effort. I try not to think too much about Ann, but of course I do. I’m leaving her state. Will I ever see her again?


At the border I make a crushing discovery. My camera has no film, and I’ve taken over 20 shots that way. Including Ann and Wes. My heart sinks. I load more film and begin anew with Arizona. I don’t have much daylight left, so when I see a wire-loop gate I stop and go looking for a campsite. I find some sort of ceremonial grounds, five rock cairns in a circle, wood stacked for a fire in the center, and a big stone with various objects on it at the head. I leave it alone and find a spot a little ways away. It’s a comforting spot under some cedars.

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