So many days and so many miles creates a time warp which I’ve found myself fallen into. What day is it? I have no idea. I have a vague sense of where I am, enough to keep me from wandering around in my pajamas and a bag full of cold cuts as though I had advancing dementia, but still, there is a quality of disorientation permeating my days. It is not disquieting, though. In fact, I expect it is the result of the quiet deepening around me as I go further into empty New Mexico. My mind is getting still to the point where I hardly even know what to write here. What I have been doing is as follows: I get up, I putter around tending to the Koenig affairs which must, by necessity, follow a very particular order due to packing constraints, I hop on Lolita and we ride, ride, ride, and we ride. I may stop periodically to eat, to get water, snap a photo, pee, or whatever. And then I stop for the night, somewhat reversing the order of the morning as my camp blooms before my very eyes. I am like a nocturnal flower, closing up as the dawn breaks and opening again to the night. Sometimes things happen in the middle of all that: a hunter stops and gives me candy after pontificating on the route I should take even though I have found my way from Canada; a rock gets stuck in my derailler and prevents shifing, and it takes almost an hour, the help of a passing truck, a huge wrench and a long, thin screwdriver to get it out; a blood sugar crash upon arriving in Grants and a deperate and frightening exhaustion coupled with a sense that I was totally alone and no one could help me navigate the town to food (terrifying, it was); and cows (enough said).

Worth noting, in particular, is the rest day I tool in Abiquiu, the first rest day in twenty days of hard cycling. I had ridden ten miles into town, and Abiquiu has nothing in it except a wistful memory o when Georgia o’keefe lived there. I was sitting a the mercantile when a woman walked by and offered me a shower at the farm she worked at. I ended up staying the night there, after spending the morning cleaning tons of onions for market and just hanging around on the afternoon. There were goats for me to pet, and nothin else could have soothed my soul more, unless of course I had my own goats to pet. It was a sorely needed rest day, and prepared me well for the huge climb out of the trench that Abiquiu occupies and back up to high country. 

Back in Wyoming, I developed a pain on my right wrist which I now know is a case of handle bar palsy, a kind of temporary nerve damage in the hand that sometimes afflicts mountain bikers. I have pain sometimes with certain ranges of  movement and especially in the mornings, but more disconcerting is the weakness that has begun to affect my grip. Zippers have become difficult to operate, and at the end of the day, I can barely hold a pen to write in my journal. Watching your body fall apart, even superficially as this, is strange. It’s as though I were standing very far away and watching myself erode into dust or something (or at least my dominant hand, and it gives a sense o how terrifying some neurological conditions that damage the body really can be). On account of this injury to my dominant hand, I am taking a day of riding a paved alternate through El Malpais National Monument, to give the pressure on he palm from repeated bumps a rest.

 I am in Grants, a strange, sprawling, traffic-centric town through which route 66 used to deliver hordes of cash spanking tourists, most of whom now bypass the place on the interstate. I aim now for Pie Town. I plan to eat pie.

I have fewer than ten days til I arrive at the border and this is done. I am beginning to think now of life beyond the trail, though I try not to spend too much time being so distracted from the marvelous places I am. I’ll post pictures as soon as I can.

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