After a good lunch we road about 10 miles asphalt before heading off into the desert. No plants taller than about a foot except in the wash areas, rugged rock formations and vistas that go on forever. Not much else to say so enjoy the photos.
After a while riding in the flat open we came to an area that skirted a mountain and was once wash after another. Slightly elevated we had nice views out over the lowlands.
On the level areas between the washes the trail turned into a fine powdery sand. This was deep on the order of 8 inches in places. Usually not a problem but the trail was winding around with pretty sharp 90' turns so we would have to slow to make the corner. The front tire would not want to stay on top through the curve so it was only a matter of time until......
Going slow through a turn the sand grabbed the front wheel and I tipped over. Low speed, no damage to me or the bike. It was a real soft landing. I stood the bike up and the front wheel sunk into the sand above the rim, it was that soft. We pressed on to a place where there where two holes in the road. Not potholes. I'm talking holes about 4 feet deep and one was 3 feet in diameter.
The drainage pipe running under the road had failed and the road washed from below.
If anyone hit that it would swallow the front wheel and would send the rider flying over the bars. Perry stuck a piece of the pipe in the hole to make it more visible to anyone approaching.
A couple more gates.....
and a few more rock formations......
and we were at the location marked on the route as WASHOUT. It was fairly obvious that heavy equipment had been working there. The road had recently been maintained.
Looking back toward the wash.
We took a short break here and rode on towards Grants.
As the day wore on, we once again found ourselves riding late into the day and I was looking for a campsite. It was very pleasant the last half hour coming into Grants as we rode over the mountains through the pine forest. We stopped in Grants for gas and some decisions. There was a campsite 20 miles south of Grants. We could get dinner in a restaurant and we wouldn't finish till after sunset. Or, we could grab something to go and make camp before dark. We try not to ride after dark so we grabbed some gas station food and got on down the road. The highway takes us past the El Malpais National Monument.
This is an area of lava flows with sandstone rock formations. Formations include this arch in the face of the rock. You can see the sun was getting low.
We arrived at The Narrows. This was a campsite marked on the Adventure Cycling Assoc. map. We pulled all the way to the back where we found a pavilion large enough for both of our tents and our bikes to be parked under the roof along with the two picnic table. Perfect.
We first set camp and then went for our gas station dinner. Here is what we had.
Those burritos were really good. One was Carne Asadero (pork with red chile, potatoes and cheese) and the other was Steak with green chile, potatoes and cheese. We talked to the nice lady that made them so we know they made just before we bought them. They were very filling, I couldn't finish mine. A gut bomb for sure but I slept pretty well that night.
Our tracks for the day.