Hillsboro, NM

The motel provided breakfast, including make-your-own waffles. Breakfast didn’t start until 7:30 am. I shared the table with some UC Berkeley students who were doing a whirlwind tour together in a car.

UC Berkeley students
L-R: Jack from Denmark (exchange student about to go back), Serena from Hong Kong (graduating), Sergey (from Russia, post-doc in Optics/Lasers), Yi-Yang (from China, City planning major). Serena and Jack were not together at the start of their trip, but apparently are now.
google route for today
Google maps says over 4700 feet of climbing. As usual, the bicycle time estimate is a dirty lie.
deceptive sign
Normally, Kingston would be considered close, but in this case, it was on the other side of 8828-ft Emory Pass.
Roger (L) and James (R)
A mile or two up the mountain, I met Roger and James, a father and son doing a motorcycle tour from Mississippi. They were on the 10-day return leg of their journey, doing maybe 400 miles a day. They also said that 3 other cyclists were behind me, a couple miles back. I waited a while at the vista point to see if they would show up, but when they didn’t, I went on.
near summit
Things started to get cooler and greener as I gained altitude. There’s actually a little brook running alongside the road.
USFS campground
I stopped at the final campground before the summit to look around. There were several of them along the way, and they would have been my fallback option if I couldn’t make it over the pass by dark. No water at these sites, except for the stream, if it’s running. I used the pit toilet.

Perhaps a mile before the summit, Fabian (from Duncan, a couple days ago) pulled up to me. Their group had taken the Gila Alternate, so was just catching up to me, even though I was going slower. I noticed that Fabian was using his granny, so I shifted down, too. A few minutes later, Adam passed me.

Emory Pass sign
This is the highest point on the Southern Tier Route. Actually, 5 of us rallied at the top.

The descent was hard, on account of the steep grade and sharp turns. My hands got tired from grabbing the brakes so much, and I had to pull over to rest. The grade was better after 4 miles. I went by Kingston, turned my head to look at it, then continued right on to Hillsboro, which was 8.5 more miles, but all downhill.

Down in Hillsboro, the Black Range VIneyards store was the only thing open. Brian and Nicki O’Dell grow their own grapes nearby, and make their own wine. L-R: Rowan, Adam, Fabian, Nicki, Brian, Dwayne, and (I think) Ross, a local with his dog, Chawla.
Hillsboro RV Village
The motel room was unavailable due to remodeling. There was free camping in the city park, but we elected to go to the RV park one block from Main street, to get showers. It was only $2 per person, and even had wi-fi. Adam covered my fee as a guest of the group.
The new guy at the table is Ferdinand. He’s from Vermont, and was originally going to do the Continental Divide Trail, but changed over to just get back along regular roads to his home. His wife was relieved.
bathroom setup
The bathroom was interesting. There was a Y-adapter on the hose, to turn on the water for shower or toilet. If you wanted to shower, you turned on the shower, and there was even a gas heater to make it warm. If you wanted to use the toilet, after flushing, you turned on the shower to wash your hands (no sink), then turned on the toilet to fill the tank again.  The shower was the only water source for our campsite.

As night fell, I heard the other guys talking about how it was only a total of 400 feet climbing the next day, and that they could make the 112 miles to El Paso, arriving early. Not me. Radium Springs was my stretch goal at 66 miles, with a fallback of staying at Hatch.

Miles: 54.7 (lots of climbing)

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