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Day 7.5 Recap: Live Life, Taste Death (or: Corner Karma)

Ever taken a blind curve with a sheer drop on both sides and nothing but a few shrubs to block your view and maybe stop your slide before you fall hundreds of feet into nothing? 50+ miles from the closest town? When it's been 15+ minutes since the last car went by in the other direction? FOR HOURS?! Well, now I have. Over and over. And over. And over...

I'm sitting in a little cafe/restaurant in the middle of nowhere, hijacking some power and hey - they have wifi! How sweet, considering I haven't had a data signal on either cell since leaving Silver City. And as you no doubt noticed from the lack of tracking info, I had zero signal pretty much all day yesterday too. Yep, the dead zones are still out there!

So, let's recap. Yesterday I left City of Rock State Park and headed toward the Gila National Monument thingies. It was a relatively short trip however it took 3-4+ hours since it was a ton of climbing up and down mountains on very curvy dangerous roads (a fair portion of it was 25MPH speed limit). The location there is intense, and again amazing (am I using that word too much on this trip?).

Up in this beautiful canyon filled with trees, life, and a wonderful little creek, you find the Gila caves, with the remains of houses these unknown people built 700+ years ago. The views from their cave houses are staggering, since the caves are a hundred or more feet up - not at the bottom of the canyon. It's so cool. Absolutely worth the insane drive. After a tour and a bunch of pictures, I shut down for the day nearby in Upper Scorpion Campgrounds and chilled late into the night.

Woke up at 6AM, packed my gear and was on the road by 8 headed toward Silver City. First a couple hours of that crazy road heading up to Gila then I went onto 15 south. To set the scene, at the start of this road there was a sign that said "Steep grades and heavy curves. Trucks, RV's, Campers seek alternate route." Then about half a mile later another one that says "No Center Line" - apparently this road is too insane to paint. Hah!

And oh my goodness yes indeed it was. Google map it! At one point I stopped to take pictures to show the sheer drops on both sides of the road, but then my camera died - been too long since I powered it. Ugh! Anyway those 20 or so intense miles lead me to Silver City, the first "big" city I'd been through since Las Cruces - they had a solid 5-7 or so stoplights on the main drag. Gassed up and hit 180 north towards AZ... BTW the entire time from leaving Gila to hitting Silver city I saw exactly 12 other cars. Wicked.

So north on 180 I took The Turn towards the Mogollon "mining ghost town" - maybe a little too gleefully. See, apparently this road is known for being the only highway in the US where the average speed limit (10MPH) is shorter than the road's length (11 miles). What I didn't quite realize is that it also climbs up AND down a few thousand feet MULTIPLE TIMES. While being about TEN FEET WIDE. With HUNDRED FOOT DROPS off the side. Covered in GRAVEL! BOTH WAYS! Holy crap. It was... incredible, frightening, nerve wracking, arousing, painful, and uplifting by turns. I'm still coming down off that high an hour or so later, it was freaking amazing. (the ghost town was neat but gotta admit pretty anti-climactic after that ride)

No idea what the plan is now. I think I'm going to keep rolling towards AZ but it's kinda windy and cold and a little annoying - but I don't have supplies to camp out and I really need to spend the night in a motel to juice up my gear and take a shower (former being much more important to me at the moment). So, TBD...*

* EDIT: Hey, got a cool recommendation for a road that I "must ride" according to one of the guys that works at this place and is a life long motorcycle rider. It's back south a ways then I go west and back up north through AZ, supposed to be wicked cool. And I found out the cafe where I was eating also has an Inn, and since they have wifi and power... figured I'd just spend the night here. So I'm holed up at the Hidden Springs Inn on 180 just south of 12. The cafe is the big square building in this Google Maps shot, the Inn is the rectangle just under it (where I'm staying). Google Maps rocks. :)

Comments

Anonymous said…
amazing--astonishing, astounding, awesome, fantastic, fascinating, incredible, marvelous, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious, shocking, stunning, stupendous, surprising, unbelievable, wonderful, wondrous
Those all describe you, too.

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