After my crazy windy night, I was more than ready to ride the next 10 miles to El Coyote Ranch. As soon as I got out of my tent, the wind tried to rip it away. I had to pull off the rain fly and collapse my tent to keep it from flying off the hill. Right away the road was impossible to ride. I walked and walked, into this huge land of mesas and hills and desert and red cliffs. Deep ruts cut through the road. I can only imagine the red soup that happens in the rain. But there was no mud! It was windy and cold, but the sun was shining. In a few magical sections, the mud had dried smooth as cement. I pushed myself up a few crazy uphills, walked on the crazy downhills. I just don’t need to go over my handlebars out here.
Anyway, it was worth it, all that pushing and sometimes riding, when I got to an outlook that was miles in all directions of just nature. No people and no people things besides the one brown twisty road I was on. And I guess that’s what I do this stuff for, to get out to wild free places like this. Just me and some hawks and jack rabbits.
The cyclist who came before me ran into quite a bit of mud. Their footprints were dry now, but they’d obviously been planted when the mud was thick and runny. I’d heard there was a unicyclist in front of me, but these tracks appeared to have been made by two tires. Maybe the French guy who posted the pictures of his mud-encrusted bike.
It was a long ten miles to the ranch. I was pretty thrilled when I saw the first structure. Even more when I saw the trailer covered with solar panels. A real off-the-grid special. I met the gringos in the trailers, Michael and Nanette. Michael had some real ethanol alcohol for my stove. He said the stuff I had bought should have burned. Just one of those mysteries, but now I know what to buy. Michael had a super tidy tool shed, and he was obviously eager to help cyclists with mechanical problems. Nanette told me about other cyclists, some who’d not been so lucky with mud and rain timing. Mud is a real thing here, and I was right to be mud paranoid.
Other residents of the ranch: a trio of spoiled sheep, kept just for company and occasional grass nibbling. The one with the docked tail is a male, but I couldn’t help calling them the ladies. And imagining them working as typists in the secretarial pool, wearing pearls and cat eye glasses. (I do love to anthropomorphize animals to the point of giving them professions and outfits.)
The ranch had wifi and stank bathrooms. I pretended to take a shower but really there was no damn way I was letting water touch my hair. I hung out on the porch of the main house, charging my phone and sucking up the wifi after the sun went down. It’s 32 miles, hopefully mostly downhill, to Vicente Guerrero and the bike shop!