Boise City, OK to Walsenburg, CO – 252.7 miles
We were happy to wake to dry streets this morning despite the rain that rolled through during the night. We saddled up and headed out to ride the last few miles of our stay in Oklahoma. It was a beautiful state and kept us on the straight and narrow.
Just before crossing the state line into New Mexico, we saw a sign on the side of the road calling out to TAT riders. Fitting the bill, we pulled over to take a quick picture. A couple of young ladies from the property came walking down to the end of the drive to strike up a conversation. They filled us in on everything OK and we did our best to fill them in on everything TAT. We grabbed a great photo op then signed their book. In fact, we were the first to sign it…which makes us #1 in their book.
New Mexico welcomed us with a huge change of scenery. Cropland became almost nonexistent as cattle ranches now dominated the landscape. Prairie dogs scattered by the hundreds and antelope showed us white rears as they turned and ran. The further we moved west, the higher the ground rose in front of us. Mesas with stunning colors towered above. I was in complete awe of the beauty of my surroundings. I think my mouth hung open for at least 30 minutes while I took it all in, including several bugs.
A healthy picnic of Redline and almonds fueled the ride into Colorado. Off in the distance we saw our first peek of the Rocky Mountains. We climbed to an elevation of 6,250 feet to Branson, where we climbed off the bikes to stretch our legs. The earth must turn faster when you’re more than a mile above sea level, because as soon as my feet hit the ground I felt my head spin. We snapped a couple pictures at the town’s tourist attraction and bolted before any angry ranchers put a lock on the door.
We pushed further north and caught a glimpse of the Spanish Peaks…appropriately named Huajatolla by the Ute Indians. The sun was getting low in the sky and we had a sunset ride around the base of the peaks on our way to La Veta. There was no vacancy in the small town, so we took a chilly night ride to find lodging.
Today’s lesson: You’ll end up behind bars when a mile high in Branson.