Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Elegant solution

December 27th, 2011

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Elegant solution. Which I liked. A lot. A certain beauty. Very appealing to a deeply logical mind. Quietly pleased I’d crossed the 8,228 feet Emory Pass. True, it had been a challenge. Camping far below zero in Mimbres. Then eighteen miles of uphill, mostly first gear, a meagre eight inches for each rotation of the pedals. Descending gingerly, great care required to avoid mishap on black ice lurking in the sun shadow. And bitter wind chill.

But the point was I’d managed the traverse without drama. Waiting for a weather window to head out of Silver City. Short day – little over thirty miles – to re-position ready to start the climb fresh the next day. Deliberate. Calculated. I’d known it would be cold overnight, just not expected it to be as tough as it had been. More focused on the daytime riding conditions.

Some might delight in battling up snowbound roads over the pass. Adversity head on. But I’m more interested in the long game. Not just today, tomorrow, but the weeks and months ahead. Stoic. Steady progress. More a tactician than a navigator.

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Hillsboro beckons

December 26th, 2011

Temperatures plummeting, light failing, but sometimes you do need to stop for a reinvigorating coffee…

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Chilling descent over Emory Pass

December 26th, 2011

Ken makes a brief stop to don his winter kit for the descent over Emory Pass – lethal wind chill and black ice to contend with…

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High point

December 26th, 2011

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8,185 feet – just shy of the summit of Emory Pass, the highest point of the expedition…

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Highs and lows in New Mexico

December 26th, 2011

Ken finally reaches the 8,228 feet summit of Emory Pass, highest point so far – hours after achieving an expedition low – wind chill overnight dropping the temperature in the tent down to about minus 15 Celsius – bit nippy…

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Iced coffee

December 25th, 2011

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Close to the summit of the 8,228 feet Emory Pass, New Mexico

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Snowy stop towards Emory Pass

December 25th, 2011

Ken makes a final stop before the 8,228 feet summit of Emory Pass… Bit of snow on the ground..

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Wise choices

December 25th, 2011

Ken makes a brief stop on the climb over Emory Pass… Pleased he chosen to camp lower down the previous night

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Starting the climb over Emory Pass

December 25th, 2011

Ken starts the long climb – about 18 miles – over the 8,228 feet Emory Pass…

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Run for the hills

December 23rd, 2011

Fervoured debate. North Sea crude versus West Texas oil. I wasn’t sure what the point of the enthusiastic discussion was. But someone did mention that in the UK gasoline was ten times the cost in the US. Chose to ignore this, resisting the temptation to ask how they spent on health insurance. I was certain I had the better deal.

I’d wandered once more into McDonald’s. Felt a bit embarrassed. I’d seen Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me. Even got a copy. But, in truth, it was the draw of the Scrumptious fruit & maple oatmeal and an Egg McMuffin. Less than 600 calories. And a coffee of course. Also do fairly healthy salads, provide you hold the dressing. But not for breakfast.

Comforted my conscience with the knowledge that this was an early morning meeting place for the retired. Tough old boys who’d bettered themselves. They usually bought only coffee. Small. But then one got himself a breakfast sandwich. Sparked a debated on the menu choices, value for money and quality of the food. I think I preferred oil.

My own breakfast finished, packed up my netbook and pocket book I’d been scribbling in, and left. The snows had begun to melt but, much more importantly, the highway was clear. And it had been gritted, perhaps salted as well. Time to run for the hills. Reposition at a campground about thirty miles east, at the base of the Emory Pass. Bit over eight thousand feet. Seven below tonight apparently…

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