One of the great things about living in New Mexico is that it is a quick strike to get to other parts of the West. Colorado is two hours away, and this past weekend the wifey poo poo and I decided to head north and pound the pedals in a new environment.
You might not think the geography and features of the land could change so drastically in a three to four-hour drive but they can and they do. What we call a creek in New Mexico becomes a full-on river in Colorado. A 12,000-foot peak in New Mexico becomes a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado. And what is a three hundred pound tourist in New Mexico is still a three hundred pound tourist in Colorado. You get my point. Most things are supersized.
My wifey poo poo is riding a new bike. A Salsa Journeyman, 650B in a turquoise trim, which for her was by far the most important thing. “Oh Danno, it’s in my color.” This is an entry-level gravel bike that works perfectly for her. We ride tarmac, gravel, dirt and a bit of singletrack and so far it is spot on. Nothing fancy. Basic Shimano components, 2.1 MTB Nano tires, basic frame, drops, etc. I do have a few small frame packs on it for her to carry things like spare jewelry, cosmetics and other strange things she tends to hole away for unknown reasons.
We ventured to Colorado for multiple reasons, some of which I’ll detail in another post, but we also wanted to get out on the bikes. Colorado was also suffering from the same heat that hit most of the country, so our plans for high-altitude shenanigans were somewhat muted, but we did manage to get out on FR175, which starts as tarmac but turns to gravel as the grade increases. My wife wanted to kill me. She does not love the pain of the long climb, as I do, so she ground it out until she popped. She was fried and starting to get pissed at yours truly, so I gave her the best news of the day. “Honey, sweetie, lovey, it is all downhill the entire way back to town.” (She actually loves when I talk like this to her, she’s awesome, and a total gamer regardless of the adventure.)
I kept climbing as she turned and said: “I’ll go slow and wait for you.” I never saw her again until I was back. But what I did see and what she managed to nearly ride over was old Mr. No Shoulders here. This is perfect snake country. Hot, dry and lots of cover.
We didn’t even scratch the surface of what this place has to offer, so visiting this place will be a routine for us in the coming months, years. There is so much to explore, so much to ride.
Back to the van. I realize my wife does not share the desire to tour on bikes. What I mean by that is leaving home on your bike, and only your bike, for weeks or months at a time, camping, couch surfing and squatting along the way. So, the van is a good middle ground. We can drive to a place like this, then launch bike tours out from the vehicle. Maybe we do two or three-day rides, but at the end is a familiar bed and all the precious things she likes to keep and look at. Balance my friends. Balance.
You gotta admit though, that is a hell nice colour on that bike. Go Amy!
I thought for a minute you were talking about my bike. Yes, hers is better. And that’s all that matters.
Hey Dan. I know this is an old post for you but I just discovered it now. I’m in the process of kitting my MTB out for some bike packing in 2022. I’m in the UK so we get a lot of crap weather but I am determined to get sorted and on it this next year. This post has reminded me of what I need to get hold of to get sorted for this. I’ve been watching and making notes on your YouTube videos on working personal projects. So I plan to incorporate the bike packing and take a mirroless camera with one lens and a plug in mini shotgun mic for a bit of video footage as well. Cheers for the inspiration. Regards. Neil
Bikepacking is such a cool thing. It’s exploded here in the US. When I bought my Salsa in 2013 everyone tried to talk me out of it. I had not yet heard the term “bikepacking” but now everyone I know is buying drop-bar adventure bikes and heading out.
I agree. I am into wild camping and I see it as giving me more access to the off beaten tracks and the weight being on the bike rather than my aging back. It gets harder every year. I have gone for a Jones style Bar. Just feels right for my body. Quite like the look of the short reach drops though.
I’m going to add the Kitchen Sink bar and Redshift suspension stem…….more geek stuff!
I’ll check those out Dan. Not heard of the Kitchen sink bars.
I just checked out those bars Dan. They look to give a great balance between bike packing flexibility, aerodynamics and hand positions. Never seen them before but they look really good.