After several days of relatively little civilization we were anxious for some real food and comfortable seats. With that in mind we awoke early from our camp at Hopewell Lake and headed due south on some of New Mexico’s remote backroads. After winding our way around 10,189 ft Burned Mountain, we unwound our way down the mountain and into the small town of Canon Plaza. Settled in 1770, Canon Plaza is a small farming community straight out of the Spanish colonial days. Since the local “snack shop” was closed for the season, we blew through town and onto the next, Vallecitos. Many people claim this region of New Mexico as a “magical” place. We would have to agree with them as Bud Light and Clamato cans seemingly sprout from the Earth at every viable location. Vallecitos contains a few homes, a run-down post office, perhaps some people, and about a hundred untethered dogs. The latter of which like to chase bicyclists. Unleashed, they can chase a bicyclist as far as their care to. It was here we began our relationship with 4 dogs.
On our way out of town we noticed a pack of 4 small dogs (3 pit mixes, 1 purebred coyote?) following us down the road. They chased us in a playful manner, not showing any signs of aggression, and appeared to just want a reason to escape Vallecitos (with good reason). Figuring they would tire of following us after a mile or two, we were surprised when they continued to shadow us after three, four, even five miles. When we finally hit a downhill over ten miles later, we were able to lose them for good just as we entered El Rito.
Once in town, we picked up our support box from the post office for the last time, dropping off some of our colder weather clothes as we’re heading down to lower elevations for the remainder of the trip. We had heard that we could stay in the dorms at Northern New Mexico Community College and since it was a Friday, we had high expectations. Upon arriving though, things looked less promising as the school might as well have been abandoned. We decided to move on to Abiquiu.
Best known as the former home of Georgia O’Keefe, Abiquiu, NM, is a small artsy community also known as the Salem, MA, of the west due to its witchcraft activity in the eighteenth century. After finding out that the only hotel in town was fully booked, we lucked out by stumbling across the Old Abiquiu Bed and Breakfast, run by Wanda. We spent the rest of the night exploring the town and recounting our trip with her.