Day 14 – Resting in Silver City

Downtown Silver City

That's the Palace Hotel on the left--corner of Bullard and Broadway--where I'm staying. Click on any image to enlarge.

6 April 2011 (posted the following morning). If I were looking for excuses as to why I’m not bicycling today (or tomorrow), I could point to the “Red Flag Warnings” for the area. Prior to this trip I hadn’t come across that term—a high wind advisory—but I’ve seen it several times now. Steady winds of 30 mph with gusts in the upper 40s were forecast for today and tomorrow. I suspect that Emory Pass, which I’ll cross, is even windier.

Javalina Café

A great name for java joint in javalina country (the mammal is pronounced "havalina"). The cafe is right on the corner with the hotel and has a very relaxed atmosphere--very Brattleboro-like.

But I’m not looking for excuses; relaxing is part of the agenda for this trip. It’s been a totally relaxed day in Silver City—the first of two rest days I’m planning here. Right now I’m sitting in Isaac’s bar, enjoying a Black Butte Porter. (The one thing missing here in Silver City is a brew pub; there are no local beers.) In the restaurant portion of Isaac’s they seem to be playing Trivial Pursuit of something; I can’t quite figure it out.

After posting yesterday’s blog this morning—about the javalinas and sore legs—I set out for the morning tasks. I checked two places for glucosamine—the Silver City Food Co-op and a Rexall Drugs—but selected a product from the latter (which had the specific ingredients Andy mentioned in his comment on a recent blog post). I was actually on my way to the drugstore (on foot, thank-you!) when I got a call from Patrick Lyford, a WarmShowers host here in Silver City who couldn’t take me in, but had suggested getting together. He biked over to the bike store I was quite close to and we walked to the drugstore chatting.

Patrick Lyford

Bike-touring expert Patrick Lyford showing me around town.

At the bike shop I asked about “fitting” (adjusting) my bike, which was never really done when I bought it eight or ten years ago. The guy who can do that will be in tomorrow—which was another reason to spend another day in Silver City.

Side street in Silver City

A side street in Silver City. Lots of the buildings are colorfully painted.

Bullard Street

On Bullard Street, the primary street in this town of 10,000.

Silver City Food Co-op

The Silver City Food Co-op--not as large as ours in Brattleboro, but very nice.

Outside the Co-op

Outside the Food Co-op. Didn't I see these guys in Brattleboro?

Tattoo parlor

Yes, we do tattoos also.

One of the old theaters in town

There are two old theater buildings in town, but I'm not sure either is used actively today.

Patrick showed me around town, told me a bit of history of the city, including how Main Street became the “Big Ditch” in 1895. It seems that the city was built on an area that regularly saw significant runoff. High sidewalks were built to contain floodwaters that swept through town each year. But overgrazing in the hills above town had thinned vegetation and the ability of land to absorb rainfall. Then on the night of July 21, 1895, heavy rainfall resulted in a wall of water surging through the town, gouging out Main Street to a depth of 35 feet below its previous level. Floods in ensuing years scoured the ditch down to bedrock, 55 feet below the original street level. Today that channel is Big Ditch Park, which is beautifully landscaped, with redbud trees in full bloom this week.

Big Ditch Park

The ditch created 115 years ago where Main Street once existed is now a beautiful park.

Big Ditch Park

They did a great job landscaping this park--which remains a stormwater management system.

Pedestrian bridge

A pedestrian bridge spans Big Ditch Park.

Birding trail

The riparian habitat in Big Ditch Park provides superb birding. 339 species of birds have been found in southern New Mexico.

Billie the Kid homesite

A replica home (from an old movie set) on the site where Billie the Kid lived for several years during his "formative" years. His first jail term (and escape) were in Silver City.

Patrick and I had lunch at a great little café talking about all things bike-related—and touching on a few others. He has bike-toured widely throughout the country, including cross-country trips, and he shared tips and recommendations. He described various experiences with getting repairs in odd places and how helpful people have been where he’s biked. He even has a GPS device that send out a signal every half-hour with your whereabouts!

Back at the hotel, Patrick looked over my bike and concurred that some adjustments should make for a more comfortable ride.

Bold accent colors

Bold accent colors rule here.

Silver City streetscape

Another view along Bullard Street.

Palace Hotel lobby

The Palace Hotel lobby. I'm surprised a hotel without air conditioning can make it here. It's fine this time of year, but what about July? The location is great, right in the center of town.

Hotel lobby

The hotel lobby from another angle. Walking up those steps is definitely easier now than it was when I first arrived!

After parting ways with Patrick, I took a nap—remember, this is a rest and recuperation day—and then spent a couple hours wandering around town. Neat place, as some of these photos may convey. Dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, a conversation with the home front, and a drink across the way afterwards.