Day 15 – Still Resting in Silver City – and a Visit to City of Rocks

City of Rocks

An afternoon outing to City of Rocks State Park, between Silver City and Deming. Click on any image to enlarge.

7 April 2011. Another day of generally taking it easy. After the continental breakfast at the hotel, I changed my room at the Palace Hotel to the less expensive single ($51) room I had originally wanted. That meant a bit of packing and organizing.

Then I took my bike to Gila Hike & Bike for a “fitting.” The saddle (seat) height was just right, but it’s about an inch to an inch-and-a-half further forward than it really should be—according to measurements that the co-owner, Jay, took using a plumb line. He was able to move the saddle back slightly, but less than a quarter-inch. A different saddle might allow it to set back further, but I don’t really want to break in a new saddle on a trip. I guess the frame should really be slightly longer for my body. Jay also adjusted the clips on my pedals so my shoes won’t slip out and secured the magnetic pick-up for the bike computer so that it should work better now.

A great bike shop!

Co-owner Jay did some adjustments to my bike and didn't charge. Very knowledgeable. Great gear.

Anyway, great shop. I highly recommend it!

After that, I visited the Silver City Museum and learned more about the Big Ditch, copper and silver mining through the ages, and assorted activities from yesteryear. Nice museum. Quick visit.

While there, I got a call from my friend Patrick Lyford, inviting me to lunch. We went to the Curious Kumquat (which I had erroneously said was where we ate lunch yesterday—I fixed that information in yesterday’s blog). Great food. Over lunch, Patrick asked if I’d like to drive down to a unique natural feature 30 miles south of here this afternoon: City of Rocks State Park. I jumped at the opportunity—particularly the “driving” part!

What a fascinating spot! These photos provide some idea of what it’s like. The rock is volcanic tuff, ash that was released in a volcanic eruption 35 million years ago, then compressed into stone. Erosion of the rock left with towering boulders. Information at the visitor’s center indicated that the volcano producing the tuff was 1,000 times as large as the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980—to provide a sense of scale.

City of Rocks

I get carried away with my camera!

City of Rocks

City of Rocks

Alex at City of Rocks

Patrick snapped this of me leaning against one of the monotiths.

Patrick Lyford

My able tour guide, Patrick Lyford, beside a large boulder supported mostly by a much smaller rock.

City of Rocks

Detail of this massive boulder.

City of Rocks

I told you I get carried away with the shutter!

Chihuahuan Desert

City of Rocks State Park is in the Chihuahuan Desert. I wish I had had more time to explore it!

City of Rocks State Park is in the Chihuahuan Desert, which is quite different from the Sonoran Desert that I passed through over the past week-and-a-half. While some species are found in both, such as this Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), many of the species are different. It has been a dry winter and spring, so there is little green here.

Patrick and I spent a couple hours there talking about everything from the demise of Silver City’s brew pub to recumbent bikes to wilderness survival. Had a great afternoon. Driving back from the City of Rocks I got calls from both Lillian (in San Francisco on a break from work) and Frances (in Aix en Provence, France, where it was midnight and she was to leave in four hours for a class trip to Italy). Both are doing well. Amazing what these cell phones can do!

Tomorrow morning, rested from two days in Silver City and now on glucosamine during that period, I continue on my journey eastward over Emory Pass (with an elevation over 8,000 feet and, by far, the highest point on the Southern Tier route). From the pass, I’ll drop down to Kingston, New Mexico, where I’m staying with friends of friends who are active in earth building activities.