We arrived in Grants just as the storm hit with rain and wind and hail further south, but soaking in the Travel Lodge hot pool we were oblivious to it! Grants is a former mining town – it was the centre of the uranium mining industry for a while and the famous Route 66 goes thru the main street. Now it is a service centre for the traffic off the huge interstate I40.
We left the next afternoon, as the weather was clearing, with a big climb up and around Mt Taylor. We had just set up camp as another heavy rain shower came thru. With our altitude and clear skies overnight we woke to a very frosty tent but the promise of a gorgeous day. We descended from the forested mountains to a crazy landscape of mesas, buttes, volcanic plugs and dry deep arroyos.
Way back in time New Mexico was covered in shallow seas – hence the sandstone flat topped mesas and buttes (formed by erosion) and the deep arroyos (creek beds) still being carved out by flash flooding. The volcanic period that followed created all the cones and eroded cones or plugs that were a feature of the landscape. The clay roads we were riding on are unrideable in rain – they get super slippery with sticky mud. Luckily it was warm enough to have mostly dried out – tho’ Alan did have a wee spill in a big slippery puddle – sadly not captured on film!
Our campsite, looking out to Cerro Carbaza was a goodie and it was a fun, fast ride the next morning to get to Cuba and apparently the best Mexican restaurant on the route – yet to be tried out..