Day Forty-Six

Socorro, NM to Magdalena, NM

I made a good decision to do a few short days through the mountains of New Mexico. Riding to Magdalena and exploring the town was much more enjoyable than riding all the way to Datil would have been.

From Socorro, I headed west on US 60. A lot of the traffic on this Saturday morning consisted of pick-up trucks with dirtbikes or other all-terrain vehicles in the back headed into the mountains.  The wind wasn't much of a factor because the road curved so much that it went in all directions except east. The climbing started before I even got out of town. US 60 was not the greatest road for cycling because its paving was so inconsistent. While most roads differ in large sections from various  construction projects, US 60 seemed to change constantly, sometimes after only a few hundred yards. The shoulder was sometimes paved, sometimes gravel and other times non-existent. For several miles there was a passing lane because the grade was long and a bit steep. By the time I was halfway to Magdalena, I had climbed from Socorro at 4,600 feet up to 6,100 feet.

The rest of the trip wasn't nearly as tough. I was in such a good mood that I was singing while riding uphill. Having a short day no doubt contributed to  my jolly mood.

Because it was a Saturday, I planned ahead and made a reservation  at The Western Bed & Breakfast, Motel and RV Park (in a small town, I guess it's good to cover all of your bases). It was " an authentic 1920's maternity hospital transformed into a bed & breakfast." I certainly had ever slept in a maternity hospital before! Actually, I got a good deal because my " motel" room was a fancy B& B room with Victorian decorating and antique furniture, except it only cost $37 for the night with a continental breakfast. The full breakfast would have to be pretty incredible to justify the extra $22 paid by the B& B customers. It was obvious that they were catering to a citified clientele--how many lodgings in the Old West offered scones, espresso and cappuccino?  At least it was unlikely that they would ever have to worry about a Starbuck's coming to town. I stayed in " The First Lady's Room," so named because the mayor of Magdalena and his wife lived there a few years ago. The adobe walls were two feet thick.

The best thing about a short riding day is having time to explore the town. I quickly changed out of my cycling clothes and went for a walk. There wasn't a whole lot to see in Magdalena, but the bright side of that is that I don't think I missed anything. Well, I did miss one thing--the boxcar museum was closed. The railroad was a big  part of Magdalena's history because this town was the end of the line. Consequently, ranchers from further west used to drive their cattle to Magdalena for shipping to market. I have a theory about old train cars in towns. I think the biggest or most important railroad towns get old engines (and sometimes even a few cars, too). The medium towns get cabooses, and the smallest towns get boxcars. I cannot recall a town that got stuck with a lowly flatbed car. Anyway, that hierarchy is just  based on what I've seen, so I'd be interested to hear anything more concrete.

The boxcar may have been closed, but Evett's Cafe was open. I had a butterscotch sundae and soaked up the atmosphere. The building was originally a bank, but it closed during the depression. Thanks no doubt to its prime location at the intersection of Main Street and US 60, the building wasn't vacant for long. A drug store opened in the forties. Eventually the merchandise was moved out and tables moved in, making the lunch counter into a full-fledged restaurant. My hunger abated for awhile, I walked around and took some pictures of the quiet town. A dog appeared to approach me, but he was just  headed for a snooze in the shadow of a Jeep.

For dinner, I went to the Magnolia Cafe across the street for pizza. I chose Canadian bacon and pineapple since I hadn't had that since I was in Alabama. The breadsticks were too bland, but the pizza was okay. The toppings were good (the pineapple in juicy slices instead of chunks), but the cheese and sauce lacked flavor.

Totals for the day: 27.54 miles in 3:01:34 for a 9.1 mph average.

Click here to see today's photos.

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