We arrived in Cuba, New Mexico to discover that our longtime traveling companions from Holland, Michiel & Margo Maiwald, have decided to call it quits. They got a day’s jump on us coming out of Platoro and arrived in Cuba yesterday, while we were camping at 10,000 ft on the Polvadera Mesa. I learned of their decision via email. Michiel didn’t specify their reason(s) but when I read their email to Mary she unleashed a torrent of sympathy saying that she’s had it and wants to quit too!

This comes as a surprise to me because she’s been riding strong lately and her attitude has been generally positive. The ride from Abiquiu to Cuba was certainly a tough one but we have had many tough days on this ride. Hopefully Mary will come to her senses after a good night’s rest.

I’m doubly perplexed by these defections. For one thing, we’re 90% of the way to the finish line. For another, the ride to Cuba was the last significant climb of the entire route. The hills from here on out are minor ones. About the only real challenge that I can see is the heat and carrying enough water to make it between supply points.

As for me, I’ll make it to the end if I have to crawl.

There’s no denying the climb up the mesa was grueling – 4,000 ft on a horrible road. We saw only one vehicle coming out of Abiquiu and then nothing all yesterday and today until we got down near Cuba. Sometimes the road looked more like a dry river bed than a road – and STEEP! But up on top it was quite nice. It reminded me of Colorado with lots of aspens interspersed with blue spruce. We had a nice camp.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One has to look at the big picture. Today’s hardships are momentary setbacks. We have had countless memorable (good) experiences on this trip. Finishing this ride is something to be proud of for the rest of one’s life. It is unimaginable to me that anyone would regret finishing this ride. It is very easy to imagine that they would regret NOT finishing this ride.