9/26 – As providence would have it we were in Chama on the one day of the week when a restaurant across the street had an All You Can Eat Buffet. Hallelujah + Yum! Made-to-order omelets, waffles, fresh fruit, biscuits and gravy, etc.
When it came time to hitch back to the trail we were dismayed at how long it was taking. At last we got a ride – but only a few miles down the road. As we stood besides the historic Cumbres & Tolec Railroad, thumbs outstretched, the most majestically purple tricked-out Lincoln Continental approached, with an adorable little girl riding shotgun, but it was going the other direction. The hood on this car was so low it looked like it must be scraping the pavement. It slowed to chat with some people at the bar caty-corner to us and then turned around. It slowly approached us, and the hood of the car began to see-saw up and down, building up speed, until the front wheels of the car were bouncing a foot off the ground.
I was so amazed and incredulous I don’t think I even noticed he had stopped before us and was now offering us a ride! Wow! Unfortunately we wouldn’t all fit in his Lincoln, though, but his cousin, who worked at Fosters Hotel and Saloon across the street, called us over to wait while he returned in his truck. Rebecca, his cousin, was very hiker-friendly and treated us to ice waters and peanuts while we waited. A little while later cos returned and we enjoyed chatting with him and his daughter while he took us back to Cumbres. At the pass we saw the old steam engine roll down the tracks. It had the most gorgeous whistle…. a deep, earthy whistle full of hope and nostalgia and wanderlust. A whistle I think I’d previously only heard on old films.
Four miles later we entered New Mexico (again) but this time by leg-power, not horse-power. Yipee! The aspen were on fire with colour and sunshine and shook their leaves with excitement. Our last state!