If day 5 was a relatively chill day, day 6 was not. Out of the gate the day started with big a climb back up and out of the valley through a series of switch backs. The next section was a ripping brake rotor baking twisty 15 miles of fast descending out of the forest and into the high desert below. Towards the edge of the forest boundary we passed some abandoned pick up trucks and took the photo-op. We emerged into the flat, open area between the distantly spaced 5 story tall radio dishes of the aptly named "Very Large Array, or VLA. Looming in the far distance was the visitor center, before us down a straight, choppy abandoned road. The next 10 miles was a death march against brutal headwinds on a crumbling former county highway. It was an absolutely sufferfest.
This was probably the low point in the trip for me. I have never felt so bad on a bike. By the time we got to the VLA I was completely shelled and seriously contemplating abandoning the trip and making my way to a train station. From the hotel room later that night I formulated my early exit strategy via a nearby rail depot. Thankfully this spiritual low point was also my health's low point - from the next morning on, time brought continuous improvement.
By the time we got to the VLA to do a tour Andy was now a complete shell of a human: super sick from a bad headcold and wrecked by the headwinds. Following a tour of the VLA the next segment was a godsend of a 25 mile tail wind powered blast down a mostly empty highway with a wide shoulder. Heads down and mostly silent until we pulled into the town of Magdelena, we pondered whether Andy would be able to complete the trip to Santa Fe. Once into town we got dinner at the classically styled and very old Golden Spur Saloon. After a dinner of the best damn microwave pizza of our lives,Tony and Kevin got a 12er of beers and got drunk on the patio while Andy passed out in the room.
Day 6 high point: VLA
Day 6 Low point: headwind death march and andy's health.