Posts Tagged ‘Antonito’
Posted on June 9, 2010 - by Nadia
Day 6: June 9, 2010
From: Rio Grande to Mugote, CO
Still hot, still windy, but mostly I stayed still
Josie left Clayton, NM in 1890, so as I deviate from her actual route to Sumner, Wash., I am staying alert for signs of the times in that year. Antonito, Colorado, was taking off then. That was the year the Palace Hotel was built on Main Street. It was the year the Conejos County Courthouse was built, things were taking off. The Denver-Sante Fe narrow gauge railway was most likely chugging through town, just as it does twice a day for scenic tours now. And Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church was standing tall, as it had been since the first picket church was built on the same site in 1858, site of Colorado’s oldest continuous church.
I spent most of today at a picnic table under a huge pine tree at the church, making repairs to my bike and talking to Ingrid and Angelo.
I ran into Ingrid at the grocery store. Actually, I ran into her fully loaded touring bike outside of the grocery store and ran back in to see whose it was. We almost hugged each other. Two women riding solo in opposite directions through this tiny town. She has been biking and hitching since South Carolina. Phew.
Three years ago Angelo Valasquez was “volunteered” to maintain the church grounds. Boy, is the church getting its money’s worth. The lawn is gorgeous and the church is a true shelter from the storm. Angelo filled me in on how the local rivers flow to reach the Rio Grande (east, then south, then sharply north) and on the importance of irrigation (“This is high desert, without irrigation, no one would be here.”)
Ingrid and I checked out Cano’s Castle, twin aluminum clad towers that peek up from a back street east of town. Like the Watts Towers in LA, they are one man’s source of sanity. Ingrid and I discussed coincidence and whether it exists, and spirituality and its source and shape as we wound our way to the oldest church in Colorado.
With Angelo’s permission, under the tree, I patched both tubes with holes, spliced the broken odometer cable back together (it worked!) and taped it to my top tube so it won’t twist off again (don’t worry, I didn’t tape the brake cable.) I also worshiped at the church of the clean chain, a denomination I was introduced to by evangelists Erik Digby and Alex Gallegos. (You could replace your contacts in the reflection off my master link, Erik!)
When all was done I went inside the church to say thanks for the day of rest. It’s huge stained glass windows are testament to the local devotion. Like its yard, the church is neat and serene.
When I went outside, I found two popsicles on the table, still cold and delicious despite the heat. That’s my angel of the day: Angelo.
And his dog? His name is Yukon. Coincidence? You decide.
I’ll be offline for a few days as I pass through the mountains. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned.