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Old 06-15-2008, 05:29 PM   #241
Staplegunnr
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Welcome to New Mexico! When asked Red or Green, it is about the color chili(sp) you want with your meal, not the color of the stop light at the corner.

It has been enjoyable following your trip.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:50 PM   #242
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Can't wait for the next instalment.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:21 PM   #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR. Rock
there doesn't seem to be a consensus, does there?

I've given this alot of thought subsequently. My answer at the time was C. and I'm sticking to it.

This was my logic: Option A: definitely had it's appeal. except for two things, first someone owned this cow, and even though it's in a bad way, they might get pissed if I just went bashing its head in, or slitting its throat. After it's dead, it's just my word that it actually was suffering. And maybe a vet or something would be able to take a blood sample to make a diagnosis which would have to be done while it was still alive. Second, there were the logistics of killing a large animal with bare hands, or available tools. Rabies definitely crossed my mind, and I literally didn't want to get splattered with blood or cow spit, or kicked, or even get too close.

And no, we don't have a gun... they're more trouble than they're worth IMO. YMMV. Plus, sound carries out here, and there probably isn't a better way of attracting attention than firing a gun.

Another consideration with option A is that the cow didn't seem awake or aware, which begs the question of whether suffering can exist without consciousness. A rock can't suffer, a healthy cow can, presumably, so what about this cow? My conclusion was that the majority of suffering was on our part having to watch it. Plus, it's an animal, and one that I eat no less. If I'm not losing sleep about being a carnivore, should this animal's suffering be my primary concern given the circumstances? Some would argue not only should it be my concern, but I should be a vegetarian as well. Ain't gonna happen, yet Karma's a bitch.

Now, if this had been a wild animal, like an antelope, I would have acted differently... I wouldn't have been messing with someone else's property. On the other hand, if it was a wild animal, I could say, "look, stuff dies all the time in the wild, it may not be pretty, but it's normal. It can play both ways.

Rather than finding a sick animal, if I was directly responsible for a wild animal's injured condition... say I collided with it, or even the situation with the pronghorn antelope getting stuck in the barbwire fence, then I would take responsibility for fixing the situation, even if it meant ending that animal's suffering, provided it didn't put me in harm's way.

But in this case; a sick, unconscious domesticated animal owned by a stranger in the middle of nowhere, Option A is out.

So how about option B?

Well, if I had collided with the cow, I'd definitely go back and man-up to my responsibility. Or if the animal was not a sick cow, but rather a sick dog, I'd go back and say "you've got a sick dog up ahead that needs some attention". But standing there looking at that cow, I had a flash of paranoia, and self-preservation instincts kicked in pretty hard.

Here's what went through my mind. Realizing that I don't know squat about ranching, I have no idea what the economic implications are for a rancher who has a sick cow. Obviously this cow shouldn't go to slaughter, but what happens to the rest of the heard? Quarantine? Lost income? Big expenses? Does this need to get reported to the FDA? Is someone keeping track of these animals... their pedigree, when they're born, when and how they die? How much accountability and/or corruption is there in that system if it exists at all? I had no clue.

Times are tough... if I had seen several people at the compound, a friendly wave returned, a group of workers, etc... I'd have gone back without hesitation. But I had a vision of parking the bike in the front yard, and knocking on doors, or honking the horn to get the attention of an individual who might (?) have a big financial interest in making the cow problem "go away", including us, without any witnesses. The two links are to relevant news items, FWIW.

This may be an irrational fear of the unknown, but out in the middle of nowhere, with no one knowing our whereabouts, it would be just too easy for us to disappear without a trace.

Getting involved might put us in harm's way. That was a low, but ultimately unquantifiable risk I was unwilling to take.

We rode on.

Regarding the public health concerns, and should we have notified someone at the next town, for instance... I wouldn't even know where to begin with that. I felt that the cow would eventually be discovered by someone driving up that road. The road was essentially the driveway to the ranch compound, so I didn't think they needed help discovering it... that discovery would happen eventually, and probably soon. There were fresh tire tracks in the dirt after all, and it was easily visible from the road.

I've since tried to educate myself, but all I have to go by are google links to blogs, mostly supporting veganism, and a few NYTimes articles recently published about the Westland/Halmark Meat, Chino, CA, Humane Society video and subsequent recall.
March 8 '08 article.
May 21 '08 article.
June 11 '08 article.

Does anyone with real life ranching / cattle experience have any insights into how the system is supposed to work for "downer" cattle situations like this?

Good points.

You're right, it is someones property, so probably better left alone.

If wild I would put it down for sure.

I probably wouldn't try to find the owner either, you never know how they will react, sometimes humans are more threatening than animals.

I've had to euthanize a cat on the side of the road and it's not pleasant but was necessary at the time.

I am enjoying your report thoroughly.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:41 PM   #244
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Thanks for taking us along on your great trip. The photos have been excellent, one is now background on my laptop (high res on the endless straights). Very inspiring.

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Old 06-16-2008, 03:07 AM   #245
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Dr. Rock,
I really appreciate you going out of your way to share your story with us.
It has really given me the incentive to go out and do one of these long distance rides.

Again thanks and look forward to Part II.


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Old 06-16-2008, 05:24 AM   #246
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Great report... thanks for taking us along.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:38 AM   #247
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Thanks, guys

for the feedback. I don't take notes while we're on the trip, just photos and memories, and it's amazing how quickly those memories fade. Even the things that left such a big impression on me at the beginning of the trip become overwritten by the new amazing stuff we saw & experienced by the end. So writing this up becomes an exercise for me in casting and curing, plugging memory leaks... kind of like mental JB Weld, if you know what I mean.

We forward the link to family and friends, mostly non-riders, as a preemptive response to the inevitable "Are you two crazy??? " question.

Answer: Yes, but we have a lot of fun too. See.

That other ADVriders read and enjoy the RR is total gravy. I'm glad to give something back to a great community.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:58 AM   #248
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Maxwell to Cimarron, NM

and the quest for cold beer and liquor.


We left Maxwell on a dirt road,



That gave way to pavement before long. We crossed the path of the Santa Fe trail several times. Wasn't much evidence of it other than the sign.



We spied this place at an intersection, and when we went in found all the chairs up on the tables, and a nice woman mopping the floor. She told us she was closed for a couple of days for spring cleaning, and wasn't really set up to sell package liquor, despite the sign on the outside, the place was mostly a bar. Looked like a neat place to hang out and throw back some cold ones. She told us we could buy package liquor at the St. James Hotel, and would have no problems finding groceries in Cimarron which we would pass through before getting to the State park campgrounds.



Crossed the SF trail some more,



And started to approach the Sangre de Cristo mountains.





Since we had been directed there on our quest for booze, we stopped by the St. James hotel first, which is supposed to be haunted, but when we got there, they denied it (the selling liquor part, not the haunted part).

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:15 AM   #249
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Cimarron

We eventually found our way to the strip of civilization called Cimarron, NM.



We stopped for gas and groceries and a snack, and headed up the canyon into the mountains.

I was struck by nostalgia when I realized that this is the town next to the Philmont Scout Ranch, where I had hiked and camped for a couple of weeks back in... hmmm... 1977? '78? We took the train there and back from Chicago. Yikes .



I have some photos from back then, maybe I'll scan a few in when I get home if I can find the album. What's funny is LDF's nephew is planning on going there. Who'd have thought Aunt Francine would get there first?

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:20 AM   #250
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Scenery

really started to turn spectacular... so this is what canyon carving refers to.







I could get used to this.



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Old 06-16-2008, 06:27 AM   #251
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Campground found

We entered the Cimarron Canyon State Park



But weren't quite sure where we were supposed to camp.



Stopped and asked around at a wayside,



Not helpful. But then we remembered the woman at the Colfax Tavern mentioned something about gravel pit lakes, which at the time didn't sound too appealing,



So we pulled in to check them out,





Not bad, eh?



They're dammed up pools on the creek which was done to enhance early settler's fishing experience.

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:37 AM   #252
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The campsite was all but abandoned. The season hadn't started yet. Showers not working, no electricity in the bathrooms, but at least there was fresh water.



Ahem.



OK... well, no problem, we have our Katadyn filter...

Dinner time!



Well, sometime before we finished our cocktails, and the steaks were done, it started to drizzle. Before we finished eating, it had turned into a fairly steady rain. , and by the time we were done cleaning up, our rain gear was soaked.

We grabbed the weather radio, GPS's, and crawled into the tent around 8:30.

Day's stats:

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Old 06-16-2008, 06:45 AM   #253
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The skunk incident

We had all our gear under the two large vestibules of the tent.

Sometime in the middle of the night, it's still raining, and we hear some scruffling inside the vestibule on LDF's side. I reach up and turn on my headlamp. SKUNK! "shhhh" I say. LDF starts shouting at it! Luckily it doesn't spray, and crawls out of the vestibule.

All our food and critter-temping stuff was tied up in a bear bag, so I think it was just curious, and trying to get out of the rain.

A few minutes later, we were drifting back to sleep, and we hear it again, but in the vestibule on my side. Same thing, it leaves. This repeats 3 or 4 times over the next hour, finally it leaves for good. I think it might have given a little squirt at one point, but in the morning, nothing smelled, so maybe not.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:59 AM   #254
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Rain, rain go away...

or, "Be careful what you wish for."

Sometime around 3-4AM, we both had to redistribute the evening's beverages. We scurried to the bathroom, and it was still pouring, and starting to get colder.

We put on all our clothes (not a whole heck of a lot), and crawled back into the sleeping bags. We were warm, dry, and cozy. But really not looking forward to breaking camp in the rain, and starting the day riding wet.

The plan for the next day was to ride nice forest service roads from out of Angel Fire through the Carson National forest. That was looking less and less likely. I had tried to tune in the weather radio for the previous two evenings, and hadn't been able to get a signal. What we didn't know is that this storm system was dumping rain all over, and snow at higher elevations.

I turn on the GPS, and in the dark, start scrolling around using the topo maps to check what elevation we're at, (7500ft), and how high we'd have to go to get across the range (two passes: 8400ft to Eagle Nest, then 9100ft to get to Taos which is at 6900ft).

I drifted back to sleep just hoping we could wait it out, and maybe it would stop.
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:11 AM   #255
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Oh, it stopped raining

We waited in the tent as long as we could stand it... nearly 12 hours. It was clear at this point we weren't going to be riding any dirt roads, and as we discussed our options, we formulated a plan. Don't be ambitious as to distance, just stay dry, stay on pavement, and get as far as we can until we can find somewhere to hole up and dry our stuff..

Pack down and gear up in the tent. Drybags sealed, and rain gear on before exiting! The last day of our Nova Scotia trip, we had broken camp in the rain, and made the mistake of exiting the tent, then packing our bikes, and then gearing up. Problem was we got soaked under our rain gear the minute we left the tent, so this time was going to be different.

As we were playing twister in the tent, packing everything into the drybags, we hear the sound of the rain change from that light pitter patter, to the wetter twacking of wet snow.
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