- For days I have seen one thin stalk of white flower growing out of the desert. It turns out that I must have seen some young plants. Today I saw the same flowers growing off the ground on multiple stalks. Apparently the flowers grow out of a spikey base in the cone Christmas tree shape, the flowers get fertilized and die, then the spikey dies and folds down on the lower trunk. By doing this multiple times the plant gets bigger. Haven’t seen a whole lot of the prickly pear cactus. I asked about it and was told that the extended drought has killed many of them.
- Climbed a mountain today. It took over an hour to get to the top. Close to the top there was a white bike parked above me with a higher mountain behind it. Couldn’t help but wonder if the biker got close to the top and said forget it, planted his bike as a memorial, and hitch hiked elsewhere.
- The second picture down on the right side is a picture that stared me in the face for the first 40 miles outside of Alamogordo. My question as the mountains kept getting bigger and bigger was I to go over, around or over these obstacles. The answer, right over the top. It took over an hour to get over them. I didn’t complain as I expected the ride down the other side to be exciting. I wasn’t disappointed. The descent took me to a top speed of 45.6 MPH. Coming down that fast I couldn’t really see if the berm had glass or nails so I just hung on. For whatever reason it seems like the wind is always coming from behind you when you are descending a mountain. This added to the excitement as I had to navigate AND ensure the wind didn’t blow me into a guard rail. Better than any roller coaster!
- One of the things that terrify me are the road signs. I am afraid that I will get caught up in a “detour” route which might not matter to a car but could cost me an hour or more. This is one of the many signs I have seen but I have never been caught in construction. My early departures (5:00 a.m. when dawn cracks at 5:30 a.m. when I head to McDs for breakfast) seem to have insulated me from these thus far. Hope my luck holds.
- Thought this was a neat West mural that captures the American West with a train seemingly coming right at you. This was taken in Alamogorda. The handsome shadow is me.
- If you look carefully you will see a sign that says,”White Sands National Monument”. In this area there is also a missile museum which would be interesting for the kids. The Missile Grounds were huge with a number of sites speaking of its mission.
Summary: Tale of Two Cities: The Rant and the Rave
One of my biggest challenges is finding a place to stay. In the East I could find a piece of land and put up my tent and I was ready for the night. In the desert I am a bit more cautious since I am out in the open, the desert stays hot, and the cities don’t have provisions for campers.
If I ride 100 or 120 miles I am exhausted and if my request for a bed is denied then I am stuck since it is late, I am hungry and tired, and try to get the daily post out.
The Rant: I arrived in Alamogordo after doing 115 miles and requested a place to stay. It was a Saturday which means a lot of town officials are off. The person in charge called his boss and got no reply and then made the request of his bosses boss. This gentlemen had the title of Chief. The chief denied the request saying that I couldn’t take advantage of any services (shower or WiFi) since I didn’t make the request in advance and the two people he needed to get permission from (city lawyer and city administrator) were both out. Don’t you think that someone who has a title “Chief”, “VP”, “Executive” or similar title should have the authority to make decisions that make common sense? While the head guys were dealing with the politics “guys that get the job done” provided me with water, directional advice, contacted a couple of churches, and looked up the address of a low cost motel ($40). Ultimately I was turned away from the station due to politics and went to the motel. To add insult to the situation, the motel refused to honor their internet price and charged me $45 for the night. Alamogordo is a city that I hope never to set foot in.
The Rave: I arrived in Las Cruces this morning. I have a 121 mile trip tomorrow with no stops to Deming in the first 60 miles. For this reason I decided to take it easy today, stop in Las Cruces, give my muscles some time to remember what it is not to be on a bike, walk around, restock my mobile supplies and rest up. Stopped at the Las Cruces main fire station (station #1). This group of folks also had to check with their chief to see if I could stay. Again due to politics it was decided that I couldn’t stay but here is the difference. Rather than getting an answer and getting out of the picture, these men decided they wanted to help and took up a collection so that I had money for a motel. They confirmed my route, told me to stay out of a bad part of town, provided funds plus for a night’s stay in Las Cruces, and wished me well. Helping me collect money for the Pelotonia IS NOT THEIR JOB but as human beings they decided to help keep me going.
This world is filled with wonderful folks and I keep finding them. Its as if every day provides me with 10 new friends that believe in what I am doing, what to help strike cancer down and help me go another day.
THANKS TO LAS CRUCES STATION #1!
- Finally saw a tumble week today. Reminded me of a time 30 years ago when I worked for Bank One. We had a business meeting in Phoenix and went out for dinner and drinks afterwards. On the way back to the hotel we were all feeling pretty good (boss was driving) when out of nowhere a image flashed in the headlights and we knocked it down. At first we thought we hit a person but we didn’t hear a thump or anything. When we got out to look we realized that the wind of the car caused a tumble weed to jump up and get slammed. I put the tumble weed in the trunk and the next morning put it in a couple of plastic bags (the branches are kind of prickly as I remember). I took it aboard the plane when we departed Phoenix and transported it to Dublin figuring having the only tumble weed in Dublin would be pretty cool. Well the tumble weed figured out how to escape from my deck and was never seen again.
- New Mexico has been a challenge. Just about every day I plan the route to Phoenix and then have change it because the cities are too far apart or I’d have to backtrack. I am happy to report that the mess if finally figured out. I should be able to get on I-10 and follow it all the way to Phoenix. I will be on frontage roads in by town and only be on I-10 where traffic is sparse making it pretty safe. Hopefully this also provides good road and berm.
- To date Miracle Go and I have traveled 1879.9 miles from the beautiful Candlewood Lake. The 121 miles expected tomorrow should put us at or just over the 2000 mile mark which makes me feel like we are going somewhere. Google maps shows that I am 762 miles from target Los Angeles. If you take the 1879 miles and divide it into the 3 weeks we have traveled it shows we are doing about 89 miles per day or 626 miles per week. So I expect to be in LA Tuesday or Wednesday a little over a week from now. At this point I will turn North which will be the start back home (this will be an exciting moment for me). The big challenge will be to figure out how far North to go before I turn East. Need a path through the mountains with towns to restock. Worry about this later. Progress is being made! My original calculations were that LA was about 2200 to 2400 miles away. Looks like it will end up being about 2641 miles.
Great Sunday to one and all!