Eloy, AZ to Dateland, AZ?

Well only two pictures tonight, not because I don’t have some better pictures but because I couldn’t get them loaded.    Read on to understand why this has been a real exhausting day.

Pictures:

  1. Solar Farm: This is the first solar farm I have seen with many 100s of solar panels.   Seems like there is plenty of space in AZ for more.
  2. Picture of the Sonora Desert.  It just goes on and on.

What would you do answers for last night with the understanding that what I did may or may not be the right thing to do.

  1. Back Tire: Changed in later that night.   I was waffling on whether or not to change it and decided to do it while I was on the phone with my wife.   While I was talking to her I looked at the tire and saw that one ply was gone.   There are several plies so this isn’t necessarily bad but I would rather change the tire at a place that I can wash up afterwards.   Did it work?   Nope, early today the tire started to leak and I found that I had hit another wire.    Luckily I saved the old tube which has a very slow leak and allowed me to get to Benson.
  2. Red Rock: Went to the intersection of I-10 and I-8 and talked to some locals.   Turns out that if I had gone onto I-8 (which I got very close to doing) I would have had a 73 mile ride to a gas/souvenir shop that probably would have been closed.   Never go anywhere in NM or AZ if you don’t know what services are available.
  3. Service Road: I got on I-10 an rode for about 5 miles when the service road opened.   Had I gone to find another way it would have  been at least 5 miles.

Summary: Exhausting day . . . I-8 was the road that I dreaded.   It had a 63 mile stint across the desert and then a 38 mile run with no services in between.   The temperature climbed to 106 which didn’t help.   You could feel the heat radiate from the road.   The difficulty started this morning.   The back tire was low again.   I went to the rest room that had a light on and filled the tire again worried about what might happen since I only had the old tube packed and no other spares.

At mile 30 I noted that the back tire was low on tire pressure again.   I filled it up and at mile 50 it was again low.   This time it wouldn’t pump back up.   I put the old tube in and went the final 65 miles (total mileage today was 112.5 miles).   Arriving in Benson around 2:00 I got a tent space reserved and sat down at the gas station/Quiznos/Souvenir shop to do today’s post.   When I went out to the bike to get my notebook the back tire was low again.   I had no other tube and no patches (fatal flaw in my planning.   Had I brought patches they would have easily fixed the small wire holes and I would still have two spare tubes).   This was troubling since Benson was still a remote area with the next service area 28 miles away and no guarantee that they would have any patches or tubes.   Even worse, the internet at Benson kept going up and down which meant I might not be able to get a map for the tomorrow’s ride.

So, what do you think I did?    I first filled my tire with air again to see how long it held it while the bike was stationary and then pulled it and myself to the front of the gas station.    Any truck that came through received this question from me, “are you going west on I-8.   You got it, MG and I started hitch hiking to make up for my planning flaw.

Thirty minutes went by when I asked Henry this question.   Turns out that Henry is a professor at ASU.    He and his compatriots readily agreed to take me all the way to Yuma 67 miles away.   Again the generosity of people is amazing.    On the way we discussed the politics around the indigenous (the work “Indian” is a pejorative word which I never knew) people that live in the west and the fact that you need to think different about biking in AZ as even the plants will get your tires.   The discussion was very insightful for me on both topics.  They dropped me off at a Yuma Walmart, I picked up tubes with stop leak in them and will shortly replace the back tube.

So I did make it to Benson today across some of the hottest, most desolate pieces of earth I have ever crossed and learned a valuable lessons on tires, tubes, and patches.    Once again I was very lucky because if the old tube had not held air for 50 miles of riding or refused to fill up I would have been a very unhappy young man (all because I chose not to pack tube patches I have in the garage.

Would also like to take a moment to point out bad behavior.   When I had to stop and change my tube a couple of guys on the other side of the rode saw that I had a problem and honked their horn laughing at my dilemma.   With all the goodness I find in the world around me I still have a difficult time understanding the few morons that I chance to meet.   It takes all kinds I guess.

I am 268 miles from Newport Beach at this point.   Will be mapping out the route shortly.   Still don’t know where I will be sleeping tonight but that will come after the post, mapping, and tube replacement.

Will do a better job with tomorrow’s post.   Hopefully I will have an uneventful day!

Good night and God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benson, AZ to Red Rock, AZ?

Life is again good.   We made good time today with no struggles.   Arizona countryside views continue to amaze me with the variety (mountains, canyons, cactus, and just beautiful vistas and I am now only 460 miles from Newport Beach, CA.   Let me explain the pictures and then to a new category that I call, “What would you do?”

Pictures:

  1. Many of the cactus I passed today were in bloom.   While they don’t bloom often, when they do the flower is uniquely beautiful.
  2. Last night was my first experience with a KOA campground in my continuing efforts to find affordable nightly housing.   The problem is no matter how cheap the price, it still throws me outside of my budget.   Checked a couple of hotels and they were all about $50.   I decided a KOA would be the place to go since they have showers, laundry and campsites.   I figured what could a one night stay cost.   Well to my utter amazement it was $28 a night and that was with every discount that I could get in place.   While I thought the cost exorbitant, the manager was a treasure.   She is the one that gave me the KOA membership price, let me pick a campsite (that really wasn’t a campsite) in the shade, gave me money for the laundry, and walked a bottle of water over to me as I was setting up camp.   Again, people are wonderfully kind and considerate.   The cabin behind the tent was vacant.    The cool thing was that I saw a Roadrunner in the evening.   I did not see Wil E Coyote but know he was around someplace.
  3. There was an Arizona souvenir shop I stopped in since they had a Dairy Queen and I had a strong desire for a large Blizzard.   It was cramped full of fireworks, jewelry, gun supported lamps and candle holders, dolls, leather whips, and all kinds of Western “must haves”.    If would have been fun to have a grand child or two around to see what they would have conned me out of.
  4. Got off my bike and looked around for a place to stay.   The motels were all in the $50 plus tax range which is just too much for me to pay.   I went to an RV Park in the hopes they accepted tents which they don’t.   I was on my way out when the lady called me back.   She said that she had a change of heart (husband died of cancer a couple of years back and she was a cancer survivor) and said she would find a place for me – no charge.   I have a place to camp, a shower, a pool (but no desire to sit in the sun no matter how much water is waiting), Wifi, and a laundry.   When I asked her about the laundry she said I would need some quarters and went to get them for me.   See what I mean?   People are just so kind and thoughtful and without whose help I would have given up long ago.   Truly I am blessed.
  5. I always have trouble going through the big cities and today’s test was Tucson.   I would first like to say that Tucson (based on my ride through evaluation) is a hip, modern, well designed city.   Can’t tell you exactly why I felt this way but many streets had bike lanes, the streets are laid out well, the stores were many but not crowding into one place and the feel was right.   This picture was taken when I was winding around the eastern and northern parts of the city.   There were thousands (no kidding) of places.   I saw C-130s and P-3s but know other types were mothballed waiting should they be called back to service.   Kinda’ neat knowing we have many, many planes available.   Wonder if they would sell me one?

What would you do. . . So in the last couple of days I have been faced with some decisions that had to be made.   Curious what you would have done in the same situation and if you agree with what I did.

  • The Back Tire: One week into my ride I went to a bike store and had the pressure in my tires checked.   Usually the pressure in the front and back tires go down at the same rate.   If you remember MG’s back tire was 30 pounds low while the front tire was fine.   While in Benson, waiting for the sun to come up, I checked the pressure in the tires.   This was really and afterthought since I had checked the tires 3 days previously.   The back tire was soft so I gave is some air.   That night I checked the tire and again it was low.   What did I do:
    • Fill the tire with air, carefully checking the pressure, with the intent to compare the pressure in the morning.
    • Change it later that night.
    • Plan to fill it with air daily since it was clearly holding air for a day.
  • Red Rock (This is why the title has a question mark next to it): Today’s ride was planned for Red Rock.   I had the directions for getting around Tucson and an 87 mile ride felt right after completing two days in a row of 100+ days.   The wind was at my back and I was making good time.   When I arrived at Red Rock I still had energy and knew that about 20 miles ahead was the turn off from I-10 to I-8.   I did not plot this course and didn’t know exactly how far or what provisions were ahead.  What did I do:
    • Stop as planned at Red Rock since it is dangerous going in AZ when you don’t know how far the next provisioning stop might be.
    • Decided to go for broke and go to and make the turn to I-8.
    • Went ahead to the I-10 / I-8 split and checked with some local folks to see what towns might be waiting for me on I-8.
  • Service Road: I had just finished winding my way around Tucson and found I-10.   It had a service road  (parallels the interstate) but it was closed for construction.  The sign on I-10 said bikes were not allowed on the interstate.   What did I do?
    • Went back to the earlier road I was on and keep going West hoping the service road would open.
    • Got on I-10 with the plan to get off as soon as the service road construction stopped.
    • Stopped and asked directions.

NOTE: How I handled these situations will be revealed tomorrow if I remember that I promised to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lordsburg, NM to Benson, AZ

Pictures:

  1. “The Thing” the “mystery of the desert” was on about 30 billboards for over 200 miles.   Nothing else was said about it but it must be a big draw if it is advertised on so many billboards.   Amazing what curiosity will make people do.
  2. This picture announcing my arrival in Arizona is one of my favorite pictures.   It has the welcome sign, Pear Cactus, a train, and seemed to capture my idea of AZ.
  3. This picture was taken after a long, hot, afternoon climb to the top of a mountain.   There was a rest stop at the top called “Texas Canyon” (don’t ask why an Arizona Rest Stop would have Texas in a name cause I don’t know).   I will explain more below.
  4. MG (Miracle Go) and I stopped at a rest stop early in the morning.   I try to ensure that all of my bottles stay as full as I can keep them since towns on the map may not really exist.
  5. Of the sites I’ve passed in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, Arizona has the best scenery.   The roads are surrounded by mountains that just give the whole area character.    This was a rock formation I saw early in the morning and I wished I had a rock climber and some time to explore some of these hills.

Tough, tough day.   It started out good enough as the wind was behind me and I was again in my top gear letting the miles flow by.   This lasted about 45 minutes when Myriah (remember the wind) decided I was having too much fun and didn’t want to give me a pass two days in a row.   I was even thinking that I might try for South Tucson today which would have been about 140 miles – what was I thinking?

Myriah turned herself around and was in my face all day the early 15.5 or so average decreased over the entire day.   How tired was I?   When I was in the small town of Wilcox at the 75 mile mark I almost called it a day.   It had a KOA, food, restaurants, and my day would have been over.   Then I remembered I planned a 109 mile day, any mile I didn’t do today I would have to do tomorrow, and I thought maybe the wind would die down.

Rather than dying out Myriah redoubled her efforts the last 40 miles.   To make a bad situation worse the road started a gradually climb at about mile 80 that lasted 10 miles (or so it seemed).   I was going no faster than an anemic turtle, I was tired, and had a decision to make.   I could either pull into Texas Canyon Rest Stop and have a slug of Gatorade and some munchies or grind out the last 17 miles.   I choose (wisely I think) to stop at the rest stop.   The food and drink combined with a good ride “down” the hill into Benson worked great.

I decided to get some spaghetti at Denny’s.   When I asked that the waitress bring a little extra spaghetti she brought me another whole helping and a salad – Denny’s I love you!

Also got some great news yesterday.   An uncle and aunt that had been traveling are back at their Newport Beach residence.   He asked if I would like to recharge my batteries at his place for a couple of days – boy would I!!!!   So, I will swing up and around Tucson headed for Red Rock, AZ which is about 87 miles.    From that point I will wheel to the east on I-8 the following day bee lining it for the coast.    My LA target was just a city that was big enough so even my limited navigational skills couldn’t miss it.   Now that I have a real destination with “family” waiting, I have now turned into a guided missile and am very excited to arrive.

Need to go find a place to stay.   Heading to the Benson KOA to see how to get a tent site.

As always, may you enjoy the peace of the world and the wisdom of the ages.

Stories:

  1. It is true that the deserts get cold at night.   I always thought this was really just a fiction where the 120 degree temperatures vary so much from the night time temperatures that people just said they were cold.   I found out differently today.   I checked the temperature this morning and it was fine, probably in the 60s.    I started on my trip and went down a short descent to the desert floor and the temperature dropped 10 or 15 degrees.   Not sure if this is due to the lower elevation or the winds that blow the heat away.   My belief that the desert sand held heat evaporated.
  2. I saw it, I saw it – a dust storm!   It was really a miniature dust storm.   I was riding along when across the road the wind kicked up and I saw sand in a tornado form gathering dust and speed.    It then gushed across the road and dissipated.   I can see something like this on a grander scale really causing problems.

Las Cruses, NM to Lordsburg, NM

One word for today, glorious!   Many, many moons ago when I was taking MG (Miracle Go) out for our initial training rides I predicted that we could average from 13 to 15 miles an hour when loaded.   My reality has been about 11.7 MPH due to the strong Western Winds.   Today the wind was sleeping.   MG and I completed 120.8 miles in 7 hours and 21 minutes for a 16.5 average MPH.   Let me get on with the pictures and then I will tell the story.

Pictures:

  1. As you know New Mexico has confused the navigator in me to no end.   I would plan to go a northern route, collect a piece of information from someone, and then decide to go south.   This happened about 4 times.   In Roswell I decided to go for broke.   The only way I figured I could ever get out of New Mexico is by going out via Interstate.   I didn’t know if this would be legal or not but all other avenues seemed to go well out of the way.   I made a beeline for Las Cruces, rested the afternoon and just completed 120 or so miles on I-10.   This sign made me smile more than you’ll ever know.
  2. I ate lunch in Lordsburg in a restaurant called the Chatterbox.   This “scene” was out front and I think the cars and latticework are representative of mining work.
  3. How many of you out there know of the Continental Divide?  Basically it is a series of mountain ranges that stretch from Alaska to Mexico and control the flow of water (east or west).    This sign properly documents that I am now on the Pacific side.    I think this means the rest of the trip is downhill and I don’t think I will see any more mountains (conjecture at this point).
  4. The “Welcome to Lordsburg” sign.    Lordsburg is a small town of about 2000 people.  While I wouldn’t recommend coming to this town for any action, it is a perfect place to let Miracle Go catch some sleep.
  5. Loved this sign “Zero Visibility Possible”.    It makes more sense when you see some of the other signs that state “Dust Storms are Possible for next 45 miles”.   I had some time to think about this since I have zero defenses for this possibility.   Had I gotten in a dust storm the dust would have inundated my packs, chain, cables, eyes and mouth.   I might have mounted a “pretend” defense but my belief is when it was all said and done I would have had to spend a day getting sand out of and off of everything.  I am still in the cross hairs for the first 30 mile of tomorrow’s run.  Cross your fingers I don’t want to see I would fare in a dust storm.

The catch word for today was glorious all the beginning of the day was somewhat suspect.

One hundred and twenty miles for me is somewhat of a challenge and the longer I spend on the bike the harder it is.   The fact that I will have three days of 100+ biking made me somewhat anxious.   Translated this means I didn’t sleep soundly and when I woke up it was hard to go back to sleep because I wondered how the days trip would go.

Gave up all attempts to sleep at 4:00 a.m.   I decided I would go to the “Whataburger” a block away and get some breakfast to bring back to the motel room.   That way I could watch TV while I was eating and brush my teeth in private.    At 5:00 a.m. I headed down the road.   This was 30 minutes earlier than any other day but I figured it would be 30 minutes I wouldn’t have to spend in the sun later.

Public Announcement: My friends and advisers in Las Cruces were great.   They recommended that I backtrack to a hotel 2 miles up the road.   If you know me then you know I hate to backtrack but decided to go with the experts.   You see I needed supplies and they put me in a central place so everything I needed was within a couple of blocks of the hotel.   Translated I was able to pick up Welsh’s Fruit Snack for bike energy recharge breaks, a laundermat was available to wash my clothes, and a Pizza Hut was available for my large “Pizza Supreme” dinner (which I finished).   Getting all the chores done allowed me to stay off the bike most of Sunday afternoon.    The rest of the story includes the hotel knocked off $5 since I am riding for a charity and the waitress at Pizza Hut felt sorry for me (not sure why) and applied a coupon to my pizza saving me another $5.

Story continues . . . It was dark but there were streetlights.   I had my tail light on so that the few cars on the road could easily see me as I headed to I-10.   The first 10 miles to I-10 was on 70 W.   All I could think of was “will I be allowed on I-10.   The further I went out on 70 W, the more convinced I was that I-10 would be workable.   The big sign said I-10 left and the airport road right.    I proceeded to I-10 where a big sign said ‘bikes not allowed’.   Doomed I thought.   Will I be in New Mexico forever?   I pushed my bike over some undergrowth to get on airport road.   I was hopeful that it would allow me to figure out some options.   Shortly thereafter a 70 W sign appeared.   The airport road and 70 W were the same thing.    I went another 15 miles on 70 W when it ended and pointed to I-10.   I again went to I-10 and held my breath.   I saw a sign that looked like it was going to forbid bikes when in fact it stated that bikes on the berm were fine (picture 1).   I started breathing again.

Wind had be a factor while on 70 W.  My average speed was 12.5 MPH.   When I turned on to I-10 I had a slight shift in direction which PUT THE WIND TO MY BACK!   All of a sudden things were looking up.   Often in the morning the winds are calm and then pick up around 10:00 a.m.   This morning the wind kept sleeping.   At 9:00 I had completed 45 miles (not my usual 30) and by noon I was at 90 miles (not my usual 60).   Does it kinda’ make sense why I choose the word “glorious”!

Tomorrow I will go basically West and then in the second half of the day turn SW for the last time.    After tomorrow’s stop at Benson Arizona I will start going NW toward Tucson and Phoenix which should put the wind more at my back.

Milestones:

  1. Miracle Go and I had a personal best 16.5 MPH across 120 miles.   Told you MG could do it!
  2. Today we also cracked the 2000 mile mark finishing up with 2004 miles since we left Ohio.   It feels good to get another 1000 behind us.

Upcoming Attractions:

  1. Tomorrow we should finish in the mighty state of Arizona.
  2. I believe we move from Mountain time to Pacific Time.

As always wishing you my very best!

Alamogordo, NM to Las Cruces, NM

 

Pictures:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

Stories:

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Roswell, NM to Alamogorda, NM

First the pictures:

  1. This picture doesn’t do the scene justice.   This is a scene in the city of Ruidoso, NM.   There are about six horse sculptures (3 should be in the picture) that are jumping over bushes and “playing”.   It was extremely lifelike and I am sorry the picture didn’t capture the magnificence of the scene.
  2. Well I couldn’t find Area 51 but I did find “Area 52” and sure enough there was an alien and his space ship right out there in the open.
  3. Today I found myself humming John Wayne movie music again but also had a surprise.   I went through Hondo, NM and remembered that John Wayne had a movie of the same name.   As I recall Billy the Kid was in it trying to figure out if he was going to be hero or criminal.    If you like John Wayne movies this might be one you should see.    Billy the kid was all over the Hondo/Lincoln county areas.   There are several museums that have bullets, bullet holes and other artifacts of his era.
  4. This morning about 20 miles outside of Roswell I found myself in the foothills of the Rockies (at least I think I was).   I spent all day going through, around, up and down them.   See summary below.
  5. The “road picture” is me coming down from Apache Summit at 7591 feet to 4600 feet.   Just as I came to the bottom of the hill in the distance was a white band that looked like clouds had touched down on the earth.   These are the famous “White Sands”   I couldn’t believe the contrast.   This picture is taken about 10 miles away and the white band was clearly seen.

Summary: Today I was able to knock out 115 miles.     In yesterday’s note I said I would be going to Carrizozo.   Turns out in last night’s mapping session, if I got to Carrizozo and then Vaugh, I would have a tremendous amount of traveling with no stores.   I changed my destination to Tularosa last night and then, since Alamogorda was only 13 miles away, stopped there.    While the wind and hills were a factor most of the day at about 2:00 okay I was at the top of Apache Summit.  From there I enjoyed a 10 mile descent where I did very little pedaling and a lot of enjoying.    The stops between towns were about 40 miles apart which is longer than I like but I just started stopping by the side of the road eating some trail mix (M&Ms, nuts, raisins, etc) and drinking a bottle of Gatorade to ensure I was fully hydrated.

Tomorrow I will go to Las Cruces (I think before my mapping) which is only about 65 miles away.   I will have to stop there because the next town is another 60 miles out.   I don’t want to try and cross 60 miles without any support in the expected high temperatures.   Should be out of New Mexico in the next 2 days.   New Mexico is giving all of my navigational skills a real test because no roads go where I want them too and I seem to have the choice to backtrack, go where it is really hot, or where it is still likely to be cold.   Anxious to get to Arizona!

A couple of you asked what I think about while I am on the bike.    Wish I could say I was thinking deep thoughts and solving universal problems.   The truth is much more basic.   I am trying to keep going.    Riding the bike takes a fair amount of attention all the time.   You have to stay on the road (dodge automatic tire deflators, stay off the rumble strips, decided whether to be in the road or on the berm, listen for traffic behind you and ensuring you are on the right road).   While this might sound easy the road surface and berm size are constantly changing throwing in pot holes now and again.    There have also been times when I feel like Han Solo piloting through an asteroid field of glass wondering how in the heck my tires stay intact.

If things are smooth and I am comfortable then the scenario tends to guide my thoughts.   The terrain is magnificent and very different than what I know in Ohio.   The bird songs, the different animals, the very different plants all cause me to wonder why and how they can live in the New Mexican climate.   The scenario also causes me to remember John Wayne movie music which I find myself humming now and again.

I will also think of things I need to get done or think about this post and figure out what I should say.   I might see a “blue soccer ball”, “one boot”, or a “hairbrush and wonder how in the heck it ended up on the side of the road.

There are also many, many memorials on the side of the road.   I wonder what happened.   Was it a kid texting or drinking or just unlucky.   I wonder if it was a father, mother, son, or daughter whose life was cut short.    Please, please, please, hug a loved one tonight and make sure they always drink safely and in perfect control.   Tired of memorials.

Lastly my trip has many similarities to life or to someone that may be going through cancer treatments.   When I think along these lines I always resolve things to the point where:

  1. Life isn’t always fair
  2. No matter what happens you can work through the pain
  3. Never wait for something to happen, you should make it happen
  4. Going through life with people you love makes it MUCH easier
  5. There are many paths, choose the one that is right for you and reserve the right to try something else if it doesn’t work.

Long winded as always.   Going out to pick up some provisions for the coming week and then figure out tomorrow’s trip.

Love everyone out there – my best, as always to you!

Clovis, NM to Roswell, NM

Today was a rough one.    New Mexico doesn’t really have a great way for bikes to travel East to West.   The roads are long, many towns are small or non-existent and if you get on a road without following it through to the ultimate destination, you may have to backtrack which is never fun.

Today’s route was touted to be 111 miles.   The first 40 miles had two stops for liquids and there was nothing for the last 62 miles except for wonderful scenario.   To give you a feel of the scenery, I kept thinking of John Wayne movies like Chisum, The Shootist, and my all time favorite Big Jake.   In the movie Big Jake, John Wayne had been away from his estranged wife for 15 years when his grand child is kidnapped.   The scenery made me think of this movie and I hummed the theme song for many miles.   For the record, and not to be a spoiler, you don’t kidnap John Wayne’s grand son.

In any case I left 4:50 this morning to go to a McD’s (where I met the nicest people).   I got there at 4:55 a.m. and found out the doors are locked till 5:00 a.m. (only the drive up window is open 24/7.   I ordered and ate my regular sandwiches and started for 70 W at 5:30.   The time change allowed me to get a jump on my travels so I wouldn’t be in the sun later than usual.

The 40 miles went without a hitch and at the 40 mile mark I filled up with 4-48 ounce Gatorades in addition to my two bike bottles that were 24 ounces each.   In the next 60 miles I drank ever bit of this liquid and won’t have minded a bit more.   The temperature rose to 95 degrees and while the bike keeps the wind coming you could feel the heat rise from the road.  By the time I pulled in looking for a place to stay (3:00) I was wasted.   Even my legs were telling me that they had had enough.

Ignoring my petty whining the scenery was spectacular.   The prairies were huge and went on forever.   I was told that the reason there were no towns on the 60 mile stretch was that two rangers owned all that property.   I can only imagine how you control that much land.

A fair question is “what do you do when the scenery is the same mile after mile”.   The answer is you look around at anything that is strange.   Just about every car and truck that went by looked at me.   Their faces kinda’ said it all, “stupid kid don’t you know there is nothing out here”!   Even the cows looked at me as I went past.

Tomorrow I think I am headed for Carrizozo, NM which is about 89 miles away.  I like being able to get started at 5:30 a.m.

Pictures:

  1.  Yesterday I was on the road to Clovis.   Miles and miles ahead on the opposite side of the road I could see emergency light flashes.   It was by a train track and silos.   I was sure there was a terrible actual and I was saying a prayer for those involved.  Then I noticed that the parade of cars was moving.   It turns out that they is a campaign on to get donations for military families.   The poster on one of the trucks said, “3000 miles, in 120 days, across 19 states.   In the middle of the cavalcade were 3 runners.   I am guessing that the organizers of this event has runners in and between all cities to run the 6000 miles to solicit donations for this charity.   They even had an ambulance in the group should anything happen.   Could’ve taken some lessons from these folks.   Keep an eye out.   I am sure you will hear about them in the near future.
  2. At the top left of my shadow is a New Mexican snake that welcomed me into Elido by sticking out his tongue at me.
  3. The West has strong ties to cowboys and steers.   This is a sculpture in a Roswell plaza.
  4. Picture of the Pecos River as I crossed a bridge just short of Roswell.   After a hot day on the bike I get very tempted to ditch Miracle Go, take off my bike helmet and jump in.

See you tomorrow!