Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Everywhere is in the middle of somewhere...

Well, it's been a good bike ride to date, with a glitch that could have been a real setback, but I am in Dodge City, KS, at the public library.  I have 45 minutes left on the PC.

Day 1: Silver City, NM - Glenwood, NM.  Managed to avoid most of the rain on the way, but got caught in downpour about 10 miles from wet.  It was overcast and humid most of the day.  Roger and Katie put me up at the White Water Motel in Glenwood, which was very generous of them.  Katie fixed dinner that included goodies from Kyle's organic farm.  Best meal to date!  Did some hard riding the first day trying to avoid the rain.  Met a guy outside the cafe in Glenwood who wanted to know if I was going to see a psychiatrist when I got home.  I told him maybe..

Day 2:  Glenwood, NM - Reserve, NM.  Warm day; blue skies, humid.  Was not aware of the hills between Glenwood and Reserve and they are significant with a loaded touring bicycle.  I was trying to get to Datil, NM, which would have been a 104 mile ride, but I knew that it was going to be a short day when I got to Reserve.  Legs were tired; I figured there'd be more hills and Datil is 68 miles from Reserve...and I'd already ridden 37 miles.  So, I moteled it there and found the Wild West Coffee Shop.  Had some food and a very good double espresso.  The woman that owned the place knew Greg, who owns Vicki's and Yankee Creek...she used to work at Vicki's.  Was up early the next day ... 0500..and headed to Datil.

Day 3:  Reserve, NM - Datil, NM.  Once again, more hills, warm day, humid, but blue skies.  Very hilly for most of the ride.  Better after I got over the Continental Divide.  Thank God for bagels and honey...and coffee drinks they sell at convenience stores.  Starbucks has thoroughly saturated their products in rural America.  Stayed at a motel in Datil due to heat, humidity, rain.

Day 4: Datil, NM, - Socorro, NM.  Pretty day, more blue sky, humidity, heat.  61 miles to Socorro.  Got a motel across the street from the Socorro Springs Brewing Company.  Had BEER!!  Tasted fabulous!  Good porter...and lasagne.  Second best meal to date.  Oh, BTW, it is downhill from Datil to Socorro, so it was a fast day.  Well, not ALL downhill but 90%.  Found a coffee shop in Magdalena, NM, too.

Day 5: Socorro, NM - Carrizozo, NM.  Started out early...0630.  Blue skies, humid, heat.  No problem with washed out roads as I had feared.  Got rained on that day.  80 miles to Carrizozo.  More climbs...more than I had expected.  I thought Eastern NM was flat????  Not true.  Food was terrible; motel was barely tolerable, but the heat, humidity, rain continued to be a factor.  Except for a two places, so far, the food is terrible on the road.

Day 6: Carrizozo, NM - Vaughn, NM.  Left 0620.  Rt. 54.  For quite a bit of this road, there were neglible shoulders to ride on.  As I got closer to Vaughn, the shoulders got better.  Stayed at the Oak Tree Inn.  Lots of truck traffic..18 wheelers.  Rule #1 of the road:  If there is a cyclist on a stretch of highway where you can see 50 miles in any given direction and there is traffic coming towards the cyclist, the vehicles will converge on the cyclist simultaneously.  Never fails.  And it's usually 18 wheelers that are the vehicles.  Jesus!

Day 7: Vaughn, NM - Ft. Sumner, NM.  If Billy the Kid was burried anywhere else, Ft. Sumner would close up shop.  Carrizozo is only alive because it's a stop off on the way to Ruidoso, NM.  Incredible that people live in these towns.  Have no idea what kids do there.  Work on the ranch.  Ended up eating a their version of McDonalds in Ft. Sumner.  Haven't had that type of food in 35yrs.  Off early the next day!  95 miles to Tucumcari, NM.

Day 8:  Ft. Sumner, NM - Tucumcari, NM.  Long, desolate riding today.  Between Ft. Sumner and Ragland, NM, I saw about 25 50+ miles...and about 12 vehicles in a 30 mile stretch.  Glad that I had no bicycle problems then.  After Ragland, there was a great decent into the valley headed to Tucumcari.  On arrival in Tucumcari, I drank almost a gallon of water.  While standing outside a quickmart type place that sold gas, people viewed me like I was a panhandler and would not make eye contact with me at all.  It was at a exit on I-40 at Tucumcari.  People are strange and scared.  One younger guy talked to me, took my photo.  He was from Santa Monica, CA.  Wanted to show his brother.  While Tucumcari is larger, it is just as desolate in its own way as Carrizozo and Ft. Sumner.  Ate at a Denny's (3rd best meal) and stayed at a Motel 6.  First time for both in25yrs.

Day 8: Tucumcari, NM - Dalhart, TX.  Long ride, hot day, sunny, blue sky, still humid.  Fast ride, tail wind.  The smell of feed lots is, fortunately, indescribable.  If you have ever heard about Andersonville prison during the Civil War, that's what the feed lots look like to me.  Cattle crammed in together; fed, living in their own excrement.  And we eat this stuff.  Got to move along.  Only have 16 minutes left on the PC for the day.  Ate at a Pizza Hut ... terrible!  But it got me some carbs.  Headed out early the next day.

Day 9: Dalhart, TX - Elkhart, KS.  90 miles.  Hot day, humid, blue sky.  When I got to Elkhart, I asked if there was anything in Rolla, KS, which is where I wanted to get to.  NO.  Nothing there.  So, stayed at a decent motel that also had a restaurant.  Mediocre dinner but a decent breakfast.  Hard to fuck up french toast, two eggs, bacon. 

Day 10: Elkhart, TX - Montezuma, KS.  Was attempting to do 120 miles today.  Flat road, tailwind, felt strong.  I was keeping a 15 mph pace when I broke a spoke in Hugoton, KS.  Trouble in paradise.  Called info to see if there were bike shops in Dodge City.  Nothing.  Called my brother, Bill, to see if he could look online and find anything near me.  Found Nichols Auto Repair in Montezuma, KS.  Auto Repair???  Yep.  Jerrell Nichols owns it.  He's 32yrs old.  Grew up in Montezuma and is a Mennonite.  He also has a bike shop...sells only Rans recumbents.  I called him and asked if I could pay anyone to pick me up and take me to his bike shop.  He couldn't find anyone to do it, so he drove down and picked me up.  60 miles, both ways...120 miles.  Amazing.  I was feeling blessed.  His friend, Jed, who is a barber and runs a barber shop in the same complex with Nichols Auto Repair, replaced all the spokes in my rear wheel.  Took quite a while because this is just a hobby for him.  Ended up spending the night there.  Jed's parents, Clayton and Sherry, put me up at their house.  Jerrell's wife gave me a sandwich, chips, water for dinner.  Jed's parents fed me breakfast.  Incredibly great people.  Very down to earth, friendly and went WAY out of their way to assist me.  Felt more blessed.  Jerrell told me that I could send him a check when I got home to cover the cost of repairing the wheels.  He didn't charge me for picking me up.  Said I could make a donation, if I wanted to.  I did.  I used my online banking and sent him a good check to cover the blessings.  I have never met more generous people than Jerrell, his wife, Jed, his wife, Clayton, Sherry, Tom, Amos, Jerrell's partner in crime whose name has escaped me.  The cost to replace all the spokes...$67.  I will write more about this later.  Oh, my Spot device was still on while riding in the pickup truck with Jerrell, so that must look very strange to those who looked at it that day.

Day 11:  Montezuma, KS - Dodge City, KS.  Only rode 26 miles to Dodge.  Hot, humid, 106 degrees.  Had my first flat in Ensign, KS.  Got back on the road and everything seemed ok.  When I got into Dodge, I got some cold water and a coffee energy drink.  After leaving the convenience store, I noted the rear tire was rubbing, which concerned me greatly.  As I was trying to determine what was going on, I was still cycling down 2nd Street.  A guy in front of a car dealership/service center asked me how I was doing.  Told him I was having problems.  He told me that if I needed bicyle repair that this was the only place in Dodge where I'd get it.  Incredible.  Feeling blessed, again.  His name was Bill.  His boss, Geoff, and he were bicycle racers.  What?  Anyways, I told him that I was spending the night in Dodge.  He told me to call him after I got settled in and he'd talk with his boss.  Got to the motel, called Bill.  His boss was visitng his mother and would be back at 5:30pm...and he'd call me after that and pick me up and take me to Geoff's house.  Sure enough, Bill called at 5:45pm, picked me up and took me to Geoff's house.  The garage looked like some of the better stocked bicycle shops I've seen.  He trued my wheel, gave me 6 CO2 cartridges to get me to Hutchinson, KS, where there is an official bike shop.  I had broken my pump at the motel while putting a new tire on the rear wheel.  So, I need to get a new pump along the way and to do something for Bill and Geoff for helping me.  Got to go for now.  Running out of time.  Bicycle is working fine today.