Day 42 July 14th Winslow, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ 63 miles Total Miles: 2,353
Weather: Sunny, upper 80’s slight headwind
Sun rise was at 5:09am and breakfast (coffee and tea) was available starting at 5:00am, so we got up way too early got our tea and coffee and supplemented it with our oatmeal and dried fruit. We were on the bicycle and heading out of Winslow by 6:00am.
Again today the heat and wind was to go up about noon. We had a climb to Flagstaff of over 2,000 Ft. Thank goodness the bulk of our ride was on I- 40 so the uphill was pretty gentle and steady. After 40 miles on I- 40 we got off at the City of Winona and then began the last twenty mile climb to Flagstaff. The climb was not too bad but definitely steeper than the climb on I-40, we were bicycling on Old Route 60/ Townsend-Winona Rd. Luckily they had just repaved a huge piece of the road and it was a pleasure to ride on. We had a nice wide/clean shoulder to use. Enjoy the video of the newly paved road.
We reached the outskirts of Flagstaff and our maps said Hwy 89 was not fun to ride too much traffic and no bicycle facilities. We were pleased to find a bicycle lane on the road when we turned the corner and had no problem riding the last 8 miles to the historic downtown area of Flagstaff. We are staying at a Hostel tonight – Motel Du Beau. It is a great place right in the middle of the downtown area and within walking distance of just about everything you need. Imagine this there are even three micro breweries within walking distance of the Hostel – Peter is in heaven!!
We are taking the day off tomorrow and our friend Greg who lives in Phoenix will be picking us up in the morning. Greg used to work at J B Cycle and Sport in Howard and Peter and him used to bicycle together. He is an amazing bicyclist and routinely kicked Peter’s butt. He will be our tour guide for the day. It sounds like he is taking us hiking and out to lunch. It will be great to see him again it has been years, we are looking forward to a day off the bicycle and a chance to catch up with an old friend.
Day 40 July 12th Chambers, AZ to Holbrook, AZ 72 miles Total Miles: 2,251
Weather: Sunny, warm 89 degrees, nasty headwind 24 mph for last 20 miles
We got up early so we could try to beat the heat and wind a bit. The first 23 miles of our ride was on I-40 and it was down hill until the last five miles going into Petrified Forest National Park. Once in the park we traveled 28 miles from the north park entrance to the south entrance. The road was in great shape and there were very few cars and the ones that were on the road were moving very slowly.
Our first stop was the visitor’s center to get a map and the scoop on what to see. After a snack we were on our way to explore the park. We did drive byes of several Painted Desert Overlooks. Unbelievable beautiful colors weaving thru the rocks. Our first stop was the Painted Desert Inn, a restored trading post, turned inn, turned museum and National Historic Landmark.
Puerco Pueblo was our first hiking stop. We walked the fairly short trail to see some petroglyphs and pueblos. It was very interesting and something Tracy had never scene before. We stopped and talked with a volunteer working at one of the building and she got so excited when she saw Peter’s Packer hat – she is a hard core Packer fan from Arizona.
Our next stop was Crystal Forest which was really cool. It is an area of the park that has thousands of pieces of petrified wood just laying around. The petrified logs glimmer with quartz crystals along the trail. Our final stop was the Rainbow Forest Museum and visitor center. The Giant Logs Trail was also located here – we did not hike it but just looked it over from the visitor’s center.
We took a short break at the Rainbow Forest Museum and were sitting by our bicycle relaxing when two young ladies and a young man from Arizona stopped to ask about our trip. They were very interested and asked lots of questions, I think we talked with them for about a half hour. They were very nice and we enjoyed talking with them and learning more about Arizona. We gave them a business card and suggested they check out our social media and also told them to send us a message, they said they would.
We then wandered over to the visitors center to fill up our water bottles and hit the bathroom before we left. Upon our return to the bicycle there were four women sitting on the bench near the bicycle and we talked with them about our trip. They were also traveling Route 66 but by car. They were quite the ladies and were obviously having a great time exploring together. We had to ask them to get up to get our bicycle out. They stood right up and said they certainly did not want to hold up our trip. We talked a bit more and then headed towards Holbrook for the last 20 miles of our ride.
Our ride to Holbrook was tough because again the west wind had kicked up and we had a 24 mph headwind to battle – no fun at all. At least we were going downhill primarily. About half way thru the ride we both were “I am so done with this”, when we experienced a much needed random act of kindness. We had our heads down and were just working on finishing up, when Tracy looked left and saw a van right next to us with a woman holding out two ice cold bottles of water and asking if we wanted them. Tracy asked Peter and he said absolutely so we stopped and took the water. It was so great, here was a young couple with two small children teaching them how simple it is to help people out. We were excited about the cold water and it helped the rest of the trip go much better!!
We made it to Holbrook about 45 minutes later and got settled in Wigwam number 16 at the Wigwam Hotel. The Wigwam Hotel is a Historic Landmark on Route 66 and has antique cars parked outside the wigwams. Very fun to stay in and it had everything we needed.
Day 41 July 13th Holbrook, AZ to Winslow AZ 39 miles Total Miles: 2,290
Weather: Sunny, low 80 early in day, 100 degrees by noon, slight tailwind early to headwind after noon
We woke up in our wigwam early to get our miles done before the temperature and wind all rise!! We were on the road by 7:00am. The first 20 miles were on smaller county roads to Joseph City. As we were traveling towards Joseph City a car came up to us as we were taking a break, they were going really slow. We were wondering what was up and then they pulled along side us and it was the four women we met at the park yesterday. They were taking a side trip to see a cool bridge they heard about. It was fun to see them again and they told us they saw us heading out of Holbrook that morning while eating breakfast at a local restaurant. This time we gave them our card and told them to follow our trip and send us messages – they said they would!!
Joseph City was suppose to have a convenience store and restaurant but not anymore. They evidently are closing the power plant located near Joseph City and many people in town have lost their jobs and the businesses have also closed up because the people are gone. Luckily a local volunteer fire fighter had just arrived at the fire station we were bicycling past and was kind enough to fill our water bottles for us.
From Joseph City we traveled on a frontage road to I – 40. The road was in bad shape and was bouncing us everywhere, but we just slowed down and eventually it got a bit better. The good thing about being on the frontage road was we got to visit the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. We had been seeing signs for it for miles and miles. As we were pulling in a gentleman was standing on the side of the road video taping us as we pedaled up. He was from Indiana and was in Arizona with a youth church group to do some volunteer work at a local Native American group home. He also is a bicyclist and had lots of questions for us, which we dutifully answered. The gentleman explained the children in the group home were up to age 18 and how incredible they are when you hear the terrible situations they have been taken away from. Hopefully this situation will help them to lead a successful life in the future.
We then got back on I- 40 and followed that into Winslow. We got in nice and early and were able to get into our hotel room at La Posada Hotel, Restaurant, Museum and Gardens. The hotel was designed by Mary Colter who was hired by the Harvey Company. The timing of the opening of this amazing building could not have been worse – 1930 right at the start of the Great Depression, the building never prospered and closed to the public in 1957. In 1961 the property was gutted and transformed into offices for the Santa Fe Railroad. (The tracks are right behind the building and it also serves as an Amtrak Depot). In 1993 the railroad was going to dispose of La Posada but luckily in 1994 the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the property on its endangered list. Then came Allan Affeldt who purchased the property and has renovated it. It is an amazing property and has several unique hotel rooms. If you are ever in Winslow, AZ definitely stop and check it out and better yet spend the night.
We of course had to stop at the corner in Winslow dedicated to the Eagles top hit “Take It Easy”. The corner has a bronze statue of a man leaning against a lamp post with a guitar in his hand with the words “Standing on the Corner” on a sign above his head, on a window sill in the background is a stuffed eagle and a picture of a blonde in a red flat bed truck. If you have not heard the song it is a good one and they say it helped put Winslow, AZ on the map!!
Day 39 July 11th Gallup, NM to Chambers, AZ 52 miles Total Miles. 2,179
Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees, 25 mph headwind
Got up a little later than normal today – YEA!! But also discovered that we missed the cool- historic section of Gallup. We were not real impressed with the part of the city we saw, it was pretty run down looking. We had heard some good things about it from others, evidently we turned left(west) on historic Route 66 and should have turned right (east). Oh well the life of a cross country bicyclist sometimes things are a few miles away or the other direction and you totally miss them. I guess we will have to go back to Gallup some day and really check it out.
Our trip began on Hwy 118 and we continued on it for 20 miles, crossing over and under I -40 a couple of times. We were on the side of the road trying to figure out of 118 crossed under in that spot or stayed on the side we were on – of course there were no street signs but the distance traveled to the cross over was correct. We were standing there trying to figure it out when a large tractor came down the street and Tracy flagged him down to ask him. He pulled over, shut off the tractor and climbed down to help us out. His name was Oscar and he worked for the McKinley County Road Department. He was very helpful and got us going in the right direction. He also told us he saw us earlier in the day when they were hauling some equipment to a new work site by truck, he said to his co worker “look at those two I wonder where they are going and came from.” Well a few hours later he got the scoop directly from us. He was a really nice guy and we enjoyed visiting with him.
About five miles after meeting up with Oscar we were in Arizona!!! We really enjoyed New Mexico but are looking forward to exploring Arizona. So far in Arizona, we have been traveling thru the Navaho Indian Reservation and the natural areas are beautiful from the multi colored rock in the mesas to the canyons. During our ride we have been close to the rocks and above the canyons for some amazing views.
In Arizona there are many Native America Trading Posts to explore. We stopped at a couple today to check them out, they have some beautiful jewelry, rugs, beads etc. They also typically have a stand where you can purchase Indian Fry Bread. We have yet to try some but plan to soon, we heard it is delicious. One of the trading posts we stopped in – Chief Yellow Horse is half in Arizona and the other half in New Mexico – we were teasing the owner that he had to pay taxes to two states – he just laughed and said “I think I pay taxes to everyone.”. He is the fourth generation of his family to run the trading post. I asked him who plans to take over when he is done and he said he was not sure there was an interest from anyone in the next generation and of course everyone has different ideas of how the property should be used. Time will tell!!
The ride today was tough – I feel like I keep saying that, but again we had some strong headwinds to deal with. We heard from a local that the Santa Anna winds are typically strong this time of year and come from the west. Riding Route 66 from east to west may not have been the best idea due to the prevailing west winds, oh well we are almost done so we will just keep heading west and deal with the winds.
Day 37 July 9th. Grants, NM to Ramah, NM 47 miles Total Miles 2,066
Weather: Sunny, warm 87 degrees, headwind
We went a bit shorter today because we wanted to check out some cool places along the route. Our ride took us thru two National Parks – El Malpais National Monument and Conservation Area (114,000 federally protected acres) and El Morro National Monument and Conservation Area encompasses 2 square miles. Both are amazing pieces of property. El Malpais has natural features left behind by the volcano, including lava tubes, lava beds, sink holes etc. El Morro National Monument and Conservation Area is the site of over 2,000 petroglyphs due to the fact that there is a pool at the base of El Morro and for many years people would camp at the site and leave messages on the walls of Zuni Sandstone.
We also stopped at a privately owned site called Ice Cave – Volcano Land. It was a fun place to tour but difficult to get to by bicycle. We had a two mile climb to their property and then had to push our bicycle down the half mile volcanic ash driveway. There was no way to ride it due to the depth of the ash – our bicycle would sink and come to a stop, we finally gave up and pushed it in. But it was well worth the trouble – we took a half mile walk up to the Bandera Volcano site. The volcano erupted over 10,000 years ago and is one of the largest volcanos in the region. From the trail up to the Look Out Point you can see 15 other volcanos in the area. There are actually 29 in the region. After viewing the volcanos we headed over to the Ice Cave- very cool literally – the temperature in the cave never gets over 31 degrees. As rain and snow melt seep into the cave the ice floor thickens. The floor of the ice is 20 feet thick and some of the ice dates back 3,400 years. The ice is tinted green from an Arctic algae that grows on it. They have no idea how the algae got to New Mexico because it is typically only found in the Arctic.
After our tours we pushed the bicycle back to the highway and rode the last 1/2 mile to the Continental Divide which was 7,882 Ft. This is the highest we have ever been on the bicycle.
The rest of the ride was pretty much downhill but unfortunately we had a nasty headwind to deal with and had to work to keep the bicycle moving even on the downhill. Our overnight stay was at the El Morro RV Park and Cabins. They had a great little restaurant – Ancient Way Café and even an organic grocery store across the street. We had an amazing dinner at the Café and even picked up some goodies for breakfast at the grocery store. The staff that worked at the campground were very nice and welcoming and we enjoyed our stay with them.
As we climbed into our tent we had the pleasure of hearing two owls calling to each other and viewing an amazing sky with stars everywhere. Being up at almost 8,000 Ft you feel like you can touch the stars, they are so clear.
Day 38 July 10th Raman, NM to Gallup, NM 61 miles Total Miles 2,127
Weather: Sunny, warm 87 degrees, headwind early and then tailwind
We woke up early at the campground, ate a delicious breakfast of home made wheat bread, peanut butter and dried fruit from the organic grocery store. What a good way to start the day. We even had company for breakfast when two of the neighbors chickens came to our campsite to join us for breakfast. We were all packed up and on the bicycle by 6:30 am and were pleased to be getting a nice early start to our ride. We even had our jackets on because it was 60 degrees as we were leaving. Unfortunately our early start did not last long because about a mile down the road the cable for the rear derailleur snapped- bummer. So we had to stop to fix it. Fortunately we carry a replacement cable with us and Peter got to work removing the broken cable and putting in the new one. Unfortunately neither of us had ever replaced a broken cable and it ended up taking us a hour and a half to complete the repair but we got it done and the bicycle was shifting well – YEA!!
After the repair we headed to our first stop at a convenience store in Raman – about 12 miles down the road. We stopped and filled up our water bottles and bought a snack. From there it was downhill, but unfortunately into a nasty headwind – at times it felt like we were going backwards. Finally we turned north on to Hwy 602 and had cross and slight tail wind, it was a nice change. The first 9 miles of 602 were a climb of 1,000 Ft to an elevation of approximately 7,300 Ft. From that point until we got to Gallup we bounced up and down until the last little climb into Gallop.
Being that it was a Sunday there were a fair amount of drivers on the road, but they were really good about giving us space and a friendly wave as they passed. One woman passed us, beeped and waved on her way by. A few minutes later we were stopped along the road for a short break until we made the last push into Gallop and a car stopped near us, it was the woman who passed us earlier. As she was heading home she saw her uncle walking along the road so she picked him up and took him home. She then drove by us again and decided to stop and say hello. She was very interested in our bicycle and where we were from etc. We talked for a bit and then she wished us luck and got back in her car and headed down the road. It just goes to show you never know who you will meet when you are traveling on your bicycle.
Day 35 July 7th Albuquerque, NM to Albuquerque, NM o miles – Total Miles. 1,939
Weather: Beautiful, sunny, 95 degrees
Today was our day off the bicycle and we spent the day exploring ABQ. It is a great city with lots to do, of which we were able to do some of it. All to soon we needed to focus on getting back on the bicycle again.
Day 36 . July 8th Albuquerque, NM to Grants, NM 80 miles – Total Miles. 2,019
Weather: Sunny, tail wind in morning to head and cross in afternoon, 87 degrees
We started our morning with a view of an amazing sunrise out our hotel room window at the Albuquerque Hotel at Old Town. We were up early to get on the road by sunrise – 6:30am. The beginning of the ride was on the Paseo del Bosque Trail which dropped us off on Route 66 and the bridge to cross the Rio Grande. Once we started our climb after crossing the river we were in for a climb up what the locals call “9 mile hill.”
The hill truly was a nine mile climb with a very steady but not extremely steep climb. We just kept pedaling and before we knew it we were at the top and able to have a great view of the valley below.
Once again are route took us on I 40 for 20 plus miles. The ride was going great and the down hills were fun on the nice wide shoulder. But about half way thru our 20 miles we had a rear tire flat. When riding the shoulder you must be aware of all the blown out tires laying there and steer around them. Unfortunately when the tires blow they leave pieces everywhere and this includes small pieces of metal. Well one of the metal pieces got in the back tire and popped the inner tube. So we had to fix the tire on the shoulder of I – 40, but twenty minutes later we were back on the road again.
After we got off the interstate we were traveling thru several pueblos – including Laguna and Acoma. We did not stop to tour the pueblos but were able to see some from the road- amazing. Some day we will have to come back and tour them.
The end of our day was spent traveling on Hwy 124/Historic Route 66. The road was in great shape and provided amazing views of the adjacent land. Once we got closer to Grants the rock became black in color as we were entering the lava fields from the eruption of Mount Taylor over 10,000 years ago. It was very strange to see this type of rock in New Mexico, but just like Hawaii it is beautiful in its simplicity.
Day 32 July 4th Santa Rosa, NM to Las Vegas, NM 64 miles Total Miles 1,791
Weather: Warm 87 degrees, sunny and 13 mph head wind
Day 33 July 5th Las Vegas, NM to Santa Fe, NM 74 miles Total Miles 1, 865
Weather: Hot 90 degrees, sunny and 15 mph headwind
Day 34 July 6th Santa Fe, NM to Albuquerque, NM 74 miles Total Miles 1, 939
Weather: Warm 89 degrees, sunny, light cross/headwind
Since we have not had the time to post for three days, due to a combination of long hard rides, interesting people to visit with and the author being lazy, here are the summaries of the last three days.
Day 32 – July 4th
Today was a day of climbing and isolation. Our route took us north towards Las Vegas, NM. Sometimes we struggle with the Adventure Cycling maps because they seem to take you off route sometimes and you are not sure why. We were traveling on I -40 this morning and our ending point a few days from now is Albuquerque which was just over 100 miles away. But Adventure Cycling has us going an extra 150 miles out of the way so we go thru Santa Fe. Evidently when setting the route a group of business men from Santa Fe pushed hard to have the route come thru their town and there you go. So we are pedaling north to Las Vegas.
The ride was tough because there were very limited services between Santa Rosa and Las Vegas – about 60 miles away. So we had to make sure we had enough food and water to get us through. For liquids we had our six water bottles, our collapsible water bottle( which holds enough water to fill four water bottles), four – 32 ounce Power Ade and a bottle of Sprite. We used all the liquids except one Power Ade.
Our first possible stop was about 30 miles out at the small town of Dilla – they had a lounge/bar there – it was closed. So we stopped anyway to take a break. While we were checking it out Tracy found a new friend – a German Shepard wandered over to check us out – he/she was a really sweet dog and sat by Tracy and followed her around. He/she even followed us down the street a bit when we head off on the bicycle, until Tracy told the dog to go home.
We made it to Romeoville/Las Vegas around 3:00pm after a long, hard day on the bicycle. We had several hard climbs today to get from 4,700 Ft elevation in Santa Rosa to 6,400 Ft in Las Vegas. We camped at the KOA in Las Vegas – it is the first time we have had to set up the tent – it was fun to camp again and the night was nice and cool dropping to 60 degrees. The night sky was amazing – with many stars to see. We could hear the fireworks from town but unfortunately could not see them.
Before hitting the hay we wandered around the campground and met a very nice couple from Albuquerque, who we stopped and talk to for quite a while. They had a really nice RV and just take off in it and see where they end – sounded like fun to us.
Day 33 July 5th
We got going early because again we knew we had lots of hills to climb, hot temperature and a head wind to deal with. We ate breakfast at camp, packed up and off we went. We stated out with some great downhill sections to bring us back down to the Pecos River – which we have now crossed three times. But of course after a nice down hill the climbing begins again. We climb from 6,000 Ft back up to 6,800 Ft in about 13 miles, not a really steep climb just a long one!!
Our next climb was after lunch in Pecos – climbed back up from 6,800 Ft to 7,600 Ft in 5 miles to the town of Glorieta. We then bounced up and down until the ending point in Santa Fe at about 7,000 Ft. We got into town and of course got lost and were tried from a long hard day of riding. We planned to check out some cool things suggested by our Warm Showers host but were too tired to do that so settled for a beer at a local micro brewery. – 2nd Street Brewery and then biked the last five miles to our Warm Shower hosts (Dennis and Patty) for the night. Luckily the ride was on a great trail – the Santa Fe Rail Trail, and downhill!!
Dennis and Patty were great hosts we had a nice meal and great conversation. All to soon it was 10:00pm and we needed to get to bed for our early morning start.
Santa Fe is a really nice city and had some cool things we wanted to see – I guess we will just have to come back someday.
Day 34 July 6th
Got up at 5:15 to hit the road at sunrise. Patty and Dennis set out a nice breakfast for us to start the day. So with full stomachs we were on the road by 6: 15am. Dennis provided us with directions to get out of town and miss all the road construction on Hwy 14 – Turquoise Trail, it worked great and even provided us with a up close and personal view of three full size dinosaurs on Dinosaur Trail – too funny.
The beginning part of the ride – about 20 miles was downhill to Madrid. It was a nice way to start the day. Dennis suggested we checkout Madrid which we did and stopped for our second breakfast at the Java Junction for a latte and snack – YUM!! As Dennis described to us Madrid is a hippy enclave with lots of cool shops and restaurants – very cute. Although when we went thru the only thing open was the coffee shop – that was alright with us that was all we needed. But it certainly would be a fun town to spend some time in.
All too soon we were back on the bike again for the monster climb out of Madrid. Boy was it a tough one – 1,200 Ft in less than five mile and then another 500 – 800 Ft climb right after that. Tracy was singing in her head the elephant song – one elephant went out to play, out on a spiders web one day, he had such enormous fun he asked another elephant to come – etc. She got up to 40 elephants during the climb!! But we made it and had some great down hill to finish our day. In fact we had one more climb about 23 miles out from our big climb and then it was downhill the rest of the way to Albuquerque.
The ride thru Albuquerque was nice although to cross the whole city – (population of 545,000) it was a good 25 miles from edge to edge. Of course we were staying on the far west side near Old Town. We even rode right thru the University of New Mexico, which our daughter, Alex, daughter Melissa and us visited on a recruit visit for Alex. They were interested in Alex pole vaulting for them. As we bicycled thru campus we saw some things we remembered from our visit – it is a really nice looking campus.
We are staying at the Albuquerque Hotel for the next two days – tomorrow is our day off the bike. We plan to check out Old Town and maybe take the Sky Tram up the mountains. Here is the blog, pictures and videos will be coming.
We will hit Arizona within the next three to four days – more adventures to come.
Day 31 July 3 Tucumcari, NM to Santa Rosa, NM 64 miles Total Miles – 1,727
Weather: Sunny, upper 80’s, light tail wind
First of all Tracy wants to thank everyone for their kind words and well wishes for a speedy recovery. Glad to say she is feeling lots better today and todays ride was not as much of a challenge.
After leaving Tucumcari we bicycled the first 12 miles on Interstate 40, we are getting used to being on the interstate and it continues to cheer us with the way the semi truck drivers treat us. They move over to the left lane when passing and give us lots of space. Frequently when we are not traveling on the interstate but bicycling on the adjacent frontage road the semi truck drivers will beep and wave to us – it really makes you feel good, we also have other motor vehicle drivers beep and wave but the majority by far are the truck drivers.
Today we climbed at the beginning of the trip and were over 5,000 feet at the highest point – about a 1,000 foot evaluation change today. The ride was mainly along the frontage roads of I-40 but we also were on some very nice but steep local and state highways from Cuervo to Santa Rosa.
The ride took us thru some isolated places with little or no services. The one stop we had was at Newkirk, about 30 miles in, which had a small convenience store/gas station. We walked in the store to find lunch, restrooms and fill up our water bottles. We found lunch, the restrooms were out of service and there was no water available. Luckily the owner was very nice and took the bottles to his private residence and filled them for us.
Before riding into Santa Rosa we stopped at the Love’s Travel Center for a snack. Boy was it busy there – we thought every church group within a 50 mile radius was at the travel center and boy were they loud!! It probably seemed especially loud after being on the bicycle in such a quiet environment all day.
The last 3 miles to Santa Rosa were downhill and we got checked into our hotel early to clean up and catch the end of the Tour De France.
We had a local news reporter contact us for an interview about our trip today – we got back to him to try to set it up. Hopefully we will hear from him yet today, well he never did get back to us so no interview. Can’t blame him it is a Sunday over the holiday weekend.
Happy 4th of July to everyone- think of us as we are climbing to Las Vegas, NM tomorrow.
Day 30 July 2 Adrian TX to Tucumcari, NM 65 miles Total Miles 1,663
Weather: Hot – 92 degrees, windy with 16 mph headwind, partly sunny
We left Adrian early to try to beat the heat and the strong headwinds later in the day. Tracy was not feeling good this morning and struggled throughout the day, but we made it to Tucumcari where she was able to lie down and recoup a bit, hopefully tomorrow she will be feeling much better.
The ride went pretty good all things considered. The first part of our ride was on Interstate 40 which as mentioned before really isn’t too bad to bicycle on – it has a nice wide shoulder and traffic was light early in the morning on a Saturday. After 26 miles we arrived in New Mexico, boy is it beautiful. We also got off Interstate 40 and one again were traveling on the frontage road adjacent to I – 40, much quieter and just about no traffic.
Our next stop was the small town of San Jon, population 216. We stopped for lunch at the local gas station, convenience store and grill. We also lost an hour because we are now on Mountain time, no wonder the waitress looked at us funny when we ordered pizza at 10:00am. The last 24 miles to Tucumcari were tough, lots of rolling hills to climb, 16 mph headwind and full sun and heat. But we made it by breaking up the ride into three 8 mile sections and taking short breaks between.
We finally made it to Tucumcari which is a cool little town that has truly taken on the whole Route 66 theme. We are staying at the Historic Route 66 Hotel. It is a really nice 1950-60 hotel that has been restored to its original splendor. The owners are very nice and welcoming people. We got into town early about 1:30pm and they got us our room and let us get settled in, even though they were dealing with a broken hot water pipe that served the motel complex. They apologized for the lack of hot water and assured us it would be back on soon.
That was alright with us we just wandered down the road to the local café and ice cream shop for our second lunch of the day. By the time we got back we had hot water again.
No pictures or videos tonight, struggling to get them to load. Will try again tomorrow.
Day 28 June 30th Amarillo, TX to Amarillo, TX 0 miles – Total Miles – 1,546
Today was a day off the bicycle and we enjoyed the day exploring the city. We slept in and then took Uber to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were beautiful and it was fun to all the different plants and trees that we do not have in Wisconsin. Also to be able to put names to some of the vegetation we see when bicycling.
We then did some errands, took a nap and went out to dinner. The off day went fast as they always do.
Day 29 July 1st Amarillo, TX to Adrian, TX 52 miles – Total Miles. – 1,598
Weather: Stormy in the morning, warm – 93 degrees, partly sunny, Tailwind after storm went thru then changed to headwind
Today was a shorter day for us, due to what is available along the route. We are getting into some more isolated areas so have to plan a bit more to make sure we can get the things we need – like water, food and a place to stay.
Our day began waiting out the storm at the hotel for about 15 minutes – then it cleared enough so we could take off. Although about 5 miles into other ride we once again took cover under a shelter until the rain stopped. It is very strange here storms come in very fast and hard and then 10 minutes later they are gone and the sun comes back out. Luckily we have not been in any real intense storms just lots of rain and wind. Hopefully we will not experience a bad one while we are here.
Our first stop this morning was the Cadillac Ranch just west of Amarillo. Due to the rain and the location of the cars basically between two crop fields. The path to the cars is basically dirt but now mud due to the rain we received. But you just had to walk out there to see them up close and personal. So we did and ended up with lots of mud on our bike shoes – oh well it all came off when it dried. The cars are cool and it was fun to see people standing in the water and painting the cars. Who would think that such a unique thing could become so famous and draw people from all over the world. It was nice to see them. The ranch was created in 1974 by Texas millionaire Stanley Marsch 3 and the San Fransico artist collective Ant Farm.
We then headed to the small town of Vega where we stopped for lunch at the Hickory Café. We walked in the restaurant at about 11:00am and there was one other person in the place. The staff and the customer were very nice and asked lots of questions about our trip. About 11:30am the place started to fill up until all the tables were full. They served really good healthy food and obviously it was a favorite of the locals. We spent extra time at the restaurant because so many people wanted to know about our trip and were asking lots of questions. We only had 15 miles to go for the day so it was nice to not have to take off so quick and instead enjoy talking with everyone. We finally were able to leave and about an hour later were in Adrian.
Adrian is a small town with a population of 166 people, but it is the mid point of Route 66 – it is exactly 1,139 miles from Chicago and 1,139 from Los Angeles. In town they have the Midpoint Café, Midpoint RV Campground and the Sunflower Station. We got to the campground first and Bud the manager told us if we wanted to camp in the laundry room, shower and kitchen building we could – we jumped at it – it was air conditioned. It is a small building but very comfortable and has everything we need. Bud then told us to head down to the restaurant because it closes soon and to be sure to stop and talk with Fran at the Sunflower Station. So off we went. After a snack at the restaurant – they served delicious pie with what they call “Ugly Pie Crust”, we headed over to Sunflower Station to meet Fran.
Fran is a great lady and owned the Midpoint Café for many years. She gave us the history of the Café and the explained how they discovered that Adrian was the mid point of Route 66 – very interesting. We also learned that Fran is famous – she was used as the model for Flo from the movie Cars. She explained how that occurred and all the fun events she was able to attend because they used her in the film. She gave us a signed copy of a picture of Flo and Flo’s V 8 Café from the movie and asked us to sign the Car out front. We have not scene the movie yet and plan to try to do that tonight.
Boy, it is amazing who you meet when you are out on the bicycle, you just never know. As we say you never have to look for adventure when on the bicycle, it finds you!!
Day 27 June 29th Groom, TX to Amarillo, TX 52 miles – Total Miles – 1,546
Weather: 67 degrees and stormy in morning, hot afternoon- 94 degrees, tailwind
Once again we got up and on the road early. The weather was marginal and a storm was definitely coming our way but after checking the radar and weather station we thought we would have enough time to get to Conway – 16 miles away.
On our way out of Groom we were able to see the “World’s Largest Cross” It was as large as the neighboring wind turbines and stood 190 feet into the air.
As we were heading to Conway, about 10 miles into our ride it became apparent we were not going to reach Conway before the storm came thru. So we looked for a place to shelter and were lucky to find a grain elevator, pole barn, office and other miscellaneous building to take shelter in. We stopped by the pole barn to check the radar and decide if we could continue or needed to hang for a bit. Luckily we decided to stay put – about five minutes later the wind picked up and it started to pour. We hauled the bicycle and us into the pole barn and stayed put for about a half hour.
When we first stopped by the pole barn, Tracy needed to go to the bathroom and when done bumped the map out of her pocket and in the wind. It started to blow across the driveway and towards a field that was acres and acres wide. Tracy panicked thinking the map was gone and would end up somewhere in New Mexico. Luckily the field was surrounded by barbed wire and the map in the plastic bag got caught on the barbed wire – thank goodness!! Tracy said someone was looking out for her!!
After the storm we continued our ride to Conway. We found two unique things in Conway. The first one is the Slug Bug Ranch – which is a take off of the Cadillac Ranch but with VW Bugs. The second was two large revolvers located at the end of a private driveway. The revolvers were actually grills that some one had placed on either side of their driveway facing out to the street- strange but then we are in Texas!!
We finally got to Amarillo and our first stop was the Big Texan Steak Ranch and Brewery. You just had to stop after seeing their billboards for miles and miles. There draw is a free meal if a customer can consume a 72 ounce steak in one hour or less. When we were there two gentleman were trying to do it. They actually have a raised table with spot lights that they eat at. They also have a large count down timer you can watch. It is funny and actually gross!
When we were parking our bicycle and getting ready to head into the restaurant – we noticed some really cool tandems hanging on the back of a van – we walked over to check them out. They were hanging on a RAAM- Race Across America van. Very cool – if you have not familiar with RAAM it is basically is a bicycle race across the country – it starts in California and ends on the east coast.
When we walked into the restaurant a man came up to us probably because we were in bicycling clothes. We then asked him if he was one of the RAAM riders. He introduced himself – Michael and his girlfriend Jeanene, they were the tandem riders. It was the first time they had competed in the race and completed it in 7 days – amazing. They also took first place in their category. We asked what their average speed was and it was 20mph – again amazing. (fastest speed was 71 mph) Remember it will take us about 2 months to bicycle across the country and they just did it in 7 days. They were heading back home near Santa Monica CA and invited us to stay at their place if we needed somewhere to stay – very nice.
After lunch we had about 8 miles to go to get to our hotel. We are looking forward to a day off tomorrow and Tracy said she plans to sleep until noon.