Day 48 July 20th San Bernardino, CA to Arcadia, CA 50 miles Total Miles 2, 564
Weather: Warm 98 degrees, sunny and slight head wind
We woke up today in California – YEA!! Our first task was to return the U Haul to the closest rental agency, so we packed up our bags and put them and the bicycle back in the U Haul for our approximately 3 mile drive to the return site. Once there we pulled everything back out of the truck, checked the truck back in and headed west on our bicycle.
After the first eight miles on the road we arrived at the Pacific Electric Bike Trail and were in for a great 18 mile ride on one of the best trails we have ever been on. The trail took us thru cities, orange orchards, rose gardens, residential and commercial/industrial areas. It was very well designed with many intersection crossings, some with priority push button signals across smaller roads and the crossing of major roads with the route taking you to the closest controlled intersection. It was interesting they even had separate push buttons at the intersections for walkers, bicyclist and even horse back riders( their buttons were up high so they could reach them from horseback).
After we got off the trail we were traveling on city roads with great bicycle accommodations. Many of the roads had bicycle lanes so we had lots of space to travel along the busier roads. California does a nice job of building their roads for all users – it is really nice to see.
We have started to see lots of Palm Trees and Joshua Trees, it is fun to see different types of trees and flowers.
Tomorrow we will complete our trip with about thirty miles to go to Santa Monica. We have enjoyed the trip but it has been a lot of work so we will be glad to get done.
Special thanks to Verizon Wireless for providing devices to us, in many situations we would not have been able to put up our blog posts without the Jet Pack. It also allows us to put up all the videos and pictures for you to view.
Day 47 July 19th Peach Springs, AZ to Kingman, AZ 59 miles Total Miles – 2,514
Weather: Partly sunny, 65 degrees in morning to 95 late morning, slight headwind
Kingman, AZ – San Bernardino, CA Traveled by U Haul – Total Miles – 277
We got up really early 4:15am, had breakfast and were on the road by 6:00am. Most of our trip was downhill and the wind was a tailwind early. One of our stops along the route was at a fun Route 66 convenience store in Hackberry, AZ. The store had tons of Route 66 memorabilia and it was fun to check it all out. They even had a very friendly cat that Tracy enjoyed playing with. After our stop we cruised right along and got to Kingman by 11:00am.
When we were on the edge of town we saw a touring bicyclists ahead of us and eventually caught up with him. He was from Germany and started his trip in New York and was heading to Las Vegas and then up to San Fransico. He had been on the road since April 1st. He said he was having fun but was getting sick of the constant headwinds. We agreed!! We wished him luck and continued on our way.
We got to the U Haul rental place early and they had the truck all ready for us. So we changed clothes, loaded the bicycle and our bags into the back and took off towards California. As we were crossing the desert we were very glad we were driving thru rather than bicycling. It was 110 degrees in Needles, CA and did not drop below 100 all the way across the desert. The route would have been difficult also – in one section we would have been on a very busy Interstate 15 that was under construction and had made no provisions for bicyclist to get thru safely.
We got into San Bernardino, CA about 5:30pm, we were tried, hungry and grumpy – not a good combination. But after a shower and dinner we felt a whole lot better!! Tomorrow we return the U Haul and then we will once again continue on the bicycle towards Santa Monica.
Day 46 July 18th Williams, AZ to Peach Springs, AZ (Grand Canyon Caverns/RV Park) 69 miles Total Miles – 2,455
Weather: Partly cloudy, cool, 80 degrees, soaking rain late in day
This morning we had a few things to take care of before we took off. Peter went to the post office to mail a package home (yes more beer glasses) and Tracy was working on getting us a car rental from Kingman AZ to San Bernardino, CA. We have decided to drive across the desert after talking with local bicyclists, checking our maps and the local weather forecast.
This time of year the temperatures are well into the 100’s and we will not have services(water and food sources)in sections for over 60 miles – that is just too far in those conditions and we don’t believe we would be safe. So we have been trying to rent a car – not an easy task. We finally had to resort to renting a U Haul Truck – they just do not have any one way rentals from Kingman, AZ.
We finally got on the bike at about 9:00am and started our downhill ride to the Grand Canyon Caverns/RV Park near Peach Springs, AZ. Right outside of Williams we got on I – 40 and started a 13 mile downhill ride to Ash Forks. It was a great ride with beautiful views as we buzzed by. We got to Ash Forks in about 40 minutes – we were averaging about 30 miles per hour on the downhill.
Outside of Ash Forks we got off I – 40 and back on Route 66 – evidently this section of Route 66 is the longest continuous section thru the whole corridor. It was a nice ride with lots to see, including the rain clouds surrounding us. Luckily the rain held off for quite a while but after our break in Seligman it started to rain a bit – which actually felt good it was getting a bit warm again.
Unfortunately about 10 miles down the road the rain came down in buckets – we got soaked. We had seven miles to go to get to the Grand Canyon Caverns and were hanging out at the convenience store warming up and deciding if we should bicycle the mile up to the campground or stay at the Caverns Hotel. We decided on the hotel because we were soaked and Peter was feeling a bit under the weather. It was a good choice and allowed us to warm up and take care of some other logistical items.
Day 43 July 15th Flagstaff, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ 0 Miles. Total Miles – 2,353
Weather: Sunny, 90 degrees, slight wind
Today was a day off in Flagstaff. Our friend Greg picked us up at the hostel at 9:00am and we were off for a day of fun and adventure. Greg took us on a beautiful drive thru the Oak Creek Canyon, beautiful. Also very steep Peter and I were glad we were not on the bicycle. The ride took us thru Sedona, AZ which is a very cool town with lots to see and do.
After driving thru the canyon we stopped at Red Rock Canyon and climbed Cathedral Rock. It was quite the climb with beautiful views along the way and at the top. After the climb we went to the river that flowed thru the canyon and played in the swimming hole and stream. The cold water felt great and we could see the climb we made from the stream.
We then stopped at a local winery for lunch. It was a great day and we enjoyed spending it with Greg. That evening we went out to dinner with Greg and his friends Danielle and Phillip. We met at a local brewery and had dinner there. It was fun to meet some of Greg’s friends and learn more about Flagstaff. We really enjoyed our day off the bike and seeing more of Arizona.
Day 44 July 16th Flagstaff, AZ to Williams, AZ. 33 miles Total Miles – 2,386
Weather: Sunny, warm – 90 degrees and slight head wind
Today we had a short ride to our next destination only 33 miles, so we got up a bit later than normal and were on the road by 8:00am. Our ride was also pretty much downhill – YEA!! We traveled on I – 40 for the first part of the trip to the city of Parks, AZ. Parks is a nice little city with lots going on. They have a small campground right across the street from the gas station, post office/convenience store and had a rummage sale going on at the campground. It was a busy place for a town of 1,100 people. They even had a Little Library in the gas station/convenience store. Tracy was excited because she needed a new book and was able to find a good one there.
After leaving Parks we rode on Old Route 66 which had recently been repaved. The road was in great shape and had a nice wide shoulder on it. This part of the ride was thru a heavily wooded area. It was nice to see some trees again, we really enjoyed the shade and wind block!! We followed Route 66 into Williams which is a really cool town with lots to see and do.
We got in early so Tracy had a chance to wander around town and check out all the shops – she really enjoyed that. Peter sat on a bench near the hostel and watched the world go by – each of them enjoyed their afternoon. Around 2:00pm we were able to check into our hostel. It is a really nice place – Grand Canyon Hotel – each room is unique and special. The owners are very nice and willing to help out in any way. We have found we really enjoy the smaller non chain hotels and hostels.
Day 45 July 17th Day off in Williams, AZ 0 miles. Total Miles – 2,386
Weather: Beautiful, 85 degrees, partly cloudy
Today we took the Grand Canyon Railway up to the Grand Canyon. Our train left at 9:30am and arrived at the south rim of the Grand Canyon 2.5 hours later. It was a fun ride in a Pullman Car with real cowboys putting on a show before we got on the train, holding up the train and musicians playing and singing on the train.
The train ride was fun but Grand Canyon was amazing. It is an unbelievable site that everyone has to see, words can not describe the vastness and beauty of this area. We had about three hours to explore the park which was really just enough to get an overview of this amazing place.
We were surprised at how well the park could handle all the people, it did not seem crowded at all and you certainly could do whatever you wanted without having to wait. All to soon we needed to make our way back to the train for the 2.5 hour ride back to Williams. The ride went fast and before we knew it we were back in Williams.
After returning we wondered over to the grocery store to pick up supplies and something for dinner and breakfast the next morning. As we were heading back to our Hostel, Peter said that guy in the cross walk looks just like Randy Johnson. Tracy said that is Randy and Julie and their granddaughter, they are our neighbors from Green Bay. What a small world, it was so great to see them and talk for a while. They are on a two week vacation and were traveling across the United States as well. Peter and I have been feeling kind of lonely lately and it was very nice to see someone from home!!
Tomorrow we head to Grand Canyon Caverns a campground near Peach Springs, AZ. Again we will be heading downhill the whole day – YEA!!
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.