Author: annedoylebiking

“Very limited services next 90.5 miles” AND “No services next 55 miles”!

Not a whole lot between here and there these last two lonely days of cycling in this region of west Texas, and what’s here is often closed, ill-suited for a thirsty cyclist and/or for sale!

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Not what we had in mind…

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Sometimes a church offers exactly the “services” we need: ADVICE!

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Deep in the heart of Texas…

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Gotta love cycling on the highway with a nice slow speed limit and easy to navigate entry and exit ramps.  Help!  I felt better knowing that the state motto mentions driving the “friendly way.”

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Phew! Off the highway but time for a flat tire (2 and counting since entering Texas).  Watch out for prickly goat heads.

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The nice county irrigation manager, Danny, and my biking pal, Richard, stopped to assist with my first flat.  I got the second one changed all by myself:)

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Snack breaks on the road with my friends Bill, Lou and Richard… no time to move the bikes.  M&Ms call.

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We live for chocolate.  The Community Church in a quiet spot in west Texas opened up their church and grounds to us overnight to camp.  Some churches encourage giving up chocolate (or some other dear thing) for Lent.  Apparently not this one!

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Of course, the next cafe reminded us of who really lays down the law.

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Do I have a deal for you!

The day after we left Silver City, NM, outside this pleasant cafe we met a friendly and eccentric man (a common combination in these parts), who offered my biking buddy and me such a deal: a silver claim with access to 160 acres for a mere $300!  He had moved from Ames, Iowa convinced that he would strike it rich as a few lucky miners had nearly 150 years before.  As tempting as it was to imagine another big silver strike, we pedaled on…

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How about this for another deal?  After 100s of miles passing Mexican restaurants in Arizona and New Mexico, finally German food.  Shucks.  Out of business.  But it could be yours for a good price…

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Here’s an entrepreneurial effort amidst miles of absolutely nothing but pecan groves.  This deal should do the trick!

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How about this for a surprising business idea in Fort Davis, Texas?

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Hot stuff. High stuff. Hard stuff. That’s New Mexico!

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Seven days crossing New Mexico into Texas

What a week! We climbed to the highest point of the trip, 8,200 feet at Emory pass, made it through a dust storm, peddled against a stiff head wind past acres of farms growing chili peppers, pima cotton, and miles of pecan groves, and yesterday completed a near century with  almost half of it a climb (culminating in a 10 mile mind-numbing cold and steep down-hill)!

 

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This wisdom comes from (where else) a restroom in a small cafe in Hillsboro, NM. It sums up this week of cycling!

The HIGHS:  Two days of climbing through Ponderosa Pine forests (TREES!! After lots of desert flat this was a great change).

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Notice the bullet holes in this helpful sign…

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Icing is the best remedy for long days (along with my staple of chocolate milk!)

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HOT stuff…


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HARD stuff:  As I cycled into Hatch, New Mexico, the “chili capital” of the USA, the nice lady at the small town museum told me of dust storm warnings with gusts up to 40 miles/hour.  At the post office (where I was mailing a care package of hot chili peppers to Jim) the post master rushed out to take down the whipping flag.  By the time I was cycling into camp, the gusts were blowing my bike and me nearly across the center line!

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Molly survived the dust storm..

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Sue digging into an entire pie to dull the pain…

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“So why are you riding 3,200 miles ?” and other FAQs

Q Why are you riding 3,200 miles?

A Well, for starters, since I’m not biking in a straight line but instead swerving to get around countless pieces of shredded truck tires, bungee cords sprung free from who knows what, old shoes, and cans and bottles of all sorts (Arizona – where is your bottle bill?), I’m fairly certain I’m doubling the mileage. That being said, I like the answer one of my bike buddies gives to this question, “Why 3,200 miles?” “Because after that you hit water!”

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Q Are there “up hills”?

A ARE THERE HILLS??? Friday we climbed 5,700 feet in south eastern Arizona!

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Looking back from the top of the pass before whizzing into New Mexico…

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Q What about the down hills?

A Whoo hee!!

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Q How do you like camping?

A Camping is fun! Packing up is NOT :).

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Q Where do you get water ?

Option 1 (This is on the Apache Reservation…)

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Option 2:  Sometimes McDonald’s appears on the horizons… All the water you can drink AND a clean bathroom!

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But the local option is even BETTER….!!!

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Q Does it ever get cold in the mountains?

A Absolutely not:)  (This morning in Silver City, NM – 37 degree low – and chilly yesterday in Buckhorn!)

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Q What are the other people like?

A They also like to eat and camp and laugh (and bike).

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Q Do you take showers?

A I can tell you that my hair looks best under a helmet.  I had to put my “Miss Clairol” back into my handlebar bag:)

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Q  How’s NM?

A Enchanting!!

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A town called Surprise and other surprises in Arizona

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We left Hope for Surprise! I laughed my way through Arizona at the signs…Tomorrow we head into the mountains of New Mexico on our way to Silver City with an elevation of 8,200 feet.

 

 

DSCN1804DSCN1805DSCN1806  A reminder that we are in a retirement state!!

 

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Guess what we found at mile 88?  A HUGE mall and shopping strip!

 

 

 

 

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These brothers had no choice but to continue in the family business…

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This sign says it all! (and how often can you buy ice cream AND leather in one stop?)

 

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I am hoping it only takes me TWO months…!

How you know you’ve reached Arizona…

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We crossed the Colorado River into Arizona, home of countless RV parks and long, dry stretches with lots of warning signs!  Our first Arizona night we camped in Quartzite where there are no fewer than 57 RV parks along one long strip!  Note to self: it’s very hard to pound a tent stake into the gravel ground of an RV park.  We met this friendly, toothless local, Don (below), who told us  countless hilarious stories about his RV community and proudly proclaimed, “This is where lizards come to die…”  Temps get up to 125 degrees!

 

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I stopped at a local book store…where there were more than books.  (This nudist was happy to chat with my biking buddies while I looked for a book to buy! ) And I actually found what I was looking for!  Now I’m reading Steve Job’s biography.  So even if the owner has no clothes, he has some good books.

 

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I ALWAYS stop at the rest areas!  The desert doesn’t make for good alternative options:)

 

 

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How you REALLY know you are in Arizona.  Dorothy, you’re not in California any more….

 

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Crossing southern CA mountains and deserts (Boulevard to Brawley to Palo Verde, CA)

California will soon be behind us after four days of biking in cool mountain terrain, then down into desert heat.  We cycled down several thousand feet on the freeway passing plenty of warning signs.  I would have taken a photo of the sign that said “High Winds Next 12 Miles” except I was nearly blown off the freeway as I hung on for dear life as traffic whizzed by.  

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Camping, while usually tranquil, has its own hazards!

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We hugged the ever-present wall (the long brown snake in the photo below) separating the US from Mexico for much of yesterday. Border Patrol SUVs passed us at break-neck speeds. Today we entered the Imperial Sand Dunes. Wild changes in topography.

At the end of a long, hot day of riding, my beverage of choice…!

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We are off… Dog Beach, San Diego up over the mountains to the Mexican border: ready, set, go!

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We are not going to be hungry! Do it yourself breakfast and lunch fixings.

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First morning requisite dipping of the wheels into the Pacific (and we all got doused by a surprise wave!). What you can’t see are the dozens of dogs running laps around their owners on this aptly named, “Dog Beach.”

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Oops! Bike trouble on the first day as we headed up, up, up out of San Diego by big box, medium box and small box stores, but not a bike store to be found. Finally found a combo surf, skate board and bike shop in the small town of Alpine. Sean, the bicycle mechanic, arrived at 4pm after his landscaping job, adjusted my cable etc., and I finally arrived at camp at 5pm! 8 hours for 50 miles on the first day and I’m hoping bike troubles are behind me.

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Surprise! We spent a few miles on the freeway today and more tomorrow. It’s legal! Can you imagine doing this in Massachusetts?

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Chilly morning at the campground as we start our mountainous day two on our way to the Mexican border.

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My favorite water bottles reminds me of my favorite bike buddies back home.

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Good bye, San Diego! Thanks to my wonderful friends, Alison, Craig, Sadie and Helen for the send off!