Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dalhart, TX, to Guymon, OK

"What a difference a day makes...twenty-four little hours..."

Yesterday, rain, hail, headwinds.  Today, sunny, warm, tailwinds.  :)

Data from today tell the tale:  3:03; 72 miles; 346' climb; 4,215 Calories.  I raced the wind!

You know you’re in Texas when the hotel’s waffles are in the shape of the state!

Directions for today’s ride, turn left out of the hotel, ride 71.6 miles, and turn right into next hotel.
Highlights:  Big Tex, DQ at the SAG.

Guymon promotes itself with the slogan, "Queen City of the Panhandle." Some cynics apparently have coined another slogan, "Home of the Most Lied-About Weather in the U.S."  There's a huge slaughter house here; they process 16,000 pigs per day; that's a lot of bacon.

Tucumcari, Dalhart, Guymon, Liberal, all exist because of the railroads.  Highway 54 runs parallel to the railroad tracks.  Tomorrow we continue on 54 to Liberal, Kansas; we will have been in four states in four days.

During the 1930’s, a prolonged drought and poor soil conservation created dust storms and the region became known as the “Dust Bowl.”  Farmers were forced to abandon their homes and many “Okies” departed in hopes of a better life in California.  If you have not read The Grapes of Wrath, do.

Big Tex.  It used to be the entrance to a restaurant in Dalhart. 

Irrigation system

What today's road looks like - straight and flat. 

 Lots of wind generation here.

Check out the size of the windmill blades!

Grain elevators - America's castles 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tucumcari, NM, to Dalhart, TX

Rain, hail, headwinds - who says cycling isn't fun?

It started raining when we left the hotel and promptly started to hail!  Did I mention it was a cold rain?  After more than one-hour the rain stopped and it started to warm up a little.  The road between Tucumcari and Dalhart is very flat but the rumble strip is in the middle of the shoulder and there's a lot of truck traffic.  After the first SAG stop, the wind really picked up.  We were headed NE and the wind was directly out of the N @ 20+ mph and gusting to 30+.  I hung in as long as I could before hailing one of CrossRoads' vans and throwing in the towel.  With fifty miles to go, I was barely making 10 mph against the was going to take me five hours more hours to reach the night's lodging.  I wasn't the only rider to come to the sane conclusion, but a bunch of the gang put their heads down and fought their way in to complete every inch.

3:23; 44 miles; 1,012' climb; 1,924 Calories

This is what the road looks like, straight and very flat.  This was after the rain had stopped but the wind never did.

My bike on the back of the van. 

SAG stop 

My view for the last part of the ride. 

XIT feedlot outside of Dalhart.  Thousands and thousands of cows being fattened up for hamburgers.  Imagine the smell. 

Outside of La Quinta Inn in Dalhart. 

The new rogues.




Tom and Laurel

Monday, May 22, 2017

Las Vegas to Tucumcari, NM

"It's a long, long way to Tucumcari.  It's a long way to go."  Yes, I know the song is Tipperary but it somehow seemed appropriate.  State road 104E is a very lonely road with very little traffic.  Between Las Vegas and Tucumcari, there's one filling station and huge expanses.  Highlights of today's ride, the Canadian Escarpment, "the Wall," and long rolling roads that go on forever.

It was cloudy and cool all day but we had head winds coming in to Tucumcari.

7:07; 110 miles; 3,356' climb; 4,692 Calories

The pictures tell the tale:

Threatening skies.  Although thunderstorms were forecast, we didn't get any rain.

There's not much out here. 

One SAG stop was at this abandoned filling station. 

I'll bet you could rent this place cheap.  Needs a new roof. 

Looking down the Canadian Escarpment.   1,000 foot drop over three miles. 

Howard looking at the drop. 

"The Wall."  0.7 miles @9%

The road goes on forever.  Rollers. 

The payoff at the end.  :) 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Santa Fe to Las Vegas, NM

That's Las Vegas, NEW MEXICO!  Yes, there's another Las Vegas and, no, there aren't any casinos here.  This ride ranks up there with Oak Creek Canyon for beautiful scenery.  It was cool when we left Santa Fe and warmed up a little during our ride.  Skies were partly cloudy and the winds were either not a factor or behind us.  Great ride on a Sunday morning.

Highlights of today, our last miles on the interstate - done, finished, over.

Glorieta Pass, the highest elevation on our cross country ride, 7,500 feet.  This was the location of a civil war battle in 1862 between Confederate and Union soldiers.  The rebels were trying to open up a path to California through the New Mexico Territory.  The battle was pretty much a draw but the union forces destroyed the rebel's supply wagons and the rebels retreated to Texas, never to return.

Our route took us along old route 66 and part of the Santa Fe Trail.  The SFT was the major route for settlers from Independence, MO to Santa Fe.

A Dairy Queen one mile before the hotel for a cheeseburger and shake.  :)

5:03; 73 miles; 3,864' climb; 3,355 Calories.

Want to buy a chair?

The view at the beginning of the ride after leaving Santa Fe. 

The Alto bar.  This was where we did our SAG stop in 2009.  This year's stop was down the road. 


White poppies. 

The view at the end of the ride.  Flat to the horizon. 

My new ride.  It's electric. 

The payoff at the end of the ride! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Santa Fe, NM - Rest Day

Our second rest day of the ride.

Today is a good time to encourage you to contribute what you can to the USO.  The United Services Organization supports our troops here and overseas in many, many ways.  It's one way to help our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, and relatives who serve in the military.  Donate here.  Thank you.

My laundry is in the washing machine at the hotel as I type this.  Up until now, I've been washing my cycling togs in the hotel sink.  Rolling the damp clothing in a towel and then hanging it up to dry works very well, but it will be good to have all clean clothes for the next leg of the trip.  The only problem is what to wear while everything else is in the wash...

On riding days:

5:00 AM in search of coffee

5:30 - 6:30 AM breakfast in the hotel

Take bicycle and bags to the lobby

7:30 AM depart hotel and ride to the next destination

arrive at hotel and go in search of cheeseburger/milk shake first dinner

5:30 PM route rap for the next day's ride

6:00 PM second dinner

8:00 PM bedtime

repeat, repeat, repeat...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Albuquerque to Santa Fe, NM

Uphill, into the wind, and snow!

Our route from Albuquerque to Santa Fe took us up 14 North, also called the Turquoise Trail.  We did a lot of climbing today.  Once we got out of town, traffic decreased and the grades were long and steep.  The north wind wasn't as much of a hindrance early in the morning.  Vegetation changed dramatically as we went higher and higher; trees gave way to scrub which gave way to high desert.  The views were spectacular.  It was cold, with threatening skies - I felt a few rain drops and then saw snow flakes!  The snow fall didn't last long, but was a fun addition to the ride.  We descended through Madrid which is famous as a location used in the movie "Wild Hogs."  The road then turned upwards again with rollers all the way in to Santa Fe, but by this time the wind had come up and we had to put our heads down and grind out the miles.  Dan and I rode together all day.  Despite the long slog in Santa Fe, it was a fun day of climbing through some wonderful countryside.

Several of our group were only riding to Albuquerque.  Sad to see them go.  Oliver, Franz, Daniel, Julia, Lee, and Dennis have been replaced by some new riders: Lori, Paul, Joanne, Tom, and Laurel, some of whom are riding to St. Josephs, MO or Champaign, IL.  Mary is leaving us from Santa Fe.

5:33; 68 miles; 4,716' climb; 3,255 Calories

Tomorrow is a rest day!  :)

A full flag of wind - unfortunately from the direction we were cycling.

Threatening skies 

From left to right, flashing head light, route slip, Garmin computer. 

 I took a picture of this very same cactus in 2009!

Mobile sculptures displayed by the road into Santa Fe. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Grants to Albuquerque, NM

"Please, sir, may I have some more?"

Downhill with a tailwind - does it get any better?

We spent most of the day on old Route 66 which parallels I-40.  The pavement was smooth, there was very little traffic, it's mostly downhill to Albuquerque, and the wind was at our backs.  I took advantage of the conditions and rode like the wind.  I was slowed by construction in town and lots of long stoplights but the rest of the ride was fantastic.  Oh, yes, it was 36 degrees when we left Grants, but skies were clear and temperatures warmed up as the day wore on.  And there was a Dairy Queen at the second SAG stop!  Big grin.

3:55; 79 miles; 1,896' climb; 3,857 Calories


CrossRoads staff
Larry, Howard, Robin, Elaine, Jan, Tracy 

Descent into Albuquerque.  Sandia Mountain in the distance. 

The Rio Grande 

More Rogues








Mike S