Fort Davis to Marathon 55 miles

This was a good ride to recuperate from yesterday’s ride. I know my legs were still tired and I expect others were also. The other item was our rear-ends. It was hard to set in the saddle for a little while but the pain soon resided.

The ride was fairly ease with most of the ride being downhill. There were a few easy climbs and this will be the norm at least until we reach Del Rio.

One thing bought the ride into focus for me today. We rode by a memorial for a rider that lost his life while riding his bike. It is apparent that it was due to a drunk driver. This rider would have been the same age as me.

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This just reminds us to be aware of the cars and drivers around us. The three of us always call out to each other when cars or trucks are coming behind us. Also we are careful when crossing intersections.

 

Van Horn to Fort Davis 92 Miles

This day’s ride had 4753 feet of elevation gain and it was mainly at the end to the day. After a good breakfast at the location café in Van Horn, we started down a road that paralleled I-10. It was a good rode with a gradual incline and almost no traffic but the road was coated with chip seal asphalt. For those not from Texas, a lot of small highways are coated with this type of asphalt. What that means for bike rides is that it is harder pedaling. It will cut our speed by 2 to 3 mph. At least we didn’t have a hard head wind today.

We stayed on this road for 20 miles until we reached our first rest stop. Then we were back on I-10 again. Although I-10 is very busy we had a wide and smooth shoulder to ride on. Being on I-10 the climb was not as steep as what we somethings experience on the smaller highways. We stayed on I-10 until we reached Kent, Tx. During this ride we came across a self-supported rider by the name of Corey Anderson. He claimed to have ridden more miles on a bike than anyone. Some of the riders checked out his website and the claims seemed to be true. He said he was headed to Washington DC to meet with President Trump. We left him at Kent and he continued on I-10 with an immediate destination of Dallas, about 500 miles away.

We started out on Highway 118 and would stay on it for the next 52 miles. Here our real climbing began. We would climb over 2000 feet over the next 30+ miles then downhill into Fort Davis. During the ride I came across one of my favorite photo items (a windmill).

Most, if not all the riders, were very exhausted and hungry. While walking by the café we saw this beautiful sight.

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Also and an addendum I have attached pictures of the jersey I wore on the first full day of my Texas ride.

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I also wanted to share a group picture of our completing 1000 miles.

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Sierra Blanca to Van Horn 35 Miles

This should have been a fairly easy day. Only 35 miles with a gradual incline for the first 20 miles with the ride ending on a downhill.

Wrong! Just to make it interesting, we had a 20 + MPH head wind. To combat this head wind the three of us got in a pace line and took turns pulling for a mile at a time. (A pace line is when we ride in one single line and each rider follows directly behind the rider in front of him, so the person in front of you front is breaking the wind so you can rest). This is almost like NASCAR. We are separated by only 2 to 3 feet. This makes a big difference. True Team Work!

Ed had bike problems today and they worked on it once we arrived in camp but it will take someone with more tools and experience to fix it. Tomorrow Ed will be riding one of the support person’s bike. It will be hard getting used to a new bike on a 90 mile ride.

Tonight we are camping in a RV park. It has showers and a laundry room. It is amazing how fast we accumulate dirty clothes.

El Paso to Sierra Blanca 97 miles

Today’s stop at McDonald’s was a little unusual. We arrived at 6:30am and the place was packed. It was located in the enter city so there were a lot of homeless people there. One thing we found unusual was they did not have a soft drink machine where you could serve yourself. Although they were very busy, their service was fast. Before we went in we locked our bikes together, because the bikes created a lot of interest.

Once on the road, we spent about the next 20 + miles riding on El Paso city streets. One difficulty we run into when riding in cities is trying to get everyone thru stop lights together. The leaders had to stop occasionally so the others could catch up. During this section there were 5 of us together. The roads had good shoulders so we had plenty of room to ride.

Our first rest stop of the day was unusually long, 31 miles. This was due to the route, it was on a gradual downhill and fairly easy to ride. This trend continued thru rest stop #3 at Esperanza.

Then our climb began. It wasn’t very steep, just long and the last 20 miles on I-10 and we exited at Sierra Blanca. This was our longest day to date and we were all exhausted.

Here we stopped at the city park, where our support staff announced we had just completed the first 1000 miles of the ride. To celebrate the support staff prepared and served us fajitas. After dinner we moved to the First Untied Methodist Church of Sierra Blanca for the night.

Las Cruces to El Paso 51 Miles

Texas my Texas, I know it is “OUR” Texas but I’m a transplant even though I have lived in Texas more than any other state. I am glad we made it to Texas. We will ride about 1090 miles, over 17 days, in the Great State of Texas.

When we left Las Cruces, the temperature was an enjoyable 66 degrees. This has been about normal for our mornings in New Mexico.

Our ride took us through miles of Pecan Orchards. They were beautiful and gave us great shade and in some areas we felt like we were riding in a tunnel.

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I have also added a picture of a fairly typical rest area out in the middle of nowhere. It was really at the post office in Chamberino, NM.

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Also on this ride, as well as several time yesterday, we crossed the Rio Grande Rive and we never left the United States of America. Here is proof of one such crossing.

One of my disappointments today is there wasn’t a welcome to Texas sign since we were taking a lot of back roads and not a major highway. I was looking forward to the picture opt. Just outside of El Paso, we rode on a bike trail that ran adjacent to the Rio Grande river. It was an enjoyable 10 mile ride.DCIM100GOPROGOPR0240.JPG

We stopped and a local bike shop so Frank (one of my regular riding friends) could get some adjustments made to his bike so it would shift better. Then on to the Trinity-First Untied Methodist Church where we will be spending the night.

Caballo Lake State Park to Las Cruces 61 miles

We stopped for breakfast in the little town of Arrey. I had called to the Arrey Café last night to see when they opened and was told they officially open at 8:00 a.m., but there would be people to let us in around 7:30 a.m., so our plans were set. When we pulled up to the restaurant at 7:30, there were already 4 or 5 vehicles parked in front. And when we went in, there was already about 10 people eating. We ordered and were waiting for our meals when a gentleman came around with a plate full of cake. He said it was a tradition of the place to give everyone a piece of cake on Sunday morning, so of course we accepted.

I ordered biscuits and gravy (full order). These were the best biscuits I have ever had. They were homemade and melted in your mouth. The gravy wasn’t bad either. Others had pancakes that filled their plates. This gave us more than enough energy for the gentle downward sloping ride to Las Cruces.

I failed to pack my camera today so I don’t have any pictures of the ride, but tonight we had a full moon and in Korean tradition this full moon was the time of Thanksgiving. We all have reason to give thanks and that goes for all of riders so I have attached a picture of the moon as it was rising for the evening.

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Silver City to Caballo Lake State Park 79 Miles

We hated to leave Silver City but we have to stay on schedule. Back to the usual McDonald’s breakfast and on the road.

The day started out with 3 substantial climbs to be followed up with a difficult climb to our highest elevation of the ride. We rode up to the top of Emory Pass with an elevation of 8,228 feet. Our total elevation gain, for the day, was 6,957 feet. Once we reached the top of Emory Pass, we went to an observation look out and we could see Caballo Lake some 37 miles away.

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Our only saving grace for the day was that the temperature didn’t exceed 85 degrees.

The downhill was great. Hang on tight and weave your way down the mountain for over 19 miles until we reached the unincorporated town of Hillsboro. Here we had lunch in the only restaurant in the town. The best part of the lunch was the ice cream at the end.

The state park had a good restroom with very good showers, so no hose shower this time. The one problem was it’s not close to anything, so I had to have my first dehydrated meal. It was easy to make because all I had to do was boil 2 cups of water and pour it in the package and wait 9 minutes. Even I couldn’t mess that up. What I also like about it was the only thing I had to clean was the spoon I used to eat it.

The moon was almost a full moon so being out by a lake, in the dark, the moon seemed huge.

Second Rest Day!

The Silver City Presbyterian Church went above and beyond to make us welcome. Not only was there plenty of room to spread out, but they provided us with dinner the first and second nights and breakfast the second morning. They also entertained us with a quiz of New Mexico for dummies quiz. It was a lot of fun and the teachers in our group did very well.

On our rest day, 8 of us went to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. It is the only cliff dwelling that you can actually go into the dwelling itself. They had a National Park guide, who was very dedicated and informative and talked to us for close to 45 minutes.

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On the way down from the dwelling, an older gentleman, not from our bike group, fell about 8 feet hitting his head. Our BIKETHEUSFORMS has been a National Park employee and administered immediate first aid until the one site Park Employees arrived. It was going to take over 2 hours for emergency personnel to arrive but before we left they had the man stable.

The remainder of the day was filled with laundry and bike cleaning. Then our last meal by the church.

Lordsburg to Silver City NM 55 Miles

We intended to start out at McDonalds but we couldn’t find it, so we settled on Arby’s and settled is the correct word. Arby’s didn’t have any pancakes so we had to eat breakfast burritos and these did not compare to what we had in Safford.

Once on the road, we began a climb that seemed to last forever. It was only about 15 miles but when you include the head wind it was a trying ride. The trouble with these types of climbs is it messes with your mind because you can’t see the climb until you look in your mirror or stop and look back, then it becomes a reality.

It was a beautiful morning. The clouds hung over the mountain tops. The temperature was in the 60s and 70s most of the morning. After the initial 15 mile climb, we still had 5 mores steeper but shorted climbs.

Once we arrived in Silver City, we stopped at the local bike shop where I purchased a new cell phone mount, since the zipper on my bike bag broke and I had been holding it together with duct tap each morning for over a week.

Then to the church at which we will be staying to the 2 days. Yes we have reached our second rest day.

 

Safford to Lordsburg NM 55 miles ??? no 77 Miles

We skip our usual McDonald’s breakfast for two reasons. One, our server at dinner recommended a 24 hour Burrito shop that would save us riding at least another mile off line to get to McDonald’s.

And two, the burritos were huge. One would replace the complete breakfast at McDonald’s.

The riding day started off flat and then we hit a gradual climb after 10 miles. Everything went well and we crossed into New Mexico. Arizona is now behind us and things are changing for the better as we started riding in New Mexico.

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1. The temperature stayed in the 90s (which we hope will stay or get cooler)

2. The cactus have changed

3. We haven’t had any major climbs

4. It rained on us hard the last 6 miles of the ride into Lordsburg.

We were completely soaked by the time we made it to the Lordsburg city park, where we are camping for the night. Luckily they have a shelter which we all could fit under so our tents stayed dry.

After getting camp setup, the rain had stopped. Frank, Ed and I decided to walk to a café that was shown on google. It was supposed to be 0.3 miles from camp but we found out it no longer existed. Once we determine that the rain had started again, we stopped in a small shop and asked where the nearest café was. They pointed down the road. They couldn’t tell us how far, just down the road. It turned out to be more than a mile and the rain was coming down hard and the wind also picked up.

Once arriving at the café the owner brought us small towels to dry off with. One of the first things I ordered was HOT chocolate. This was an original Mexican food place. The food was very good and the customers all wanted to hear our story, and not just our walk in rain.

We told them about our ride, where we started, where we were going and the experiences we have encountered.

Before we left I had a second cup of HOT chocolate.

When we got up to pay, the owner told us one of the other customers had already paid for our dinner. Another couple that was getting ready to leave asked us where we were staying and it turned out to be 2 blocks from the their house and offered us a ride back to camp.

This is just another example of the very kind and generous people we meet when on the RidetheUSforMS. We were truly blessed this day.