Day 82 – Another Rain Day

9.13.2012
Start: The Toaster House, Pie Town, NM
End: The Toaster House, Pie Town, NM
Today’s miles: 0
Total miles: 2446.2
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife:

Another lazy day at the Toaster house. Tre and I spent most of the day lounging around, analyzing the clouds, eating, reading magazines, and eating pie.

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The skies finally started clearing up in the evening. It’s really windy and cold though. I’ve been bundled up in all my clothes and raingear most of the day, even indoors.

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Tomorrow is the day we ride out. It’s nice to actually be excited to head out and ride rather than dreading it, as had been the case for me the last few days.

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Day 81 – Rain Day

9.12.2012
Start: The Toaster House, Pie Town, NM
End: The Toaster House, Pie Town, NM
Today’s miles: 0
Total miles: 2446.2
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife:

The pounding of the rain kept us up until about 2:00 when it finally let up a bit. Not good. Queen Bee and ‘It’s All Downhill’ hit the road at 5:30 this morning with ambitions of trying to ride 110 miles to make up for the delay that I caused (I seem to have a knack for that). I had been planning to get going as soon as it was light enough to see, but last nights rain scared me. Unlike the other two, I don’t have a strict time constraint. The chance for rain today is higher than it was yesterday; I’m sticking around.

Around 9:00 I received a text from the Queen Bee, it read:

Roads are BAD. First 15 miles unrideable when rainning. my advice is to take advantage of any dry warm weather and ride when you can. be safe!

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It’s been raining on and off all morning. I’m happy with my decision to stay. Plus I could use more rest; I can’t catch my breath after simply walking up the stairs. Tre has stayed put as well. He’s working on his bike under cover of the porch roof. We’re not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow. There was 3/4″ of rain yesterday and higher chance today and tomorrow. It’s also supposed to be cold and windy, down to about freezing the next two nights. After that the chance for precip should drop. We’ll have to wait to see what goes down tomorrow. We could be here yet another day.

Just received another text from Queen Bee. Not sure what happened, but it doesn’t sound good:

So…new derailleur on…chain still in line for inspection. haha we are not doing 110 today

Day 80 – Pie Town

9.11.2012
Start: Rt 41
End: The Toaster House, Pie Town, NM
Today’s miles: 18.5
Total miles: 2446.2
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife: elk

Woke up at 4:00 this morning and was riding before 5:00. The riding very soon turned into walking. The road surface wasn’t horrible, but I was still all over the place, partially because I don’t have good depth perception with my headlamp and partially since I was exhausted and mostly asleep – imagine a zombie riding a unicycle.

I arrived in Pie Town around 9:00 and went in search of Nita’s ‘Toaster House’. I was happy to spot 4 familiar wheels out front. Queen Bee and ‘It’s All Downhill’ hadn’t arrived until after dark last night due to all the flat tires. We headed to the cafe late in the morning for food and pie. I planted the seeds for staying in town and waited for them to grow. I myself was still planning to ride out of town, but was also entertaining thoughts of sticking around for the night. In the end we all stayed.

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Tre arrived in the afternoon during a downpour. He had ‘tacoed’ (folded in half) a wheel out of Cuba and had to hitch off route to get a new wheel. Queen Bee returned from a trip to he general store (and Internet access) a little later. She brought bad news: rain was coming.

The rain that arrived with Tre never really went away. I’m very happy to be here rather than out in it. Had I moved on as planned, I’d be cold and trying to trudge through the adhesive mud. Instead, we’re warm and dry, cooking on a wood fired stove.

Many thanks to Nita for offering this sanctuary at just the right time. Nita raised five kids here, but now lives a few miles down the road. She leaves the house open to hikers and bikers to use and enjoy.

Day 79 – Big Push

9.10.2012
Start: Grants, NM
End: Rt 41
Today’s miles: 69.9
Total miles: 2427.7
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife:

Queen Bee and ‘It’s All Downhill’ made me wake up at 4:30 this morning so that I’d have a fighting chance at making it to Pie Town tonight. They were troopers though and woke up with me. Queen Bee even chased me down for almost two miles to deliver my rain pants which I had left in the room. I was putting on those rain pants a few miles later as it started raining.

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Fortunately, I managed to slip between most of he rain today and was only subjected to minor, intermittent ‘sprinkles’. The road surface was decent for most of today’s ride and there were no huge elevation changes. Still, my legs screamed. It seems every day now is harder than the previous. It feels like my body is slowly shutting down.

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I probably would have made it to Pie Town today had I not had to spend time fixing flats. Goat Heads (thorny organisms) thrive here and caused me three punctures. ‘It’s All Downhill’ suffered something like seven or eight. I’ve decided not to try to ride into town in the dark and will try to get going early to catch the Queen and Downhiller before they leave.

Day 78 – Grants

9.9.2012
Start: Arroyo Seccion
End: Grants, NM
Today’s miles: 55.8
Total miles: 2357.8
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife: 2 Massive Elk, biggest rattler I’ve ever seen

Got moving down the road at daybreak this morning to try to get into town with enough time to get chores done and head out in the morning. The day dragged on and on. My legs don’t seem to be recovering anymore which is making the riding… unpleasant… On a positive note, a seat angle adjustment I made in Abiquiu seems to be helping and the seat, though no fun, is now bearable again (sometimes). Back on a negative note, the profiles on our maps are wrong and making things very frustrating.

I pulled into Grants around 6:00 to realize that I’ve been here before. Route 66 passes through town and as I rode down the historic route, I remembered driving a solar powered car through town as part of the 2001 American Solar Challenge, a solar car race along Rt. 66.

I located Queen Bee and ‘It’s All Downhill’ at the Denny’s for dinner then resupplied at Walmart before heading to our motel room. Trying to get an early start tomorrow for a huge day into Pie Town. Crossing our fingers that it doesn’t rain. If it does we’ll be stuck.

Day 77 – Flat

9.8.2012
Start: Cuba, NM
End: Arroyo Seccion
Today’s miles: 62.0
Total miles: 2302.0
Splats: 0
Divide crossings: 0
Wildlife:

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I had a scare this morning when 11 miles into the ride I looked at my gps to see that the route split off about 10 miles back. It took me a few panicked minutes to realize that my gps track was showing the alternate paved route. I’ve been relying pretty heavily on the gps for navigation and felt a little nervous the rest of the day as I followed some other bike tracks. The tracks looked a little different from Queen Bee’s (Jenny) and Josh ‘it’s all downhill‘ ‘s which made me more nervous. To add, the wind was strong and quickly erasing any evidence of earlier passers.

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Today was a day of arroyos. And a day not to get rained on; one because of flash flooding and two because of the adhesive like New Mexico mud. Fortunately wind and sand were all I had to contend with, and that was plenty. I also suffered my first flat tire of the trip which set me back a bit. I didn’t get into camp until after dark. I tried to ride by headlamp, but it was scary with deep gullys eroded across and alongside the road. I had a flashback and a scare when I fell on one of them and rolled my ankle. All was good, but I decided I was being an idiot trying to ride this terrain in the dark. I would have stopped and camped, but I could see a light in the distance which drew me like a moth to a light (or perhaps to a bug zapper). It wasn’t until I was only a few feet from the light that I confirmed I had found home for the night and not a bug zapper.

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