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Day 11

Finally, a rest day on the road

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ROUTE:  Tucumcari NM to Dalhart TX DISTANCE:  97 Miles TOTAL CLIMBING:  1200 feet...nothing

DAILY REPORT:  Sunny and warm, high 82 and windy...but nice winds

Today is our shortest ride so far.  I made the announcement that we would eat at 6:00 and then load luggage for a little later start today.  Everyone was on the road by 8:00 in what promised to be our best weather day since we left California.  Didn't want the short day to go by without some relief to everyone...sleep in and take your time was the order of the day.  We were forecast to have brisk favorable winds which made for a fast ride for everyone.  I was able to ride from the motel today and picked up with Sam, Jay, and Andy...it promised to be a fast pace.  As we cranked it up, I was amazed at how strong they were riding with the miles they had in their legs lately...but we were heavy on the pedals and were flying with a little wind to help.  We were clipping along over 25 most of the time...so much for a warm up...sub 4 hour today? 

Not much in the way of things to report on the route today though.  We did enter our 4th state, but other than the sign, it was hard to tell the difference from where we'd been.  Northeast New Mexico and the Texas panhandle are pretty desolate.  The only action was lots of large cattle trucks streaming down the highway and the ever present freight trains that pass by every few minutes...we did roll through a couple of small towns today, but the key words here are "a couple."  Tonight we are staying at a Best Western motel right by railroad tracks so I'll probably be able to tell you how often they pass by by morning. 

The traffic was never a problem out here.  Hwy 54 has wide shoulders in New Mexico and Texas albeit when we got to Texas the shoulder isn't quite as smooth in spots after the first 25 miles or so.  But my hat's off to Texas as they had put down a smooth wide shoulder for the first 25...we were smokin'.  There was plenty of room for us to ride even side by side on the shoulder as we passed the time in the saddle. 

We passed our first feed lot today.  Actually, the aroma wasn't as bad as usual, but there was enough methane in the air to choke a horse.  For those of you who don't know what a feed lot is, it's an area where they bring cattle to fatten before they are processed and there are thousands of them in every lot.  It's sort of a sad sight because you know that in about 6 weeks, every one of them will have met their fate and a new batch will take their place.  It is quite a sight...and quite a smell especially if you are down wind like we were today, but it's what makes this part of the country prosper.  I guess knowing where that Big Mac comes from makes one feel a little different about eating red meat.

We are off the interstates now so we don't have to worry so much about the radial tire wires we pick up in our tires, but now we have the notorious Texas Goatheads.  These little plants produce a round, prickly thorn that plays havoc with anything it touches.  At our SAGs, we had to be careful and not ride our bikes in the grass at all...if we did, we'd pick up so many goatheads that we might as well throw the tire away.  One even attached itself to my saddle when I laid my bike down...glad I saw it before I plopped my behind on the saddle.  No end to the challenges we face on the road.

Most everyone was in by 3:00 in spite of the loss of an hour.  The tailwinds really made today seem short and easy...especially in relation to what we've had over the last couple of days.  Everyone was commenting how their average was the best so far...almost everyone averaged over or near 20 at least. 

We are on Central time now and we'll be in this zone until Ohio...where the dreaded eastern time zone will befall us...more on that later I'm sure.  But for now, our early finish made time to do a couple of things we've meant to do since we've started.  I set up the computer and ran a slide show of the photos I've take so far and I put on a drivetrain cleaning clinic before dinner.  I think everyone that attended appreciated the talk and will now go screw up their derailleur adjustments.  After the clinic, the riders spent the rest of the afternoon giving their bikes a much needed cleaning and lubrication.  Aside from that, it's nice to get in early to have a longer afternoon for recovery.  They will need some easy days before we get to the winds of Kansas...soon...actually it looks like as soon as tomorrow.

As I said, today was a recovery day.  Did you ever think a 97 mile ride would be for recovery?  Tomorrow we're forecast to have winds in our face...ugh.  We'll see you again then as we traverse 3 states on our way to Kansas.  Tune in and see how we do. 

YOU DON'T SAY:

"Those feed lots are like Auschwitz for Bovines."

"When we rode by the feedlot, my eyes were watering so badly I could hardly see."

"We only had one turn today...and I missed it."  Robert...well, he was anxious again to get on the bike after his day off. 

PHOTOS OF THE DAY

Jay was on top of Ron's problem..."You forgot to put the tube inside the tire before you inflated it."  Ron was not impressed with his assessment and pointed out that his problem was finding a tire the same shape of this tube.

At the feed lot, Sam pointed out where Andy's next Big Mac might come from.

I think we may have discovered Sam's problem with his pedal stroke.

OUCH!

   

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