Day 11 – Tucamcari, New Mexico to Dalhart, Texas

Not many pics today because today was mostly about wind. An energy sapping headwind. A wind of about 30mph. A wind gusting to nearly twice that. A wind full of red Texas dust. A wind that told your legs you’d cycled 190 miles not just 95. A wind that made taking pictures a chore. A wind constantly slapping your face and screaming in your ears “why are you doing this?”

But that said a wind that at the end of the day put even more colour in our weather beaten cheeks and made us all shake one another’s hands and say “job well done.” We slept soundly. We slept quietly satisfied. We slept knowing that it we managed this day then there was a good chance we might reach the Atlantic coast in a fortnight.

Day 9 – Albuquerque to Las Vegas (no not that one)!

Another day curtailed by dangerously strong cross winds that threatened to dump us on the black top at any moment. Managed to ride 114 miles before Mike Munk (tour leader) called a halt. One of the two Kiwi riders, Symon, took a heavy fall after getting his front wheel caught in a cattle grid and was taken to hospital to clean up his face and shoulder.  Pictures of the battered and bruised All Black front row tomorrow! His helmet looks like a bite’s been taken out of it. Probs saved his life.  Always wear one –  you never know when you’re going to need it.

By the way we’re in the New Mexico Las Vegas not the Nevada one. Good job we realised before Sandy had booked Rose and I tickets to see Olivia Newton John in concert. Could’ve been an expensive taxi ride!

Talking of taxis…the old town here is the backdrop for the TV series Longmire (even though it’s set in Wyoming – go figure) so Rose wanted a look around. Only one problem: our hotel is some way out and there are no taxis (and don’t say why didn’t you ride in). So the hotel manager, Barbie, ran us into town in her bright green car she calls Roy. And when we’d eaten at Dicks she and Roy drove all the way back into town to pick us up again. Proper American hospitality. Thanks Barbie. And Roy.

Day 7 – Gallup to Albuquerque (almost)!

A funny kind of feeling on arrival here in Albuquerque. Elation that the first seven days of riding are behind us and that the first rest day is ahead of us. Sadness that we were unable to ride the whole way from Gallup to Albuquerque. We had to be trucked the first few miles past some shoulder on Interstate 40 that was unrideable because of it’s poor state of repair. And we missed two sections – both compulsory, one in the middle of the day and one at the end – because violent crosswinds made riding too dangerous. The purist in me is niggled. The pragmatist in me says it was a good call to abandon the ride for the day before the weather worsened. And now, from the comfort of our hotel room, it’s fair to say it’s blowing a hooley outside and no sane cyclist should be out on the roads or they’d end up like the poor old rattlesnake in the picture above.

Sadness also that a couple of riders are leaving us here having signed up to do only part of the trip. It’s amazing how quickly “family” ties develop on the road forged in the crucible of physical and mental exertion. Thanks for the ride guys and safe trips home.