Best part of the day: Reuniting with our BTUSFMS Pac Coast teammate, Rich
Worst part of the day: Having to say goodbye to P&J
Distance: 71.36 miles Riding Time: 6hrs 13min
Bed count: 14 Sleeping Bag count: 10
It was a sad morning for us having to say not “see you soon”, but, “goodbye for now” to P&J. They would be driving to Albuquerque to get a brace for Peggy’s injured limb and visiting a friend of theirs. Then they’d begin their 3-4 day drive back home.(Jerry’s picture at our parting from the hotel. We wish them a safe journey back home.)
We got on the road at 7:30 letting Rich know we were rolling. Our route on State Route 124 brought to some beautiful views of some mesas for the first 20 miles.
Then we were back on I-40 for another 22-23 miles. A couple of miles before exiting the interstate, the highway was getting reduced to a single lane for some sort of road work. Little did we know that as we approached the work, it was a repaving project! Well, that was good and bad. We wound up having a full traffic lane all to ourselves, but, the surface was mostly dried asphalt oil. So, any bits of gravel and undried oil got kicked up onto our bike frames! In hindsight, it probably would’ve been better to have ridden much closer to the open traffic lane.
Finally exiting the freeway on route, we pulled into the Route 66 Casino and Truck Stop, for a pit stop. Examining our bikes, there were numerous blotches of dried tar/oil on our bike’s bottom brackets and down tube. Our fenders saved our bikes from a lot more accumulation of that stuff.
(The tar from the road resurfacing on Fay’s Nalgene bottle and her front tire.)
Continuing on, our route took us on a nice frontage road adjacent to the interstate (thank goodness we were not on resurfaced road!). But, it also hit us with a 4.5-mile, 550’ climb that seemed to drag on forever! It was about another 6 miles of a gradual downhill after that before we’d meet up with our friend, Rich, at the next truck stop outside of Albuquerque. Rich rode the 20 miles from his home to meet and lead us back (which meant that we had those very same 20 miles to ride!!).
Warm greetings were exchanged between the 3 of us at the truck stop’s Carl’s Jr where we stopped for lunch. It had been a couple of years since riding with him on our Pac Coast ride. Soon, we were on our way with Rich leading us initially along the ACA route, but, soon deviating to the north part of the city towards the mountains in the distance. He led us to some of the historical parts of the city.(Statues of the early explorers of Albuquerque near the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Notice the storm cell in the background? It blew passed us without a drop!)
The last 3-4 miles were all uphill! After already doing 65 miles, those last couple really drained us!
(Us with Rich in their backyard patio.)
(Susan is a quilter and belongs to a quilting club. Here is a bike-themed one she made for Rich.)
As you can see by our ride length, today was our 2nd longest day. It also put us over the 1,000-miles ridden mark!! That’s about 40% of our anticipated total ride distance.
The three of us rolled to Rich’s home and his wife, Susan, provided iced tea and a nice covered patio area in their backyard where we wheeled our bikes and bags. They graciously opened up their home to us. Fay got showered while Rich brought out his bike stand and Rob did his best to clean that tar off of the bike frames. We also finally got a chance to clean our drivetrains (gears, chains, and derailleurs) which hadn’t been done since we left our house!!
Rob got cleaned up and the four of us went for dinner at the Route 66 Diner there in downtown. It truly had a 50s feel and was once an actual gas station and garage! It got converted to a diner in 1987. Here’s a link to it if you’d like to see some pictures and get its history: https://66diner.com/route-66.
(These pictures are from only the front part of the restaurant. The top pictures show a whole bunch of Pez dispensers. They’re all over the place, even giant-sized ones, too!)
Wonderful atmosphere, service and food. Rich and Rob had one of their shakes while Susan and Fay split one (they were that big!) which were fantastic. We even saw one of the servers bring out a monster-sized banana split for a customer!! It had 9, yes 9, scoops of ice cream and the whipped cream was piled up so high it had to be at least 18” tall!! Wow!!
Back at their home, we were originally going to set up our tent in their backyard, but, as Rich and Susan had a 5th Wheel trailer, they offered that up for our evening’s quarters! A nice bed for the night!
Before retiring, we started planning for the next few ride days. We had signed up for Warm Showers before leaving on this trip. Rich helped us look for a host in Santa Fe for Sunday (and possibly Monday, if we wanted to take another rest day there). Finding a couple of them real close to our route, we reached out to both. So, we’ll see if we hear from either of them before reaching Santa Fe.
Tomorrow will be a fairly short day, but, still over 1,600′ of climbing. It’ll be much needed after these last 3 day of 60+ miles! Rich will ride along with us to our destination as he knows this area very well.
Until our next post….