Saturday, May 11th – Day 39 – Rest day in Mustang

Best part of the day: Stanley Cup Western Conference Final Game 1 to San Jose!!

Worst part of the day: Nothing!

Distance: 0 miles Riding Time: 0hrs 0min

Bed count: 23 Sleeping Bag count: 16

Not a whole lot happened today. Jim and Margie fixed us a nice breakfast in the morning.

After that, we completed a few remaining chores: washing the sleeping bags and our down jackets, cleaning the bikes’ drivetrains, and finish determining our evening’s destinations for the remainder of the trip.

In the evening after dinner, Margie made chocolate chip cookies for dessert (which always sits well with us!!) while Rob worked on plotting a number of our future routes into Ride With GPS, and at the same time, watching his San Jose Sharks beat St. Louis, 6-3, at the Shark Tank!!

Just before bedtime, got most of our bags packed up ready for a fairly early morning departure.

We couldn’t thank Margie and Jim enough for all of their hospitality!!20190512_080659

Until our next post….


Friday, May 10th – Day 38 – Hinton to Mustang

Screenshot_20190510-090025_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: Excited to see Jim and Margie

Worst part of the day: Cold, darn cross and head winds

Distance: 47miles Riding Time: 4hrs 47min

Bed count: 22 Sleeping Bag count: 16

This morning woke up feeling ready again to tackle the winds. Well, no not really! Wanted to get an early start but didn’t leave till around 8:30ish. We met this guy in the lobby area while we were getting our coffee and eating our own breakfast who talked a lot about a new, $300,000 truck he picked up in Amarillo and the adventure just to get from his home in Tennessee to Amarillo because of the storms!

It was about a mile ride to get back on Route 66. For the first 5 miles, there was no shoulder and was little scary because a lot of cars and trucks were buzzing by really fast. We’ve read from other blogs that riding in Oklahoma that the drivers here are not very pleasant. We thought were going to get hit, but, the cars and trucks played nice. We then rode upon a famous pony truss bridge, the William H. Murray bridge. It’s a Route 66 icon about ¾ of a mile long.

20190510_083856(Getting ready to ride over The William H. Murray pony truss bridge. It’s listed as the longest open truss bridge in the country! See

Once we got to the other side there was a decent shoulder, but, a mile-plus climb into the wind!! A nice way to be greeted in the morning.

Our route continued eastward back onto Route 66. The road here was a fairly narrow, 2-lane, concrete, no shoulder path! And lots of rolling hills!! And the ever-present northeast wind just smacking us in the face.20190510_094250(You can see how pretty narrow this section of Route 66 is and one the rollers we had.)

We made our first stop in the small town of El Reno. We found a grocery store a ways in where we got some orange juice to go with our last of our peanut butter/jelly mix on our flour tortillas. We had that and our leftover waffles from couple days ago from the hotel in Elk City. Everything tastes so good when you ride and have a load to carry. You don’t care how old it is! Well, as long as it still looks and smells good. This town was impacted a bit by the opening of I-40, but, just on the western outskirts is a federal prison and we’re betting that it’s employees plus the surrounding farm and cattle ranches help to keep it alive.

The next town we encountered was Yukon. 20190510_131937(Yukon appears to have a favorite son!!)

The town has the famous Yukon Flour Mill. It’s used now just for grain storage. It gets lit up at night for all to see. 20190510_133447

This town with a population of around 22,000 appeared to continue growing as we saw some very nice, new houses under construction.

Finally, we made the turn southward towards Mustang (deviating from the ACA route) and had tailwinds for 8 miles to Rob’s brother’s place. We were in heaven for once as we got some relief from the winds for the first time in a long while! On that 4-lane stretch of SR4, it was signed as a bike route, but, didn’t have a defined bike lane. There were also signs said that cyclists could take the whole right-hand traffic lane. But, of course, we tried to stay as far to the right as possible because this road was a busy north/south artery where the speed limit was 55mph and cars went whizzing by. For the most part, though, they were very good about moving over and giving us a lot of room.

One of the things we noticed with all of the houses, new and existing, around Yukon and Mustang were the same-ness in the roofs: single, tall, high-pitched style. Not sure why!

We reached Jim and Margie’s house where the last time we were here for a visit, we were on our way to ride RAGBRAI in Iowa 2012. They have a beautiful and immaculate home.

Rob’s rear wheel problem never fully got resolved despite the efforts back in Amarillo. After getting cleaned up at Jim and Margie’s, he called 4 OKC bike shops hoping that one might have a rear rim to replace his problematic one, luckily getting a hit on one of them, Pro Bikes in OKC. Borrowing Jim’s Explorer, we took Rob’s bike to the shop about 30 min away and the owner, John, got it changed out in about 30 minutes for $80 total!! Real nice and very knowledgeable guy!! Fay went into the Walmart which was real close to the bike shop to replenish some of our supplies for the next couple of days.

When we got back, Jim and Margie had a wonderful dinner prepared for us. They called it Mexican Mountain. It was so nice to have a real home cooked meal. We were so looking forward to it. We’d been eating out and buying our food supplies wherever available, and, getting kind of tired of eating processed and package meals.

Margie did a load of wash for us while we were away and when we got back home, we threw that load into the dryer. Now we just need to wash our sleeping bags and jackets which we’ll do tomorrow.

It rained pretty good last night, but, no thunder storms. So once again was nice to be inside.

Until post post….

Thursday, May 9th – Day 37 – Elk City to Hinton

Screenshot_20190509-175805_Ride with GPSBest part of the day: Winning at the slots!

Worst part of the day: Cold and crosswinds!

Distance: 62 miles Riding Time: 5hrs 41min

Bed count: 21 Sleeping Bag count: 16

This morning woke up around 6 with thunder, heavy showers and cold temps in the 40’s. The local news’ morning weather report said it possibly could hail and that this was a record cold for this time of year.

Once again, had breakfast provided by the hotel and we were on our way around 8ish. A couple of days ago, the winds were out of the south giving us mild temperatures. These last couple of days it was totally opposite!! The north winds make it even colder, so, we were forced to bundle up again.

Everything was wet and we saw a lot flooded ditches as we rode. It was a very slow start on the ACA route (frontage road/Route 66), only went 7 miles in just almost an hour! Seemed like it took us forever with fighting crosswinds in the high teens and low 20’s.

We went back and forth trying to decide whether or not to hop on I-40 for the 63 miles all the way into Bridgeport or stay on the frontage roads, the ACA route. After the slow go, we said “screw this, let’s jump onto I-40 and take advantage of the trucks and cars to shield us and also give us a push.” That was the best thing we did and we were able go a lot faster.

We were still chilled when we found a McDonald’s in the town of Clinton. Ordered a cup of coffee each and tried their new chicken McGriddle sandwich. Bought a couple more to have for later. 20190509_105110(Chatted with another couple from San Diego who are driving to Tennessee for a wedding took this shot at this McDonald’s.)

All day it was overcast, cold, and an ever present northwind. The sun made a brief appearance around 12:30, but, other than that, we kept an eye on the gray clouds hoping that they wouldn’t amount to anything. Fay struggled to drink enough on her ride today. It was hard to get a drink without being the fear of being blown over by the crosswinds and trucks whizzing by.

For tonight, we got a room at the Sugar Creek Inn and Suites. It has an associated casino that is near by. The hotel has a shuttle for guests for transport to and from the casino. The hotel had a great deal. On Sundays through Thursdays, for $60.00 you got a $20.00 food voucher and $20.00 in free play at the casino!

We definitely took advantage of the free play. Rob also got an extra $10.00 cause of his recent birthday. And they also gave Fay an extra $10.00 for our slightly less recent anniversary. Had some luck on our two slot machines as we ended up clearing $57.00! Rob also got a complimentary ice cream sundae for his birthday.

Our room is nice, but, a lot smaller that our past queen-sized bed motels rooms. It’s almost college dorm size with applicable furniture to match! We were able to make the bikes fit in the room, but, it was a bit cramped.20190509_152403

Tomorrow, we head to Rob’s brother’s place in Mustang. At around 45 miles, it’ll be our shortest ride day in over a week! We’ll take another day off there for a good visit with him and his wife!

Until our next post….

Wednesday, May 8th – Day 36 – Rest/Storm Day in Elk City

Best part of the day:     Doing nothing

Worst part of the day:  Thunderstorms and rain

Distance: 0                      Riding Time: 0

Bed count: 20                 Sleeping Bag count: 16

Watched the weather channel last night and couldn’t believe all the rain and thunderstorms that were moving through Oklahoma. The news people really kept you informed on tornadoes and they got so excited when one appeared. Never experienced that kind of storm with tornadoes.

This town had a lot of rain and certain parts were flooded, just too much rain at one time. We really wanted to push forward this morning, but, we played it smart by deciding to take a rest day and let any flooded areas recede. We just didn’t want to take any chances.

So, this morning we had breakfast provided by the hotel then came back to our room and worked on a lot of the rest of our route for the remainder of the day. It was a lot of planning and calling campgrounds. Because sometimes when we call, they say, “sorry, we don’t have tent camping anymore”, even though the ACA map info listed that they did. So we’re glad we’re calling to double check.

For lunch, we had our flour tortillas with peanut butter and jelly. As for dinner, Fay finally got to use the Angel hair pasta that Rob had been carrying since Santa Fe! Fay used the coffee maker to get some hot water and poured it into our Jet Boil to save time and our Jet Boil fuel. Boiled up some pasta and used couple packets of the leftover package sauce from Peggy and Jerry from back when we were back in Amboy. That was a long time ago!! Fay also cooked up a package of her pork ramen that she’s been carrying around for several weeks too. Tried to eat up whatever we’ve been carrying in our panniers. We didn’t feel like going out just wanted to stay in and eat and relax. And that’s exactly what we did.

Later this afternoon, another storm cell blew it’s way through Elk City. Heavy rain. We got not one, but, two perfect, beautiful rainbows.

(Stepped outside after the rain had stopped. This is the 2nd of two rainbows that appeared out of our room’s window after the rain stoppage!)

Tonight, Rob was happy because he was able to watch his San Jose Sharks beat Colorado in game 7 to get to the Stanley Cup Western Conference Final. Most of the time, the hotels where we’ve stayed didn’t have it available on the TV channels, so, he had to watch the games on his phone. Or, we‘ve been camping and there’s no place to watch it except on his phone.

Tomorrow, we return to the road, maybe just taking a lot of the interstate to avoid possible Route 66 road flooding. We’ll try to stay on route, off the interstate, but, we won’t hesitate to jump on I-40, if the situation warrants.

Until out next post….

Tuesday, May 7th – Day 35 – Shamrock, TX to Elk City, OK

Screenshot_20190507-062943_Ride with GPS

Best part of the day:   Goodbye Texas and Hello Oklahoma

Worst part of the day: Rushing to beat the storm

Distance: 58 miles        Riding Time: 5hrs 23min

Bed count: 19                Sleeping Bag count: 16

Slept well last night as it was nice to be indoors again. Breakfast was provided by the motel this morning. It was very nice with eggs, biscuits, gravy, waffles, coffee and juice. We wanted to get an earlier start knowing that we’d have crosswinds again plus there was a storm was coming.

We went back to our overcast and foggy morning. The temperature was just right for riding, so, we started off with just a windbreaker. The winds were down and we were able to ride quite a ways without a stop. At 14 miles from Shamrock, we crossed into Oklahoma. Hoped to see a “Welcome to Oklahoma” sign for a picture, but, none was to be had!! Made our first rest stop in northern part of Sayre, OK, after riding almost 39 miles, all on the Route 66 roadway. We stopped at a Hutch’s convenience store where Fay found a BBQ food truck tucked behind the store. We shared a brisket with sautéed onions sandwich and fries. That was so good, one of the best briskets we’ve had. They were constantly busy with people ordering and picking up.

Reaching Elk City, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up stuff for tonight’s dinner: a bag of Asian salad and frozen chicken fried rice and sweet sour chicken which can be heated up in our room’s microwave. With the storm approaching this late afternoon, we didn’t want to go back out.

Across the street from the grocery store was Elk City’s Route 66 museum. The Route 66 sign advertising its location was the largest “Route 66” sign we’ve seen so far on this trip!20190507_13455320190507_142006

Tonight, we’re at a Super 8 Motel with the TV on watching the local news’ weather for any updates on the storm. We’re safe inside!! 20190507_151212

At a little after 6pm, we were hearing thunder!! The local weather channel was reporting that where we’re at is under a tornado warning!! At 7:30, it was raining buckets!! It didn’t last very long, but, water is very puddled outside of our hotel. Keeping an eye on the radar on our phone!

We’re also looking ahead at lodging options for the next few days to see if we’d be able to take two days instead of three to reach Rob’s brother’s place which would give us the opportunity to take two full rest days. Yes, it would mean at least one longer day’s ride, but, it’s a potential distance we’ve already done several times.

We’ve been very fortunate so far that any storms had been either ahead of or behind us. We’d been able to ride during the day, and of course, make it to our lodging before any storm comes in the afternoon. It’s been plenty of planning and weather watching to help make that happen.

Until our next post….

Monday, May 6th – Day 34 – Groom to Shamrock

Screenshot_20190506-181835_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: After ride meal

Worst part of the day: Crosswinds (this is getting redundant)

Distance: 52 miles Riding Time: 4hrs 55min

Bed count: 18 Sleeping Bag count: 16

It was a nasty storm that blew over Groom and the surrounding areas last evening. We watched the radar and part of the radar’s “red area” was right over Groom! We heard the thunder and saw the flashes of lightning!! The rain was pretty heavy!

This morning, the overcast skies which we’d had the last four mornings was replaced by a sea of blue!! 20190506_08112120190506_081226(Getting ready to head out this morning. This motel has only about 13 rooms. We were in #11.)

We had fairly light south winds as we got on our way around 8:30. On the way out of town, we had to take a picture of Groom’s other notable tourist draw, the “Leaning Tower of Texas”. It’s a tilted water tower right alongside of I-40!20190506_083120

Again, we were once more on the Route 66 frontage road out of Groom for almost 12 miles. It was a very decent road. The pretty much flat road we’ve had for the last couple of days was replaced by some easy rollers just after entering I-40 for a number of miles. We came upon a freeway rest stop who’s exit sign had an unusual addition to it, at least for us Californians!20190506_095509(See the what’s below the “Vending Machines” sign??)

Made a stop at the gas station/convenience store in the village of Alanreed. Picked up a couple of egg, sausage, and pancake breakfast sandwiches along with a couple of drinks. We wrapped the sandwiches in napkins and warmed them up in the store’s microwave. Some of the napkin got “stuck” onto one of the pancakes of Rob’s sandwich! Tried to peel as much off as possible. Napkins have good fiber, right??!!20190506_103844(Outside of the Alanreed multi-faceted  convenience store.)

There was also a motel and a nearby RV park. The RV Park was a place we were considering for camping had we pushed beyond Groom. Seeing the motel there was a surprise. We inquired about the motel and the store’s clerk said that the owner was not renting any of the half dozen or so rooms because she had broken her back in 5 places!! Ouch!!

Returned to the frontage road out of Alanreed where the road went from nice to crappy. That lousy chip seal which we’d first encountered coming into Adrian a few day was back! Fortunately for not too long. Then it changed to a concrete surface! We guess Texas likes concrete for a road surface.

The next town through which we rode was McLean. Another small town who’s impact of the interstate was also quite visible like those from back in Tucumcari and other previous towns.20190506_120905(On the westbound main street in McLean.)

20190506_130553(Further along Route 66 towards Shamrock another victim of the interstate.)

We finally rode into the town of Shamrock where we had earlier reserved a room at the Shamrock Country Inn as the weather forecast had once again showed afternoon thunderstorm showers! A simple motel with a very nice manager! 20190506_195555

He gave us a couple of dinner location recommendations. Got cleaned up and we opted for the burger place, Shamrock Hasty’s Inc, about a mile’s ride away. We both had a couple of great, huge burgers: Fay a Hickory burger and Rob a double cheese burger; cookies-n-cream shakes, fries and onion rings. So good! Fay felt that was the best burger she’d ever had!! Got a chance to chat with the store’s owner, too (well, he said is wife is actually the owner!). He’s one of the town’s police officers, as well as a corrections officer and also does some mechanic work!! Does he even have time to sleep? He said that he’s home every night! It’s a small town of about 2,000 and he’s a Shamrock native who returned home a number of years away.

The town’s grocery store was also right next door. Popped in for a few things (got to have dessert, right??). On the ride back to the motel, stopped for pictures at a neat, old Conoco gas station which has been turned into a visitor center and gift shop! 20190506_16432920190506_164403

Right next to it was an old Army ambulance, like the one’s seen in the TV show M*A*S*H. It had a sign saying “thank a Vet”.20190506_164621

We talked with Rob’s brother back at the motel. He wanted to see what day we’d be arriving at his place as well as providing us with weather updates. We passed along the upcoming towns where we’re thinking of staying before his place and he let us know the severe weather probabilities for those days.

Tomorrow, our ride to Elk City will have us crossing into our 5th state, Oklahoma. We’ll cross the 1,500-mile mark as well as completing our 5th week on this trip!! Wow! Five weeks already! It doesn’t seem like it.

Until our next post….

Sunday, May 5th – Day 33 – Amarillo to Groom

Screenshot_20190505-151020_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:    A short ride day

Worst part of the day: A too early rising

Distance: 45miles         Riding Time: 4hrs 7min

Bed count: 17                Sleeping Bag count: 16

The sounds and voices of those in rooms around ours at 5am was an unwelcome awakening. Don’t know what these people were thinking at that hour, certainly not about the other guests.

We took our time getting ready. The motel’s “breakfast” was just a grab-n-go: a pastry, granola bar and bottle of water. So, we had our own breakfast items: Fay’s oatmeal and Rob’s Pop Tarts; and saved the grab-n-go stuff for later today and tomorrow.

Today’s ride was pretty non-descript. Gray skies and crosswinds once again. The only “excitement” we had was on the Business 40 road leading out of Amarillo. Just before reaching I-40, what looked like a pit bull mix escaped from its yard and ran full-tilt after us!! It’s home was on the other side of the grass-medianed, 4-lane roadway.  Fay got the  first glimpse of it just before it took a slight stumble on the median in its pursuit of us and shouted “GO, GO, GO!!!” That stumble was all the pause we needed to accelerate fast enough to outrun it into the wind and a bit uphill!! It didn’t look like it wanted to play!!

The rest of our route was all on the decent Route 66 frontage road. Flat grazing and farm lands surrounded us and our next door neighbor, I-40. Part of our route towards the tiny village of Conway brought us through a line of those wind turbines. We’d never been that close to one of those before! The whoosh, whoosh, whoosh sound as each huge blade swung by was fascinating.20190505_110208(Going through a row of  wind turbines. Note the gray clouds in the distance. Had these all day!)

Our planned destination for tonight was the Lake McClellan Campground about 3 miles off route 14 miles east of the small town of Groom. Groom’s claim to fame is “The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries” site alongside I-40 which has the 190’ high cross on the grounds . This cross can be seen for miles around and is illuminated at night. 20190505_134054

The site also has a circle of statues for the 14 stations of the cross representing the time where Jesus was sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be crucified to his dragging of the cross to Calvary to his crucifixion and resurrection. 20190505_134201

We spent some time there walking the stations and also chatting with the woman who was running the gift shop. We had seen on the ACA map that this site allowed tent camping and we inquired about where folks were allowed to camp. So, she showed us the location at the back of the building. We also asked about where we’d go if the tornado sirens went off!! Strangely enough, she said to scurry to the site’s “tomb”, the replica of where Jesus’ body was taken after his crucifixion!! We checked it out and it appeared to be deep enough to provide sufficient shelter!20190505_13451820190505_134454(Their replica of the tomb where Jesus’ body was taken after his crucifixion.)

Our weather check earlier showed rain and possible thundershowers this evening. Camping there was a little tempting, but, the forecast trumped everything! We also abandoned the idea of camping at Lake McClellan and we knew that Groom had a motel at the east end of town (the town itself is pretty small in area anyway). Fay called to check for availability, and yes, a room was open!! Great!

Rode back on Route 66 into the “business district” of Groom. We found their lone grocery store where we picked up a few things for tonight’s dinner before heading off to the motel. At the store, we learned that there was a tornado in the town of Vega yesterday (about 14 miles east of Adrian) through which we rode a couple of days ago!!

So, it’ll be another night indoors protected from the elements. We also checked the weather for the next few days in the towns to where we’re looking to lodge. It seems we might be in for some more sporadic showers. Hope we can dodge them in the upcoming days!!

Until our next post….

Saturday, May 4th – Day 32 – Adrian to Amarillo

Screenshot_20190504-200327_Ride with GPSBest part of the day:     Easy day/Sun Adventure Sports bike shop

Worst part of the day:  Forecasted thunderstorms

Distance: 53 miles         Riding Time: 4hrs 20min

Bed count: 16                  Sleeping Bag count: 16

Awoke at 7 by Rob’s watch alarm. We were not disturbed at all last night by any of the RV’ers there looking to use the bathroom! It looked like it either rained early this morning or it was a very wet fog as our bikes were coated in moisture! So, it was real nice to have been inside with no wet tent and dry panniers.

We had planned last night to go to the Midpoint Café for breakfast which we passed on the way in to town. It opened at 8 and was only a ¼ mile away. We were packed and headed there just after their opening.

Almost had the place to ourselves. One of the four young men working there this morning was our server, a very nice, polite kid. We quickly ordered coffee and checked out the menu.

Making our choices, Fay wanted a slight variation of their breakfast sandwich that had the chef and owner, Brenda, come out to our table to make sure she heard the order correctly. She was so sweet! She told us that she and her sister bought the place about a year ago and her mother is the pie maker! They are known for their pies as well. But, Brenda was the only owner there this morning. She made sure that everything was good.

Fay had scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon while Rob had the same with the addition of a nice amount of hash browns. We also ordered a side of their pancakes. It was a 2-cake stack each one about 10” in diameter!! 20190504_08172120190504_083803

We saved one of the pancakes and each made “sandwiches” from a couple pieces toast, some of our eggs and bacon to take with us for later in the day. Unfortunately, we were too stuffed for a piece of any of their pies. Maybe the next time we come through Adrian.

20190504_09133520190504_091522(Other sites inside and  out of the Midpoint Cafe.)

Today’s ride was real easy, practically flat! The skies were gray, but, the temps were fairly nice for riding, in the 50s. The Route 66 road was decent for a chip seal. It ran parallel to I-40 with only a 30’-50’ grass median separating us from the interstate. Passed a cattle farm with a few thousand head and its“wonderful” aroma (cough, cough!). Think I-5 between Sacramento and Stockton.20190504_114617(Along Route 66 east of Adrian. That’s how close the road is to the interstate!)

Yesterday as we rode up a hill leading to Adrian, we saw a number of windmills, when we reached the top of that hill, those windmills stretched miles down the interstate! Think Altamont Pass Texas-sized!! Well today, we got an idea of just how far down the highway those hundreds of windmills went, about 25 miles!!

Took a rest break at a Phillips 66 station in Bushland where we ran into a couple of other young, touring cyclists, Justin and David. Their finish was in Santa Monica. They had started in North Carolina riding the Trans Am route then picking up the Route 66 route in Missouri. They’d only been on the road for 24 days! That’s a lot of miles in such a short time!! We picked up OJ and finished up our breakfast leftovers.

With Amarillo only about 8 miles away, Rob gave a call to that bike shop, Sun Adventure Sports, which our Santa Fe Warm Showers host, Joseph, had recommended. Spoke with the head mechanic, Devin, and he said that he’d definitely have time to look at Rob’s bike.

Our regular ACA route thus deviated to get to the bike shop. Arriving, Rob unloaded his bags and Devin dug right to fixing the rear wheel problem. He also noted a small issue with rear rim requiring a bit of “straightening out” (i.e. a little “hammering” involved!). While he was working on it, Rob “borrowed” one of their other bike stands to lube Fay’s chain. He got it all put back together, checked the shifting and it was ready to go. When Rob went to pay for his services, Devin said it was on the house!! Wow!! He said he liked doing things like that for folks.

So, two thumbs up to Devin and the Sun Adventure Sports bike shop in Amarillo!! We’d recommend them any day of the week!!

Our plan was to stay at one of two camping locations: the Big Texan RV Park or the Amarillo KOA which was about 5 miles further along. Our Google maps route to the Big Texan brought near a Walmart! Dinner shopping and resupplying!! Fay first called both places to see if they had a microwave so that we could heat up a frozen entrée for our meal. Neither had! Bummer.

We also checked the weather for tonight and saw that there would be thunderstorms for early tomorrow morning. So, another question for them was did that have a room where we might stay for shelter in lieu of being in our tent in a potential storm. Negative again!!

That made our decision easy: INDOORS AT A MOTEL!! Found one real close to the Walmart, an America’s Best Value Inn, reserving a room for tonight for under $50. Fay then went shopping for our stuff.

We were real glad in our decision to be indoors because that thunderstorm arrived early!! Around 8:00, we started to hear the rumblings in the distance. Less than an hour later, lightning and thunder and heavy rains!!

We’re off to a campground at Lake McClellan tomorrow around 59 miles. It’s off route about 3 miles, but, it’s the best place available. The only concern is whether the campground will be muddy. Tomorrow’s weather looks real nice, so we can only hope that the ground will dry out by the time we arrive.

Until our next post….

Friday, May 3rd – Day 31 – Tucumcari, NM to Adrian, TX

Screenshot_20190503-200216_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day:    Two celebrations!

Worst part of the day: The headwinds for the entire ride

Distance: 63 miles        Riding Time: 6hrs 44min

Bed count: 15                Sleeping Bag count: 16

It was a cold and overcast morning (almost low fog-like) when we awoke around 6:30. There was a forecast of rain for early this morning (which never materialized), so, we had removed our panniers last night and stashed them in the tent. That made for crowded living quarters! Got dressed in the tent and then got everything else packed up and the bags loaded on the bikes. Over at the RV office, Mike (one of the owners/brothers) was just opening the office to get coffee started. We had a quick breakfast in their laundry/lounge room: Fay – her oatmeal, Rob – his Pop Tarts; before hitting the road.

Our route of out Tucumcari brought us on the old Route 66 which paralleled I-40 for around 22 miles. The skies were gray again all around as we passed by some plowed farm fields with a northeastern breeze blowing in our faces.

20190503_141250(A one of views along the early part of our today’s route.)

Reached our first rest stop in San Jon (which is pronounced like San Juan) where there was a truck stop. We each picked up a breakfast burrito along with a Strawberry/Kiwi Snapple along with an OJ for our bike bottles. We chatted about our ride with a couple of local gentleman who sat down a couple of tables away. When their order had been delivered, we didn’t realize we could order things from a menu versus pre-made! Their orders each came with a huge amount of Tater Tots which they kindly shared with us! One more Snapple later, we were back on our way.

20190503_115220(Saw this sign after San Jon. What a day for guess who turning 66 on Route 66!)

Now original Route 66 continued through San Jon south of I-40 toward the town of Endee, but, we deviated here taking another quiet frontage road on the north side for about 14 grueling, headwind miles where we came upon another truck stop. This one had a free car museum. And quite the museum it was! Several mint conditioned classic cars from the 50s and 60s!! We picked up some more OJ and ice cream!!20190503_14383920190503_14395020190503_14403420190503_14405520190503_144227

Because of the winds, our pace was slow. It was already 2pm when we left that last stop and entered I-40 (yet again!). Texas was only about 4 miles away and we’d be losing an hour going into the Central Time Zone and we still had 26 miles to our evening’s destination, Adrian, TX.

Even though we were now on the interstate with trucks zipping past us, it was still slow and go for those 21+ miles before exiting because of the winds and some climbing. Finally, reached our exit and now it was the last 4+ miles into Adrian.

From friends who had done the Southern Tier with the Bike The US For MS, they had said that Texas roads were terrible!! Lousy chip seal that was bumpy as all get up! And they had that for at least 13 days!! Well, they were pretty accurate as to the road condition we experienced on that Route 66 frontage road. It wasn’t very good. But, we roughed it all the way into town.

20190503_182046(On the road into Adrian.)

One of the things we first found (but, knew about before hand) was the Midpoint sign. There’s a line in the Route 66 road along with the sign which says that you’re halfway between Chicago and Santa Monica on Route 66!! Took the obligatory pictures there (had to!!).20190503_18320720190503_18372720190503_183949

That was the first celebration! The second was that today was Rob’s birthday turning (get this) 66 on Route 66!! It had to be!!

We checked out the Fabulous 40s motel there on the strip, but, it was more than we wanted to spend. Our original choice was the Midpoint RV and campground and which was where we’re “camping” tonight. The “manager” (not the owner) who lives in the trailer next to the office/bathroom (with shower)/laundry room said that if we wanted, we could “set up camp” in the bathroom/laundry room! Super nice guy. He talked about other Adventure Cyclist coming through. All the other RVs there (just a few) were self-contained and he said that he didn’t expect any of those guests to come in to use the bathroom. Perfect! So, into the room went us and all of our gear!! Fay did a full clothes wash and dry ($3.50 for everything). 20190503_205900(Our “camp site” for tonight!)

Tomorrow, we’re headed to Amarillo for the 2nd of our anticipated 4 days in Texas (unsure if we’ll take a rest day there).

Hoping the winds will turn back in our favor!!

Until our next post….

Thursday, May 2nd – Day 30 – Santa Rosa to Tucumcari

Screenshot_20190502-153123_Ride with GPS
Best part of the day: Two special NM DOT workers

Worst part of the day: Overcast, cold, windy

Distance: 63 miles Riding Time: 6hrs 35min

Bed count: 15 Sleeping Bag count: 15

Last night the winds picked up something fierce! We thought our tent was going to blow away. Woke up to overcast, super windy and cold. We decided to pack up quickly and head to the first of two truck stops early on our route for breakfast. We ordered a Subway breakfast sandwich and coffee, too.

Got back on the road around 8:30ish and really wasn’t looking forward to the day. From looking at the weather before leaving, we knew the winds were not going to be in our favor all day. Crossing under I-40, we turned onto State Route 156 and immediately saw what was ahead of us, a mile-long, 300’ climb! That would surely get us warmed up, right? Well, not quite. 20190502_085218(That fun, first climb of the morning!)

Gray clouds were all around us, 360 degrees. Nothing too threatening, but, with the light north wind, we really didn’t warm up.

This was a very quiet road with rollers and where only 2 cars passed us all morning. You could see for miles and miles, acres and acres of open fields and couple of herds of cattle. Not a sole in sight and just a nice smooth road. Strangely, as we passed a herd of cows, they all perked up and watched us, not moving from their spots! But, when we approached the steers, they all took a quick look at us and turned tail running away to a safer distance! Go figure!

Along SR156, we saw that a elk had somehow gotten onto the roadway and was trying its hardest to get back to the other side of the barbed wire fence to the open grazing land. For about 2 miles we could see him ahead of us going back and forth across the road trying to find an opening. We were afraid he was going to get hit. Coming over a rise, we happened to see that it make it back over the fence. Getting closer to it, Rob stopped to take a picture when he saw why this elk was urgently trying to get over the fencing. Its partner had been waiting for it on the other side! The two of them scurried away happy to be reunited!20190502_101227(Sorry, the picture is kind of blurry, but, you can kind of make out the elk in the middle.)

Then we turned onto Cuervo Road (if you want to call it a road) for about 5 miles. Cracked, bumpy pavement for the first couple of miles and then when we thought it couldn’t get worse, hard-packed dirt and gravel for a couple more miles! Lots of pot holes, a really rough road. Your whole body got a workout from all that jarring.20190502_105230(Part of the ugly Ceurvo Road. But, the scenery behind was nice.)

We stopped at the little town of Newkirk where it had a gas station and small convenience store. By that time, we had gone 2 ½ hours and only ridden 29 miles due to rough roads and crazy crosswinds. We bought some egg croissant sandwiches and ate inside the store where it was definitely warmer. It was nice to talk to the owner as he was curious about our route and ride. At first he was kind of a grump then later he warmed up to us.

It was so nice to be on the Frontage Road pretty much for the rest of the day which paralleled I-40. Maybe we saw 2 or 3 cars the whole time on that road and it was still in good condition. 20190502_135850(Passed this very old cemetary after our Newkirk stop. As you can see, the skies cleared up nicely.)

Along the interstate’s shoulder, we could see a New Mexico State highway maintenace truck with its 2 workers periodically stopping to pick up large debris on the shoulder: tire pieces and other trash. Finally after about 30 miles on the frontage road criss-crossing I-40, we entered the highway for the last 8 or so miles to the town of Tucumcari. We managed to catch up to these two DOT workers at one of their stops and we were able to visit with them for a short while. One guy was from Pasadena and said that he loves it here. He was able to buy 2 houses for $37,000 each while working for the state! They wished us a safe ride. We wound up play leap frog with them on the highway: as they stopped, we’d pass them, they’d pass us and stop again, etc., etc.

Approaching our highway exit towards Tucumcari, they were at the off-ramp where one of them ran over to our shoulder, whipped out a white handkerchief and waved it madly like at a NASCAR race signaling “last lap”!! We all got a big laugh out of that.

It was about 2½ miles to the town’s business center, but, along the way we saw the effects of I-40: an abandoned Shell Gas Truck Stop and restaurant next door, other motels, small gas stations and eateries all falling apart. Really quite sad.20190502_16063620190502_160350(At the western end of Tucumcari.)

Stopped off at the only grocery store in town for a few items. Ran into a couple from Paris there at the store who were travelling around the US for a few months! The husband spoke very little English, the wife was a bit better at it. With the women inside the store, Rob did his best at trying to remember the French he’d taken decades ago to converse with the husband. Didn’t do too bad. They were riding foldable bikes from the RV Park at which they were staying (which happened to be the same one at where we planned to camp!!).

Rolling into the Blaze-In-Saddle RV Park, the owners (and brothers), Mike and John, showed us where the tents sites were (a nice grassy area in plain view of the main road!). It was inexpensive ($15) and had a shower. They bought this place about a year ago and are still improving it. Unfortunately, the shower was also the bathroom and there was only one of it for the entire RV Park!!20190503_070829

Got set up, showered and headed off to Del’s for dinner (at the recommendation of one of the 2 DOT guys) about a mile back into town as we made this an early birthday dinner for Rob. Got back to the campground before dark. Didn’t hit the sack until around 8:30.

Tomorrow, we leave New Mexico for Texas about another 63 or so mile day. We lose another hour crossing into Texas, wonderful!

Until our next post….