Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gallup to Grants, NM: 68 miles

Wow! what a day! We started out with a nice easy ride on rte 66 with a quartering tailwind. We knew, however, that it was not to last... the weather prediction was for 30 MPH winds from the SW, with gusts up to 50 MPH. We started out heading east, thus the quartering tailwind.

After almost 20 miles we got on to I-40. Unfortunately it was very very busy and the shoulder was quite rough. Fortunately we were only on the freeway for 11 miles... when we got off the freeway we had a sag stop at the continental divide, which is the ridge that runs roughly north to south, and from which all rivers flow east or west. (for those of you outside the US). We took some time at the sag, taking photos and fueling up, which may not have been a good idea...

After the sag we did not get back on I-40, but finished our day on Rte. 66. But the road did not continue directly east! (look at the map). It trended more southeast, making that nice friendly quartering tailwind into a dangerous crosswind. I watched as one of the smaller riders went airborne and landed a foot or so away (upright fortunately). So I discovered that if I took the wicked witch position, leaning down over my handlebars with half of my weight on the bars, I could keep both wheels on the road.

I rode with Linda 2 and George and Meredith for a while, then with Peggy for a while and we stopped at a post office and bought postcard stamps and I ate half a peanut butter sandwich and a gel... At about mile 55 I found myself out there alone, so I increased my speed to catch up with two riders I could see ahead of me. By now the crosswind was slueing around to a quartering headwind as the road got curvy. I caught up to Randy and Iowa Bob, and stayed with them to the end. It's a good thing too!

With 5 miles to go, the CrossRoads van went by loaded up with 6 bikes and riders. A mile later we saw the empty van returning for more just as we approached a high bridge with low sides. The crosswind was so strong that we had to unclip one foot and lean at a 45 degree angle toward the unclipped foot! Randy and Bob let me be in the middle going up the span, which was very gentlemanly of them! They even shielded me through two biting sandstorms, in which we got sandblasted--especially nose and ears!

As we came into Grants, Bob stopped off to take a photo of the sign, and Randy and I kept moving. Less than one mile from the hotel, there was another bridge just like the other one! This time we had to lean our upper bodies over the frame of the bikes to keep them grounded, but we kept one foot clipped, so we are STILL EFIs!!!!!

Grants is a small town built around Route 66 in its heyday, thus has a lot of small motels and restaurants from the 50s. I don't expect I will go out in the wind to explore the town, but I may get a sanwich since I missed lunch... You may be able to tell that I am exhiliarated! My hands are so numb that I had to open the hotel soap with my teeth, but I made it through a tough day and I feel STRONG!!!!!!!

I have photos to post, and will do that next. I found the computer empty so took advantage of it!


kaz said...

wow!!!! cant believe through such winds. you still at the end, came out with the comment of ...."tough day but still feel strong."
got so much admiration for you. wish i was there (Georges daughter)

marj said...

Reading your blog with great interest and especially my daughter (Karens) comments good luck to all, give my love to George tell him to take a rest some time, Marj