Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 20, Holbrook, AZ to Gallup, NM: 88 miles

It was another hot day in the desert. Imagine that! We spent most of our day on I-40 again; not my favorite kind of riding, but there really are not very many roads out here! We did get off the freeway for a little while onto Route 66 on a detour for construction. Fortunately the 4 wheeled (and 18 wheeled) traffic stayed on the interstate!

I decided early on to pace myself better than yesterday. After all the trouble yesterday I still averaged 17 MPH and got into the hotel at 3:48 after riding 94 miles. But I felt so lousy! Today I decided to stop every 15 miles to rest and refuel, even if only for 5 minutes. I stopped along the freeway at 15 miles, visited the sag stop at 30 miles, had lunch at a real restaurant at 44 miles, another sag at 61 miles.... had another flat tire when leaving the second sag. I had planned on stopping at the New Mexico welcome center at 73 miles, but that was when we were detoured, so I toughed it out and came on in, arriving at 3:15. (but it immediately became 4:15 due to the time change at the state line).

We had quartering tailwinds most of the day, with a headwind for the last 4 miles. It was interesting how the terrain changed totally when we crossed the state line! All of a sudden there were tall pink rocky bluffs, very cool to see... this truly is an amazing country we live in! It's very rewarding seeing it all up close like this, but I wish we had more time. Yesterday we passed a sign for a Meteor Crater 40 miles east of Flagstaff, and today it was the Petrified Forest, just outside Holbrook. I would have liked to have been able to stop and see these places! I remember learning about them in grade school and have always wanted to go there. Oh well, at least I got to the Grand Canyon. Now I know where to go when I come back to this part of the country with a car...

We have passed through Indian lands for the Navajo and Apache and Hopi Indians, and there were a lot of stores and trading posts selling blankets, pottery and jewelry. Of course I did not stop and buy anything. I plan to do some shopping on my off day in Santa Fe on Saturday. (No hiking this time--I am going to rest on my rest day).

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