Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 17
Hueco Tanks State Park to Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I left Hueco Tanks State Park when the gate opened at 8:00 am, I got back onto rt 62/180 and headed for Guadalupe Mountains National park. The ride started with some fairly easy hills and slowly got to a high point for the day of 5,394 ft. from there I rode down the road to Cornudas, Tx - about the halfway point of the day. This is where we found an oasis of sorts in the middle of nowhere, Mays Cafe.

My dad and I stopped for lunch here and were very surprised to find a very nice restaurant with a gift shop. The food was awesome, I had the Cornudas burger... a burger with the works including green chili's... it was out of this world good!!! Dad had a club sandwich which looked equally appetizing. I tried the onion rings while he had chips, theses were potatoes cut into ribbons and deep fried, both were very good. The decor was amazing, the table legs were dressed in jean pant legs and boots. The sign in back of the counter said "Cornudas,Texas..population 5 plus one dog", and when you are there you can't help but believe it's true! If you ever happen to be Near Cornudas you must stop in.

From there I rode to the low point of the day - 3,617 ft. in Salt Flat, and yes it looks just like it sounds, very flat and white for miles around! I thought the worst climb for the day was behind me, but I could not have been more wrong, the last 15 miles ended up being a 2,207 ft climb into Guadalupe Mountain National Park, with a headwind trying to keep me from my finish. I arrived and set up camp in stronger winds than I had while riding, the winds were so strong I had to put rocks on the edge of the tent to keep it from blowing over (after chasing it down the hills into the cacti once fist!). After camp was set up I set out to make dinner....dehydrated spaghetti. It was actually pretty good, I split it with my father and turned in for the night.

Normally I would end my blog post here, but not this time, this was a night of absolutely no sleep. You could hear the wind howl over the top of the mountains and within moments it would hit my tent. Every time the wind gusts came down the canyon the tent would buckle and lay flat on top of me, for the first time in my life I wished I was 40-50 pounds heavier, I really thought I was going to be blown away. Not only did I have my weight and all my equipment in the tent, but I also had 6 large rocks on the outside helping to hold the tent in place! The night consisted of pushing the tent back upright every couple of minutes so that I did not roll or blow away. I hope to never have to experience that again!!

The Garmin information for the day is as follows:(and remember you can hit play and see speeds and elevations as they relate to the map!)

Day 17 Hueco Tanks State Park to Guadalupe Mountains National Park by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details
Day 16
Las Cruces,NM to Hueco Tanks State Park,Tx

Happy Easter!! form Las Cruces - meaning "The Crosses" how fitting for Easter Sunday!

Started today with a sighting of the Easter Bunny, a little cottontail in the next campsite. My father knew thre were a couple of small kids camping accross the way so he went and told their dad to have them come over and see the bunny. The two little girls were aglow with the sight of a bunny on Easter--what a way to start a day.

I had recieved word late yesterday from a news station that they were interested in doing an interview with me along the way near El Paso. So I headed out for the day to make El Paso as soon as possible to spread our story and awareness. The day started much like yesterday ended... lots of Pecan trees, I did not realize how many groves of trees were in this area.

Within a few hours I had crossed into Texas, that makes 4 states, 3 timezones, 2 Adventure Cycling maps completed to date. Texas is a milestone as it makes up 1/3 of the entire trip in one state. As I rode on towards our destination (Hueco Tanks State Park, I passed the largest collection of junk yards, possibly in the world, just a town full of them! The road turned a little steeper and signs appeared for the park, when we arrived, I was amazed to find we would be locked in a 6:00pm and the gates would not reopen until 8:00 am.

We got to the office to check in to find this is a working geological site that has indian paintings on the rocks and artifacts throughout the park. We were requiored to watch a 15 minute video about the park, it's boundaries, and the do's and don'ts. It was a basic history and very interesting and informative. Check out a link to the park if you are interested here---

I set up camp and went picture taking, the flowers, animals and the beautiful Texas sunset.

The Garmin information for the day is as follows:

Day 16 Las Cruces to Hueco Tanks State Park by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details
Day 15
Truth or Consequences,NM to Las Cruces,NM

Leaving T or C (thats what the locals call it) we headed out and quickly learned that they do not mark road very well out here. We stopped a jogger to ask the best way to Las Cruces, and she recommended rt 187/rt 185 as it parrellels I-25 and the Rio Grande River, she said it was very scenic and a good downhill through some really nice farming communities.

Sop we were off and it was only minutes before I had my first glance of the Rio Grande! I headed down the road and quickly realized that the jogger must have meant that if I look at a map it should be all downhill as I was going North to South, because I ended up doing several decent climbs. That was ok, after all I just climbed Emory Pass-right? Well the wind gods were against me this day, I had all I could do to peddal 4 MPH for most of the morning. I actually got blown off the bike because I was going so slow! Talk about embarrassing, that was probably the only time all day I saw more that two people at one time, what timing. Only a couple of marks and minor bloodshed and I was off again.

The farmlands that were promised appeared before long, and it seems they really like thier hot stuf down here. They grow a lot of Green and red chilli peppers, along with fields of onions too. Some of the fields produced the occational car -yes I said car- sprouting up on the land as well--very unusual!

I passed many small comunities of populations less than 300 people before we reached the interesting town of Hatch. Not that it was much bigger that the others, but it had a main street and people walking about. The sighns on the lamp posts through town said "Welcome to Hatch Chilli pepper capitol of the world" there it was that is why they really seem to like thier chilli's- they DO!!

As I rolled on and got closer to Las Cruces I found myself in the midst of the largest Pecan plantations I have ever seen. There were literaly miles and miles of Pecan tree groves, all with signs that read "Pecan thieves will be prosecuted".
Who would have thought this to be such a problem!! The trees slowly slipped to the distant past and Las Cruces quickly was before me, nothing really unusual, a city like most, but very vibrant with people walking and riding along it's streets.

I headed to the KOA for the evening and was pleasantly surprised to find my name on the board welcoming me for the night( the office had closed for the night). I went to the reservation box got my site and set up camp. Tammy - thank you for finding this one - it was probably the best campgroung I have ever stayed in. She later told me it was one of the top ten in the country. I can see why--they had nice mats for the shower, everything was clean and well manicured and the sites were fabulous. I showered for the night and went to sleep so I could see the Easter Bunny in the morning!

Garmin info for the day is a s follows:
Day 15 Truth or Consequences to Las Cruces by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 14

Silver City over Emory Pass to Hillsboro (actually Truth or Consequences)

Today started out at 27 degrees with a wind chill of 19 degrees, I was glad to have been in a motel for that! Started late to allow for the temperature to rise a bit-this was a big day-the day I take on Emory Pass, all 8,230 feet of it.

Dad (Safety and Support) and I went for breakfast while waiting for the temperature to rise. We found this little cafe called Grandma's Cafe in Silver City. It is a well decorated little place run by mom and her daughter. They have run this place for 21 years. The food was great and it is all cooked by mom herself. I had french toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast. Good start to a big day!

Went and checked out of the motel, and finally hit the road. The ride started with gently rolling hills, and a few good climbs. I had an awesome downhill, into a really scenic valley. I stopped for a couple of pictures, and when I was about to get going I noticed a burr in my front tire. I pulled it out and all was well. I started off again, went about 2 miles and realized my tire was going flat. I stopped and changed the tire and realized I was at the base of the Emory Pass climb.

This is to be the highest point of the journey across the southern tier, I was actually looking forward to this, and getting excited to make it to the top. It was a long and winding ride up. The ride offer a stream running almost the whole way, snow, and camping areas throughout the climb. The views were awe inspiring and took my breath away. The sights kept me so busy that when I reached the top it hardly felt like work at all!

The views from the top were incredible, you can see for many, many miles. the view included mesas and buttes, valley's and hills, and a great view of the descent I was about to undertake (8 miles worth)I soaked up the sights got some pictures and was off to Hillsboro. I still don't know how I did not wear out my brake pads on the way down. It was very curvy and fast, and when I finally hit Hillsboro I was amazed, confused, and freaked out that what I thought was a town we were to stay in looked as if it were a ghost town. I rode through town and found no lodging, so it was off to plan "B", a motel in Truth or Consequences, 20 miles to the north. We loaded up the bike ans drove to T or C (as it is written on the signs, for a well deserved rest!

The really fun Garmin data for the day is as follows:

Day 14 Silver City - over Emory Pass- Hillsboro by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details
Day 13
Lordsburg to Silver City

I started today with a beautiful sunrise over the KOA Kampground. It was a very windy night and I woke to a layer of fine dust all over everything in my tent, I ended up showering again just to hit the road. Temperatures last night were in the high 30's.

I packed up and hit the road towards Silver City. I was looking forward to today's ride, because today I cross the Continental Divide (6355 ft.) It was a nice ride somewhat hill but still quite picturesque. I passed a rather large copper mine, which is really cool because of the height of the piles of dirt rising high above the actual mine, all you see are well manicured piles of dirt surrounding and hiding the actual operations.

The ride over the Continental Divide was a little less exciting then I was hoping for but it was a milestone I was looking forward to.

Before entering Silver City I passed into Grant County, and the welcome sign read "Grant County, Beef Country", and from there I can see why they say this, there was a rather large population of cows, made me wonder what the cow to person ratio was...

I arrived in Silver City just before sunset and was happy to see another beautiful sunset to end the days ride.

The Garmin data for the ride is as follows:
Day 13 Lordsburg to Silver City by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details