- For this leg of out Coast to Coast Cross country trip, we loaded up our van and drove to Cimarron New Mexico. Seth, our son, graciously gave up a week of his vacation time to be our “chase” vehicle. On our way we passed through a town that appears to have been frozen in time.
We drove on West passed Amarillo TX and right out in the middle of the field . . . more cars from the past! “Cadillac Ranch” was created in 1974 and tourist are welcomed to paint on the cars. It was too muddy for us to make the attemp.
As we drove further West, we didnt see as much vegetation in the fields, but we did see a healthy crop of windmills.
Looking forward to start riding tomorrow.
Our “home” for the next two nights is Taos NM. Taos is in the middle of the ride we needed to make so Seth took us about 40 miles west of Taos.
We rode though barren valleys…
Over the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge.
We took time to stop to tour “The Earthship”. The homes were an interesting mix of Spanish style architecture and something that looked like it came on of a Dr. Suesse book. There are several “Earthship” communities around the world, this one is the largest.
The residents have greatly reduced their carbon footprint, the homes are made from recycled materials and powered with geothermal, solar and wind energy.
We got back to Taos, had lunch and rested a bit. We were ready to head on to Cimarron, but (Kelly) didn’t like the looks of the road. Blind hairpin turns and no berms and lots of traffic. So, Seth drove us down the road until it looked safer for us to bike. It was truly one of the most beautiful rides we’ve ever done!
At such a high altitude and then riding up hill, we tired pretty quick. We stopped riding just 5 miles short of Cimarron because it was too dark. Seth picked us up (thank you Seth!) and we drove to the St James Hotel in Cimarron.
This place has a lot of history. Check it out: https://www.prairieghosts.com/stjames_hotel.html
Our day started out great. Seth took us to our starting spot for the day. At the top of a mountain, about 10,000 ft elevation. We got a new top speed of 47mph. We FLEW! Got in about 20 miles in something like 40 minutes. Since we didn’t really want to ride back up, the incline was steep and the air was thin, so, Seth was waiting at the bottom and took us back up so we could ride down the other side. Seth dropped us off and we headed on our way. Unfortunately, we weren’t even close to what we thought was the top, and then it started to snow! The road we were on will close for the winter around mid October, so we got through just in time.
After about 20 minutes or so, we saw Seth headed out way. He stopped and told us the road pretty much goes straight up from here. So, we loaded the bike back into the van and we headed up the mountain.
By the time we got to the top, the snow was picking up and the clouds were dropping fast. We decided it to play it safe and have Seth take us down the mountain a ways.
When we finally got back on the bike, the snow (actually sleet) was following us down the mountain. We peddled on. The sleet showed no sign of letting up, we were riding into the bad weather. It was coming at us from both sides! We looked back up the mountain we left and it was no longer visible through the snow clouds.
We kept pushing, then Ken asked me if the back tire was getting low. I looked down and sure enough, it was going flat . . . for a second time in 5 minutes.
Ken didn’t want to try to do the repairs in the rain and snow, so once again, it was Seth to the rescue!!!
Today we discovered we can still climb hills. It’s not so much about the incline or the duration of the incline, it’s about altitude!!! We are about 5000 ft lower today and we can breathe!!!
The weather was much better today. The temperature hit almost 60 degrees. We did have 10-20mph headwinds, but it was manageable. A late start because it took too long to repair our back flat tire from last night. but we finally started.
Since we got to our motel early, we decided to go a bit further which is when we got our biggest hill of the day. The plan was to get in another 18 miles. We headed west, watching the rain in the distance. Unfortunately, we were on a collision course with the rain and about that time, Seth drove past us.
The rain made for a cold, wet day. However, without the rain, we would not have seen this!
We crossed over the San Juan River.
Ken and I referred to this formation as Mordor!
Ride between Gallup NM to Newcomb NM. What a difference a day makes! It’s warmer today, still cloudy but no rain! We talkedt the hills and made good time. We were riding down the road and noticed that a car stopped ahead of us. A man stopped to take pictures of us! We stopped to talk a while. His name was Curtis, but his Navajo name was Turkey Boy, because he was born on Thanksgiving. Turkey Boy told us a very interesting story about the road we are on. It was originally Road 666, a two lane dirt road that was very dangerous and many people died on it. A state senator, John Pinto fought to turn it into a 4 lane, paved road and also renamed it hey 431. John Pinto was also a Navajo Code talker in WWII
Turkey Boy and Ken talked photography for a while then it was time to move along. I’m so grateful we met Turkey Boy, only wish we could have spent more time taking with him, he was very interesting!
We saw (maybe the same) hurd of wild horses.
After Seth picked us up at our meeting place and heading back to our motel, we saw a cowboy rounding up his horses for the evening.
We started this day with sunny skies and warmer weather. We said goodbye to Seth this morning so we are on our own. About 5 miles into the ride we got our second flat tire. The roads are pretty rough here and unforgiving. The 40 lbs extra weight we are carrying today didn’t help much (the pannier bags).
Our day will be cold and rainy. A snow storm is moving in. Where we were earlier this week now has 2″ of snow and is expecting up to 14″.
This is what it looks like this morning. We will ride all 48 miles on the I40 Interstate today. There are no other roads heading West from Chambers. It rained for just 1/2 an hour then cleared up for a while.So we stopped at the Painted Dessert.
Then we darted the last 18 miles to our next town, Holbrook AZ.
Ride from Holbrook AZ to Winslow AZ.
We started earlier in the day trying to out run some rain due to arrive by noon today.
We will still be riding on the I40 Interstate ( in Arizona there are a few places bicycles are allowed to ride on the Interstate because there are no other roads) the entire way we needed to dodge glass and blown tire debris. the tire debris has thin wire reinforcement in it and can easily cause a flat. So we had a flat tire! After changing the back tire once, we had to stop a few times (at exits) to pump the tire back up, just to make it to our next stop.
We road into Winslow Arizona where “Well, I’m a standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona And such a fine sight to see”
Our daughter, Sarah, joined us right after we arrived at our hotel. So we drove back to the corner for more pictures and dinner.
since it was snowing out and causing white out conditions, we decided not to ride today. We still needed to ride on the Interstate and the snow would cause an already not so safe condition to be worse. So since Sarah was with us in the van, we drove out of the snow storm and into a partly cloudy day up North.
Beautiful mountain views
Back riding again. But 1st, before we left Page to drive back to Flagstaff,
we stopped at Glen Canyon Dam
We witness some beautiful foggy mountainsides as we drove back to Flagstaff.
Flagstaff still had snow from the day before.
We road on the I40 Interstate from Flagstaff to Ash Fork, AZ. Since were on the highway we didn’t take but one picture.
Looking back to Flagstaff.
Finally off the Interstate! we prepared for our ride back on Historic Route 66.
We headed up the Historic Route 66 towards Peach Springs, AZ. On the way we road through a few nostalgic Historic towns.
We met Sarah in Stigman, we looked around,
then left her there as we road on.
Just 15 miles before the end of day,
we stopped at the Grand Canyon Caverns, and took a tour.
The Government stored enough supplies for 2000 people for a few weeks.
A dinning room “Caverns Grato”
A wedding chapel
And a hotel room! Yes people can rent this cave for the night.
Also some kind of animal had fallen into this cave many years ago. There were claw marks on the wall he tried to get back out. It turned out it was a “Land Sloth”
Here is a stuffed version of a Giant land sloth.
After spelunking, we met my parents in Peach Springs, ate dinner together and parted to our rooms. Sarah prepared to leave at 4am the next morning.
Day 13 Saturday Oct 20th
Another day on Historic Route 66. Starting in Peach Springs and riding to Kingman Az.
Beautiful countryside and sights.
We stopped at another Historic 66 place.
Then it had been a few days since we had a flat, so today is the day! We had to replace the tire and the tube, but at least it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t cold outside.
Rolling in to Kingman AZ. We saw so many different cactus plants.
Ride from Kingman AZ to Palm Gardens NV.
It was interesting popping a tandem wheelie just to get the bike in the elevator, take it to the ninth floor and park it in our room.
We spent the night at the Aquarius Casino Hotel. Our bike fit diagonally in the elevator as we ascended up to the ninth floor.
At breakfast my Mother took a sunrise photo from the other side of the river at Laughlin.
A ride from Pisgah CA to Chambless CA.
It started out a beautiful warm sunny California day. A few downhills and a nice tailwind. Then we got in this road, what a mess!!! We kept the speed down to 5-8mph. It was difficult to keep the camera steady.
We passed by a lava field and decided to take a closer look
A We met a gentleman from the Netherlands today. He wanted to see the United States and chose to do so in his bike. He started in Atlanta and plans to finish up in LA in about 10 days.
We stopped for water at what looks like a Historic Route 66 Motel and Café.
We are riding through the Southern tip of the Mojave Desert. Lots of sand, Brittlebush and Volcanic rocks. This was the sight for miles and miles. My parents picked us up in Chambless CA and we drove back to Barstow for the night.
Then while going to dinner I took this sunset picture with my cell phone.
Another sunrise right at my hotel.Now that we have finished our ride through the Mojave Desert, I thought the landscape would start getting greener. Not yet! but we still ride West towards Barstow CA.
Our last day of riding and it will be between Barstow and the South side of Victorville CA.
We stopped for lunch at a very clean and well kept Café. Molly Brown’s Café. We had fresh fruit that looked like it was cut just before served. Great tasting food too.
This is our last day of riding. We will need to return next year to finish about 100 miles to get to the Pacific Coast.