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The Desert Begins

June 28th, 2009
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A bit of a strange day today. Good, but strange. Not Ohio psycho strange, but a bit surreal. Started out great. Stayed in a great little “Mom and Pop” Rt 66 Motel. Was recently restored and a classic. Was pretty full and as I was packing up quite a few folk came out to talk. One guy, once he found out what I was about, had to go get his wife… Most everyone I talk to is real appreciative of what we are doing here, hopefully they take home and act on my message that “We NEED them” I’ve been playing on the “honesty” thing lately. Telling people, “For too long we have just accepted that politicians lie, well, that is not the way it should be, and we don’t have to accept it…”

So, I finally got out of there and made my way to the Quay County Sheriff Office. As it was Sunday I had my doubts on finding anyone, and that was about the case when, lo and behold, a Sheriff Car pulls in next door. So I pedaled over and said Hi. I started into my spiel when body language told me this guy was not going to warm up. That is rare on this trip. I could tell he was being patient with me but had other things on his mind and didn’t want to chat. So I cut it short, he kindly said, “so I guess you’d like me to give these to the boss?” I said “yes, please”. He said “sure, I’ll do that”. I said thanks and pedaled off. I chalked it up to being a stranger with a peculiar mission on a Sunday morning and was simply glad to have found someone there.

But that wasn’t really strange, just not the norm on this trip.

One thing that was kinda strange was, as I was leaving town, a small white pick-up (NM? 671) pulled over up the road, a guy got out, snapped my pic with an expensive cam, and as I approached got in his truck and sped off… Hmmmmm… Most people taking someones picture at least say’s hi…

But what was more strange, was pedaling into the desert in late June in a cold rain. I’m serious, I mean, I know it rains and this is not full on desert yet, but it was still kinda surreal, wondering if I should put on a jacket after the heat of the last few days. It was kinda cool though, I could almost hear the earth soaking in the life giving water with a gentle sigh.

The pedaling was great though. The shoulder was good most of the way, and had 22 miles of new construction where it was very smooth and fast. The road was cut down to 1 lane but the shoulder is very wide and it was fine.

Had some big long hills, but was pretty much low grade and the nearby train tracks told me that hills don’t get much better than this. Of course the train tracks were even more graded than the Interstate but still no biggie, just a matter of keeping my feet moving and eventually the top is there.

The next strange thing to happen was a semi going very slowly past me on the interstate. Again I was, Hmmmm…? They usually are whipping past and there was no reason for driving slow where I was. He got ahead of me, pulled over, got out, and started walking to the back of the truck. I figured maybe he had heard his load shift or something, but he got to the back of the truck and kept coming. It was obvious he wanted to talk… In over 5000 miles of pedaling this was a first,

Well, turns out he was an old Army Vet (Vietnam) who had pedaled across three times and wanted to share his stories with another trans-con. So I made a friend on the side of an interstate. He had quite a few stories, including crossing Death Valley and barely making it out alive. He was the type to ignore politics, but I think I may have got him with the line about history and everyone wondering why the Germans didn’t do anything when Fascism’s ugliness arose. I hope so… Anyway, Ward, if you read this, thanks for stopping and it was great chatting, please do get more involved, your country NEEDS you.

So, after we parted I pedaled on, it started raining again, but never really poured and it wasn’t bad. I just kept thinking of what a goon Al Gore is. It kinda pees me off that the tyrants are using the environment to enslave people. They use heart string issues to suck in the innocent and get them to help, the poor saps don’t even know how badly they are being used. I really think we need to take the environmental issue away from the tyrants. They are only using it for their own nefarious purposes and will actually hurt the planet more with their greedy schemes. I’m not sure how we can do that, but I know our position is logical and makes more sense. I’ll continue to muse…

The final strange thing to happen was really cool. As I pulled into town I tooled up the main drag looking for a suitably inexpensive motel. I saw a Harley Club that had passed me earlier in the day at this Motel 6, and after looking around town decided this was probably the best bet, so pulled in. They were looking at me curiously when one mentioned that I sure do move along. I said, yeah, but I do have some help and pointed out the front hub… Then, one of the girls asked, “are you the only one doing this?” I said yes, she then said, “well you sure do move along cause I saw you pedal past my house in Missouri a while back”. Haha – That got everyone’s attention and I got to use the Statue of Liberty to Alcatraz line, which they loved.

As Ichecked in they were gathered around the bike, checking out the flags and stickers, pointing and smiling. I knew they liked my rig and was kinda stoked… It is moments like that that I remind me why I don’t wear “cyclist” gear on the road. I mean, I am sure the tight fitting gear is great for slipping through the wind, but pulling up in my Dickie shorts, Walk For Freedom shirt, and Gadsden Hat clearly says I am an activist, not really a cyclist, and that earns respect from some quarters…

What with the rain I didn’t get the camera out much, but did take a couple.

This shot did not come out as I hoped.

I wanted to capture a few things, the emptiness, the abandoned rail station, but mainly the signage, which always makes me laugh. The bottom little sign has a pic of a bicycle and says “use shoulder only” uh duh… It is a friggin interstate, only a Darwin Award contender would need that sign…

And here is something I got a kick out of

That’s about it. I have a very long day tomorrow (80miles) with 3000 ft of climbing over a 7000ft pass. Will descend 1500 ft, so will be gaining 1500 on the divide.

Pedal pedal

Journal, Photos

  1. ward
    June 29th, 2009 at 18:50 | #1

    michael…..thanks for the fifteen minutes of fame in your recap….that was so neat talking with you and letting me tell you about my 3 previous cross country trips…u have me fired up for at least 2 more cross country trips and plan to do one next summer after giving up the trucking….i really like sharing my experiences of the the trips and now you have given me world wide fame….michael, am not sure where we met up but i am in winslow arizona at the fly j truck stop til 30 june at 1000 hours if you are in the area..am in a white swift trans truck with army decals on the cab. if we meet up i owe you at least an ice cold coke for the fifteen minutes of fame you gave me in your daily recap..i am headed to fresno cal for a delivery on 2 jul…..b careful out there what with the holiday traffic and all…..best of luck michael with your mission you have undertaken coast to coast…..ward….i so envy what you are doing!!!

  2. admin
    June 29th, 2009 at 23:25 | #2

    Ward, It was great talking and I was a bit honored that you pulled over to talk. The truckers treat me well on the road, but none have ever stopped. I suspect alerts go out cause many wave and honk like they were expecting to see me. Had a really cool experiance on my first trip. I was on 90, west of New Orleans and came up on a high, shoulderless bridge. I waited till there was no traffic and started pedaling like mad. Heard an 18 wheeler coming up and hate slowing you guys down, but had no where to go so just pedaled harder. Heard him downshifting and right behind, but what could I do? When I finally got a chance to pull over, he slowly went by with a big smile and a thumbs up. I was stoked… Will do on the keeping an ear out, the rumble strips help… I’ll be on 40 heading for AZ on the second, in Moriarity NM now, will be in Santa Fe tomorrow… Should be done on the 24th July, send me another note in case I get swamped, would love to talk again. Drive safe my friend

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