I am writing to you from the comforts of a trailer right now. As Max said, we haven’t been able to camp because of the constant rain but I am going to go ahead and say that staying in this luxury trailer counts as camping. I am making an executive decision and saying that if you can hear crickets chirping, then it counts as camping.
Today we left Socorro and headed North towards Albuquerque. We decided against the main highway due to its congestion and thought that going on some of the alternate roads would be more conducive to our trip-long goal of not being hit by a motor vehicle. Little did we know that the alternate roads Google so graciously provided us with were unpaved. Rather than turning around we went along the uneven gravelly path about three miles until we hit pavement again. I am no expert, but having that bike seat jostle between my thighs for forty minutes can’t be good for the ole sperm count. Mom and Dad, don’t expect grandchildren from me anytime soon.
After we hit the pavement, we rode through the area a bit until we were stopped because of the road being flooded for about 100 yards (if you have been keeping up with the series you already know that it has been raining quite a bit). We were about to take off our shoes and walk across when a truck rolled up behind us that was driven by Bill. Bill is an Albuquerque native who was in Socorro for the morning hunting doves. He offered to “ferry” us across the flood in his truck to save us some time. He started telling us about the road conditions on the way to the city and mentioned that much of the roads were flooded because of the recent downpour. While he initially was only going to drive us a little ways down the road, Bill ended up taking us all the way to Albuquerque. Max had to ride in the bed of the truck the entire way. He thought we were only going a few miles instead of the 50 or so Bill decided to take us. Apparently, riding in the bed of a truck going 70 MPH on a freeway is kind of scary. Max left his helmet on, don’t worry Belinda and Liz. Max was comfortable in the cab and ended up talking with Bill the rest of the ride. He asked us about our trip and was very enthusiastic about what we were doing. We made small talk for a little while until we exhausted all the general topics (by general topics I am of course referring to wastewater treatment procedures and job prospects). Then things got real interesting.
Bill was very apt to fill me in on his religious beliefs which made me not so apt to fill him in on my lack thereof. However, he was polite and seemed like he had something to share so I let him go. He told me all about how he was visited by an angel who told him he had an appointment with Jesus whom he met later. He then went on to talk about how he believes that Jesus sent him there to help us today and spread the word of his scripture. If Jesus sent him to do anything, it would probably be to strike me down with lightning Emperor Palpatine style, but I suppose it was my lucky day.
We thanked Bill after he dropped us off and made our way to the University of New Mexico’s campus to hang out while we figured out where we were going to stay. We killed some time comparing their student body to ASU’s while looking for a bathroom (at this point, not being able to pee on the side of the road is strange to us). Mind you, all this time we are still wearing skin tight biking shorts. I would like to think Max and I strutting around in skin-tight shorts would be the equivalent of a sexy woman wearing yoga pants however, that is far from the case. We just got a lot of funny looks and people awkwardly averting their eyes from our crotches.
After we bore all for the Lobos, Max got a call from Pat, who is an Albuquerque ChemDry owner. We got into contact with Pat through Ed, our ChemDry sponsor in Los Angeles. Pat was willing to pick us up and let us crash at his place for the night until we took off the next morning. He is an avid cyclist and was interested (or perhaps a little jealous) in our trip. He warned us that his wife was unaware that two strangers would be staying at their place as he drove us to his house which made us just a tad bit uncomfortable as we invaded his living space. Our uneasiness was alleviated pretty quickly when we met Pat’s wife, Lisa, despite initially believing we were going to be pests. Lisa is very much a mom. The second we met her she threw sarcastic comments our way, but it was easy to see what a caring person she was. Both Pat and Lisa fed us, helped us map some of our route, gave us access to their laundry machine and let us crash in their trailer. Oh, and Lisa told us everything and anything we wanted to know about hot air balloons. We didn’t see any today though…So Lisa, we are a little skeptical of your hot air balloon knowledge after that guarantee you gave us.
The next morning, Pat had us come down to his ChemDry office where he asked us to talk to his employees about our trip, what we were doing and answer any questions about organ donation. Once again, we were wearing our studly bike shorts in front of everyone so I am sure it was just a great presentation. Following our ChemDry talk, Pat dropped us off at the start of Route 66 where we began to head East and intended on getting to Cline’s Corner.
Since I feel like this is a long post and I have more to write I figured I would take a moment to throw some more interesting New Mexico knowledge your way before I begin informing you of all the mundane details. They love green chile in New Mexico. It is on everything and everywhere you go. Green chile on burgers, on sandwhiches, in shampoos and lotions. When you go into the bathrooms at the gas stations, they have the quartered-machines that sell green chile contraceptives. Some of those may be complete fabrications but I will let you decide on which ones you think are fake. The point is, they love green chile here.
Back to today. We are biking our little hearts along until we get around 20 miles outside of the city when we realize we are more or less done with any major inclines or declines. We Bro-high-fived after realizing we would have flat roads for the rest of our trip and went along our merry way until we hit Moriarty. We stopped in Moriarty mostly because they have fireworks surplus stores. Knowing that we were going to be going through some desolate areas with little to entertain ourselves, I figured stocking up on some Roman candles was a necessity. Not only that, but I now have a more efficient way to wake up Max in the morning.
We made it around 50 miles outside of Albuquerque when we decided to pull over at a rest stop because my bike was screeching and Max ended up getting a flat. I thought my chain just needed some lube but there ended up being larger problems. What exactly is wrong with it is beyond my knowledge but I knew it was outside of the capabilities of my Alan wrench. We sat and debated what to do (AAA doesn’t cover bicycles apparently). Either go back to Albuquerque and lose a day while taking the bike to a shop or try and hitch a ride to Amarillo where we could take it to a different bike shop without backtracking. We chose the latter option and ended up being extremely fortunate.
As we were getting our belongings together a man asked us if we were having bike trouble. We told him what was going on and where we were going. Turns out, him and his son were driving back to Wisconsin and would be passing through Amarillo. He offered to give us a lift if we were able to fit all of our gear into his Honda Element. We managed to Tetris all of our stuff into the car while cramming into the one seat in the back. As happy as I was to get help so soon, in retrospect I was a little offended. I am no bodybuilder, but I don’t consider myself a small person either. At the very least, I would appreciate this man second guessing his decision of helping us out due to some fear that we would kick his ass, but no. If anything, he took one look at us and thought, it’s not like these pansies in bike shorts are going to do anything to me. I swear the shorts are causing more problems than they solve.
I am almost done, hang in there avid readers. One of my good friends helped us out with a place to stay in Texas with his grandparents. Tim and Pete, the father and son who had no fear taking us wimpy bikers to Amarillo, were kind enough to drop us off at what we thought was our friend’s grandparent’s house. Turns out they moved. We gave them a call and they weren’t far away in their new house. It was dark by this point though, and all of our gear was strewn about in the street. We strapped our headlamps on and started putting all our stuff together. While this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, we looked awfully suspicious to the neighbor who looked out his window and saw what I can only imagine looked like some sort of Splinter Cell operation going on in his neighborhood. We packed up our stuff under the watchful eye of the neighbor and made our way three miles to our destination.
Our hosts immediately made sure we were well-fed and allowed us to shower (which was probably more for their sake than ours). We haven’t gotten to know them too well yet but they are great people.
If anyone has been intently waiting for us to write something, I apologize. I promise we will be less lazy in the future. Talk to you soon.