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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reporting on: May 24, 2009

Riding Route: Santa Fe to Las Vegas

Temp:44 to 70 degrees - Cloudy/Winds: not much wind!

Elevation Climb:4800 feet

Miles Ridden Today: 72

We had a GREAT ride today! We left this morning in cloudy 44 degree weather - with a 40% chance of rain in the forecast. (However, no rain plagued us)! We immediately started climbing - and all day it was "up and down" the mountains...anywhere from a 4%-8% grade. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it was a challenge to some of us! The terrain was beautiful. We were on Route 66 for all but 5 miles of riding on Highway 25. Tracy told us this is the last of highway riding! We're done with the heavy traffic areas! All of us let out a huge shout at that news! I need to tell you that each day I get up I still have butterflies in my stomach - just not knowing what is ahead...but 4-5 miles into the ride it's forgotten and I'm zoned into the challenge of the day!

This area of Route 66 was officially designated part of The Santa Fe Trail in 1987 by the National Park Service. It extends for nearly 1,200 miles across five states...beginning in Missouri and obviously ending in Santa Fe. It's history began in 1821 when it became America’s first great international commercial "highway" (between the US and Mexico). With the outbreak of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1846, it became a military highway of invasion until U.S. forces brought an end to Mexican control of the region. Following that time and for nearly sixty years it remained one of the nation’s great routes of adventure and western expansion.

Today was the highest point of our ride: 7570 feet. We peaked at Glorieta Pass in northern NM in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In 1862 a decisive battle in the New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War took place in this pass. The victory by the Union Army (mostly of the Colorado Militia) prevented the breakout of the Confederate Army forces onto the High Plains...which halted the intended Confederate advance northward along the base of the Rocky Mountains. (Sorry to pepper you with so many facts...but you know I'm a history buff)!

Okay, you looked at the pictures above. A few days ago I challenged you to guess which animal I'd have my picture taken with next. Did any of you guess a buffalo? Poor guy didn't survive long enough for me to ride him! Lets see, how many animals is that so far? The second picture is of me with Amber Lynn Vacero, who is Miss Teen for Las Vegas. She and her parents were at the hotel serving hot dogs and hamburgers to raise money for her to participate in the Miss New Mexico Pageant. All of us supported her - even if we didn't eat!

Tonight we're in Las Vegas. That's Las Vegas, New Mexico! No gambling here! As we rode into town we passed through "Old Town"...and it certainly has the "old west" look! It is famous because it was home to many notorious characters of the Old West. A few names you'll recognize are dentist Doc Holliday and his girlfriend Big Nose Kate (yes, for real!), Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and the Durango Kid. The word on the street is that there was no town with a more disreputable gang of desperadoes and outlaws! I hope I survive the night here!

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