Reporting on: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Riding Route: From Gallup, NM to Grants, NM
Temperature: 75 degrees/Winds: up to 45 mph
Elevation Climb: 1800 feet
Miles Ridden Today: 67
Well, I have to admit that today was one of the more unusual days of my ride so far. We began an hour later than usual because we only had 67 miles to ride today...and it was relatively level terrain! It was a beautiful sunny morning! As I was leaving town a guy in a pickup truck turned right in front of me. I mean RIGHT in front of me. He claimed he never saw me! I was going about 15 mph and I'll tell you it was the closest I've ever come to being creamed, wiped out, gone! When we both finally stopped there was less than 12 inches between us. I'm glad I'm here to report to you tonight!
Route 66 was our road of the day again! In my effort to give you a few tidbits about the area we're in each day here are a few facts: The song "Route 66" was composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troupe. It was recorded that same year by one of my favorite singers...Nat King Cole. Us "oldsters" will remember that version! But many of you will remember it being performed by other artists...including Perry Como, Chuck Berry and The Rolling Stones. The song's lyrics follow the path of U.S Route 66, which ran from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA. The highway got it's number designation in 1926. The two lane, fully paved road was completed by 1938 - just prior to WWII - and helped this country facilitate the single greatest wartime manpower mobilization in our history. Later, in President Eisenhower's second term he pushed Congress for passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. This bill financed the cost of the national interstate and "defense highway" system. However, by 1970, nearly all segments of original Route 66 were replaced/bypassed by Interstate 40 - a "modern" four-lane highway. Well, I can tell you that all of us got "our kicks - on Route 66" today!
The only time we had to be back on Interstate 40 today was for a short 19 mile stretch - which proved to be the worst road section we've had on our trip since beginning in Manhattan Beach. The shoulder was full of debris & gravel - deep gravel! It was like trying to ride a dirt bike in the sands of the Sahara! UGH! We couldn't ride on the road because there was so much traffic.
We had a SAG stop ( to new readers SAG = Support and Gear) at the Continental Divide at an elevation of 7275 feet. Peter, if you're reading this blog to your children tonight let them know that the Continental Divide is the line that divides the flow of water between the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean... and runs from northwestern Canada along the crest of the Rocky Mountains to New Mexico. Show them the pictures above!
We (Champ, Tom and I rode together all day) had soft rain in the early afternoon and watched as a "very visual weather front" began moving in on us. About 10 minutes later the winds came up...and as it hit us we endured about 15-20 minutes of 35-40 mph winds. We were literally doing everything possible to stay on our bikes. Then the winds diminished to a mere 25 mph tailwind and pushed us down the final hill into Grants, NM. No pedaling necessary for 20+ miles!
Most of the day was a beautiful ride with rolling hills and mountains in the distance. Tomorrow thunderstorms are again forecast. We can handle the rain - but sure hope the winds aren't as bad as they were today.
My last thought tonight regards the Rod Denhart Memorial Scholarship Fund...the cause I'm riding for. To date DPHA has posted just shy of $20,000 in the account. My goal is $25,000 - so we still have a way to go. I have a picture of Rod tucked in my shirt every day as I ride - and his spirit surely is helping me along on this endeavor. If you would like to donate you can go to the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware's http://www.bikewithhank.com/ site. I thank each of you with sincere and heartfelt thanks! Each and every dollar helps us achieve this goal.