Meltdown in Gallup After 100 Mile Slog

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Sunday, July 3, 2011

maple syrup to start you off. Having thought we would eat so much we would put them out of business we actually both struggled to finish the first two – a shame. The lovely guy in charge who had given us the puncture repair kit wished us the best of luck for today, and we set off.

I'm writing this in the afternoon on Monday (tomorrow) and to be honest I actually already can’t remember much of the beginning of the ride. I know that we didn’t get a puncture until 12 miles, and that the pancakes fuelled us so well we got to 35 miles before needing the first of the sandwiches. It was at this point that we stopped at a garage and made friends with a very friendly chap called Eric who made sure we filled all our bottles up and found us a tap to fix the inner tubes (2 punctures by that point). He loved our accent and told me that Americans don’t have an accent (except maybe those who live in the South) – apparently they speak English as it should be spoken…

We found the Chieftain Inn and garage at 47 miles, the place where we were considering stopping to break the 90 mile journey to Gallup. It was in the middle of nowhere however and only 1pm so we thought it would be worth doing the 45 miles extra to Gallup today and having a day off there instead. Amazingly at about 60 miles the sky gradually clouded over and we experienced our first desert storm. Rain and even lightning were a lovely relief from the sun and really helped to keep us going as by 70 miles we were feeling pretty tired.

At about 75 miles we crossed into New Mexico and the landscape started to get a lot more interesting. Huge rock formations surrounded us and we had high hopes for Gallup being a lovely place to stay. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we were pretty seriously flagging by the time we reached the town at 91 miles and were devastated to find out that not only was it a DUMP, the KOA was 9 miles further on. This was particularly galling as Google maps had it marked west of town. We headed in to Maccys for a calming pineapple and mango smoothie and checked the map against the address. Yes – Google had it totally wrong – aaggghhh!

When we eventually arrived at the KOA we’d been on the bikes 11 hrs and done exactly 100 miles. We were gutted to see it was not a nice one, as we’d only got ourselves through the last bit by telling ourselves we’d spend the whole of tomorrow by the pool. Things then got worse when we went into the office and met the most incompetent and rude woman who kept us hanging around for 15 minutes before telling us there were no tent sites. The place was virtually empty so this was clearly ridiculous. To put our tent anywhere else she would have to charge us $15 dollars more as they were RV sites. To say Mikey got quite worked up is an understatement. (G and C you can imagine!) In the process it was revealed that this KOA stops being a KOA tomorrow – not surprised! Anyway, she was so annoying and rude we stormed out and decided to check out the surrounding motels instead. It was now 8.30pm (we lost an hour as we crossed the state border) and all the motels cost at least 4x the camping. I found one that was ok, but really couldn’t face the hassle of finding out if bikes could be stored/getting luggage up to the room/blowing a day’s budget on a room when we wanted to blow it on pizza instead. So, instead I VERY BRAVELY, headed back to the campsite to face the vile woman and stump up for an RV site. Mikey had said some pretty unforgivable things to her as we had stormed out 20 minutes earlier, but obviously it seemed she was so used to paying no attention to what customers wanted she hadn’t listened/understood. She spent 15 more minutes on the phone (bizarrely the campsite doubled as a laundrette and she was dealing with that) before charging me through the nose for a site. She generously gave me a 99 cent discount and we were in!

The site really was ridiculous, it was in the middle of a circular exit off the highway and right next to a train track. We put the tent up in record time, showered then headed to the garage to find some food. Here we hit another massive problem when we found out that Gallup is dry on Sundays. Obviously Mikey totally lost it, 100 miles and no post ride beer is very bad news. There was also no pizza insight and nothing to cook.

We ended up getting take away burgers and chips from Dennys, a nasty restaurant and then stumbling miserably back to the site. The burgers we pretty great actually and cheered us up, but it was 10.30 by the time we’d sorted all that and we just had time to check out the dreadful reviews of Gallup KOA before heading into the tent. The noise from the road and trains was absolutely ridiculous, but fortunately we were so exhausted we passed out anyway.

60 miles to Grants tomorrow, and hopefully a much better campsite where we can have a day off and fix my bike. Nothing is going to make us cycle 8 miles back into Gallup tomorrow to find one here.

Miles Cycled: A tense 100 waiting for punctures
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Jojo on

What a B****** day - can't wait to get to next entry!

Efrem on

I just read your blog. I stayed at this KOA last year and needless to say it was a dissapointment and was the worst of all of the KOAs we have stayed at. They did not picked up the trash in the dumpsters and saw dogs pulling on the trash in our view. The playground was useless for our son as the rains flooded it beyond use. I am not surprised that it is no longer a KOA.

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