Not On The Road To Amarillo

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

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Where I stayed
Rancheros Campsite

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Friday, July 8, 2011

It was a funny day, so much nice stuff to look back on but once again the inescapable huge mileage left us seriously flagging come late afternoon. Anyway, let's go through the good stuff and I can have a whinge later on in the daily account.

Leaving Albuquerque (I’m really pleased not to have to spell that again) was very relaxed despite Polly insisting on an early rise and pack up. We were pedalling out the much nicer side of town by 7:30am and although the first 13 miles were uphill we were pleased that we had taken the bold move to leave the eastward bound highway I40 behind and venture off into the countryside.  Highway riding is quick and generally hill free but it is noisy and at times dull.  Also, given the number of punctures we have suffered on the hard shoulder we decided we would leave the road to Amarillo for another trip (I’m not sure I could take anymore of Polly singing "We’re On The Road To Amarillo" anyway).

The Turquoise (God, that’s hard to spell as well) Trail was advertised as a National Scenic Highway and it certainly did not disappoint.  We saw a wonderful side of New Mexico on a very peaceful yet challenging ride.  Along the 50 mile stretch we enjoyed awesome views and many arty farty things.  We met a lovely old chap out on his daily bike ride, his wiry white beard was something to aim for.  He suggested we stop for a cold drink at a settlement called Golden, we did and enjoyed refreshments on a swinging chair on the veranda.  The store there was opened in 1918 and we think the guy serving us probably opened it himself, it tool a good few minutes for him to shuffle over to the fridge and then process the transaction through the till.

Back on the road, next stop was Madrid.  An old mining community had been reinvented as an artists paradise.  Galleries and coffee shops lined the street and we even found a fun photo park (see photos).

It was a lovely ride to Santa Fe but as we approached the town things started to get less fun.  Puncture one was dealt with but puncture two tested more.  We fixed them and Googled a bike shop where we restocked on inner tubes.  The Broken Spoke was a lovely shop, I think we are both getting quite geeky about bike bits and could have spent many dollars pimping our rides.

At this point we were faced with the dilemma of heading straight out to the campsite (we already knew it was 7 miles out of town), or doing a quick ride through the city.  We decided that having cycled this far we should check out Santa Fe.  It was indeed a beautiful place but the ride in and out in heavy traffic left us feeling that it was not a good call.  It is so hard in The States (so different to New Zealand).  Everything is really spread out.  Stupid thing to say really being such a big country but it means we are doing really long days and finding it hard to get to the campsite with enough time to recuperate for the next leg.  It was a good two hours between arriving in Santa Fe and finally reaching the campsite.  When we got here we had cycled 76 miles and been on the road for 11 hours. When we unloaded the bikes and started putting the tent up, it would be an understatement to say that the camp manager arriving to say that they had put us in the wrong site and we had to move, led me to lose the plot.  I stamped my feet really hard whilst Polly was much more diplomatic.

20 minutes later the same guy came over again.  I asked him if he wanted us to move again, the tent was now already up.  He wanted to apologise for the mix up and offered to drive down to the local brewery to buy us a 'growler’ of beer.  It was such a lovely gesture and we had a much better conversation this time around. 

We are going to bed in much cooler conditions on a beautiful campsite high in the hills surrounding Santa Fe.  It looks like the decision to head north has paid off.  So no more singing “We’re On The Road To Amarillo”.  Instead tomorrow we cycle to Las Vegas, apparently very different to the Las Vegas we visited two weeks ago.

Miles Cycled:  76, about 20 too far


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triciagick on

Bit sad abuot Amarillo as it now looks as though you will also miss being '24 hours from Tulsa!' Hey Ho - there'll be other songs I suppose? X

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