February 17, 2016
By meriwether, Feb 18 2016 12:23AM
Greetings All - Today, February 17 is officially 6 months on this journey; August 17, the day I left my Sister’s house in Toledo, seems so long ago to me now!
So I did Proceed On northward from El Paso and crossed into New Mexico, my 22nd state. It was a good ride up to Las Cruces, NM, following part of the way the course of the Rio Grande River. But what I thought would be a powerful and raging torrent was not raging at all. In fact, there seemed to be a noticeable lack of water coursing through the riverbed - that is, no water at all . . . . just sand with tire tracks crisscrossing the bed of the river. Apparently the water is diverted upstream in New Mexico, and released only at certain times of the years when the farmers downstream need it. Amazing how we change the face of nature to suit our needs!
I stayed with Warm Showers hosts John and Donetta in Las Cruces, and forgot to get a photo - sorry about that. John was having quite a bit of back pain from an operation and additional hip pain, but hosted me anyhow. Great of him to do that! Las Cruces sits at the base of the Organ Mountains, and the backdrop of the rugged mountains makes quite a spectacular panorama.
The ride from Las Cruces to Deming was also quite nice - I was on Interstate 10 for a bit, but then followed a frontage road and a state route that took me away from the highway, and out into the New Mexico desert with the Gila National Recreation Area and its towering peaks to the north, and the Florida Mountains to the south. The scenery seems to become grander and grander as I proceed on deeper into the Southwest. When I arrived in Deming, I could look back in the direction from which I came and just see the Organ Mountains over Las Cruces, 55 miles away. Looking from horizon to horizon, one’s eyes are capturing 100 miles of sweeping western landscapes.
Tuesday’s ride was again long - about 67 miles - and not the most pleasant since most of it was on I-10, parts of which west of Deming were just horrendous. But then it smoothed out, and one kick-ass tailwind (oops - best way to describe it) got me to Lordsburg, NM, in good time. But with derailleur and more tire problems, I just barely made it into this small NM town.
The prevailing thinking is that riding east to west as I am, I would be riding mostly into the westerly winds. But I’ve found on many days that it is just the opposite with favorable winds swooping in out of the E, SE. and NE. Of course, as soon as I say that, I will encounter another dastardly headwind to heckle me (So I take that back - or pretend you didn’t read it.)
I would like to acknowledge some new and repeat donors who made donations to Habitat For Humanity and/or Save The Children in support of my ride. Many thanks go out to new donors Karl and Dottie Huls and Tanvir Singh, and to repeat donors Janet Rogolsky and Tim and Joan Kreps.
I should also add that today I crossed the border into Arizona and am staying tonight in the small border town of Duncan; it appears I have made quick work of New Mexico when compared to Texas. Of course, when I entered the state north of El Paso, I was already halfway across New Mexico.
Proceeding On . . .