USA Week 4

Keith and Debbie, Austin, Texas
Keith and Debbie, Austin, Texas

Links to all the Blogs and Maps

Table of links to all Blogs and Maps.

Charity Update

Many many thanks to all those that have donated.

20191130_charitydonations

Keith in the USA

This week Keith rides through Alien country (Roswell, New Mexico) to Austin, Texas to visit his sister Debbie.

Map of Progress so far in the USA.

Totals in the USA: 1766 miles, 59520ft climbing and 127:06 hours riding

This weeks ride in the USA.

This week: 561 miles, 13004ft climbing and 40:35 hours riding

USA Day 19 Sunday November 24th

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Route USA Day 19 – November 24th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 19.

Expect the unexpected today. I’m heading to Roswell site of Aliens landing in 1947?

It’s a beautiful morning again today. Clear blue skies. Straight road ahead of me with a gentle gradient for the first 10 miles. Hills to the north look great as the low sun casts shadows across them.

I’m riding in historic Lincoln County this morning, realm of Billy the Kid. As the climb intensifies I notice an animal in front stood on its hind legs. On closer inspection its a Grey squirrel not very exciting. This steep section is up through woodland and very scenic with large birds of prey circling overhead. Lots of road kill on this road more than I’ve seen all of this journey. There’s an owl, Porcupine, Skunks and lots of small birds.

At just over the hour and the climbing’s done. It’s flat now with a cold tail-wind, so it’s head down and crack on. All is going well until a bit of a climb at 55 miles. Nothing massive, just a change of mindset and push on. As I brow the hill I pull over and check my tyres. Both a little flat. Is it the cold air I wonder. Half hour later I’m changing the inner-tube in the rear wheel. That’s sorted but the front has a slow puncture as well. I fill it full of air and ride; only 25 to go.

Not sure why the aliens picked Roswell as it’s a pretty dull place, especially on a Sunday afternoon. Not a shop within 2 miles that sells alcohol and I’m not that fussed about going that far on foot.

I stick to the hotel and fix the punctures. Another exciting evening.

Praire farms and hills
Praire farms and hills
Rounded hills
Rounded hills
PB244119
North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum): spatchcocked and frozen and ready.
Ground Squirrel .. not sure which type
Ground Squirrel .. not sure which type
Ground Squirrel .. not sure which type
Ground Squirrel .. not sure which type
Large ranch farm under the hills
Large ranch farm under the hills

USA Day 20 Monday November 25th

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Route USA Day 20 – November 25th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 20.

A good breakfast in the hotel this morning; I managed to come out with an apple, a banana and a couple of tangerines!

It’s still very cold and overcast and not a lot to look at. Vast fields on both sides, mostly cattle with the odd herd of deer.

Fresh winds make the flat roads pretty hard work. Reminding me of Holland, no escaping headwinds. The occasional bird of prey above and darting rabbits on the verges. It’s a long straight boring road. Dale and Linney would be good riding three abreast, chatting.

First time I’ve really missed them. After 40 miles I start the only climb of the day. Nothing hard just a long straight climb of fifteen miles or so. After making the top I’m looking forward to the 30 mile descent. I take a sharp right then left, no left? Once again the Garmin has taken me onto private land. The sign on the gate is pretty off-putting.

There is nothing on this property worth dying for
KEEP OUT

Ok I’ll find another route. No problem, straight head against the increased wind for 10 miles then turn left for 28. The ten against the wind is hard, I can’t wait to turn left and have the wind on my back. I decide to take a break at the junction; ham, cheese and fruit. I threw the horrid bread away.

A large petroleum lorry pulls into the layby and the driver jumps out, shakes my hand and gives me a bottle of water. He’s just interested in where I had been and going. He gives me plenty of advice as to where to eat and pray. Turns out he was very religious and worried about me. No worries he meant no harm, nice chap.

I turn left and sail home with the wind on my back and flat roads. Only an extra 3 miles.

Far better than getting shot.

West Texas - long straight roads
New Mexico – long straight roads
West Texas - prairie scrubland
New Mexico – prairie scrubland

USA Day 21 Tuesday November 26th

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Route USA Day 21 – November 26th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 21.

I have a quick cereal breakfast in the room this morning and am on the road at 7. I’m expecting high winds this afternoon so I need to get some miles in early.

Not a lot to look at again this morning and that’s the theme for the next couple of days. Vast flat farmlands as far as the eye can see.

A high wind’s coming over my right shoulder threatening to blow me into the road. Luckily the hard shoulder is flat and wide. After 20 miles I pass through Hobbs a pretty typical nondescript town. Turning east the wind is now directly behind me and I soon sweep over the Texas state line. Oil heads and cotton fields greet me. The road stretches out straight in front with rolling hills. I pull over after 60 miles, with a puncture in the front and time to eat. The winds really picked up now but it’s still right behind me. I’ve also broken my front pannier rack, nothing a Ty-wrap won’t hold for now.

30+ miles to go. The wind is now growing into a storm and red dust is everywhere and tumble-weed is racing me down the road. Absolutely smashing it. Whilst fixing the bike earlier I inadvertently turned off my garmin. So my stats are only from the break.

I’m averaging 24mph for 20 miles I notice. I think I can improve on that I say to myself. I put the hammer down and complete the ride in 75 minutes, 31.2 miles, average speed a great 25.3mph. Not bad for a 50kg bike and a descent of 45metres.

I consider making the most of the wind and riding another 30+ miles to GAIL. After checking my maps, turns out there are no hotels.

So I take the early day and find a motel and set about going over my bike. Everything checked and tightened, innertubes repaired and a spot of lubrication. Only the rack that I’m not 100% with. Handful of Ty-wraps wouldn’t go a miss.

I walk down to the shop to get food for tomorrow. The locals stare at me in my shorts and the fact I’m walking. There’s a petrol station near the shop so I pop in but they have no Ty-wraps. “Bingo” next door is an electrical firm. I knock on the door and enter. There’s a large woman sat behind her desk keen to help. I explain my situation, so she phones her husband, no answer. So she phones her son, he directs her over the phone into the stores with me following close behind. I could be at home. I spot what I need and ask for ten, she hands me a whole bunch. We sit and chat in her office over a cup of tea and a biscuit or two, with me explaining what I’ve done and seen.

Excellent people.

Big sky in West Texas
Big sky in West Texas
PB264142
A pumpjack (nodding donkey) for pumping oil where the pressure underground is not enough to lift it to the surface
West Texas sand-storm
West Texas sand-storm

USA Day 22 Wednesday November 27th

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Route USA Day 22 – November 27th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 22.

It’s an early start this morning as I’m expecting the worst. 105 miles, very cold and headwinds. As expected it’s a bitterly cold headwind that’s burning my face. Nothing to look at except cotton fields and oil wells, undulating ground and straight roads. Just me and my mind today. My speed’s not too bad but everything seems to be a struggle going into the wind. It’s going to be like 8 hrs of solitary confinement. Just keep pressing on. Rain clouds are gathering to my right, maybe it can get grimmer.

After 35 miles I pull over to eat, urinate and put some air in my rear wheel. Nowhere to hid from the wind just standing on the side of the road. A large pick-up comes past me and does a u-turn. A gentlemen gets out and starts questioning me on my mentality and my plans. Lovely chap offers me a lift, I refuse explaining that I’m doing fine, on schedule and loaded with food. He says I’m mad and asks how difficult is it to take the panniers off. I take one off to show him and he loads it in the back of his truck. Looks like I’m getting a lift.

Ed starts telling me about his magnesium mine in “Snyder”. They extract it by boring holes and pumping water in and washing the magnesium out. He has a 1900 acre site! Then he’s describing the pig farm his family had in the eighties. At 83 years old he loves charging around his estate on his quad bike on two wheels. The bloke’s a goldmine of information. After 30 mile he pulls over, that’s as far as we go. He helps me put the bike back together, shakes my hand and says I’ve got to go shopping 20 guests to feed at Thanksgiving tomorrow.

So with a smile on my face I push on into the wind for the last 40 mile. It finally rains, but only for the last couple of mile. I book into the motel and spread my gear out to dry. I venture down to Walmart in my shorts and the rain. Yes I’m an alien!

Cotton fields and wind-turbines in West Texas
Cotton fields and wind-turbines in West Texas

USA Day 23 Thursday November 28th

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Route USA Day 23 – November 28th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 23.

I had breakfast and sat waiting for it to get light enough for me to hit the road. It’s cold and raining and that’s the forecast all day. I make the break at 7:45. It’s not a big road out of town and it has a small rough hard shoulder. I have my lights on and I’m riding on the road.

I’m only just got out of the town and I’ve spotted four deer carcasses already. If the drivers are hitting them I’ll get back on the hard shoulder. Riding across a couple of small valleys this morning, up and down through the woods. I disturb a couple of feral pigs that run along with me for a second or two. A welcome break from the open fields of late. The weather is not improving.

After the woods it up with the wind turbines. I know I’m heading directly into the headwind, but it’s confirmed by the angle of the turbines. This is going to be another testing day. After 30 miles I hear a spoke go in my rear wheel but looking down it’s still running pretty true. So I push on. 50 miles in it’s time for lunch. I need to eat for my energy.

There is nowhere to hide from the wind or rain. Pulling over I just sit on the bank eating my sandwiches, fruit and chocolate. Cars passing wave in acknowledgement, but they don’t stop and offer me Thanksgiving dinner. One spoke broken one very loose. I tighten it just enough to keep it in place.

The road-kill I’ve seen today is appalling, at least a dozen deer, 5 or 6 skunks, coyote’s, ring-tailed cats (raccoons probably), feral pigs and armadillos. The pigs looked like a whole family had been wiped out in a single stroke. “The Road Kill Cafe” needs to get down here.

20 miles to go and it’s freezing fog, sleet and icy winds. I need to finish ASAP.

I pull into my motel, strip of and start drying my clothes. I remove the back wheel and set about replacing spokes and truing it up. Two new spokes and 20 minutes and it’s done. I repair a puncture, have coffee and jump in a well deserved shower.

I walk out for food but it’s “Thanksgiving” and the three local restaurants are closed. At the local garage I pick up a couple of beers, Snickers and milk. Back to the motel and I microwave myself some pasta and rice. Chocolate biscuits and bananas for a sweet. Can’t be bad. That’s why we carry food!

West Texas - shitty weather
West Texas – shitty weather
West Texas - shitty weather
West Texas – shitty weather
Hereford cows in West Texas (I'm guessing from the white faces)
Hereford cows in West Texas [I’m guessing from the white faces: Ed]
Keith fixing his back wheel again!
Keith fixing his back wheel again!

USA Day 24 Friday November 29th

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Route USA Day 24 – November 29th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 24.

I’m up and waiting to go, over a hundred miles planned today and it’s grim. I have a quick breakfast in the hotel and I’m rolling at 7:15. Not light yet so I’m on the hard shoulder with my tail lights flashing. It’s raining and foggy but not too cold or windy.

I made my mind up not to look at the Garmin today but just keep riding till I arrive in Lampasas, probably in ten hours or so. Start in the dark, finish in the dark! The road’s good today with villages dotted along the route rather than towns 80 miles apart. So I’m counting down the miles using the villages, but oblivious to the time. The suns not coming up, but it has stopped raining.

The days going well, not so much wind and feeling pretty good. As I brow the climb I spot a pick up-truck parked on the shoulder. As I near the drivers struggles out and halts me. Asking where I’ve been and going. Do I want a lift. I’m fine thank you I reply. He says the weather stinks and the traffic is busy get in the van. I’m hesitant as it’s going fine today, warmer and less wind. But the guys a charm so I agree to throw my bike in the back, bags on the back seat and settle in next to him. 73 years old and the guy’s still working, repairing small motors and tools, in his shop.

After 20 miles I suggest he pulls over and I get back on the bike. Not really – he was at his journey’s end!

I unloaded the bike and his compressor from the back. Perhaps that’s why he picked me up, to unload his van. I don’t think so, far too nice and genuine. I’m only sorry I never got his name.

I struggled to get it going again, so pulled over at a picnic spot and had some lunch. I’m feeling better and I set off with only 30 miles to go. I spot my first live “Armadillo” on the grass verge, definitely in Texas now.

With twenty to do it begins to rain hard but no worries as I’m soaked anyway. I finally roll into Lampasas around 15:00. A good day all-round considering I was expecting the worst. Just need to get my kit dry for tomorrows champagne ride into Austin.

Rainy weather pit-stop, Texas
Rainy weather pit-stop, Texas
Overcast and damp, Texas
Overcast and damp, Texas

USA Day 25 Saturday November 30th

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Route USA Day 25 – November 30th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 25.

I was on the road at 7:30 this morning with 60 miles to my sister Debbie’s to go. The forecast last night wasn’t great; rain and headwinds. The first couple of miles is uphill but nothing serious just a climb. When I get to the top I pull over and pack away my gloves and jacket, wow it’s hot and humid today a complete change from yesterday.

It’s a nice route this morning very green with quite steep undulating straight roads. It’s still humid so I’ve had to peel off another layer. Down to my short sleeved shirt and shorts. Still overcast and damp from the overnight rain.

As I approach Austin the sun breaks through briefly and the sweat is pouring off me. This humidity is madness, but surely better than the arid heat of the desert. At least I’m aware of the liquid I’m losing. Unlike the desert when you just realise at the end of a day that you’ve drank 8 litres of water, and not had a bead of sweat or urinated all day.

On the outskirts of Austin I pick up the cycle paths and only have 15 miles to go. I text my sister to insure the beer is chilled, I’ll be with her within the hour.

It’s a nice roll in: not much traffic as it’s a holiday weekend.

As I enter the estate my sister lives on I remember Kristian saying go to the left. I could pull my phone out and check the door number but I have this vision in my head.

Excellent as I turn into where I think Debbie lives she’s stood outside with her husband William, decorating her car with a welcome sign.

Great to see her and William, also glad to be relaxing for a few days.

After a chilled beer or two I take a well earned shower. Feel so much better now. A bit to eat and down to the store to sort tomorrows dinner out. Stopping briefly on the way home for some fine local ales.

Well I finally made it. But what to do from here? Smash it to the east coast and maybe late home for Christmas or call it a day.

I can hear you all saying it’s only 1200 miles. 🙂 🙂

Welcome to Austin, Keith
Welcome to Austin, Keith
Debbie with Keith as he arrives in Austin, Texas
Debbie with Keith as he arrives in Austin, Texas
Keith at Debbie's place, Austin, Texas
Keith at Debbie’s place, Austin, Texas

The Hermit Crab

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“My name is Ben Viatte and I’m just like you: I’m not quite sure how I got here.

My search started 9 years ago, when I closed my eyes for the first time: I saw that I was free. So I started travelling the world in search of a new mindset. My current pilgrimage is bringing me on foot from Europe, through Northern asia, to holy India.”

When we last checked up on this Ben, Dale , Keith and Linford had bumped into him in Kyrgyzstan. Now he’s crossed through China into Pakistan. He had his issues with the police in western China too as you can read.

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USA Week 3 (updated)

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

[This weeks blog went out in error before it was ready! Here’s the updated version: Ed]

Keith in the snow

Links to all the Blogs and Maps

Table of links to all Blogs and Maps.

Charity Update

Many many thanks to all those that have donated.

20191120_CharityDonations

A special thanks to those that contributed at the Two Sawyers (Woolage Green), the Red Lion (Bridge) and the Fitzwalter Arms (Goodnestone) in our collection jars. It means a lot to us and we’ll see you soon & regularly for another pint.

Keith in the USA

Map of Progress so far in the USA.

Totals in the USA: 1205 miles, 46516ft climbing and 86:31 hours riding

This weeks ride in the USA.

This week: 400 miles, 12918ft climbing and 26:16 hours riding

USA Day 12 Sunday November 17th

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Route USA Day 12 – November 17th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 12.

I was up early as normal and had breakfast in the Mexican restaurant next door. Not sure why I bothered it was bad. Egg, tiny sausage and a slice of white toast.

I get on my way knowing it’s a 90 mile ride again today, mostly slightly uphill. I’m back onto Route 66 and after half hour I get a puncture. My first in the USA. I soon have it sorted and I’m fretting about how long my day’s going to be already.

It’s praires on both sides again and not a lot to take my mind off the miles. A couple of young jack rabbits running around is an improvement anda  large bird of prey lets out a screech as it takes flight. It’s not long before I’m 50 miles in and I pull over for some lunch. The ARMCO barrier gives my somewhere to lean my bike and rest on. Not the most picturesque place.

Later the scenery changes a little with lots of stone escarpments on either side of the road. Someone has actually adorned the cliff faces with Indian mannequins. It feels like an arrow is going to cross my path at any moment.

It was a pretty dull day today, but 95 miles clocked up. I spend the evening repairing inner-tubes and going over the bike. The rear wheel isn’t looking good.

Pitstop on the highway
Pitstop on the highway
Scrubland desert
Scrubland desert
Sandstone cliffs
Sandstone cliffs
Sandstone cliffs
Sandstone cliffs
Sandstone cliffs with Native American paraphenalia
Sandstone cliffs with Native American paraphenalia

USA Day 13 Monday November 18th

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Route USA Day 13 – November 18th

Fly-through Map USA Day 13.

It’s very cold this morning. Clear blue skies and icy roads.

The first couple of miles is up hill which is good as that will get my temperature up. Generally it’ll be slightly downhill most of the day. It’s ok when you’re in the sunlight but the shadows are cold.

I don’t seem to be able to get going this morning. After two good days maybe I’m tired! An hour in and I get a puncture. No worries I’m in direct sunlight and it’s quite warm.
The surroundings are similar to yesterday; prairie to both sides and advertising hoardings for Indian rugs, blankets and jewellery. All the genuine article, maybe.

As I cross one of the junctions the tarmac jumps up, I hit it pretty hard, and I hear a ping from the back wheel. I carry on enough to clear the junction before I stop and take a look.

It’s not looking good; one broken spoke and one spoke nipple pulled out of the rim. This added to the temporary spoke is critical.

I take my lunch whilst going over the scenarios. Hitch a lift, phone for help or ride on and see what happens. It’s only 24 or so miles. So I set of riding as carefully as I can Counting down the miles. Strangely I get a beep of the horn and a big wave of encouragement from a passing driver. Don’t get that too often here. Thought about trying to flag him down but he’d gone.

The scenery changed a little, forest to my right and a huge cliff face to my left.

I limped into the motel feeling sorry for myself. Booked in for two nights, I’ll have a beer or two tonight and mull things over. It will be fine tomorrow. Seems the nearest bike shop is back 60 or onward 90+.

Tomorrow’s another day.

Sandstone escarpment and praire
Sandstone escarpment and praire
Lumpy high desert
Lumpy high desert
Not sure: native American adobe dwellings?
Not sure: native American adobe dwellings?

USA Day 14 Tuesday November 19th

[No cycling today as Keith ponders how to get his back wheel fixed: Ed]

A rest day today. I walk into town and visit the Uranium mine and two breweries.

I leave the hotel just before ten and pick up from the parking lot a pair of “Raybans”. They are very nice and the sun is shining.

So I’m walking down the high street in my shorts and Raybans, bright sunshine and about 5º. I look like a local.

It’s a 2 mile walk to the museum. When I arrive the guy is very friendly and interested in my previous mining history. We chatted for some time before he sat me down and showed me the introduction film. Then you’re on your own. You call the lift (man-rider) and go down to the mine itself. At points throughout the tour there are buttons to push that give you a commentary on what’s happening in the area. All by a former workers.

The set up was very familiar to me and a lot of the machinery was what I had worked with in Kent. In fact the battery lights and self rescuers were identical. It took me a couple of hours to make my way around completely on my own. A great experience.

When I returned to the surface I joined a group of older local folk interested in the mine because their fathers had worked in the uranium business. Which shut down in the US around 1986-7. The same time I came out of the coal industry.

I made my way to the Route 66 scrapyard brewery on the way back. Nothing new here apart from the fact it was situated in a scrapyard.

From there to the Elkins Brewery Company, nice couple of beers here. Sampling 5 or 6 of their brew. All very good but I need to get back and sort my bike out and make plans to move on.

Decision made, cycle 70 miles tomorrow on my broken wheel. As my brother would say ‘Faint heart never fxxxxx a pig’. I’m going for it.

At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA
At the Uranium Mining Museum, Aburquerque, NM, USA

USA Day 15 Wednesday November 20th

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Route USA Day 15 – November 20th

Fly-through Map of USA Day 15.

Breakfast is in the hotel. I ate every thing I could. It’s raining outside and cold. If my wheel breaks down today I’ll could be stood on the hard shoulder for some time.

I cock my leg over the saddle and set off. I’ve gotten rid of anything I can to keep the weight to a minimum. I’m not carrying food or water, well one bottle of water.

It’s 70 miles mainly down hill with a bit of a climb towards the end. I set of gingerly avoiding any changes in the tarmac, avoiding all pot holes and debris. It’s a shaky first hour or so.

I get a few toots from passing drivers appreciating my efforts in the rain. I’m starting to relax now and pushing a good average speed (17mph).

I didn’t stop for five hours and smashed the ride and arrived at my hotel at 12:30 dripping wet. I’m not allowed to my room till 15:00. No worries. I set up my laptop and picnic in the lobby. Helping myself to coffee and pinching the sweets off the reception. The soon give me my key.

It turns out there are half a dozen or so cycle shops in town and Kristian as been ringing around for me.

After warming up and eating I decide to take my bike to “FAT TIRE BIKES”. I’d spoken to them on the phone and they’re very helpful. Its another 12 miles to them but it’s dried up a touch now. It’s an excellent route mostly on cycle paths and following the “Rio Grande river” for a couple of miles.

The staff are super friendly and eager to help, especially Sharon and Clint. They have a 36 hole rim, so we agree to rebuild using my hub with new spokes and rim.

It’s ready the following morning. Excellent.

Sandstone Hoodoo
Sandstone Hoodoo
Mesas and Buttes
Mesas and Buttes
High desert country
High desert country

USA Day 16 Thursday November 21st

[No cycling today either: Ed]

I have a relaxing morning as the shop doesn’t open till ten. Snowing outside. I order my “UBER” cab and I’m at the shop at 10:03.

It’s all good, they’ve done a great job and I’m back on the road. I leave the shop in the rain and make my way to REI. I’m in need of some warmer gear. I pick up a snood, winter socks and a Therma-rest air pad for camping. I refuse to sleep on the floor when it’s this cold.

Fat Tire Cycle, Alburquerque, NM
A big thanks to Fat Tire Cycle, Alburquerque, NM

I make my way down to the “The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History”. This place is pretty amazing but also a lot outdoors. Cold and wet. I’m not hanging around.

Down town to the “High Noon restaurant” as recommended by our friend Paul. Excellent lunch (Tacos). Time to get back to the hotel and warm up. Clean the bike and repack my bags to make room for the new airbed,

All sorted but it took me longer to clean the bath after than it did the bike. I popped down the shop to pick up stores for tomorrow and had my haircut, Burger, beer, fries.

Bless his rotten socks
Bless his rotten socks
Let's go cycling in the snow
Let’s go cycling in the snow
Snow-clad mountains
Snow-clad mountains
Bike in the shower
Bike in the shower

USA Day 17 Friday November 22nd

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Route USA Day 17 – November 22nd

Fly-through Map of USA Day 17.

I’m up early to check the weather; it’s cold and damp. Better than expected. Breakfast in the hotel is nothing special.

Decided I’m only riding 70 today what with the new back wheel and things. The only other option is 110, and that’s a struggle in the cold.

I set off through the town for the first ten miles (should have moved hotel yesterday). It’s a steady climb out looking up at the snow topped peaks. Just a flurry I say to myself.

The climb’s longer than I thought, pushing and pushing. The snow’s getting more intense. Cars are approaching me with 4 inches of snow on them. I’m a little apprehensive to say the least. It’s a great ride; I left the Route 66 at the 20 mile mark and I’m now on the “Salt Mission trail”. It’s a lovely twisting road up through the mountains. What with the snow I could be in the Alps. The climbing is easy and generating heat. Only my feet are cold. The descents are freezing and my eyes are watering. I can’t see the Garmin never mind the road. Dave’s glasses will have to go. I’ve got my new “Raybans” now.

After the mountains we’re on the rolling plains, but still patches of snow about and the wind is cutting across my shoulder. The small section I rode into the wind almost brought me to a stand-still. The roads have been good and clear of snow all day. The Garmin says go left, I look and it’s a track. I follow the Garmin but after a couple of miles the sign reads “Dead End”. I do you a U-turn and retrace my route. Three dogs appear as if from no-where. No worries they’re too far behind and not barking? No they’re not, they are level with me and looking to have a go. I’m flat out; They chased me all the way back to the junction. At least I wasn’t cold anymore but I had to get off and recover for a minute or two.

No worries; a quick look at the map and I’m 16 miles from home.

It’s a strange 1920’s hotel. The room is freezing and dated. The heater does work, just not been on for a couple of years. Dinner in the hotel, it shuts at 6. Meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans. Wonderful, just what I needed.

The bike was good today, along with the scenery.

Bike in the snow
Bike in the snow
Snow in the hills
Snow in the hills
Snow in the hills
Snow in the hills
Good combo: snow and shorts
Good combo: snow and shorts
Snow in the forest
Snow in the forest
Clear road
Clear road
Back down to the praire
Back down to the praire

USA Day 18 Saturday November 23rd

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Route USA Day 18 – November 23rd

Fly-through Map of USA Day 18.

It’s breakfast in my room. My granola and milk and coffee provided by the hotel.

I leave at 7:30. It’s been light for some time but it’s icy outside. Stunning clear blue skies and a tail-wind. All wrapped up and happy to ride. It’s long undulating roads today mainly downhill and praire on both sides.

I seem to have the road to myself this morning, only the odd car coming towards me.

I’m spotting Eagles today not sure what type. Also a kestrel sat on the fence post. Making good time and riding hard to keep warm.

I pull over for a spot of lunch. It’s surprisingly warm out of the wind.

Later I spook a herd of “Pronghorn deer” as they race across the prairie but parallel to the road. So I have a good view of them for a mile or two. Finally they turn away from me and stop. Pretty dumb animals, but look good with their white rumps. Only 25 miles to go now so I sit up a bit, no rush and the wind doesn’t cut when you go slower.

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

I join a slightly bigger highway with not a lot of traffic and a nice wide, smooth hard shoulder. As I descend a dip in the road I spot a cat just to my left. It’s a cat OK a bloody “Bobcat” sat in the sparse grass. I pull up take my camera out and walk back. No sign of the thing. I’m gutted, what a sight, lovely markings down it’s flank and ears erect. No idea where it went, didn’t fancy searching through the gorse looking for it. Spend the rest of the ride thinking about the Bobcat, a chance in a million. Up there with my all time best spots [pun intended I expect: Ed].

A long straight road through the praire

More mountains ahead
More mountains ahead
Mountains getting closer
Mountains getting closer
Pronghorn Deer
Pronghorn Deer
Keith takes a break
Keith takes a break
Another straight road
Another straight road
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)

Overland To India

See how Ben and Jess are getting on as they take a more southern route across Asia to India. You can catch up with them here. An excerpt is below.

Whilst they are in India they will travel separately.

It now appears the separation is more permanent. The Blog now only refers to Jess. Whether Ben has been airbrushed out I don’t know. So we’ll follow Jess for now and wish Ben all the best with whatever he is doing.

20191125_Jess