Sunday – Funday

How great was today’s ride ? Well, what’s your favorite desert? No not that one, your top of the list as if no scales matter. Yeah that one, sweet decadence and beyond. That was today’s 76 miles of rolling, put the pedal down TT ( time trial ) fun. We climbed 4400 feet and stayed right around 5,000 – 7,500 feet in beautiful mountains until we descended down to the hot desert again. The quite country roads were spectacular and we all got into the hotel early.  Well after one stop at the oldest DQ on the planet. Ok so there was one snag. Three of us made a wrong turn and the had to ride THE WRONG WAY on and interstate ! Wow talk about feeling like you might be the bug on the windshield!  It was a short 3/4 of a mile but wow – gnarly. The entire ride was epic in all ways. 

Another highlight today, we topped out at the tours highest elevation at Glorieta Pass NM at 7570′. Along the way we stopped at a small store with the worlds most amazing mini donuts. Kind of like donut holes but light and airy. In fact they were kind of like a mix of air and sugar. Your could eat a dozen without your dentures in, true mouth watering wonder balls. So if you’re ever driving thru Whereverthatwas New Mexico put on the blinker, pump the brakes and prepare for a sugar treat extravaganza. Who cares if Speedo season starts next weekend anyway. 

Health report update.  Yep the chest demon is still camped out and hanging tight. I can’t shake this beast. At the top of every climb it’s a complete lung eruption. At each short rest stop the ground around where I’m standing straddling my bike qualifies for a Hazmat clean up. While riding I will say it’s good for some classic nose rockets. Sorry. We’ve reached our destination for the night now in Las Vegas New Mexico. Not to be confused with the other Las Vegas. The two are similar in spelling only, trust me. Las Vegas Nevada has the Luxor, this one has an old ranch with a windmill. For my young followers of geography, Brooks, Keating, Jim, and Abbey have your dads show you the two different states with a Las Vegas. Thanks Collin and Mike. Las Vegas Nevada is the “City that never sleeps”. This Las Vegas is the ” City that never woke up “. 

Today we celebrate being on the road for 2 weeks exactly. Tomorrow we cross our 1,000 mile mark but it’ll be a dandy. We have 108 miles tomorrow in the New Mexico deserts followed by a 96 miler the next day. We don’t have another rest day now for 9 days, so my posts may linger. 

Last night we had some fun at dinner with the Brits. Ricard asked me to explain American Baseball while a game was being shown on TV. It was quite hysterical. After some distant comparisons to cricket, I think  they all got the idea. 

What we Americans learned was great. Did you know the hood of a car is a bonnet? And going to the bathroom, yeah we’ve all heard ” the Loo” but also called the “Buff” or the best one, ” I’m going to spend a penny ” !  Who would have known.

Lastly while riding side by side with Howard as we talked about this country he asked me. ” do you often wake up and realize how lucky you are to live in such a wonderful country ? “. What a wonderful thought to wrap up today’s post. Yes it makes you realize where we live and what we have here in America when seen by a foreign visitor. Thanks  for asking old chap. We truly are lucky. 

Cowboys Indians and hipsters 

Man I’ll tell you we’ve seen them all and then some. Yesterday we left Albuquerque and climbed  up to Santa Fe. Today has been our second rest day so we got to explore  Santa Fe. Looking back I’d say Albuquerque didn’t leave a lasting impression. It’s the type of place where you might see the one last remaining Cask & Clever barley hanging on and showing decades of disrepair. Flash back, thanks A town but I’m not impressed.

Old Santa Fe is really cool with the historic plaza, shops galore, a railway district and cool street shows. We got to do some basic tourist stuff as well as bike shops visits for more continual necessities ( more spending) I needed new gloves and arm coolers as mine got shredded back on my day of disaster ( multiple crash day ! )

Yesterday While riding we ran into a really cool guy who I befriended at a gas station water stop. Then he shows up again stopping at our nest sag stop. His BMW motorcycle was like no other. He’s ridden it in every single Euro country except Ireland as well as to Prudoe Bay, the northern most Alaska shoreline to the tip of Chile. Here’s a good one, one day he and his buddies left Albuquerque and drove to have a midnight hot dog at Pinks in Hollywood. He’s ridden a PR distance of 1300 miles in one  day. Cool and really friendly in fact he asked me 2x if I wanted to take his bike for a spin. I didn’t want to in bike cleats and shoes but Howard did ! 

Another interesting  couple I chatted up with back a few days ago. They were biking, self supported which means carrying ALL their own gear, tents food, water Etc. They were headed up to the Canadian border on this trip. Previously they’d ridden from Alaska to Aragentina.  Very friendly Kiwis and told me the Mt biking there is the best ( Pat Davis ) and the people are the friendliest.

Yesterday we stopped at  Madrid a little old mining town now turned into a hipster, artist, drunkster hovel. We ate in the Mineshaft bar and Cafe and the people watching was classic. Our waiters tee shirt said ” Madrid doesn’t have a town drunk, we all take turns” ! 

So we leave the memories of Madrid NM behind to finish. Our final 30 miles. There are some great decents then rollers  and flats so I pull out in front of our group. As I approach Santa Fe solo I start getting pasted by Sherriff after Sherrif for quite awhile then a big bunch of them and then a motorcade of big Power SUVs. So then I’m being passed by Bernie Sanders and his rolling circus. They didn’t toot their horns as if they’re in some big hurry. 

Today will be my first attempt to post videos. I hope it works if so, enjoy the street scene of Santa Fe 

Beauty & The Beast

Today was truly magnificent in every way imaginable. Our 77 mile ride started out cold in the 30’s and then got brisk, then crisp, and turned into a pleasant 70 ish. The roads  were the most enjoyable and quite and today was a true gem. Speaking of gems the early morning light bounce off the Mica in the roadside rocks and glistened like diamonds. Quite the sparkling light show just a few feet along the road side. I’ve never seen this before and it was the beginning to a magnificent day. What an honor riding a bike thru this historic Indian land. 

Well except for the first dog chase. Yep old Fido came a charging as I was  in the lead of our 5 man peleton I knew he wasn’t going for flesh so I let him gain ground and start to close in. Just within perfect range, I timed a water bottle squirt right in his growling barking puss. With a look of surprise and shock he backed down and it was hasta la vista Fido.

The next highlight was a stop at a small market with a very modest compound of old Adobe buildings. We met and talked to the owner who’s family had built and run the business since the 40’s. It turns out that Earnest Hemingway holed up there back in the 50’s while he finished writing The Old Man and the Sea.(  See photo )how amazing that we just happened to stop at this run down place only to find out its history 

The whole day just kept getting better. But what’s the beast you ask. It was another stint of 36 miles of riding the Interstate  (see photo.)  Maybe we are getting used to 45 ton semi trailer trucks screaming by at 65-75 mile an hour. But it was the best freeway portion so far. We are told tomorrow is now our LAST interstate riding and it’s short,  like 5 miles. As a cyclist cruising along between 21-24 mph with a heart rate of 110 BPM is like a party ! So today’s interstate session wasn’t bad. The shoulder was actually very nice riding.

The scenery and riding today was truly magnificent. Other highlights, we crossed the Rio Grande which was a muddy chocolate mess. Another highlight, NO flat tires in our group, a first for sure. I can’t tell you how many flats between the whole group of 21 riders but it’s crazy many of us are already on our second set of new tires as well. 

The quote of the day comes from Lou from Charlotte. After we leave the plaza in Albuquerque where we stopped for coffee. A woman comes up and asked the daily question, ” excuse me where are you going and where did you start?” Lou later comments ” I can’t believe how much of a spectacle we are every where we go “. Classic it’s really is like we are a rolling circus. 

I’m having some posting delays so 2 posts so far have been a day behind sorry. Good night from Albuquerque where crime and drug addictions apparently are the rage. I’m learning so many interesting travel facts ! Cheers. 

Get your kicks on Route 66

Before I fill you in on today’s antics, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has donated. Your donations, big and small all mean a great deal to me as well as everyone at Team Godfather Charitable Foundation. 

And speaking of our foundation are you going to the Team Godfather – Nine Wine and Dine golf event?  We have a special group of ladies who work their tails off to put this on. And can they throw a fun event. Please if you are  in San Diego and want to sign up, go to our website. This is as really fun woman’s golf outing with a dinner to follow. Guys, join your wives and girlfriends for a really fun party. Thanks. And thanks for helping make a difference to the world of ALS. Together with golf clubs in hand you can help fund ALS medical research. 

Ok so today’s ride was a little like Custers last stand. The Navajo & Suni Indian gods did their best to blow us back to Arizona. Oh did I mention cold, it’s May isn’t it ? Wow a full day of cold headwinds sure lengthened our ” easy” 65 mile day. We kept our pace line tight and pulls at the front short, but it was a hard battle. One of our riders, Chuck is back doing this tour for his third time. He says today’s ride was his hardest, mile for mile that he’s done ! It wasn’t THAT bad but it was tough. A DQ stop with 6 miles left helped jolt a sugar rush into Grants NM. Say goodnight Gallup and hello Grants. Highlights of the day included WIDE open spaces, a wild pack of dogs road side and some beautiful scenery. We’ve passed the Petrofied Forest and Painted Rock Sate parks but no time to sight see on this cattle drive. We crossed the Continetal Divide which wasn’t much of an event honestly. 

Another amazing thing around these parts are the freight trains ! Like a steady stream of them constantly. Some of them I swear are a full mile long with 5 locomotives. It’s incredible. I took a photo from tonight’s room and you will see it includes one such train. Oh and tonight’s room feature, not an oil change business, nope tonight’s is a car wash ! 

So, if you ever want to motor west, take the highway that’s the best and get your kicks on Route 66. Or something like that. 

I can’t seem to post my pictures in any logical order nor add comments. It’s an age challenge thing I guess. But enjoy the ride 

Good bye Arizona

No one was happier than me to get out of Dodge, as I didn’t wear Arizona well. I was so looking forward to crossing the state line and putting Az behind. Today’s ride was a 93 mile journey and once again almost entirely on interstate freeway!  We’ve done almost the majority of riding on them and that is supposed to be over tomorrow. 😳

So spirits were high when we reached the border of New Mexico. Although getting there was a slog, the winds were strong and crossed to semi head on. I left the hotel hoping today would be the break away from Mr chest cold. What we saw all morning in the distance was rain in every direction, so we knew we’d be getting wet. No big if it stays warm but little did we know what we were in for ! 

Yep enter another adventure for the books. We have our little state line ceremony of sprinkling pacific beach sand at the border. Then we take some photos and start maybe 1 mile into the Land of Enchantment  when the drops start. The drops quickly turn into a steady rain which turns into torrential downpour.  Then the bottom falls out on the mercury and temps begin to plummet. So now the rain turns to sleet and hail   The freeway shoulder is screaming with flooding waters while the constant stream of 18 wheelers roar within feet of us. That part were now used to but people start getting really cold !!! All while this hail sleet stuff is pelting your kisser. So finally we limp into the New Mexico Welcome Center right off 1-40. The temperature went from 80 to 39 and the wind chill was wicked bad. Fast forward a rescue van ride from our sag vehicles into town for our finish up with heaters wailing and people with the shivering chills.  

The forecast calls for 3 -4 days of rains thunder showers and WINDY ! Welcome to Enchantment Mr McCauley. Maybe Arizona wasn’t that bad after all. 

Now for the quote of the day from our new friends from abroad. I asked what time we’d be meeting somewhere today. The reply “round hauulf ten”. So I reply what’s that at 5 or 10:30 !  Gotta love these Brits. Another day for the books. Cheerio

Photo notes. Since when do Tepees  have windows, doors and security bars ?  No I didn’t buy any of the cactus candy or jelly ! 

Standing on the Corner…

The best part about being there is as you stand there taking it all in, you can hear the Eagles music coming out of the corner store. Winslow Az it’s really very cool. Today’s highlight was the corner. Today’s low light was I took the day off as I’m still fighting the chest cold. I rode the sag wagon but I’m trying to be cautious as there’s plenty of country left to ride. Oh and one more low light, we are in Holbrook Az. You might scratch it off your bucket list of sights to see. Keep on driving if you are near here. Check out the cool painted building behind the statue in the photo. 

The magic of Sedona

The morning ride leaving Cottonwood behind was nice as we rolled thru some agricultural lands heading towards the distant red rocks. After a nice gentle  climb we started to see the magic unfold. WOW riding right below the red spirals and formations was spectacular. We stopped at a coffee shop in town and took in the views all around, it was really amazing. Next up we started into Oak Creek Canyon and the rocks towered us on each side. It was hard concentrating on the road with the views but the road was tight !  Oak Creek Canyon is beautiful and a really great climb. We climbed up to a sag stop in the pine trees and cool air. After the stop it was roller coaster time all the way into the traffic of Flagstaff. We got here on graduation day at NAU so the towns super busy. The last time I was in Flag was maybe 41 years ago, it’s gown up !  Not the funky old hippie & Navajo outpost I remembered. 

Mellow Thursday Prescott to Jerome to Cottonwood 

So Prescott is a very cool town with a fun semi Mt vibe. I leaned it’s pronounced Preskitt and only tourist call it Prescott. Our hotel was really nice, maybe the nicest so far. More on tonight’s hotel later ! I had the pleasure of seeing friends ( Jess & Bryan ) who drove up from Phoenix to meet me for dinner. It was nice seeing familiar faces and good to get out and away from my new tribe. 

Today was our shortest day and I’m feeling a little throat tickle so I took it slow and easy, pretty much the slow dog noodle. I took some photos at the 7100 ft elevation sag stop up in the pine trees and cool air. From there it’s a bomber downhill right into Jerome. The day was short so we stopped for our first lunch at the Haunted Hamburger. Kind of cool spot with a distant view over to the red rocks of Sedona and the snow capped peak further in Flagstaff. The temps jacked up again coming down into this old historic mining town. 

Then another bombshell downhiller to Cottonwood, where again the temps rose. Kind of like descending down into a furnace. 

Ok tonight’s hotel : 

So I can’t say I’ve ever been bitten by bedbugs but I’m thinking of sleeping in a couple of Hefty trash bags tonight. I don’t think I’ll Yelp this dump hotel for fear of what I might find. So far every hotel has been really nice, well by my standards anyway, right honey.

Here’s a picture of the view from my room. Yep, I can see right into both bays at Oil Can Henry’s Lube. If anyone’s in the Cottonwood Az. area and wants to know if there’s a wait for an oil change just text me.

Yesterday favorite quote : 

We walk over to a Blimpy sub joint and I order. Standing next to me is Howard who now figures it’s easiest to order by just saying, ” I’ll hove whit eeess havin” so he points at my sub and say yeah same bread cheese Etc. Then asks ” dooes it come with the crips ?”. The semi toothless sandwich maker replies ” What ? “. So I told him yes the special includes potatoe chips.

I’ll post up some photos then I have to flip my mattress. !!! 

Wickenburg to Prescott

We had a super fun day today. It got warm for awhile, 102 degrees but the ride was awesome, 59 miles with 6300 feet of climbing. Arrived early in Prescott which gave us some nice free time. I’m going to try and post more photos.

The last one is a photo is my new bike, with 4 wheels I should keep the crashes in check. Another is today with out group dressed in desert heat wear. Yesterday’s damage minus the elbow shots 

Rough start to a tough day…

I’ll summarize today with first, the box scores. 3 crashes, 5 flat tires and 116 miles in temps topping out at 104. No those aren’t the group stats, those are mine! Pretty much the single hardest day I’ve ever had on a bicycle. Another rider didn’t fare as well as we have our  second ER visitor in 2 days. I escaped all 3 crashes fairly well considering 2 of the 3 were at 17 mph plus and hard ones. 

Needless to say, my day didn’t play out as I had planned. As we left Blyth from the hotel I was planning on riding today in our top group, with the idea that a faster ride gets you more recovery time at night. So at mile #3 I flat and the group continues ahead as I’d catch them at the first sag stop. Well so much for that plan, I immediately flat again, and by the time I’m back in the saddle, I figure I’m 20 – 25 minutes behind the main group, a mix of some second group riders and hopefully the top group boys. So I start a straight 7 mile climb but keep telling myself to stay within myself and not try and burn too hard cuz today long. I have my strategy and I figure I have 3 aces in my hand and the group holds 1, a pace line. I tell myself if and when they do their first group potty stop and I don’t stop at all, I’ll pick up 8-12 minutes, easy peasy  Plus I love to climb and I know some of them drag anchors up hill, so ace #2 in my favor. My last thought is, I’m riding with aero bars and they worked for Greg Lemond at the tour when he rope a dopped Laurent Finon. ( sp ) and left him crumbled in a sweating pile of despair and embarrassment. take that pony tailed Frenchie. So off I go and the support crew at the first rest stop tells me they all stopped in, took care of their business and I was 4 minutes behind. So I take the climb, telling myself not to go rector or anything. Ok  then up the road as I pull into the first sag and figure if they aren’t there I’ll only top off water bottles and skidaddle. So as I pull in my leg gets a little hung up in the stupid flags we have to ride with and I put my shoe down and slip on the asphalt with my cleat. A slow fall, no harm. But now I’m getting into this fox and hound chase, so I take the next 10 mile climb fairly aggressive but knowing not to blow myself up. I pass about 10-12 of our snail riders ( 3rd group riders). As I go over the summit and hit a super long flat, ok its aero bar time, don’t fail me now. I’m riding a steady 17-23 mph and keeping my heart rate right at 126. All systems go, Im in the chase and start to smell myself reeling  them in. Until, I plow head on into the temporary road construction sign placed right in the bike path, WHAM I’m going south in a nano second. I took a good fall and left a divot in the sandy gravel shoulder. I’m now cheese grated on my right side 

After a quick gut check I head off again still knowing I’m going to catch these buggers. Then I see the first guy come into view, I tell myself, victory is eminent I see one of them up  about 1/2 mile ahead. Then, you guessed it, rear tire flat #3 rears its ugly head. I’m changing the flat on the shoulder of Interstae 10 getting blown around from every 18 wheeler. In fact their winds start blowing my tire levers  etc onto the cactus and scrub bushes ! I’m throwing F-bombs to the world and no one can hear me! 

Fast forward to a reunion at sag stop # 2 as I arrive looking like a semi ran over me. But the bands faintly back together as I’m with the second group and figure at least now I’ll ride the remainder with then as the top boys are now about 1 hour ahead. So we start a glorious pace line of about 10 riders and we keep it at 17 mph so everyone is happy, we click along for mile after glorious mile and all is good. Until the gal in front of me ( Mary from Maryland ) overlaps Jim Quigleys tire and she goes down hard and fast. I roll right over her bike AND her leg and go down to finish the garage sale.  Now we have all traffic stopped both ways on Az. 60 and people are pulling over getting us waters, ice and calling 911. Mary gets put in a lawn chair and she looks bad! We clear the carnage and now guess what, another flat from running into Mary and her bike. Flat #5 gets fixed and I’m a bloody mess now on both knees, elbows and hands. So I gather what’s left of my wits and pound some more Ibuprofen and finish the limp to Wickenburg. 

I hope tomorrow is a lot easier. If none of this makes sense , I’m a little dingy form getting my bell rung a few times.