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'Let's Do It!' (Part 4) - An almost cross country cycling adventure

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'Let's Do It!' (Part 4) - An almost cross country cycling adventure

'Let's Do It!' (Part 4) - An almost Cross Country Cycling Adventure

Pouring cats and dogs and some unidentified critters as we rode the final 16 miles to Lordsburg, NM.  An exhaustive search yields no reasonable housing options, so we opt for camping in the thickets behind a city park.

The Holiday Inn of Pecan Orchard Camping

Roger's 'Breakfast Machine' greets me in the am and flat tires greet me later in the day.  It occurs to me that I am the lucky recipient of about 100% of the bicycle problems.  Amazingly, tire terror would puncture Rog's life, and out of mine, the last half of the country.  

Hatch, NM, capital of all things chile, was next on the ever expanding pedal universe.  Timing being perfect in our little chile world, we entered Hatch during their Chile Festival.  We would attach 3 chiles to the back of our velocipedes to share our allegiance to chiles. Journal notes fail to supply the question of how long those lasted.

A little further along New Mexico roads, Rog would ride over a deceased coyote.  In the slashing darkness, my laughter echoed across a rather empty landscape.  

Near Nutt, NM and an approaching storm

Feeling good, but a touch of grogginess in the head, we spin triumphantly into the metro kingdom of Albuquerque.  Blood sugars have been ok, but there are moments.  Those moments are consuming when you are exhausted, pedaling into the wind (a true story teller will share that it was always a headwind!), dodging diapers in your path and dealing with agonizing blood sugars.  The challenges of each day are easily forgotten as the day yields special blessings sprinkled through the miles. 

Albuquerque, NM

As the big city looms, we jet into civilization behind our first tailwind.  We are one day ahead of schedule and this is Rog's previous hometown, so we stay four nights.  We set up camp in Grandma Burke's backyard.  A novel setting for our tour that has yielded many different settings for our 'home' each evening.

I turn 26, with little fanfare and the fact almost escaped me.  September 9 - Albuquerque to Santa Fe.  A cold has developed and will effect the next few days of pedaling.  My educated guess was the chilly night and horrible camping conditions upon the cement ground between a pecan and chile orchard in Garfield.

Amazingly, my back feels great and we are adapting to the long hours on the bike.  It is a miracle, and I am truly thankful that I hopped on the bike, a little over one week ago, despite a back that was screaming no way Jose!  There are still additional adaptions needed to a still uncomfortable seating arrangement.  

We spin through the rugged beauty of the Pecos Mountains as we head into Las Vegas.  No, the other Las Vegas (NM). The glory of this journey is embedding a mark upon my soul.  Rog and I have taken on a trek that was hastily thrown together, with a serious lack of funds, between two people that did not really know each other and it is developing into the trip of a lifetime.

Rog, shirtless in Santa Fe

Within the scribbled notes of my journal;  "A lot happens in 112 miles".  This post was on a long day (September 11) from Las Vegas to Tucumcari.  Those 100+ mile days,  fully loaded packs, do make for a lot of possible journal entries, but a soul and body that is too tired to write more than a few scribbles.

The days are slowly blending together and the bicycle and the road are becoming our lives.

  I no longer wonder, 'why are we doing this?' It is too amazing and enriching not to.

First extended rain hits us as we wheel into another state and an ever changing landscape.  We say hello to Adrian.  That is Adrian, TX.

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Let's Do It! (Part 3)


Let's Do It! (Part 3)

Let's Do It! (Part 3)

At the end of Part 2, I mentioned something about the fact that Roger and I rarely knew where we would be resting our heads  after a day on the bicycle.  That was part of the excitement of the day as we pedaled to the end of either:

1.  our sanity

2.  our hunger

3.  daylight

4.  our physical limits

5.  all of the above

I only remember 3 hotel/motel stopovers.  These were not planned, just happened to come across a cheap hotel/motel or we truly needed a shower.  

The beauty of this adventure was a true lack of planning and a 'winging it' attitude.  Since we only had about 1.5 months to prepare, it did not allow us to do much planning other than the expected scurry to get out of Tucson, pedaling east.

Since I have diabetes there was at least a degree of extra planning on my part.  Keeping Dave alive would require insulin, syringes, low blood sugar items, blood testing supplies, patience, and perseverance.  

We did a lot of camping out.  This was in Santa Fe, NM

The true heroes of the tour were the fraternities, kind families we usually met in grocery stores, churches, and the dependable fire departments.  They always took us in.  I can still remember sleeping in a fire truck. I have this vague memory of setting off the fire alarm in the fire station in Sonora, Kentucky, as we accidently burned, yet another meal.  I will have to dig into my photo archives for the classic photo of Rog dressed in fireman apparel on his bicycle.  

One of those lingering memories is a couple in Missouri that invited us to stay at their home.  After dinner they went out for the evening.  We had the place to ourselves.

A list of places we challenged ourselves to spend the night included:


- score!


- we were rejected

The Cookie Lady

- A Virginia must stop!  There were cookies, so not really a 'true' challenge.


- Don't remember if it was on our challenge list, but we managed a bizarre evening in a bus.

Yes, after Part 3 we will escape New Mexico!


Let's Do It!  (Part 2)


Let's Do It! (Part 2)

Let's Do It! (Part 2) - 

The (Almost) Cross Country Bicycle Tour

On our 2nd day we already have traveling fans!  The Woolridge's, Willcox, Arizona

Part 1 of this bicycle tour saw Roger and I pull into Willcox, Arizona (our first stop).  We had hatched a plan to ride across most of the country, with little time to plan, a rider with a serious back issue, both of us with severe lack of money but with optimism for the miles ahead.

Roger Burke, somewhere in New Mexico

What I learned from the first day in the saddle:

1.  Butt was not created to spend 7-10 hours on a narrow seat.

2.  The kindness that ushered in our first day would be the single trademark that would bless us each and every day of our adventure.

3.  Good company is golden.

4.  No matter how tired, angry, hungry, ticked off, etc., scribble notes about each day in your journal.  It really pays off 20+ years later!

5.  A classic line from Rog's journal - "I hit the gorge point for lunch and ate furiously for about 35 minutes".

T or C New Mexico

Day 2 would be a good, good day but trying at times (my exact journal notes).  While yesterday was a tough day for Rog, today would be my day of challenges.  Low blood sugars would take their toll.  There would be many adjustments to my new life on the road.  The diabetes added a factor that made the trip more challenging, and at times more frustrating, but in the bigger picture, the diabetes was the reason for my journey.

I was riding, with diabetes, and largely for diabetes.  Not as a fund raiser or for a sponsor, but for myself.  This trip would be monumental for the life ahead of me.   

New Mexico

Day 2 highlights from our journals.

*  We seem to be the center of attention for any small town we roll into.

*  Our 2nd day and we have our first border crossing into New Mexico.  

*  We are hit with monsoon action and headwinds.  Welcome to life on the road.

The day ended with the road climbing near the New Mexico border.  We pulled into Lordsburg, NM and expended some serious time that should have been earmarked for eating, to find a place to camp.  As the coming days will prove, we rarely knew where we would be catching zzz's each day.  We would see how the day went and aim for a good stopping point.  Oh, the stories of what housing we would discover.