Sunday, November 22, 2015

Still Alive

Strange, this blog still exists.  Not to worry, I'm alive!  For many reasons, I've been caught up in a world quite outside the one of social media and online stuff... but I'm back!

My apologies to everyone that I let this drop to the wayside and never finished my stories from the road!  It has been a long time since my trip ended, but I have many fond and vivid memories of those times with my fantastic bicycling crew and I will try to take those and finish this up in the coming couple months if I can (and before classes start up again -- yup I am now deep down in the perils of grad school!).  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support and for your patience!!!!

So stay tuned and remember...
"How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something" - Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day 44 - Mosquero, NM

Our ride today took us into our smallest town yet! A town of just ~100 people proved to be very difficult to get to but also very interesting once there. We had an awesome ride in on some of the emptiest roads we've seen so far, feeling great with our tailwind in and stopping to climb a random windmill! Thanks to our great record keepers, we also found out that we have now completed over half of our riding distance. After a lunch stop at only the second tree we saw this morning, we continued straight into headwinds and an insanely steep uphill which had many bikers moving imperceptibly slow or walking when the need arose.

The climb was only two miles long, but it did feel like an eternity. Although the climb finally reached the top of the plateau upon which Mosquero sits, the headwinds did not recede. I rested for a while and met other riders at the top of the climb, where a water drop sat awaiting us. Eventually, Molly M and I took off to finish our ride into town... or not immediately, because we fairly quickly came across some horses on the side of the road that were keen on being petted. A quick detour to say hello to the horses and we got back on the road and worked our way to the school where we would stay the night.

After settling in, many people headed to the single convenience store in town to get some cold refreshments. While I could see that the tiny town center was incredibly nice and well kept, I didn't realize that I would spend the next two hours sitting with JB and Claire, talking with the shop owner, Jimmie, and his friend and local, Shane.

Out of all the things that we discussed, it was a little rock that I'll remember for a long time... To summarize, Shane said, "For the entirety of your life, you will be pushing a rock up a hill. God has given you a rock to push but he will never make it any larger than this (holds up small rock). It is you that makes the rock large and unwieldy. You can make the rock as big or small as you would like."

Ride partners:
Molly M

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 43 - Clayton, NM

We've reached New Mexico! Today's ride took us out of Texas with a vicious side-wind into the small town of Clayton, NM.

Just like yesterday, we missed SC2SC by one day as they stayed in the same town (but different host). Our host this night was the First Baptist Church of Clayton. Although a very hands-off host, they had food and snacks ready for us when we arrived! Thank you!!! Unlike yesterday's showers, which were very cold, tonight's showers were fantastic! Once again we showered at the nearby school gym, but this time there was plenty of hot water to share. What a difference that makes!

Since most of us arrived early to the host, we split up to take care of errands and to explore. While a group of riders headed off to check out the nearby "Rabbit Ears" mountains, two ancient volcanoes just outside of Clayton, I toured the town and stopped by a thrift shop where some SC2SC riders had just bought their B&B prom clothes the previous day.

Affordable housing presentations tonight! Since we did not have much else to do, we decided to get our presentations out of the way. Great job everyone (we are finally done with those)! As for the rest of the night, well, we feel asleep pretty soon after that.

Ride Partners!

Day 42 - Dalhart, TX

Back to the ride! After our lovely day off, we are now headed to Dalhart, TX. The ride was 80 miles, but we had an awesome tailwind for much of that, so the day passed by fairly smoothly. There were some hills in the morning, but by afternoon it was all fairly flat. I've been told that west Texas is flat and now I get to see it for myself!

When we arrived at the small town of Dalhart, we found a note at our host from SC2SC, who has just stayed there the previous night and wished us the best. It is so strange to run through towns where other bikers already have been! We once again went out for Sonic (this time not DMed) while we waited following the ride, then we showered at the nearby school. A shower after a long day is always nice, even if it is freezing cold!

Finally a surprise! I got my first mail drop from adoring friends and family! Thank you sis for all the bars, snacks, and especially the drawings from my niece, Summer!!! :) Thank you as well to Emily Mazurak (SUS '12) for the awesome grab bag box of snacks and 4th of July party favors. I don't think that those brownies will last long, haha.

Ride Partners!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Day 41 - Day off in Amarillo, TX

So much to see and so much to do on our day off! The van is currently out of service, so we had to come up with our own method of transportation. One 5-person SUV rental later and 7 of us made our way to Palo Duro Canyon, which is the 2nd largest canyon in the US (second to the Grand Canyon). We hiked up to Lighthouse Rock, which as the name implies is shaped like a lighthouse. It was incredible to finally get out on a real hike again! I forgot the joy of being out in the woods with good friends. :)

Later on, after our return from the canyon, our group went out for Mexican food followed by a trip to Cadillac Ranch! Cadillac Ranch is a now-permanent art installation of a row of old Cadillacs sticking nose-first into the ground. At some point, the cars started getting spray painted by visitors and now it is an expected thing to head out with some paint and to take pictures with your spray paint artwork. We also ran into a Chaco advertising truck at CR! After a good discussion about their cross country trip as well as ours, we got some awesome Chaco bracelets to keep.

Not much else for tonight... the car has been returned and we had a great day off! Goodnight!

Day 40 - Amarillo, TX

Well, we did not get to Amarillo by morning... today's 107 mile ride was super long and was not helped by the rainstorm in the middle (during which most of us were "bonking", or having a physical and mental breakdown during the ride). I can't wait for our rest day in Amarillo tomorrow!

We made it through the ride finally, in no small part with the idea of having a day off tomorrow and that we caught a tailwind on the final leg of the ride, after second lunch. Sometimes certain foods really satisfy while we are on the road and in this case it was choosing to buy DQ for second lunch instead of the usual PBNJ (Peanut Butter, Nutella, and Jam). In the final legs of the trip, we passed a knockoff of Cadillac Ranch with combine harvesters instead of Cadillacs sticking in the ground, as well as a huge canyon that hopefully we will go hiking in tomorrow!

We had previously planned on going out tonight, but we are all quite tired... I think that I'll soon fall into a food coma from the wonderful dinner at a B&B alum's parents' house. Thank you, Edie, for the delicious tacos!

Ride Partners!

Day 39 - Memphis, TX

Back to Texas! Keep in mind that this is Memphis, Texas and not Memphis, Tennessee. They are two very different towns, haha.

Our ride today took us on some very quiet roads through Oklahoma and back into Texas. Since I missed my picture at the state line into Oklahoma and wasn't feeling my best for the Texas one, i made up for it this time by getting both on opposite sides of the road!

Once again, I went mountain climbing during the ride day, this time up to a plateau with almost all of the guys in our group. While we had to brave some barbed wire (again), we were not ready for the crazy storm of bugs (flying fire ants?!?!) at the summit of the plateau. We didn't stay too long after they got riled up, haha.

For a change of scenery, we stayed in a town community center this night. While it may not have had showers, they did one better and took us to the town pool to swim and shower! I will never say no to a swim on a hot day! Following our showers, we had a delicious dinner provided by the host, then bicycle clinic and the Bike & Build host presentation. Before we all turned in after this long day, some of us including myself went for a tour in a historic Presbyterian Church across the street. The church is currently being renovated, but it is still quite gorgeous inside. When the pictures cone online, I'll let them speak for themselves.

Ride Partners!