Well, I got in at 4:30 AM Friday night, or I guess that Saturday morning. That’s a tough drive. It got dark while I was in the mountains between Las Cruces and Albuquerque. Through the remainder of the trip I would perceive some steep drop off or bend even after I crossed into Texas and knew that any sort of incline over 50′ was hours behind me.
The trip was fantastic. I would recommend it to a number or people. Camping is the cheapest option, but many people cycle from motel to motel for twice the price. Our cook was fantastic. Two hot meals a day. Always eggs and oatmeal in the morning with a high carb food like hashbrowns, pancakes, mashed potatoes, rice, etc. on the side. You should forget about your normal calorie restrictions while reading. On the bike eat twice as much as normal and as fattening as you want. At night we has two entres, one meatless or lactose free and one meaty entre. It might contain tofu, curried rice, chicken, beef, steak, snap peas, asparagus, or green beans. Plus a roll with a big tub of slightly warm whipped butter. To drink was water or coke with beer or wine in RV parks.
The riding was nice, though I was disappointed. The scenario of southern Arizona is similar to New Mexico that I had to drive through and the climate is very similar to Amarillo. It’s very dry and sunny. They have far less wind. Arizona roads leave something to be desired, particularly the almost complete lack of a shoulder. Also, and this was just funny. They can’t paint a straight line. The while line on the side wobbles and even the center stripes aren’t straight or point off to the side. The climbs are tough, particularly into Bisbee. Hurt my knee on that one and it stayed hurt the rest of the ride. The last day was so bad I riding it all one legged and trying to limit the rotations in the left leg.
The staff was fantastic. Everything was well done. We had a route marker on bike from the UK whose normal job is flight attendant for Quantas. The leader is a long term substitute teacher out of Las Cruces, NM. The cook and companion will do this 12 or 13 more weeks this year. She also owns the company and teaches cooking. Then there was the mechanic and a few helpers I didn’t get to know much about.
The other participants were very interesting and extremely varied in many ways except age. I was the youngest by about 20 years. The oldest male was 72 and female 70. They tell me that this is very unusual. There are younger people and in fact we encountered about 7 hot chicks with PAC Tours also visiting the Elgin Winery when we were. To give you an idea I met an ex Dean of Engineering; Perdue event planner whose rather wacky husband flys a hot air balloon, wood works, and stone works; a couple very into sailing; a man and his wife into Japanese/American business deals; two astronomer or maybe one was an astronomer technician; a teacher, from a previously Outward Bound, charter school in denver; a political science professor; a dentist or two; a Presbertian(?) minister; and several retired persons and some I just don’t know. There was one other person from Texas. Houston is further away than Amarillo. Several people from pretty much all over; California, Florida, Oregon, Indiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and more. They had a lot to say about other rides. Some cross state rides that are really rolling parties of up to 20,000 riders and some smaller more challenging rides of 2,000 people in the mountains. Several had done Transamerican rides and with other tour companies.
Bisbee was an interesting town, then Patagonia, and Tombstone. I didn’t really go into Tucson. Bisbee was a massive mining town at the turn of the century for a long time. It’s not very artsy downtown and a bit hippyish. Patagonia is a tiny town that I can’t fathom what keeps it going. There’s a good downtown. So, maybe it’s tourism. Tombstone is a dramatically overblown tourist town. They have a section of town with mock old wood buildings and lots of businesses pretending to be from the old west version. Stage shows and tours run nearly everyday.
The cats seemed to have survived. Though they all ran outside in the middle of the night as soon as the door was opened and their bellies filled. Mitten’s responded by coming to the kitchen to check out the noise. Then walked over to the food bowls, which were empty. After carrying in the necessary bags and checking things around the house I went looking for her. Tiger and Dora were around me with Tiger attached to my calves. Mitten was sitting in the middle of the food bowls with head cocked to the side obviously questioning the location of dinner.
This is something I would definately like to do again. In several months I have the Seattle to Portland, then two weeks later the MS 150, which is more in the range of a training ride for STP. Those are both in July. I’m thinking a late August or September ride would be nice. Not in New Mexico or Oklahoma or Florida and preferabbly not in Texas (kind of seen most of this state). I’ve had enough treeless expanses to last the rest of the year. Fortunately, I live in Amarillo. There are enough trees on the training route to fill a quarter acre square.
Well, that’s most of the story without pictures. Those are uploading to the blog now. Flickr can’t handle them all without paying and then they are kind of tiny.