The Ride – Halfway Done!

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If you haven’t noticed, I have taken a brake (break – pun intended – last post had an issue about losing the brakes on the car!). It was a fabulous 9 weeks. Highlighting an early start on December 28 continuing straight to San Antonio (Remember the Alamo?!). After 4 days rest, continuing all the way to San Diego driving through big cities as San Antonio, El Paso, and San Diego… & literally interspersed with 100’s of miles of nothing! But here is the irony; that nothing is everything! The Southwest is nothing like the Northeast…NOTATHING (read not-a-thing).

Desert 02

Southwest trekMap of our trek as we traversed the Southwest (January 5, 2017 to February 27, 2017)

After experiencing sunny, warm days in San Diego, we left on a cool damp January 5th. Drizzle at the famous San Diego Zoo (near sea level) was the entry to a 40 mile ride to Borrego Desert that got progressively worse. Elevation seemed to wring out the clouds that by the time Corey reached the top (4200 feet elevation) it was pouring. In less than 5 miles to our campsite it was bone dry… and no clouds! We were in the desert! Cacti, sand, river beds (NO H2O), stars – I have never been someplace to see such a drastic change in weather in such a short distance. And by the way, bicycling 40 miles is a pretty good distance…going from 10 to 4200 feet up (only 4 mountain peaks in Maine go to that height!) is a killer! Corey’s legs were like rubber.

                 Desert 01                                                                             Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California

We met some very nice and interesting people on our trip. As we prepared to leave Borrego Desert camp, we met a mother/daughter combo…from Maine! A week later east of Tombstone, AZ, we met several couples from Illinois who were full-time RV’ers. In Gudelupe Mountains and Carlsbad we met up with two different couples from Maine (Rockland and Bar Harbor). There was also the 25 year old Jewish man heading to Big Bend, TX (he had some real interesting stories – he was from Colorado). Then there was May’s Café, in the middle of Nowhere Texas. You should read that post (Corey thought it was a scene right out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre!). And in Mineral Springs, we met a Vietnam Vet who was an honorary Bangor Troups’ Greeter (They are world-famous- google it!). A lot of people talk about their visits to Maine but when he started talking about Patten, he was genuine.! (Tourist from away don’t visit Patten). Finally, as we reached the end of the line in Texas, some of the finest people were at Red River Army Depot! And all of the above mentioned (& others) had great stories to tell!

Bye Texarkana! Bye Southwest! Bye 900’s, teens, snow, rain, sun, and of course WIND!

Like the rest of my experience, my solo ride back home was not without excitement! I traveled through Elvis country, went through President Clinton’s hometown, traveled through Knoxville and Nashville, and finally fought my way through the congested highways of the Northeast. It was night when I was going through Nashville so I stayed at a rest stop on i40. A thunderstorm kept me from getting much shuteye. When I continued, I passed through the storm again and ran into large hail (and several cars off the road!); a little scary. I stopped at a rest stop again on i81. Here I did get some sleep but the storm caught up with me and woke me up. I travelled for the better part of a day until I got to a friend’s house in Wilkes-Barre PA. Another severe thunderstorm greeted me here but I survived. New England found crowded roads but not much else for excitement.

My next post will emphasize Corey’s trek through the eastern half of our great country!

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