Saturday, May 06, 2006


Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin' lazy circles in the sky.

Or something like that...

Rodgers and Hammerstein sure loved Oklahoma. I'm betting they never had to eat at the restaurants here. If they had, they surely would have included a line or two about the fact that it is illegal to serve wine in restaurants in Oklahoma. And that the food is really bad. And that the drivers are homicidal. Today, a car took a run at some of our riders on the shoulder -- just for kicks apparently. At least they got the 'wind and rain' thing right.

I'm on a dial-up tonight, so I'll cut it short. I just wanted to blog at least once before we left Oklahoma -- even if there are not WiFi connections here. By Sunday night, we will be in Missouri.


All of the pictures below are from the past few days of riding in Oklahoma. The highlight was the Round Barn in Arcadia. The gift shop is downstairs, the dance floor is upstairs. Note the holes in the roof. Maintenance is ongoing and relies on gift shop sales and donations. You can buy a brick for $25 that gets personalized and laid into a walkway. Ro and I bought one. We'll come back someday to see it in place.

Photo Journal

Ride Summary

Friday: 85 miles from Clinton to Oklahoma City
Sunday: 95 miles from Oklahoma City to Bristow
Saturday: 103 miles from Bristow to Vinita

Miles this Year: 3664

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Honey, I Blew Up Jesus!

I'm agnostic about most things. I'd like to think that I will meet a God one day, but I'm not placing bets on it. In spite of my agnosticism, I can still relate to the need that people have for religion. Sense of place and purpose in the universe can be comforting if you can get it. And, given the fact that most people on the planet pray to a humanoid diety, who am I to challenge the practice? Live and let live.

Still, I found the 19 story, 2 1/2 million pound white metal cross in Groom, Texas to be a bit disconcerting. Not because I was worried that Mel Gibson was directing the latest installment of the 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kid' saga, but because I was reminded of a key gripe that I have with humanity.

Why do people go to so much effort to construct facades of piosity? It seems to me that the world would be a much better place if people simply behaved like the good people that they claim to be. Instead, we all misdirect our energy trying to prove that we are something better than our neighbors. That's my gripe. Well, one of them.

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, so maybe the Texans want to show the rest of the Christians that they are top dog. I was raised by people with Christian beliefs, so I do know a little bit about the New Testament. I tend to think that Jesus would not be too pleased with the giant cross. I would be willing to bet that Jesus would prefer that the good people of Texas spend their energy on more Christian things. Like, for example, not executing people.


Random photo highlights include a US Post Office in a trailer, the Cadillac Ranch, and various museum displays -- including a 'Last Chance Texaco' from the Route 66 museum in Elk City, Oklahoma. That Texaco display got me thinking of Ricky Lee Jones songs for the remainder of the ride to the motel. A wonderful way to pass the miles.

Photo Journal

Ride Summary

Tuesday: 99 Miles from Amarillo to Shamrock
Wednesday: 85 Miles from Shamrock, TX to Clinton, OK

Looks like rain and hail all day tomorrow. I think I'll bring Ricky Lee Jones along in my head for the ride...

Miles This Year: 3381

Monday, May 01, 2006

Murals of Tucumcari

"West to East is best".

"Riding a transcontinental from East to West is the wrong way. You are doing it right".

"You're riding West to East? That's the easy way."

"I'll bet you are getting a lot of tailwinds".

These are just some of the annoying comments that people make when they hear that I am riding across the country. After today, I've decided. If anyone says any of this crap to me again, I'm going to kick their ass.

Of the 131 miles to Amarillo today (I added a few by missing a turn in the morning) we only had about a half mile of tailwind. In fact, we had headwinds for most of the day -- occasionally switching to crosswinds. I think that makes 12 out of 16 days with a majority of headwinds. That's 75%. "From the West is best", my ass.

I managed to knock the first 25 miles off fairly quickly riding alone -- before the winds picked up. After that, I struggled to maintain 11 mph. And that was after joining a paceline. And before you start judging and dismissing, I should tell you something. Lon was pulling that paceline.

After lunch (at 65 miles), the wind became somewhat of a crosswind, so we could move a little faster. Lon, Jim Bradbury, and I worked a paceline to knock off about 50 more miles at a reasonable pace before hitting city traffic. All told, with a few brief snack stops and a 45 minute lunch at the Midpoint Cafe, we were out there for almost 10 1/2 hours. That was some day. Today's winds sent a lot of people looking for the SAG vehicles. I think we may be down for 6 or 7 people who have ridden every mile.

The Midpoint Cafe, by the way, is one of the many places that claim to be on the midpoint of Route 66. This one says that we are 1139 miles from both LA and Chicago. Several of the neighboring towns also claim to have midpoints. In any case, they make good cheeseburgers.

Photos? I didn't take many pictures today. I was focused on finishing the ride before the time limit. But I do have some pictures that I took in Tucumcari. A couple of artists in Tucumcari have been painting murals as part of a revitalization project. Yesterday afternoon, they took us around for an afternoon bicycle tour of the murals. The lighting was difficult (the sun overhead) but I got some reasonable pictures. I also got a picture of some roaming chickens. Why does a chicken cross the road? Because he has a tailwind.

Photo Journal

Ride Summary: 131 windy miles from Tucumcari to Amarillo. My knees hurt.

Miles this year: 3197

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ghost Town of Cuervo, New Mexico

Wow. Two blogs this weekend. See the pattern? Headwind, no blog. Tailwind, blog.

Today we rode through Cuervo on our way from Santa Rosa to Tucumcari. Born just 100 years ago, when the Southern Pacific Railroad laid tracks, Cuervo is already a long-dead ghost town. The name 'Cuervo', the Spanish word for 'crow', was presumably chosen because there are so many crows in the area.

Route 66 helped to drive a 1930's population boom to over 300 residents. However, I-40 soon put an end to Cuervo -- as it did to so many other small waypoint towns. Some of the town was literaly paved over. Only a few dozen people live there today.

Yesterday's ride from Las Vegas, NM to Santa Rosa, NM was pretty easy due to a nice tailwind. So, after checking into the motel, I went ahead the 18 miles to Cuervo with the good camera to get some ghost town shots before the sun went down. In addition to two motel shots from Santa Rosa, today's photo journal includes most of the abandoned buildings in Cuervo -- including the Catholic Church, which was built during World War I. Bonus points for anyone who finds the rabbit.

Photo Journal

Ride Summary

Two days of tailwind. Will we get the same for tomorrow's 125 miler to Amarillo, TX? The latest forecast predicts a dead-on headwind. Good thing I posted twice this weekend...

Saturday: 71 miles from Las Vegas, NM to Santa Rosa, NM
Sunday: 62 miles from Santa Rosa to Tucumcari, NM

Miles this year: 3066