Long distance bicycle travel is about a lot of things for me. Physical and mental health, to start. Touring and site seeing. A sort of battery recharge for sure. It also really about the people you meet along the way… their insight and generosity and wisdom and hospitality. Today’s episode of my bike riding adventure is purely about a few of the people.
I sleep fantastically. Wake up and lay there a little longer. It’s still pretty chilly at night and I’m cozy in the sleeping bag. Eventually I motivate. Damon has his tent broken down and packed already. Lindsay is up making coffee. I follow suit and fire up my JetBoil. Damon and I sip and start to pack. Lindsey and I continue the COVID chat and wade into politics as well. Not just normal politics, but pandemic politics. Which is even more volatile, because they shouldn’t even be a thing. We got different vaccines but are equally encouraged by the development of them; I imagine we’re both very ready for everyone else to hurry up and have their shot at shots. I feel like once everyone can say yes or no, we can move on the hugging strangers again. A few minutes later and Court emerges. Parker follows last. Then Dave comes by and takes out his horses. I’m in the middle of this little community and it feels great. Haven’t felt it yet this trip. We make oatmeal. I take so long packing up that two of the dogs pee on my tent. I pack it up, say adios to our new amigos and hit the road, destination Las Cruces.
20 miles in and the road is closed. Checking my phone maps, it appears we have a lot of backtracking to do. A woman come out of her house and says basically the same thing, plus we have to get on the interstate. I decide to coast up the worksite and one of the guy sees us and waves us on. He talked to his boss and they are letting us walk our bikes the 500 feet to the other side of the bridge they are rebuilding. The construction worker asks where we headed and I yell “Florida!” He responds “alright!”. Didn’t get his name, but shoutout to that guy and his trail magic. He saved us hours of time with just a little bit of appreciated effort on his part.
Pedaling hard in plenty of headwinds to get to Las Cruces, we breeze right through Hatch, NM — which apparently is known for two things pecans and chiles. If we had more time I would have stopped to indulge. If there’s two things that I am, it’s nuts and spicy!!
It’s now later in the day than we’ve ever been out. Headwinds are still there but dwindling a bit as we roll into Las Cruces just before sunset. We meet Tyler, who is graciously hosting Damon and I for the night. An avid warm showers host, Tyler and his gal Mallory have the cutest four month old baby names Wilhem. They’ve set up two beds for us in the spare room. There’s showers and laundry and lasagna. I do all three of those things, in that order. I get to meet Tyler’s mom, who says “oh you’re crazy too, like my son?” To which I reply, “yes, I am definitely crazy”. Tyler and Mallory have bicycled across Japan and he’s also done a bunch of solo touring across the western USA. We chat for a while about our travels, and I probably pass out by 8pm.
In the morning Tyler hooks up the pot of coffee, plus potatoes and eggs and tortilla for breakfast. We feast!! The hospitality provided by Mallory and Tyler is top notch, they truly know what it’s like to be out there on bike. I insist they visit Buffalo soon so I can repay the hospitality. We dig into a second pot of coffee and enjoy this little bit of comfort before we make moves into Lone Star territory.