We thawed out at a gas station and hit Route 66 out of Edgewood, NM around 9:30 am. I know I say this often but this truly was my favorite day of riding. The road approaching the mountains made my right knee hurt just at the thought of climbing any more hills. I took it slow and once we got up that hill it was pretty much downhill the whole way to Albuquerque. It was so beautiful and I filled up my GoPro memory card trying to capture the moment but to do that I recommend you get a bike and experience it for yourself!
We jumped on I-40 once we got to town and Shane got a flat. Even with that flat we made it to the Post Office and Bike Shop with 30 miles under our bibs by 11:30. The goal for the day was to arrive in Grants where Roxanna set up a comped room at the Red Lion for us! That meant we would have to do another 76 miles after lunch to make that happen. We should have left ABQ no later than 1pm but Mark the owner of Free and Fixed Bike Shop was so kind to us and everyone who came in to see him that we ended up spending $20 (we owe him much more) and two hours at his shop. People came in with no money and he still fixed up their bikes with the best attitude.
One guy Jeffery said he would buy Mark a six pack in return once he got a lot of money as his payment. He then said “Mark you are popular today. That’s because you are nice to everyone and people like you. I am one of them”. Jeffrey was a simple minded kid but he nailed it. Mark is one good dude and everyone should go see him in Albuquerque.
We left there determined to make it to Grants no matter what. We rode another 76 miles in 7 hours taking Route 66 out of town and then I-40. There was an empty service road next to the Route 66 Casino that went downhill for 5 miles and I felt like I was floating. I could never ride the bike again and be satisfied knowing that I got to ride down this road with the mountians on either side of me.
The sun started to go down but we still had another 30 miles to go. We pushed ourselves and our light game to the extremes as we crossed the finish line at the Red Lion Hotel around 9pm. I’ve never felt so happy to have such a warm and cozy room since we did about 200 miles in two days with no shower and 3 hours of sleep thanks to the camping test run the night before.
Today we either ride I-40 to Gallup or roll the dice by taking an unknown road to Zuni on a Navajo Reservation. If we are lucky with road and weather conditions we might even make even cross another State line into Arizona!
Earlier in the trip Dave said there are more to names than you think. Not sure what that means but as I write this a tune is playing “Valerie” which is the name of my sister who passed away way too young in 1999 and Mark was my dad’s name who passed away a few months before my sister. They have been on my mind a lot this trip. I’d like to think they are with us keeping us safe.