A Taste of Desert

We got going in the cool of the morning.  The air was fresh.  It had rained overnight.

image

Last night’s rain notwithstanding, this is desert.

image

These cacti were at the foot of a steep, rocky hill.

image

Two of these odd structures were in sight of one another in what looks like a flood plain.  What is their purpose?

image

Kangaroo puppets don’t fear spiders.  Neither does Jeffrey, per se.  But this 3″ (7 cm) critter gives one pause about sleeping under the stars.

About 25 miles after we left Tucumcari, a car pulled off onto the shoulder ahead of us.  Art got out.  Jeffrey had met Art and his wife at the motel we’d just left.

image

They’d been watching for us on the road and were surprised at how far we’d gotten.  Art, an usher in his Orlando church, wore a P-38 cap; he’s been involved in restoring that WW2 plane, and a 1958 Chevrolet Impala too.  Art loved our vehicle, took photos to share with a friend, and gave Jeffrey a generous contribution for Human Rights First.  When it came time to leave, he asked permission to pray for Jeffrey, who readily agreed.  Art then put his hand on Jeffrey, thanked Jesus for bringing them together, and asked Jesus’s blessing for our travels.  Jeffrey was grateful for Art’s kind gesture, and as they say in Brooklyn, a blessing couldn’t hoit.

At Newkirk, a wide spot in the road, there is a truck stop.  Jeffrey bought and drank 66 oz (2 liters) of sugary liquids, but in soaring temperatures and lowering humidity, he still was low-energy and dehydrated.  In the afternoon we did an online check of today’s local relative humidity: 12%, far lower than the 21% average daily low in dry Las Vegas, Nevada.  This is a harsh place for cyclists.

image

This truck stop dog prefers lounging to chasing.  Good dog!

At the truck stop, we talked with motorcyclists from Long Island (NY) and Michigan, learning their stories and telling them about the Ride.  Our best conversation was with Remi, a business owner supplying the truck stop.

image

Some highlights: Remi is Hispanic, intensely patriotic, a registered Democrat (local races often are decided in the Democratic primary) who considers himself a Republican, and a thoughtful man.  He knows people whom he said would have refused to talk to Jeffrey because they’d assume Jeffrey is a Democrat.  Remi respects people regardless of national origin, thinks asylum applicants deserve legal representation, and longs for politicians who would do the people’s business with common sense.  Before he left, he said he wanted to show Jeffrey that Republicans aren’t all bad (Jeffrey already knew that) and gave him . . .

image

. . . a pile of packages of local beef jerky.  In Jeffrey’s book, all this makes us friends.

The wind continued to rise.  Headwinds and crosswinds were upward of 20 mph (32 kph).  It was hard to control the trike; we worried that motor vehicles might be pushed onto the shoulder too.  The I-40 shoulder grew rough, and sometimes it had a significant outward tilt.  Huge trucks and enormous motor homes (the latter presumably with non-professionals driving) roared by inches from us.  We had only 63 miles (101 km) to go today, but it was a long haul because sometimes it took Jeffrey an hour to cover 5 miles in these conditions.

image

A construction project that closed the right lane, gave us a welcome (temporary) buffer between little us and those motorized monsters.

image

This afternoon’s travel was hard.  Word is that tomorrow will be even hotter and windier, and the only road west from here (I-40) is loaded with truck traffic navigating dangerous construction sites.  Jeffrey decided it’s too dangerous to bike 75 miles into those headwinds, and we don’t have time to wait for the wind to shift.

Jesus may have the answer.  No, not the Jesus whose blessings Art invoked.  The Jesus who spotted our memorable vehicle today at Newkirk, whom we contacted through Jennifer . . .

image

. . . an educated, sophisiticated person who used to work in a law office yet was shocked to learn that asylum applicants can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government”.

Tune in tomorrow to see what our local Jesus has in store for us.

4 thoughts on “A Taste of Desert

  1. Loving your travel notes and their humanity! A great way for me to see parts of the country I’d never see otherwise. Keep going, brave friend!

  2. Keep drinking liquids with lots of sugar, and good luck with the headwinds. See you back home soon!

  3. Fiercely hoping today is easier. And all dogs are sleeping en route. Keep downing those liquids. The whole idea of 66 oz in one swoop is staggering. Not to mention this tremendous effort in your part to support refugees and the vital work of Human Rights First. You are a rare and wonderful human.

Comments are closed.