Hail Yes!

Last night, Jeffrey dreamed he spotted smoke in the scrub desert.  There was no water.  Dream Jeffrey raced to a shed where shovels are stored; he would use a steel shovel to beat out the flames.  All the shovels were weak aluminum, or plastic, or rusted to uselessness.  Smoke billowed, fire was spreading, animals fled past him, he could feel his calm dissolving, a steel shovel had to be here somewhere, there had to be, where, where? . . .  He woke up.

The desert can do that to you.

Since leaving Chicago on May 20, we biked for 20 days without pause, for 1380 miles, averaging 69 miles per day.  Jeffrey decided that another long day on I-40 in current conditions was too great a risk.  So for much of today, we were tourists in Santa Rosa.

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Nancy was most hospitable, letting us move our things into the motel office, inviting Jeffrey to hang out in the lobby after checkout time.  She and other motel staffers listened sympathetically to the Ride stump speech and now know why asylum applicants don’t get the legal help they need.

We visited the Blue Hole artesian well, popular with scuba divers.

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Promo photo.

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Jeffrey’s version.

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Danielle and Ryan collected parking fees near the Blue Hole.  We parked for free.  Jeffrey explained the Ride.  They agree with that asylum seekers deserve legal help.  Ryan, a third year pre-pharmacy student, said he doesn’t think many people in this easygoing place think about the issue, nor about immigrants and immigration in general.  (Unless it affects them personally, of course.)

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Quiet Santa Rosa.

This stone and stucco church, built in 1800, was abandoned in 1907, the congregation moving elsewhere.  The sanctuary is filled with weeds.

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Soon after we photographed the sunny scene above . . . a cloudburst!

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Hail!

We were glad we weren’t on I-40.

At 3 PM, the man everyone was awaiting—Jesus—showed up.

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Jesus G., born in the U.S. and raised in the U.S. and in Mexico, is a contractor helping care for rest areas along the Interstate.  He also runs a busy bait and tackle business.  He noticed us yesterday, pedaling alongside traffic on I-40.  Today he loaded us and our gear into his truck, and drove west to get us past a treacherous section of highway.

At 77 mph, we went through rain, winds, construction, and emptiness.  In some sections, concrete walls allow no escape from the shoulder.  Bicycles are permitted, remember.  But it’s not a friendly environment.  And as Jesus said, every day in New Mexico can have weather from all four seasons.  Heat, rain, wind, ice, intervals of calm … we experienced them all today.

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Along the way, Jesus told us more about jalapeño peppers than we imagined could be known.  He rarely finds them powerful enough.

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We talked about his daughter’s 700-guest wedding, refugee rights, the curious things big-rig truck drivers do, and more.  And we discussed the murderous lawlessness (harsh words, but accurate) of some agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.

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Safe at the east edge of Albuquerque!  L to R:  Jesus, Joey

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Look how far we’ve come!  (We rode to Chicago in 2014 too, via all 5 Great Lakes; we’re showing you the 2011 shortcut.)

Tomorrow we head NW to find Peggy and George, and a haven from three weeks on the road.

6 thoughts on “Hail Yes!

  1. I assume you did “Thank Jesus ” helping you pas the treacherous section of highway..

    cousin Joel

  2. Life has been distracting this year. And we we r gone until now through most of your journey. I need to catch up on your blog, and donate! You will relax with Peggy and George, and be spoiled. I miss them so much! Congrats and admiration on another year of hard work and good works.

  3. What an accomplishment – congratulations to you and Nancy!

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