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.
We visited the Blue Hole artesian well, popular with scuba divers.
This stone and stucco church, built in 1800, was abandoned in 1907, the congregation moving elsewhere. The sanctuary is filled with weeds.
We were glad we weren’t on I-40.
At 3 PM, the man everyone was awaiting—Jesus—showed up.
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.
Tomorrow we head NW to find Peggy and George, and a haven from three weeks on the road.