RIDE BLOG (40-20)

Note that entries are written at the end of very tiring days. Please excuse any errors.

Ride 40 | Henderson, TN > Hohenwald, TN

US Rt 64 has been very good here in TN, just as it was in AR. The main complaint (and it's minor), is that the state never broadened bridges when they broadened the road, so at each bridge (which aren't many), you end up in the travel lane for a short bit. Not a big deal, but hey! TN, get your act together.
Hohenwald puts me on the edge of Natchez Trace. Been looking forward to tomorrow's ride for a long time.

 

Ride 39 | Memphis, TN > Henderson, TN

Wanted to get a good start en route to Nashville, so up with the sun. The urban riding in Memphis was quiet - it was 6:15am - but still bumpy. Until we hit the Shelby greenway. This is a 12-mile long, highly utilized trail. Many runners/joggers and cyclists. Nice surface, but damn, was riding right into the sun for basically the whole length. As the Greenway wrapped up, the ride on over to Henderson started to show the rolling hills that we certainly roll a lot more as I/we get further into the state. Everything is so green here - plenty of rain although so sign of anything like that today.

 

Ride 38 | Wynne, AR > Memphis, TN

Another glorious smokin' hot/humid day with clear skies and broad farming vistas. Getting closer to Memphis (West Memphis) and the riding becomes more urban. Slower speeds, crappy riding surface... Until we finally get to the trails where we'll be led across the pedestrian/bicycling venue: Hanrahan Bridge. The Central Station Hotel, is ready and waiting for me when I arrive. This afternoon and all tomorrow (Day 42) will be here in Memphis. Siteseeing and food coma awaits!

 

Ride 37 | Searcy, AR > Wynne, AR

Damp/Wet roads from pre-dawn showers again had me appreciate hauling around fenders for the steed. New (to me) term - xxxx River Relief. Where I come from it's the flood plain. And there is plenty of river delta here act as flood plain. The crops grown here are ones that require ample water, and there's plenty to go around - the road bed, the railroad running just to the south of US 64 and anything that needed assured passage was built up out of what was surely swamp years ago.
Got to Wynne and my overnight, about an hour before the skies opened up and made a mess of things. Good TIming.
Stopped and spoke at some length with a couple gents who were servicing/caring for cropduster aircraft. They've got a 20'x2000' runway strip. Pretty narrow in my book, but hey, they've got what they need. "Run all the time this part of the year."
ps. The Governor's mandate seems to have had an early effect - there are considerably more folks in masks now than there were over the weekend (Pre-mandate). I see Ohio has a mask mandate starting tomorrow.

 

Ride 36 | Conway, AR >Searcy, AR

We're in the (Miss & Ark) river deltas. Flat riding. The winds are calm early so no effect, and a very pleasing and good road surface made for an easy day. Still hot - 105+ heat index. Love the humidity (not).
The towns along Rte 64 do support colleges, here in Searcy it's Harding (The good and ugly of faith schools) - a bastion of segregation practically to this day, frowning on interracial dating and any rights associated with the LGBTQ cohort. Sports coach Hubie Brown, pitcher Preacher Roe, and attorney Ken Starr all hail from this place...
Tomorrow continuing along US 64 to Wynne and then on into Memphis.

 

Ride 35 | Clarksville, AR > Conway, AR

Uneventful (mostly) ride. Slight twist to a knee - minor - assuming it isn't bothersome after resting this eve. A number of small colleges dot the route along US-64. In Clarksville, University of the Ozarks. Prior to that, Arkansas Tech Univ - Ozark (in Ozark - yesterday) and the ATU Main campus today in Russellville. Hendrix (D3, Southern Ath Assn) is here in Conway.
Worth noting - the Nuclear One facility is quite visible near Russellville, and the 'Evacuation Route' signs from that site go 40+ miles away from the site.

 

Ride 34 | Fort Smith, AR > Clarksville, AR

A few of those fairly short, but steep hills are appearing along the routes. They'll increase as we approach the Mississippi River. No more empty roads. Towns every so often are not ghost towns. Some industry. Lush vegetation rules. Notable presence of gypsy moths.
Fort Smith has numerous mural artists providing their efforts. On the road as the sun rises. Gov Hutchison mask-mandate goes into effect tomorrow. We'll see what behavioral changes that generates. The hotel I'm in is basically empty.

 

Ride 33 | Sallisaw, OK > Fort Smith, AR

Nice easy ride across the Arkansas River to Fort Smith. A couple museums and a bit of siteseeing before re-focusing tomorrow morning. Four days to Memphis. The hills will be picking up in earnest now. See you there!

 

Ride 32 | Henryetta, OK > Sallisaw

Last full day in OK. Tomorrow Arkansas.
There's a haze (not golden) over the meadow.
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye.
There were numerous beautiful, but hot and muggy mornings across this state!
Relatively smooth and uneventful ride to Sallisaw. US 64 proving to be good route for cycling - for now.

Ride 31 | Shawnee, OK > Henryetta

Not 20mph in my face, but 10. Makes the day longer and somewhat less enjoyable.
So Jim Thorpe's birthplace is Prague, OK (on the Sac & Fox res'n). Of course for other reasons his burial site is currently Jim Thorpe, PA. But he has a street with his name on it thru Prague.
Welcome to the newest Native American Reservation as deemed by the Supreme Court last week.

 

Ride 30B | El Reno > Shawnee, OK/Part 2

Rides along the North Canadian River and the Oklahoma River. Congrats to Gov Stitt for contracting Covid. #Winning

 

Ride 30A | El Reno > Shawnee, OK/Part 1

Rats. Forgot to 'sleep' the GPS while "portaging" the bicycle past "Trail Closed" signs. Accidentally "ended" the ride. Anyway, nice ride. Been carrying these 3-4 pounds of fenders since the start (June 7) and finally, today, July 15th, is the first day they're being put to use. A few showers early. Helped keep the mid-day temps down.
Nice trails and usually well marked to ride along the rivers through OKC.

 

Ride 29 | Elk City, OK > El Reno, OK

The wind here is relentless. And when it's in your face, well, that stinks. With planned stops for lunch and museums, it still didn't provide enough respite with the 105+ heat index and the SE winds. So this became an extended ride with added stops to reach this evening's destination, El Reno. Tomorrow (Tues, Day 32) is an off day.

 

Ride 28 | McLean, TX > Elk City, OK

The most lackadaisical and lazy ride of the trip. Looking at the weather this morning (and having looked at weather charts for awhile now as a pilot, it was clear/likely a line of cloud cover would setting up near McLean and while primarily moving N-to-S, it would migrate east over the morning/day. So, after several 100+ days, I decided to aim for riding under the cloud line. Sure, this entailed a potential shower risk, but if I could time it and keep with it, I could probably keep the temps in the 80s. Lucky for me, it worked quite well (the list 5-10 miles I fell behind it by a bit, the sun came out and def warmed everything up). But it sure was enjoyable while it lasted - even if it did mean I dawdled at times to avoid running ahead of the cloudcover. Over all a good day. Disappointed that museums in Elk City are closed on Sunday AND Monday. Will need to come back.
The story isn't complete without a nod to Jeff and Krissy, owners of the Bicycle Garage in Elk City (the only LBS) - with posted hours of 12-6p W-F, I figured there's no chance on Sunday to see anyone. Lo and behold, when contacted, not only did they come pick me and the bicycle up at the hotel, but we drove to the shop, Jeff looked the bike over, replaced the missing bolt, tightened up the brake lines and basically executed a mini tune-up with a little lube and grease to go along. I couldn't have asked for a friendlier experience. Goes to show that there are wonderful folks all over.

 

Ride 27 | Amarillo > McLean

Day 28: Laundry, Planning, Bike Care day in Amarillo.
Day 29: Man, this part of the Rt 66 corridor, while littered with interesting artifacts and stories is one bumpy ride! In 4 weeks, I've never had to reset my packs - till today. Twice. And, with an inviting, clean, concrete shoulder of I-40 staring at me as I rode meters away on an isolated an unused frontage road. Really. On this Saturday morning, 50+ miles along frontage and not one car going my direction. It was my own personal bike path. (And I used it as such :-). Note: there were two tractors that went by the other way, along with three cars. One vehicle per 10 miles. But the bumps...
Anyway, I did hop on the I-40 shoulder where I had to near the end of the ride and then stayed on it when I didn't have to - to avoid the vibration love.

 

Ride 26 | Tucumcari, NM > Amarillo, TX

Boom! Good ride on a toasty day. Three breakfast stops, two lunch stops and a snack stop - lol.
Hello Texas! And you greet me with a big pile-up!?! Well, being a bicycle works for that. #WalkAround.
Thanks to friendly folks who bought my lunch today. #ILikeHickoryInn! (masks or no masks!)
Grasshoppers and Longhorns. Lots of the first, some of the latter.
Cadillac Ranch is a thing! Need to bring your own spray paint though.

 

Ride 25 | Santa Rosa > Tucumcari

I proved to myself (once again) that I can ride a bike downhill with a breeze at my back. Getting up early to beat the heat helps. And having an early check-in at the Historic Route 66 Motel made it even sweeter.

Ride 24 | Moriarty > Santa Rosa

Rte66 is up on I40 for good chunks of today. As noted, straight-as-an-arrow. By the last 15-20 miles, feeling the heat. But the omelet start to the day at Lisa's was excellent - best one on this trip - by far. Lisa just needs to open up earlier - none of this 6:30a start time garbage!
Four-legged friends, Clines Corner, another cyclist and Santa Rosa (w/ DQ) rounded out the day. Long (and warm late), but good.
Staying at Hampton to ensure laundry can get done. (And it was!)

 

Ride 23 | Albuquerque > Moriarty

Getting back in the groove at a measured/tempered pace. The 2k' climb out of the valley straight into 10+ mph winds to traverse the Sandia range was a reminder that shorter days still have their challenges!
Still in the afterglow of the long weekend with Erikson and Samma getting engaged. Nothing would get me down today.
Schwalbe tires now on the steed. A feeling of confidence came with them.
Pic narration (brief) - The National Museum of Nuclear Energy was closed, but the outside aviation/missile boneyard was open! In there, was an old Titan II - once deployed for ICBM (Minuteman) purposes, it was a rocket just like this that launched Clementine oh so many years ago. #Memories
Massive solar array field just prior to entry into Moriarty. And then hardly anything but large fireworks stores dotting the main drag in town. lol.
Last, Thanks Sunset Motel for providing the first bubble bath and rubber ducky of the trip. #Winner!

 

Ride 22 | (West) Albuquerque > ABQ

An easy trek among the Petroglyphs along ABQ's west side, and a morning ride along the Rio Grande made for an easy day. And that's good.

Following the ride, it's break time. Per previous plans, I'm headed back home for a family visit over the 4th of July weekend. Flying out tomorrow and back on July 5th. On the road July 6th.

 

Ride 20 | Gallup > Grants

The rise to the Continental Divide has been on going for the past couple days. Today, it was up-and-over. Right close to (Rte 66 and I-40 bypassed town of) Thoreau. Max elevation according to signage is 7295'. A hair shy of the "Arizona Divide" of 7336'. But official. Anyway, then the generally downhill cruise to Grants for the evening.
Rather than an early start and face headwinds in the cool, opted for a later start (11am) and some cross and later favorable breezes behind me. At 7000', good tradeoff.
That little spur on the route? Thanks google for sending me to a padlocked gate on a reservation dirt road. smh.

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