Ride Across America, Day 6, A Major Flat

Dear Readers,

A train near Winslow

A long train – common for this area – 5 locomotives. Seen 40 miles east of Winslow.

We started in Winslow at 6:15 am with a breeze from the east at 44 degrees. Back onto the Interstate, I-40, with the sun now rising quickly – nonetheless, it would be several more hours before we could take off our extra layer of clothing. As with every morning on the bike, the legs pushed back, not wanting to work. While riding, I could carry on a conversation with another rider – interrupted by the sound of traffic, 5 – 8 feet away from us. Long haul truckers pull over to the left lane when they can, most motorists do not.  The condition of the shoulder varies – usually some debris from vehicles, tires, passengers throwing garbage that we bike around. However, the one evil we cannot see is the small piece of fine wire – remnants of the steel belted radial tire treads from truck tires that unravel – parts of which seen along the shoulders and at the entrance and exit ramps from the Interstate.

 

Today, 3 small pieces of wire found their way through my new, puncture resistant (but not puncture proof) tire and punctured my inner tube resulting in a flat – 1 in front and 2 in back. You feel the tire get squishy and not responsive – you know to look for a flat.  It takes about 20 minutes to take off the tire and examine it carefully; to find the cause of the flat by looking both inside and outside the tire and to replace the inner-tube with a new one and re-assemble the tire over tube on the wheel. Replacing the rear tire inner tube may be a dirtier job – one has to take the chain off and put it back on the rear gears. Another rider had 4 flats – from wires – and our arrival at the hotel in Gallop, NM was much later that the others.

The New Mexico border was at mile 105.

The hills outside of Gallop, TX

The first sign of the hills around Gallop.

Especially around Winslow, one’s mind can get numb from the unchanging, dry grass fields. Only closer to Gallop did we start to see shrubs, more grasses and then the beautiful rocks. And, beginning miles outside and continuing into Gallop, many Indian stores selling Navajo and Hopi items. Also, remember that much of this route is also on or alongside old Route 66 – a storied highway taking people to California in the past.

 

As I write this it is 8:45 and I must get ready for an early start tomorrow. We will get back on I-40 for another ride of 135 miles to the goal for our first week, Albuquerque.  So, drink more fluids, apply cream on the bottom that comes in contact with the seat, complete the recharging of the Garmin for directions, a rear tail light, computer and iPhone. Then, stretch and get to bed.

I must say, I am exhausted from the ride thus far. In fact, even the strong riders are reporting leg discomfort.  Points of contact with the bike; hands, feet and seat are sore and ready for a long rest.

I will try to fill in the missing days in the near future.

Be well,

Jeff

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