Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The journey is just beginning...

I know everyone has been checking back here daily looking for updates on how the trip is going. Well yesterday Nat and I finished the ride and ended what has been an AWESOME adventure. The thing is, I still want to finish out the blog so there are no huge gaps. I am going to write it to you as I left off and work my way to the finish. We are extremely happy to have finished and look forward to the next chapter, whatever it may be.

So from where we left off in Cuba. That night there was a pretty heavy duty storm and we were very very thankful to be under cover. The next day brought blue skies again and we headed to the Cuban Cafe for some home cooked breakfast and to talk about the days plans. Basically we wanted to condense a 120 mile, 3 day ride into a day and a half. It wasn't going to be easy but we knew that we had the willpower to push through and do it. We got a late start out of Cuba and before we knew it, we were on our way to Pueblo Pintado.

We headed back into the wide-open desert and since we were on pavement, got a pretty good pace going. Stopping for a quick Powerade about 25 miles into the day, we looked back and could already see the storm clouds forming. Luckily they were behind us which meant we could outrun them for a while before they caught up to us. All around us, the sky seemed to go on forever. As we rode we started to notice horses and cows were congregating in the road. This was strange to us but to the passing motorist, it didn't seem like to big a deal. We would find out later that we were on Navajo reservation land which allows open range ranches (basically your cows and livestock just wander).

The storm seemed to be catching up with us as we rode. We looked for a good spot to camp on the side of the road but it seemed there were barbed wire fences and smashed bottles in all the nice flat spots. We spotted a convenience store in the distance and pedaled for it as the wind really began to pickup. We asked if we could camp behind the store next to a huge propane tank and the clerk agreed to let us. Grabbing the tent and trying to get it setup with high winds was giving me quite a challenge and that is when Dennis pulled up. He introduced himself as the owner of the store and we figured was going to tell us to move. Instead he invited us to come into his home that was nearby. I took one look at Nat and we packed everything up and quickly made our way over to his front door. It was not a second to soon as the rain started and the lightning intensified. (Sorry I don't have any good pictures of this event but as you can imagine, we were in a rush)

It felt good to be under cover for another of these daily New Mexico monsoons and we quickly got our stuff into the entry way. Dennis invited us to sit down and introduced us to his wife Brenda, who made us some tea. They talked with us for an hour or so before making us a wonderful dinner. After dinner they invited us to spend the night and we happily agreed to that! They brought us into a guest room that had a king size water bed and satellite TV. We felt spoiled having TV and a bed for a second night in a row. We were able to catch some highlights from a Sox loss before resting up for a long day of riding.

The next morning Dennis was up and greeted us as we packed up. We thanked him and Brenda for the hospitality and then headed over to the store to get some junk food for breakfast. After breakfast we started riding and seeing more of the awesome landscape along the Chaco Canyon area which we were in. It was awesome to see all the ways the weather had transformed this desert into such a thing of beauty! We didn't have much time to lounge around as we wanted to make it to Grants in time to check out the library and post office.

One thing I haven't talked much about is dogs. Since we arrived in New Mexico, it seems that dogs have been mistreated more then anywhere else we have been. It also seems that they are more vicious because of the mistreatment and they tend to be very intimidated by the bikes and trailers. We have been chased almost daily by some very aggressive pups to the point where we thought we were going to have to use the bear spray to fend them off. Often times it is very scary as you are unsure what the dog will do. Well as we rode to Grants, I noticed something off in the distance. It looked like a rabbit or ground squirrel which are both very common out here. As we got closer though it started to bound towards us and we noticed it was a very tiny puppy. In talking with Dennis we found out that most people won't bother to get their dogs fixed so when it has puppies, they tend to be left on the side of the road. The puppy chased us for a little bit but it was something we didn't want to get attached to. We fed it some granola bars and rode away before it could steal our hearts.

The journey continued past more cool rock formations and another EPA Superfund site before leading us down the long hill to Grants. This was the first time in a while we noticed no rain clouds and the weather actually seemed to be holding out. We were pumped about that and headed to the post office to get some packages we knew were coming our way. We we super excited to find that in addition to a HUGE one from Kelley, we also got one from our buddy Toby. They both contained lots of necessities that helped us refill the food bags.

I will have to leave you on edge from there as my time is almost up at the library. Once I get back home it will be much easier to post and get pictures up. I love all you guys and really appreciate you staying with us through such a fun journey. I look forward to telling you all the other cool stories that happened to us in the past couple of weeks!

-Keith and Nat


Toeknee said...

Well done lads! You did brilliant. Thanks for the entertainment and sharing your adventures with me. Keith, John and I are looking forward to hearing more stories when you come visit us in Portland...!

Unecrn1 said...

AWESOME!!!!! I'm so happy that you have completed one journey safely. You will have lots of memories, stories, and pictures to show everyone. I'm sure these stories will last years as this is one hec of an adventure.

Congrats to both of you! I look forward to hearing and seeing more of your journey sometime soon.

Have a safe trip home!

Miss ya,

Lewis said...

Great to see you finished - technically we still have not as we never made it to Banff before being diverted to Panerama and the transRockies. We head out today from Fernie though to finally finish it!
I can't believe the weather you guys have had though! It takes a lot to keep going through mud and rain.
Congratulations - be interested to see yuor next big adventure.

Lewis & Jo.

Anne and Denis Moore said...

Hi Keith,
Denis and I are just reading your post from Aug. 23 and are waiting breathlessly. What happened in Pie Town? When you get a chance, please continue the story!
Hope you're enjoying some well-deserved rest and good home cookin'.


Dan said...

Way to go! What a ride! Your perseverance in so much nasty weather is incredible. I am healing after a bike accident from earlier in the summer and your tales are inspirational.

Thanks for giving us the vicarious experience.

I look forward to your return.