So the hard peddlin' may have finished but for those of you who aren't quite bored of this journey ... there is still an adventure or two out there before I come home...
I woke early on today... the day after the day before when it all ended. 06:30 or so I thought... at least that's what my phone said. My watch was confidently stating that it was 07:30 and the hotel receptionist equally confidently stated that it was 0830. Somewhere between Colorado and New Mexico I had either lost 1 hour or 2...
It turned out to be 2 and so my plans for this morning were already on the backfoot.
Plans!! I hear you say incredulously. Yes... well you didn't possibly think I was going to sit in my motel room all day until Louize and Mark got here to pick me up did ya??
Breakfast done and all the bags taken off my bike leaving it light and unencumbered and unfamiliarly responsive. And out I went into the bright sunshine and blue skies of New Mexico. Instead of taking the main road and risking life and limb I headed to the off road trail by the river. Literally 2 seconds off the road and I was transported back to a peaceful and silent journey. As I sped down the gravel path enjoying the freedom of just riding my bike the river sped along with me... bubbling along as if enjoying it too. I could hear birdsong and once again little furry creatures darted in and out of burrows and across my path.
It really was an oasis of calm amidst the car roaring noise that Farmington appeared to be made up of.
I reached the end of the river path and was faced with a push up a gravelly sandy hill reminiscent of the wall ... or backtracking in order to get onto the road. Needless to say I took on the wall .. mark 2!
Once there I peddled furiously in order to stay ahead of the road hogging traffic. A few minutes later I finally found the bike shop that had been recommended to me by the hotel manager.
I wheeled my bike up to the door... more in hope than expectation after the bike shop in Durando.
I was immediately welcomed in and taken to the workshop... explaining what I had done... where I had cycled from and please was it possible to fix my brakes so that maybe I could go trail riding in Arizona with Mark and Louize 😁
No problem was the reply. Any chance you have some t shirts for sale ... here is a couple you can have (with a very cool logo)
Would you like a coffee?? Ooh and try this... its a beet drink... very healthy. What a fantastic place. I spent around 2 hours there... chatting about bikes... the ride.. my brakes... and all other bike related stuff. It was a fantastic way to spend the morning. Mike (who fixed my brakes) and Josh who sorted clean t shirts and the beet drink are absolutely awesome and it was a right crack. And my brakes work!!! Woohoooo.
So another big shout out to 505 Cycles in Farmington for anyone doing TransAm or simply passing through!
I swooshed my way back to the hotel... with working brakes and went back down by the river... happily meandering along... when across my path ... wagging its stripey tail... was a skunk! An actual... live... skunk! I fumbled for my camera... zoomed in as it waddled towards taller grass... snapped the shot.. and seemed to have missed it! Dammit!
Then it was CNN time until Louize and Mark came. Full of the OJ Simpson parole and the repeal of Obamacare it made interesting watching... particularly as last time I cycled through here it was all about the introduction of Obamacare... politics hey!!
The knock at the door finally came and Louize and Mark came through the door brandishing balloons and.... a tiara... hmmmm. Unfortunately there is photo evidence.
The small bottles of totally questionable alchohol were brought forth and I offered them the choice... apple... watermelon or banana!
The banana was actually better than expected and it was a good way to toast the end of yet another journey of a lifetime.
Then it was shopping time!! Mark excused himself (apparently there was some golf on) and left me and Louize to search out some underwear (I hadn't brought any) socks and a new pair of shorts for me to wear. We went to Target and despite my hatred of clothes shopping it was all accomplished pretty swiftly even accounting for the delay whilst trying to work out British versus American sizing! All this was done with me chatting 19 to the dozen... maybe even 20.
It was soooooo nice to be amidst friends and much as I like chatting and debating and arguing with myself out on the road... you get funny looks when you do that in company. It was just nice to be with friends... people from home. Louize and Mark weren't new to the 'rescue Lydia from the road' role. On my Route 66 trip... they had picked me up from Williams and taken me to the Grand Canyon... a place I couldnt have got to otherwise. Then... as now... they good naturedly put up with my incessant chattering and slight adrenaline high.
So replete with new clean clothes and having also dragged Louize round an outdoor shop (well it was just next door) we went back to the hotel.... meet in 15 mins for a drink before dinner was my suggestion... make it 30 mins said Louize... for a bit longer of peace and quiet methinks 😉😉 lol.
Given that I have found Pasta extremely hard to find... they suggested we head to Olive Garden for dinner... a pasta restaurant essentially ... and what a great idea that turned out to be....
Its the little things in life right!
Over dinner we discussed healthcare in America... the difficulties in just ordering fried eggs.... in fact ordering anything without further questions being prompted.. Charlie Gard.... POTUS (otherwise known as The Donald) and all manner of differences between the U.S and the U.K.
We have also made plans for ways to keep me entertained over the next few days ... having got that annoying tendency to get restless... including a scorpion and rattlesnake search ... some trail shredding in Arizona and a few other interesting experiences!!! Cant wait!!
And so the Rock n Rolling may have gone temporarily but....
It still burns in me.
Kit appraisal for tomorrows blog for those that are interested in the why's and wherefore's of the most important bits and pieces ... as I journey into Arizona and travel a part of the Route 66 route that I cycled several years ago.
Nn all... LHS X