For those who are waiting patiently, or not patiently for my book my sincere apologies.I am a waiting the final proof of the book. I have come to realize that my bike journey is not complete I am planning to finish the perimeter of the country.Staring, tentatively Bar Harbor Maine, crossing to the state of Washington and then down the Pacific Coast. Watch my Facebook page for updates.
To all who fear I have fallen of the face of the world- I am still in Texas. My book is at the editors. My hope is that it will be available in 6 to 8 weeks. Letting it go was very hard, almost sending a child into the world. I doubt it will be a literary masterpiece, but it is a true account written from my heart. Thank you everyone who has supported this in any manner.
I have been spending a lot of time editing my book, before I send for editing. I want to make the most out of the generous backing I have received.
Included today is the story of my near freezing in New Mexico
The weather was getting cold as I bicycled into Hatch. My adventure cycling map showed both a hotel and a campground. When I biked into the hotel parking lot it was apparent that the hotel had long since given up the ghost. I roamed around looking, with no luck for the camp ground. I was getting frustrated and just about to give up, when I noticed something odd behind a bank. What I noticed was electric/water hook ups for RV. On further inspection I saw a scattering of old RV and trailers. The few spots that were occupied looked like permanent sites. I biked behind the bank looking for an office. There was no apparent office. I was confused, it looked like a campground, but there was none of the usual infrastructure. There was no office, no store, no bathrooms; it was almost a un-campground. It was a zombie like campground. I finally just knocked on the door of the most official looking trailer, the one with the most garden gnomes in the yard. The yapping of the ubiquitous tiny trailer dog greeted office was, she seemed unsure what I was taking about. A voice behind me called out I’ll take care of this Mabel”. An older gentleman told me that the bank had purchased the campground, but had allowed all the permanent residences to stay. They were gradually dwindling down to nothing. He said they still allow bikers to stay overnight. He escorted me to the back of the grounds, to a fenced off area. It looked like it may have been the playground at one point. I thanked the gentlemen and started to set up for the night. While setting up the tent I heard the sound of heavy breathing and grunting. Careful exploring the area around my tent I discovered my roommate for the evening. The campground backed up against an enclosure that held a monsters hog. He was sleeping contently, if nosily, not realizing he would be pork chops soon. It was getting cold. I was equipped to camp in temperatures down to around 30 degrees F, lower than that it got uncomfortable. Tonight it was not comfortable. I spent some time on the internet looking at the weather. My planned route would take me to evaluations reaching 9,000 feet. The temperatures were predicted to be below zero. I made the wise decision to reroute myself. My new route would take me back south route 10. The weather would still be cold, but I would able to find hotels if I needed shelter. I spent the night trying to stay warm, listening to the wind, and the breathing of the hog. The cold did not seem to bother him at all.
Hatch NM to Deming NM. 51.2.
In the morning, it was very windy. When I crawled out of my tent it became a wind sail. If not for the fence it might have reached orbit. I stopped at the convenience store to get a quick breakfast burrito. I also invested in a cap and a three pack of gloves. The weather was going to be colder than what I was use to on the trip.
As I started out of town a local man stopped in a beat up pickup truck. He asked me where I was going. When I told I was heading for Deming a look of concern came over his face. He told me they were expecting a blizzard, and offered to put me for the day. I told him I thought I would be OK. Inside I had a little smirked, thinking “I’m from Vermont, you have no idea what a blizzard is” He did indeed did know what a blizzard was, and the smirk would soon be wiped away.
The wind was fierce and right in my face. It was so strong that I had to walk the bike up even the smallest incline. The wind was just that strong. At one point I calculated that I was doing about 3 miles an hour. At that rate it was going to take me 17 hours to get to Deming. That combined with the realization that there might not be anything between Hatch and Deming started to make me more than a little concerned. It started to rain, a cold miserable driving rain that chilled me to the core almost instantly. Then the hail started. It was coming down painfully hard. The largest pieces were about the size of a kernel of corn. I pulled over and huddle behind a very small sign for what merger protection it gave me. If the hail got much bigger my plan was to set up my tent and wrap myself in my sleeping bag and clothes and ride out the hail. The hail mercifully did not last long. The temperature dropped and it started to snow. The snow was thick, wet and heavy. It clung to me like a second coat. I looked like an artic explorer, frozen beard, ice crystals in my mustache and a thick layer of snow covering me and my gear. I had almost every piece of clothing that I had with me on. Two t-shirts, a ridding jersey, sweat shirt, rain jacket, knit cap, ridding shorts, sweat pants, three sets of gloves and three pair of socks kept me from completely freezing. I pushed on; there really was no other choice. The road was very quiet; after I was a few miles out of Hatch I did not see any more cars on the road. The wind changed directions, it was still cold and bitter, but I was able to make better time. My feet started to get very cold, and then numb. Ice had started too formed inside my shoes. I came upon an RV parked a little off the road. Using it to protect myself from the wind I stripped off my wet freezing socks and put on my last 3 pair of dry socks. I checked my toes for signs of frost bite. My toes were still health and whole. The RV was locked and empty. I pushed on again. The weather teased me a few times. The sun would come out and warm me up a little. Then it would disappear behind some clouds and the temperature would plunge. I rode into Deming after dark. I was definitely suffering from the early stages of hypothermia. My shaking had been coming on strong for some time. I was also finding it hard to concentrate. At the outskirts of town I stopped at the first gas station/convenience that I came to. The heat when I entered the store was blissful. The Google map on my I-Pad directed me to a Motel 6 less than 2 miles from the station. A quick ride, almost a sprint and I was at the location. The location to my dismay was an empty lot. My map had failed me. I could see a Comfort Inn and several other hotels a short distance from the non-location of the Motel 6. I decided I would pay whatever I had to get out of the cold. When I got to the front desk at the Comfort Inn they had some bad news for me. They were sold out. In fact they told me they thought all the hotels were sold out. Didn’t I know that all the roads, including the interstate were closed due to the weather? The light bulb finally went on over my head. That was why I had the road all to myself. I asked them about Motel 6. They told me it was on the other side of town, about 5 miles. I got the number from the front desk, and gave them a call. They had a few rooms left. I begged them to hold one for me, so that I would not freeze to death. They agreed to hold a room for me. One last quick ride to the opposite end of town, a quick check in and I was in a warm and toasty room.