Friday, May 15, 2009

day five: big, big, flat, arid New Mexico

Well, we're in Las Vegas (New Mexico, not Nevada) tonight--let me tell yall how we got here (Dad--who is already asleep--will be sad that I stole his favorite responsibility). Firstly, I'd like to say that God is so good. We know this, but his nature never fails to leave me in a state of reflective wonder.

We started the day in Carlsbad, NM. We made the 30-minute trip from the actual town of Carlsbad to the caverns early in the morning. I will give yall the short version by simply saying that those caverns are a vast manifestation of God's creativity and beauty. Dad made the comment that it was pretty amazing that He'd go to the trouble of creating something so intricate and beautiful underneath the ground. We took about 3 million pictures which probably won't be worth one first-hand look at the caverns--a camera just can't capture it. We actually took so many pictures that we killed the camera, so the one picture at the top of this post is actually one from yesterday--we'll be able to upload the new pictures as soon as the camera charges back up.

After a couple of hours at the caves, we left for northern NM with the goal of reaching Colorado. This did not happen. After yesterday's long haul, the 350ish miles that we planned on covering seemed to grow and grow into a big, hairy, unbeatible giant. Also, we had a few setbacks. Firstly, there was the raging windstorm in Roswell that had us riding down the road leaning at a 45-degree angle (this figure is not factual, but is rather an exaggeration of the actual angle between the road and our bikes, but the point is that it's very hard to ride in these conditions). I think the aliens caused it. Dad disagrees. The dust from the storm made things 25 yards away hard to see, and gave dad a pretty lousy headache. Don't feel sorry for him though. Without something to blame he might actually have to face the hard fact that I'm simply a better, tougher and meaner rider than he is! Haha.
Secondly, my motorcycle got a little ornery in the latter part of the day. I consulted the master mechanic Steve Tingle, who suggested that the higher elevation or a bad tank of gas could be the cause (among about 1,000 other possibilities--he was a good sport to offer help from 2,000 miles away based on my novice assessments of the problems).

After a long day of traveling through the hot, flat, arid landscape of southern NM, we finally reached the nothern plateau and mountainous region. I must say that seeing the sun set over fields of green grass and trees with a backdrop of huge mountains and mesas was one of the most stunning things I've ever seen. I think that landscape and that sunset perfectly matched the image I've had in my head of what this trip would be like (the image I've had in my head for 20 years). Hwy 219, which was just a cut-through on the map, turned out to be a real gem--we're blessed to have experienced it.

So here we are in Las Vegas. We got here around sundown. The temperature has dropped from like 100 degrees to 60...and we were actually cold for the first time on this trip on our way back from Wal-Mart this evening. I sure like the town though.
And that about does it! I say 'about' because I haven't included the daily hightlights yet. So, without any further ado...
1) Lunch of saltines and sardines and a nap in the middle of nowhere flatlands of New Mexico--that strong wind will put you right to sleep when clouds are covering the sun and you're laying on your back with your head propped-up.
2) Playing leap-frog over the past two days with these two riders from Kansas. Great guys. We got to meat them at Carlsbad Caverns this morning. We recognized them as 'the guys that blew our doors-off on the way into Carlsbad last night.' They passed us again this evening. I don't think we're alone in our month-long cross-country trek.
K, sorry so long. Signing out for now.


  1. This picture looks like something I would've taken! Hah, y'all must have a fantastic photographer along with you! (:

  2. We do! His name is evading me though. He's pretty talented at everything he does...and he's rich, and he's hansom...great guy. Name starts with an 'M'