Thursday, May 14, 2009

day four: Faulkner, and finishing Texas

Well we made it. 516 miles and about 11 hours later we’re in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Our trip total is now just under 1800 miles and we are now in our 9th state. The plan is to go to the Cavern tomorrow to check things out. Initially, Mike and I thought it might be cool to see the bats (supposedly millions of them) emerge from the cave at dusk. There were two problems with that plan: 1. We arrived in Carlsbad (the town) at about dusk meaning that unless the bats wanted to travel to us we were going to miss them and, 2. Our driving moxie ran out about 100 miles ago and the bats seemed somehow less important than this morning at the start of the trip. Mel said, “Ooh, you and Mike would be like Batman-covered and surrounded with bats! I said, “If you mean covered with bat guano then your probably right!” Mike and I got really hot today in the hill country of Texas and decided to ride a while without our Olympia jackets. If you’ve ever seen these things they make us look like moving highlighters and incite comments like, “Hey, nice jacket (snort, snicker) or, “Could you guys cut those things off. The light hurts my eyes.” The net effect was that we were much less visible at least until I turned kind of a glowing red. I didn’t wear gloves today so my hands are fried. Soon people will be saying, “Hey, what’s wrong with your hands.” They are already doing that about my eyes (I mentioned those last night). Mike continues to be energetic, ready to ride more miles and fairly unaffected. His comments about my being an old man and threats to leave me behind have had a strange sort of encouragement-like effect on me- not actually encouraging but encouragement-like.

At lunch today Mike and I stopped at an abandoned old Texas farmhouse. It was sad and interesting and rundown all at the same time. The house was surrounded by Osage Orange trees with their massive thorns of various sizes and ages with other family remnants like an old lunch box in the weeds. It reminded me of a Faulkner quote. He said, “the house was shimmering in its dilapidation . . . .” Mike is putting a picture of it on. See what you think.

We met a nice family today. Matt and Sally and their two sons, Phillip and Alex were traveling from Amarillo to Houston for their daughter’s college graduation. Congratulations guys! Mike and I encouraged Matt to follow up on taking his guys for a similar ride on their graduations. Let us know how that works out.

Tomorrow we go to Carlsbad Cavern in the morning and then leave for Colorado in the afternoon. Carlsbad is our sort of jumping off point for the part of the trip we are really excited about. We had to get here to do all the rest. Anyway, another great day. We’ll keep you up to date.

P.S. On a personal note from me specifically, I wanted to give a quick shout out to the best veterinary staff in the states. Marsha, you need to get your bike back out. Alison, I am getting a taste of what you and Buddy experienced lat summer. Ange, I’m going to give you that bike ride when I get back. Summer, I’d give you a ride but I know your doctors wouldn’t let you even if Branyon did! Catherine, are you and Kristy missing me yet? Don’t answer that! I miss you guys. Thanks for keeping the place running


  1. Well, we're in our 9th state already...and I'm sitting here eating some delicious Cape Cod jalapeno & cheddar potatoe chips (courtesy of Farrell at Cape Cod who has supplied me with a healthy supply of 'free bag' coupons--I feel like it's only right for me to put in a plug for go out and buy some Cape Cod chips!! There salty and wonderful!) That being said, it's time for the daily highlight column:

    1) The bee (or whatever stinging creature) flying up my pant leg on hwy 84 in Texas. It got stuck and started I feel like a really big, rude guy kicked me in the shin!

    2) Lunch at the old farmhouse. Just seeing the place made me sad in a way to imagine someone trying to scrape by a living there...really neat place tho.

    3) Finishing Texas! New states are fun--unfortunately, NM is very similar to West Texas.

    4) Meeting some great people in Lamesa, TX. Hope Papa Matt will buy a couple of bikes and take a similar trip before he has time to reason against it!

    5) Pounding an entire bag of potatoe chips--supper of champions!! Better go do some push-ups/crunches!

  2. Hey Dr. Martin and Michael,
    I am sooo envious. Your trip sounds like so much fun! It looks like you guys are getting to see some really beautiful things, and traveling freely sounds great. Ofcourse, we miss you here Dr. Martin. Can you hear the sencerity in my voice? :) JK All of the girls at ACGS say hello. Talk to you soon. Have Fun.