Today’s distance / ???????: 55 miles / 89km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 14km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 25m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 3310mi plus 280mi (?) / 5327km plus 450km (?)
Ascent / ??: 295
Descent / ??: 195
End-of-day GPS coordinates: Deming WalMart (forgot to record the digits)
Nothing quite like a nice tailwind and a smooth shoulder to start the day. I ate the other half of the fresh French bread loaf from last night with a banana and a can of canned lasagna for breakfast, and hit the road at about 8am.
The I-10 expressway climbs out of Las Cruces for about three miles before leveling off to a flat plateau. Before the climb, the highway crosses the Rio Grande River. The Rio Grande heads north from El Paso, and ceases to be the border between the US and Mexico.
I had emailed a few newspapers along my route from El Paso to Phoenix, and this morning got a call from the Las Cruces News Sun paper. The reporter did the interview over the phone, and this is the artcile – Las Cruces News Sun Article.
Before long, I had well and truly entered the desert country of New Mexico. Sweeping vistas of the surrounding plains and mountains in the distance. For once, I was able to enjoy the surroundings without having to spend 90% of the time with my head down, putting all my effort into just getting some speed out of the board (Texas had terribly coarse road surfaces).
Once again the road signs amused me. I asked a local about this one, and apparently yes, speed is monitored by aircraft. A small Cessna airplane is flown over the highway at 70mph, and if a vehicle moves faster than the aircraft, it is dobbed in to the police. I guess the economics must work out…if not, they wouldn’t do it, I guess.
I didn’t see any aircraft, or dust storms for that matter…
The wind turned on me in the afternoon, and I spent the afternoon pushing into a light headwind. Akeela Flats with a rest stop and convenience store, complete with an amazing old-style mural was a refreshing stop.
I arrived in Deming late, at about 7pm. I did some shopping, and considered pitching my tent in the WalMart parking lot. I had heard about other cyclists doing this, namely Dom and Meers from http://ridehardusa.blogspot.com/, so I thought I’d give it a go.
As I was about to leave the WalMart, a friendly guy by the name of Keith stopped me and asked the usual questions. He turned out to be a volunteer firefighter, and was an active member of the community. He called the police and asked them to come over to WalMart to make sure it would be OK for me to stay there in the car park. After a lengthy wait, the police arrived, congenial, and said they had no problem with it, but they suggested that I might want to head out of town and camp there instead, rather than right in the middle of town.
I was umming and ahhing, trying to decide, when Keith suddenly blurted out “Why don’t you stay at my place!? I should have thought of that sooner! My wife and I are Trail Angels for the Continental Divide trail. You’re welcome to stay if you want.”
Say no more, I thought, and promptly accepted. A comfy bed for the night…I can’t refuse.
The newspaper article was not too bad – they got your name and where you come from correct.
How I wish we could have some of those absolutely clear skies I see in your photos. Global Warming has meant much more moisture in the air here so lots more cloud.
…just north of Española N.M. (and the State Police headquarters for district 7) on the road to Abiquiú there used to be a sign which read 'speed enforced by aircraft' – which as a result of the application of a white sticker that used exactly the same sized and style of the lettering on the official highway sign had modified it to read 'speed enforced by assholes'.