Monday, September 17, 2007

The Great Bike Ride – Day 22

Monday, September 17, 2007

Today was a big shorter than yesterday, but still challenging. We left Alamogordo NM in overcast conditions, so I pulled on the pants of the rainsuit just I could stay dry if a storm brewed up. At the beginning of the trip, it felt pretty comfortable as we crested a 7,000 ft pass through the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. At that point the terrain ceased being desert and turned into pine trees other flora of the Rockies.

Our lunch stop was in Roswell NM, site of an long-rumored alien spacecraft crash in 1947. We grabbed some HD shirts with aliens on them of course. Roswell is not really the quaint little tourist trap I imagined. It's a small city of which the alien stuff plays a minor part.

I was leading today, and made a mistake at Roswell. None of us thought about getting gas, and we ended up leaving town with partially filled tanks, a big no-no out here. The stress level went up every time we crested a knoll and saw another 10-20 miles ahead of us with no evidence of humanity other than ranch entrances and oil wells. I thought it would be very ironic to run out of gas in a middle of a large oil field (all were pumping by the way). We'd see town names on mileage signs, but when we got there the town might be nothing more than a couple of shacks. Finally, with about a gallon left in my tank (it holds five), we hit Tatum NM and gassed up.

As we rolled into Texas, the terrain became flat rangeland with nary a tree, but plenty more oil wells. Our stop point is Big Spring TX, with a refinery ahead of us, and a ridge full of wind turbines behind us. Opposite ends of the energy spectrum...

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