Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lordsburg NM to Deming, NM March 27

65.64 miles in 3:43....The last time I was in this area, almost exactly a year ago, we were heading west, but just about to turn north, to go to Northern Arizona. We were in a town, about twenty miles south of here, on the Mexican border, and we had to hunker down for a extra day because of the high winds, and our first exposure to a nasty dust storm, which I have taken to calling a 'haboob'. I was cussing the terrible winds, and pretty much struggling with them. I knew at the time I was riding into the wind, and most people who ride across the country ride west to east, to have the wind at their back. Well, this time through, I have the wind at MY back, as I am now going west to east. That was never more true than today, as I had 15-25 mph with higher gusts, pushing me for 60 miles. That, combined with the truck traffic and smooth shoulder on I-10, had me flying. Just about the entire trip was on I-10, as there are just no other roads around here. There is not much of anything. All the talk about dust raised the topic in the news about valley fever, a disease that we had never heard of. There is a fungus that is in the soil, that blows in the wind, people breath it in, and get sick. They warn everyone who has compromised health to stay indoors during wind events. One thing that caught my attention was that they said bikers and runners are exposed when breathing in dust, that sometimes you can't see in the air. Some people get better without medicine, but some people die from this valley fever. Hmmmm.Between Lordsburg and Deming, I think there were two exits for touristy rest stops, and one exit for a concrete or gravel business if some sort. Only one road was paved for more than a quarter mile. The terrain was flat and desolate, with very little growth if any sort. That is why dust storms are such a major concern around here. There were mountains way off in the distance, but it was flat, flat, flat. That being said, it was crazy when I crossed the continental divide! From Lordsburg, I climbed, ever so slightly for about 500 ft, over about twenty miles....hardly noticeable. After I passed the continental divide sign, I descended about 2-300 ft over the next twenty miles.... Hardly noticeable, but it was the continental divide, so I noticed. My speed increased a few mph on the downhill side, and I watched my elevation on my Garmin GPS, or I would have never known. Since we came through this general area before, I remember crossing the divide in Silver City, NM, a little north of here, but that crossing was up in the mountains, at the crest if a hill, like the continental divide 'should' be, not in the middle of a 'flat' desert, like it was today. 
For the first three hours of my trip, I averaged over 18 mph, which is rocking it for me, but I slowed down when I got off the interstate about ten miles out of Deming, and cruised NM 419 into town. The scenery wasn't much different, but I did see some nice homes, and I saw the biggest chili pepper plant in the US, according to a flyer I read the other day. I also saw 4 dead cows, that had been dead for quite a while, skin and heads intact, picked clean by buzzards. It reminded me that the last time I was in this area I saw the same thing. I don't know if they starved, dehydrated, or were diseased, but the farmers just leave them lay where they fall out here. There were  a few groups of live cattle as I rode along, usually by a windmill that pulls water for a well, or by a single green tree, which told me there was water there. I also saw about 8-10 trains, because the railroad tracks ran parallel with I-10. It is always cool for me to see a real long train chugging across a flat area, where I can see the whole train. Another random observation....I always notice a lot of burned asphalt where vehicles caught fire when I am riding an interstate, and I usually have to be careful going through the debris that are left there. Today I saw a truck that had incinerated on the shoulder, and they just left it there. About the only thing I could make out may  have  been some paint cans, so it must have been a truck hauling something flammable in cans, but it was just in a big pile on the other shoulder, and I don't even think there were any cones or warning devices around it. Crazy.
When I got into Deming, I did a little tour of the town, just cruising up and down some streets, and a couple of times I got turned back into the wind, and it was NASTY. It was cool today also, as I don't think temps got out if the 60's, but the wind seemed cooler. 

Burned truck and debris on I-10

Flattest continental divide ever!

I-10 with a clean shoulder

Tailwinds again today!

Life in the Wild West!!

Chili pepper capital of USA

Old Texaco station from better days
Adobe ranch of yesteryear

Southern Pacific RR is huge around here.  This is the Deming visitor center.

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