Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17...Truth or Consequences, NM to Socorro, NM

71.93 miles in 6:20.....2247 ft. Of climbing....2070 ft of descent....average speed...11.3 mph.....34.2 maximum speed.....total miles so far...441.74.....total elevation climbed....13,818 ft.
I woke up to temps in the thirties, but it really warmed up fast. When I left at about nine, it was 47 degrees but sunny, so it didn't feel that cold. Humidity was 12%, so it's a dry type of cold. I put a pair of socks on, which I usually don't, and wore two t shirts instead of one, and I was good to go. I stopped at subway to get a flatbread breakfast sandwich to go, because there is NOTHING between T or C and Socorro. I started out on NM 181, which basically paralleled I-25, but was much more rolley. I had to climb out of the Rio Grande valley, even though I would follow the river all the way to my destination. I got about ten miles out of town, and I saw a 'road closed' sign on 181, right near an interstate entrance, so rather than follow my GPS, I jumped on I-25. Much to my surprise, bicycles were not prohibited. Even if they were, the chance of me getting busted was really small way out here. There is very little traffic, and zero police presence. GPS girl was keeping a secret from me, and I'm really glad I went for the highway. When I got on, it was brand new pavement, and we proceeded immediately down a major descent into a large canyon, where I could see that my old road had been washed out, even though it was totally dry, and may have washed out many years ago, never to be rebuilt. I had the option of getting off the next exit, about five miles up the road, onto NM1, which basically paralleled the interstate in places, and in places it disappeared. I chose to stay on the interstate, because I figured (correctly) that there would be a lot less rolling and climbing, and the interstate would be six miles shorter according to GPS. The next 60 miles were spent on I-25, undulating over multitudes of canyons that were coming out of the huge mountains on my left, flowing to the Rio Grande, which was a few miles to my right, sometimes visible, sometimes not. I had ridden over twenty miles when Lake Elephant Butte finally disappeared. That is one BIG body of water that is formed by a dam on the Rio Grande just northeast of T or C. As I rode the ridge to the left of the river, it was amazing how many canyons were formed, a lot as wide as the Ohio River, and I had to dip into each one, but the interstate bridges were much higher than NM 1, when I could see the road. Not a single one of these huge washes had a drop of water in them, but I bet they do on a good year. There is an epic drought going on here, just like in Arizona and California, even though I could see a few more snow caps way off in the distance to my left, beyond the Rio Grande.
One concession that I did make for this interstate trip, was that I put my headphones on and listened to my iPod, just hoping that good music would make the hills go by easier, and the trip go faster. I've never done that before. Am I really that mentally weak now? I think I am.  I'm glad I did it because it may have worked. It was sort of fun riding along, singing at the top of my lungs. "You load 16 tons and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt," among other favorites. My laryngitis is getting slightly better, but it must not have been a pretty sound. I sure didn't have any trouble with wolves or coyotes, like last time in New Mexico ! By the way, it was perfectly safe, because I am totally addicted to my little rear view mirror that I wear on my sunglasses, and I didn't miss a thing. Traffic was sparse, and about everyone moved over to the passing lane when they saw me. It was a small risk to take, and I won't do it again until I'm bored stiff in Kansas, probably. 
Even I didn't see any wolves yet, I did see three big eared jack rabbits, and several types of lizards and horny toads. Also, I have to compliment New Mexico on the condition of their roads. So far this trip has been a pleasure, unlike last time thru, when I was way down by Mexico. 
I did have one stretch of bad weather that kept the trip from being perfectly enjoyable. About thirty miles into the ride, the low, heavy clouds in the mountains off to my left, kicked up a heavy headwind for about five miles. I actually stopped and put on a coat and my ear protectors as the temps tumbled into the low fifties. After almost and hour of that, the sun came back out, the tailwind returned, and the temps resumed in the high sixties and low seventies for the rest of the day.
I grabbed another $45 motel in Socorro, walked to Arby's for supper, and chilled the evening away.
Just a note: US. 60 comes thru here. If I would have taken 60 out of Mesa like I looked at, it would have been 71 miles shorter, but I would have climbed over 6000 more feet. I made a good call on that one.

NM 181, shoulder free,scenery free, traffic free

Thank God this road was closed

Riding on I-25, cold and rain to the west......

Sunny skies to the east......

60 miles to go.....

Typical scenery from I-25
I-25 scenery

Even a sign was unusual

Didn't see any!

Zoom in on the Rio Grande



Sunset in Socorro

Mexican truck in Hispanic town of Socorro

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