I’m up early this morning. The air conditioner in our motel room doesn’t work that well, plus I’m also about two feet from it, so when it is on, my nose gets stuffy.

We rode into New Mexico a couple days ago, and boy, are we glad we’re here for just three nights. I mean, I like the state so far, but the roads have been too bumpy and littered with debris, and the wind has been a total blunder. Our first full day in New Mexico, on the ride from Las Cruces to Deming, the headwinds were so bad I wished I could kick them in the face. I was actually the first of my roommates to show up at the hotel, but that’s ’cause 1) I didn’t eat breakfast with the big group thy rode seven extra miles to eat at an overpriced pancake house before the ride, and 2) while riding with Davide and Chris (yup, Chris was finally slow enough from the wind that I could keep up with him), I fell behind on an uphill and or film guy, Frederic, let me draft off his scooter; I even skitched at one point, but I felt too unsteady to skitch for too long. I was so thankful that he let me do that; the wind was just so bad.

Deming to Lordsburg was yesterday, and while the wind was much better, the roads weren’t. We were on Interstate 10 again the whole day, which is usually OK except these roads are so bumpy. I got a flat just as we (Lauren, Crystal, and I) got to the second van stop and luckily was able to fix the flat after drinking a bunch of water and noshing on some tasty snacks my mum sent me. As for the flat, I had to pull a 4 mm piece of wire out of my new Gatorskin front tire with tweezers.

There has been one amazing part of New Mexico: White Sands National Monument. Our drivers Red and Judy were so kind to drive us the hour each way so we could see it. We went on the sunset stroll, where a park ranger talked about the geology and biology of the area. It was so awesome, and we all got some great pictures.

In about a half hour I’ll start getting ready for the ride to Willcox, Arizona. It’s a 74-miler, but we have a huge reward at the ride’s end: Our drivers are taking us to Tombstone, Arizona, for the evening!

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It was actually a bit chilly today on the ride from Sanderson to Marathon, Texas, which made the ride so great today. Sharon, the owner of the Roundhouse Café in Sanderson, opened her shop early to serve us breakfast, so I got started on a very full stomach. I started out on my own while most of the others were still eating; I was trailing Bennett, Blaise, and Fred. I rode about 15 miles before catching up to Fred, who, like me, had been enjoying the views and taking pictures. We rode for just a bit together before he dropped back to take it easy. After stopping at Judy’s van for a banana and some water, I rode with Crystal, Brian, Callie, Ash, Davide, Dan, and Allison for the rest of the day (with a few breaking away at one point). We played 20 Questions and named infamous people in alphabetical order to keep ourselves occupied. The last 15 miles were just amazing; I was averaging 20 mph and the scenery was like the desert vistas seen on TV. It was awesome.

In Marathon (which now joins Lander, WY, and Missoula, MT, as my favorite towns), I shopped at the local bookstore and bought a couple good reads, checked out our awesome motel (the Marathon Motel and RV Park), and had lunch at Johnny B’s. I talked to several locals and other visitors (Joan and Bill, Alta and Rick, Angelo, and Deborah).

Today was great. Tomorrow’s ride is to Marfa, which will be about 56 miles.

Today was just amazing. The past couple days have been pretty miserable for me emotionally and mentally, and I was thinking that I just wanted to go home (not that I would’ve…just that I wanted to). I sagged in the van from Austin to San Antonio and San Antonio to Uvalde because I needed a break mentally. Two days after Uvalde, when we were riding from Bracketville to Comstock (yesterday, actually), I started feeling ill on the ride and decided to hop in the van at mile 25. The stress of all this coupled with lady issues is probably what caused me so much misery. The good news, though, is that today was awesome, and today’s scenery was beautiful.

Fred and I got an early start this morning (we left at 4.52a), about half an hour earlier than most other riders would’ve started. We were riding in complete darkness, and at one point, I heard a squelchy screech that scared me so much that I called out to Fred and caught up to him. I felt a little disappointed that we literally couldn’t see the views during the first 20 miles, but we were beating the heat.

We rode past the town of Langtry, home of Judge Roy Bean, and Fred told me the story of the “hangin’ judge” (which turns out to be fiction).

I stopped a couple times to take pictures, one of the sunrise over the miles and miles of sagebrush and another of … miles and miles of sagebrush.

I think one aspect of today that made my ride better was that I wasn’t worried about people catching up to us. Though I’m not competitive, sometimes I feel like I get sucked into that mindset, which really makes the ride less enjoyable. I start comparing myself to the other riders and I feel less confident in myself. It’s almost lIke middle school all over again. So leaving this morning ahead of people and knowing that we could stop for two minutes and not be passed by six people made things better. We did end up being passed by three riders at mile 25 or so and two riders at mile 60, but it didn’t really matter.

Our stop tonight is in Sanderson, which is located in a beautiful canyon. I arrived at about 11.45a and immediately took a shower before setting out in search of food. Most of the town’s restaurants were closed until 5p for siesta, but the Roundhouse Café wasn’t. All I ate was a ham and turkey sandwich with a couple Sprites, but I was so drunk from the food that I barely made it back to the motel for a nap.

Speaking of the motel, we are staying at the Budget Inn, which pretty much lives up to its name. It is, however, an upgrade from the motel we stayed at in Guin, Alabama.

A couple photos from today’s ride:

I have to come back to San Antonio. I’m really interested in United States history, so imagine my elation when I got to the hotel and discovered that we were directly across the street from the Alamo.

As in, I could see into the fort from our second-floor room. As in, if the windows opened, I could lob something across the street and it’d land within the walls of the Alamo. I called my dad to tell him about it, and I think he was just as excited as I was.

Later that night, I wandered around the city after our event and went to the River Walk area. River Walk is this section of town that’s below street level and has restaurants lining the San Antonio river (but it’s really like a canal). The area is lit up with dim lighting, and it’s got a very romantic feel. It reminded me of what I’d envision Venice to look like.

Call me lame if you want, but honestly, I’m not sure if I want to go out tonight. I just got back from the 42 Below event at Six Lounge in downtown Austin, and I had the opportunity to either stay out or get a ride back to the hostel. I chose the latter.  I’m totally indifferent to Austin. I mean, I know that Austin is the capitol of Texas. And yeah, I know that Austin is the “music capital of the world” (or something). I’m just not feeling like wandering around an unfamiliar city with fellow cyclist who’ve drunk far more than I have and who don’t really care how they’ll feel at 5a.

I think Austin is a place I might come back to someday, so maybe I’m feeling less pressure to “enjoy” it.

Whatever.

I’m in the process of updating the southern route itinerary page recently to reflect our accumulated mileage, link days to blog posts, and correct destination information, so if you haven’t checked it in awhile, go take a look. Oh, and please forgive the issue I’m having with the columns not lining up correctly. There’s only so much perfectionism I’m allowing myself on this trip.

Today is the day, folks—it’s the day I become reconnected to the world of technology. As I mentioned in a previous post, my phone had many issues in its lifespan, and last week’s thunderstorms were the end of it. And now the ride to Oklahoma City is upon us, where an Apple Store awaits. In order for me to ensure enough time to purchase an iPhone at said Apple Store before tonight’s event , I have resigned myself to sagging it with Red (the truck driver) today; riding with Red means we’ll get to the destination very early but we’ll leave much later than the riders (much later, in this case, means 10a or so).

I’m not the only one sagging today. We woke up this morning to severe thunderstorm warnings for many parts of Oklahoma. The Weather Channel was also reporting penny-sized hail in a few counties. Outside, the rain had already created miniature lakes in the Seminole Best Western parking lot, and the sky was alit with lightning. By 5.30a, Nick had sent us a text message announcing an hour delay in packing our luggage in the truck. It’s more than an hour later, and the thunderstorm and rain have now stopped, though several riders have already made up their minds about sagging it for the day.

I’m still crossing my fingers for a tornado warning.