Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day Forty-five, 090414 - Deming, NM

Day Forty-five, Date Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Time in Saddle: 10:28
Distance for the Day: 109.71 miles: From near Sheldon To Deming, NM
Accumulated Trip Distance: 1869.8 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending: 3742’/4392’, Highest: 4769’, Accumulated: 2572’
Speeds: Avg: 10.4 mph, Max: 22.5 mph
Weather: 37° in the AM, warming to the 70s by the afternoon
Expenditures: $

Got up around 5:30am, broke down camp, ate half of my grocery store sandwich for breakfast, and took off at 6:04am (according to my watch – not sure the actual local time). I figured out at this juncture the error of my path since Alpine, The sky was high cirro-cumulus, the moon was waning gibbous, and it was a beautiful morning. It was a relief to not be dealing with snow, anymore (though I daresay, I’ll be hoping for cold air soon enough, through the deserts of New Mexico and Texas).

I hit the town of Duncan at 7:37am and bought a Danish and orange drink ($3) at the mini-mart. I also refilled my airhorn’s air tank, and continued down Hwy 70 for Lordsburg. It was a bit after Duncan when I passed from Arizona to the state of New Mexico at 9:00am – a first for me; I’d never before set foot in the state of New Mexico! Got a McDonalds burger ($6) and got more supplies ($9) at the Pilot trucker’s stop in Lordsburg. I was behind schedule. Because of my error at Alpine, I was now a good 60 miles west of where I should have been (Deming), if I were to pick up my goggles in Las Cruces on Wednesday. I had a decent, early start, and decided to try to make up the time in these flatlands. There was a significant side wind, and the land always seemed to be slightly uphill, which slowed me down, somewhat, but then the road turned left to face a more direct easterly direction, and the side wind turned into a good tailwind. Also, I didn’t know it, but I was approaching the Continental Divide (which was why the land generally sloped uphill). Once I crossed it at 5:30pm, it generally sloped downhill, and that in combination with the tailwind made me fly! As the miles passed by, I thought I might be able to do it, I might be able to make my first-ever century (100 miles). As the sun dropped lower, and knew I would be short if I stopped at sunset. Fine – let it set – I’m not quitting. It did, and it began to get dark enough, so I had to take off my sunglasses. Then, I put the blinking headlight on, and knew the red and yellow triangular reflector on the back would help drivers spot me in the dark. Soon enough, it got completely dark, and I still had a good 15 miles to go. I could barely see the space between the vibration strip on the left, and the road’s shoulder on the right, and I was hitting rocks and the ubiquitous shredded tire remnants that I normally would dodge, but I kept going. As I neared Deming, and the 100-mile mark, the road signs would say, “Exit Now!” but of course, they were designed for cars going 75mph. It was a little frustrating. Here I was, tired, still pumping hard (thankfully, the tailwind was still helping), and these signs kept saying exit now. I’d love to, but there was no exit – I was stuck on the freeway in the dark, again! (See Day Twenty-eight, the Cajon Pass) I finally did exit in Deming at 9pm, a good 1.5 hours after sunset, with my very first century – another first! I bought a grapefruit juice drink ($1.50) and ate the other half of my sandwich, then found an empty field behind the local small airport to crash. It was a little exposed, so I resolved to get up before it got light, so I could take a sponge bath and make good my stealthy escape before anyone would notice (or be able to do anything about).

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