Day Forty-nine, Date Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:50
Distance for the Day: 62.49 miles: From Stealth Camp To just west of Whites City, NM
Accumulated Trip Distance: 2136.1 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4116’/3790’, Highest: 5764’, Accumulated: 3812’
Speeds: Avg: 9.1 mph, Max: 40.9 mph
Weather: Clear, cool, calm, warming to temperate conditions during the day
No pictures today: sorry! Mattress was flat again, I looked high and low for the leak, but couldn’t find it. I’ll definitely have to give it a water test, Demitol. At 8:08 am I hit the road, continuing on to Carlsbad Caverns, which I should just about reach, today. Not much happened, today, except…
At 4:40 pm, I almost had a big accident: while coming downhill at a good 15 mph, to avoid a highway sign on the shoulder, I had to ride onto a highway buzz strip (those indentations that cause car tires to “buzz” when they drift off the main road). Hitting the strip caused my trike to drift, and to keep from getting turned sideways and flipping, I had to steer into the drift, which took me off the pavement, and into a v-shaped dirt ditch, still going a good 10-15 mph. I rode this dirt ditch, going up one side, and then the other, until I managed to finally slow down and stop. Due to the rough conditions, the pack on top of the rear rack fell off, one of the support struts for the rear fender broke, and the front and back main body segments got twisted from their true position, slightly. Nothing serious, but a pain, to be sure. There wasn’t much I could do about the broken strut, but it wasn’t a critical part, and wouldn’t cause problems. I re-aligned the front/back body segments, so they were okay, but now the rear derailleur was slightly “off,” and gear changes were hesitant and glitchy. Poop. I figured the cable from the control at the handlebar needed adjustment, but I’m no pro at that, and fiddled with it as best I could, but only got it to work a little better. I’d have to call my dealer, Steve, first chance I got. This incident happened at trip distance 2128.0 miles. With the tailwind, and the land still mostly downhill, I was close enough to make it within spitting distance of Whites City, the entryway to Carlsbad Caverns before sundown.
I found a stealth camp site off of Dillahunty Rd, called my trike dealer and spent a fair bit of time discussing with him the procedures for fixing the gear shifting problem I was experiencing. I couldn’t do it right then, because I was in an area with fine dust and dirt, and couldn’t take my bags off the trike without getting them very dusty. I got his instructions, and would put them into practice tomorrow morning, when I could get to a cleaner area.
I washed hair and did the sponge bath thing from one quart’s worth of water, had can of soup for dinner and M&M Peanuts for dessert, put out my sleeping gear, and got to sleep. The air was dead calm, now, but around midnight, a brisk but sporadic wind picked up out of nowhere. It woke me up, briefly, but it didn’t keep me up, and I had a good night’s rest.