Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Midday Update (Because I've been stuck at this gas station for 2 hours)

So I was all pumped to get going today, fight through the cold and
make it to the warmer weather that was expected in Arizona. Well, all
was going to plan - I put on every piece of clothing I had: two pairs
of jeans, chaps, wool socks two fleeces, jacket, ski mask, 2 pairs of
gloves and my rain suit for a windbreaker. I left around 9 when the
sun had warmed Santa Fe up into the 30's and headed south toward
Albuquerque. It was cold, but the sun was mostly out and I was
confident I could do the 60 miles to Albuquerque in one stretch.
Things were looking good until the snow started. Apparently there was
another system brewing behind the one that hit last night. It was
light to start but got a little heavier and I had to pull off. If that
snow starts to stick even a little bit when I'm doing 70 mph, I'm in
big trouble.

I've been following the radar on my phone and it looks like once this
stuff passes, it should be pretty smooth between here and Vegas. It
just doesn't look like this system is going anywhere soon.

A couple of things that I meant to mention last time but didn't:

So the reason that it's so cold and snowy in Santa Fe is that the city
is at a much higher elevation that I originally thought. The city is
over 7,000 feet above sea level. The climb also really snuck up on me.
It wasn't like climbing mountains in the east where you see s big hill
and then you climb up it. It was very gradual and I didn't realize I
was so high up until the engine started backfiring. It surprised me at
first, but then I put 2 and 2 together and realized what was going on.
Backfiring happens often in carbureted engines when the ratio of air
to fuel is thrown off by high altitude. Adjusting the carb to
compensate can be tricky and I was getting nervous that I would have
to adjust them if it got any worse, but it calmed down after I
descended a bit.

When I hit New Mexico, I mentioned that it felt like frontier country
- attracting the kind of people who wanted to go west to explore and
see what they could find for themselves. That got me thinking about
Lewis and Clark and the absolute lunacy of thier expedition. I had
this scene running through my head of the two of them at a bar, and
Lewis says to Clark, "Dude, I'm bored. Let's just go west and see hoe
farthe land goes." Clark: "Awesome idea bro. Let me just run home and
grab a few things. Oh and grab that Indian chick you met last week -
she said she knew some of the country out there, right?" (read up on
this if your're not familiar with it - pretty fascinating story,
although I like my version better) Anyways, I got thinking about all
the support I have on my trip - a motorized vehicle, roads, motels,
grocery stores and restaurants, maps, AAA - can you imagine doing this
if all you had was some guns, salt, and wagons? Not to mention that
there were supposed to be some hostile natives that you had to make
peace with.

So it looks like things are clearing up, so after a delicious and
nutritious gas station lunch, I think I'll venture out in a bit to see
how the roads are


  1. Do they sell Lance crackers, pigs feet or beef jerky in New Mexico gas stations? I hope it's warming up for you and you can peel away some of your layers. Enjoy Vegas with your dad and maybe you'll end up with some $$. Anne

  2. hahaha, might want to go to sports authority and pick up a bow and arrow. Before you go down in elevation try running for a few minutes, you should be able to feel the effect of it at 7,000.