Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 11 - St Johns, AZ to Zuni, NM

Daily Stats:
Time: 3h30m03s
Distance: 88.94km
Avg Spd: 25.4km/hr
Climbing: 621m

Happy Independence Day, folks!  This morning we were jolted awake at 5am by the loudest alarm clock I've ever had... a cannon.  And not just one cannon shot - two.  Every five minutes.  For a good half-hour.  I jumped each time.  Apparently it is tradition for the St John residents to start their Independence Day in this fashion.  And it certainly worked.  There were kids cruising the streets on their bikes by 5:30am!  The Sea to Sea camp was packed up and the on the road about the time the Red, White & Blue pancake breakfast was underway.

Maybe because it is July 4th, or maybe this area of the US isn't that popular, but we had a great ride into Zuni today with almost no traffic on the road.  We rode two-abreast most of the day, as the highway traffic had miles and miles of straight, passing lanes to go around us.

There isn't much to see around here except for red sand and tumbleweed.

And because of the monotony, the SAG stops are a welcome relief!

The above statement should not imply that I am finding the ride boring - it is not at all.  When the scenery starts to look the same, there are always fun people to chat and joke around with.

Today was a milestone day, as we have now ridden through two states, and are into our third: New Mexico!  Oddly enough, we could tell the difference in road quality as soon as we crossed the state line.  The "Top Guns" (as my riding group has dubbed itself) stopped for a photo at the border of New Mexico.  And yes, those are bullet holes in the sign.

Our home tonight is a brand new Christian School on the Zuni Mission.  We are sleeping indoors again, and I have many roommates.  We're trying to keep it a 'no snoring' zone, but I think we might have failed already.  But at least it's air conditioned!

Last night we were given news about the re-routing of the tour through Colorado because of the forest fires.  Our original route had us going north-west from Shiprock, NM through Ignacio, Pagosa Springs, Del Norte and Salida ending up in Colorado Springs at the end of next week.  Our new route is not finalized, but we will be going east in New Mexico for a little longer before heading north and ending up back in Colorado Springs (through Farmington, Chama and Alamosa, I believe).  Some people are quite excited about this detour as we will now miss Wolf Creek Pass, which was going to be a long, tough day of climbing (the summit is at 10,787ft).  We will still have some climbing on the new route, but not as much, and not as steep as July 10th was going to be.

Think that's all for now...  Gonna catch up on some Tour de France news and maybe grab a snooze.

Big thanks to people who took the time to email me - it's always great to hear from y'all back home.

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