I woke up in a rather nice hotel and went over to the lobby for breakfast. Having been offered a military discount, the place was affordable. Yes, there is some irony in this situation.
There were many perks. They grilled up a bunch of food for us for dinner, offered beverages and chips. Breakfast was a nice assortment of good coffee, eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit and hashbrowns. I tucked aside some extra packets of oatmeal and grabbed some bananas. The charley horses have begun to set in again-this happens with long riding.
At the end of today’s ride I will have gone 1,000 miles in 4 days. This is more than I usually do, but more of a feat with the speeds I’ve been driving. The severe wind out here and high elevation has compromised my speed-50 is about all I can do.
Eating my breakfast yesterday, with the many service men/women, I realized there is a whole industry based on us not having Peace. That many of those I was having breakfast would not have a job if we had Peace in the world. This concept doesn’t just apply to Peace, think about logging, for example. There are paid loggers who could care less about the rate we destroy forests-because they feed their families with the money earned by destroying them.
I was contemplating this and reading the El Paso front page news and came across a blurb from a politician who echoed these thoughts. He was discussing the drug trafficking violence occurring around the border, near Juarez. He had spoken with some college graduates who had blown a lot of coke the night of their graduation. The example seemed a bit farfetched, I don’t know why these girls would divulge info about their escapades.
Nonetheless-he was pointing out that drug trafficking exists because of a need-there is a symbiotic relationship. Had those girls said, you know, I don’t want to do this coke because I realize how many people are dying around getting it here, well, that’s how you put a stop to the cycle. Being conscious of how your wants contribute to greater problems.
And this violence is occuring 5 minutes away from El Paso. I rode out of town and saw the sign for the pedestrian crossing into Juarez. I looked over to my left and actually saw the gates. This is the riding I’ve been nervous about, mainly because people contact me and say I should be nervous.When that happens enough, I question my own intuition-never a good thing.
But I’m a little psyched out. And it’s hot. And windy. God, so windy. I actually ran into a dust devil yesterday. The wind was 15 mph, SW, with some gusts about 30mph. But this dust devil shook my front tires, shook ’em, and I almost lost control. It was only about a 10 ft patch- really strange.
I was now in New Mexico and cruised down NM 9, a desolate road. Except for border patrol. Everywhere. Which actually made me feel safer. I was on an empty stretch when I spotted a van in my mirrors. He had on his right turn signal. That can be a sign to switch lanes sometimes, so the faster vehicle can pass. Or to pull over. Neither of which I can do, because it’s a one laner with no shoulder.
He goes to pass me and I think ok, he’s just flaky, doesn’t know left from right. Then he slows down in front of me. A little alarmed, I speed up to pass him, to avoid some situation of him slamming on the brakes. He starts waving to me and says to pull over. Ya right Buddy.
Sorry. My conscious really had to grapple with that. I want to help people in need, but I’m not stopping on this road. I’m in front of him for about half a mile, still debating whether or not I should go against my rule and stop to help him. Then I see a border patrol car, so I point to the van behind me. I turn to the van and point at the border patrol. I saw him pull over, and that was the last I saw of him.
I was on two roads most of the way yesterday. NM9 and AZ 80. The terrain on both was completely different, but they shared windy conditions, isolated stretches, absence of fueling stations. However, I didn’t run out of gas. They were positioned just close enough. Every 80 miles I filled up, whether or not on empty. The wind was killing my fuel economy and speed. I literally banged my helmet on the headset.
I drove 9 hours yesterday, top speed, 50. No ipod. It died the day the trip started. I was cranky, really cranky. Contemplating, for the first time ever, stopping. Just a fleeting thought. The desert was dry and harsh. I finally surrendered and began to focus on positive thoughts. It’s so funny how 30 minutes can seem like an eternity.
I spotted some strange rock sculptures. I’ve seen these before. The first time was the Blair Witch Project. The second time at the Omega Institute. Nothing in common there, folks. I only saw these along the border, on both sides. I have no idea if these are monuments to people who have crossed, or died crossing. Or just a hobby of someone who lives in the area.
A good hour after I had shifted my attitude, I saw a monument for Geronimo. The monument to his surrender. This made me think of how differently people interpret the word surrender. Some view it as a form of success derived from another persons failure; meanwhile psychologists and new agers encourage it as a way to master the ego.
The landscape had changed drastically. I could just imagine Native American tribes galloping through the hills on horseback. I could see where they would hide when in battle. There were flash flood warning signs everywhere and gullies. Stuff I’ve only read about in books before or seen in movies. Me and Audre felt pretty little within the scene. I wanted to be in the hills, galloping along on horseback.
I scooted past roads named “Ruff Ride” “Sock and Shoe” and “Windy.” I went through about 2 gallons of water, it was so dry and dusty. The elevation change was also dehydrating.
I rode into the West, the blazing sun beginning to set and burn my retinas. When I reached the border town of Douglas I rang up my couchsurfing hosts. 45 minutes later, the signs for Bisbee welcomed me.
Driving up, up, up and around the mountains, I see a huge hole in the ground. This was a copper mine. I will go visit in just a minute. It was getting to dark to take photos. The town reminds me of a European village. Bisbee has to be one of the neatest places I’ve visited in America. My hosts, Mo and Paxton are great. They too are self confessed food, beer and music snobs. We talked for hours and played vinyl records.
They just moved in together this week and I’m their first guest. They cooked falafel from scratch and served it with pita bread that they had also made. Amazing. I was exhausted, crossing my 2nd time zone in a day. I’m off to explore just a little before Mike and Ron meet me here in town. They are driving in from Tucson to ride back with me. I will be there for the weekend.