Biking the Pageant Trail
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time to rotate the tires. hey, forget mount rushmore (ok, don't forget it, it is amazing), there's a family building a sculpture of crazy horse just outside custer, sd, that when finished will be the biggest sculpture in the world.

speaking of mount rushmore, i was feeling pretty good about making it this far, until at the base of mount rushmore i met pat and cat patterson, taking 1000 days to ride their bikes AROUND THE WORLD.

i didn't plan it this way, i promise - but the miss south dakota pageant happened to be in town. i couldn't resist (besides there wasn't much else up) so i went to the preliminaries.

i heard the contestant ms rushmore say: "this is my little sister courtney, who peed on a rock for me for good luck." ms hot springs seems to have added: "ezerclampsio artist where i plan to thalabee the audience." ok, maybe the sound just sucked in the gymnasium, which was decorated with fake records and poster paint, a la 5th grade play.

all feminist-minded people will be happy to know that the "swimsuit" competition has been changed to the "lifestyle and fitness *in* swimsuit" competition. it now consists of the contestants parading around in swimsuits and high heels.

hearing a rendition of "you really got me now" by tenor sax capped off the night, at which point i left early. overall, the whole experience was like having your skin slowly stripped off, and salt rubbed in.

now does it sound like i'm not having fun? i am! i enjoyed the hell out of it! go miss south dakota!

the ride i did today is one of those ones that i pictured when i thought about this whole trip, a 15 mph tailwind, cool temps, through forests and sand dunes, neither of which i knew existed in nebraska. windmills in the hills. endless skies. the people in the panhandle are quick to point out that their part of the state (and they themselves) are very different from the rest of nebraska

quite a change from yesterday when i got my ass thoroughly kicked by a 25-20 mph headwind, taken down by a dog, and pelted by small black biting flies.

the people continue to impress me - got a personal tour of the chadron museum , including their hundreds of pencils and pens, by evelyn.

my favorite sign so far, outside of bridgeport: "guns & ammo, minnows, leeches, snacks".

back to that cow thing. really, it's odd. a cow that will completely ignore big rigs flying by 15 feet away, will stop chewing, look up, and stare until its own ass blocks its view of me. then it'll swivel around and stare until i'm gone. i think it has something to do with being not a vehicle and not a person - therefore some kind of odd animal? maaaybe it's because my bike is covered in fur and has bar ends that looks like horns? the same thing seems to go for deer, antelope, and prarie dogs. all staring. staring staring staring. hey bud, what did i ever do to YOU? not to mention that i caused a panic in a goat farm yesterday, just riding by....

It's weird. People in Nebraska are the friendliest on the trip so far. Met more people in the last couple days than on the rest of the trip combined. At least half the people on the road wave as they drive by, which is cool.

Got a complement from someone in a bar a couple nights ago about the trip. He said "i ruhspec th' livin' hell outta that".

With a few hours of listening to the radio each day, I'm getting a view of the world that most everyone else is not getting. Just wanted to bring everyone some news from this side of the world. Wheat is just turning color. Winter wheat is about 50% turned out. Nebraska hogs are up a couple dollars at about $40. The Nelson farm will have about 40 fancy black face from 800 to 925 pounds for slaughter next week.

15-Jun-2002 - 16-Jun-2002:
No notes from these stages.
"denver, finally. successfully outran the damn fire. out of the mountains. halfway point - looks like the trip changes now from deserts and mountains to grasslands and prarie."
@ - crash in Fairplay, CO. Didn't get my foot out of the peddle clip as I came to a stop at a supermarket. Fell over in front of the supermarket. Not much of a crash, but I wanted to use one of the symbols from the legend and at this rate, it wasn't looking like it was going to happen.
June 12
i'm in salida, co, trying to outrun the massive fire just northeast of me. i was going to ride the plains on the front range; never intended to climb up into the mountains. however, in trying to avoid the smoke i've climbed a 9100 foot pass into salida, and tomorrow will have to cross 3 different 10,000 foot passes to get to denver - that is unless the fire gets to highway 285 before i do....
Wow. I found it. Hell on Earth. Its name is Mosca, CO. If I'm not mistaken, Mosca loosely translated means housefly. A great name for six blocks of broken down shit and cigarette burns on the side of the highway. The post office is a double wide in a trailer park. The only thing open after 7pm is a coke machine outside the gas station.

Now wait. I want to find something good about this place. The sunset. The sunset was phenomenal. Oh wait, that is because the whole state is on fire. Speaking of which, I've gotta go now. The motel fire alarm is going off. Seriously.

A couple things struck me today. First a giant beetle (about two inches long) hit me in the upper lip as I was riding and landed in my lap. He and I looked at each other for a couple seconds. Then I smacked him. Also, it's amazing how long some cows will stare at you when you ride by them on a bicycle.

Hit my highest speed of the trip so far...51 mph. I was coming down the hill into San Luis, CO. San Luis is a beautiful old town in a green amazing change from the desert I've been riding through for quite a while.

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Day of rest in Santa Fe, NM.
rode from moriarty (the unofficial "armpit" of new mexico), up and over the dirt roads through the mountains south of santa fe, into the city. it's amazing how empowering it is to be able to go 70 miles through the desert on a dirt road that has no services, knowing your equipment is ready, you are trained, and you have everything you need with you. until the dirt road bounces one of your two remaining water bottles off the rack and it drains into the desert next to a fist sized horsefly. now in santa fe where the whole world's supply of 50-something new age women "artist"s exist.

Note: There is an update to June 5th in Corona, NM.

June 6
Came down out of the first set of mountains in Corona,NM to the most amazing high desert with eels, antelope, rattlesnake and a roadrunner. A couple things came to me at this point:
  • No more roadkill reports. It's just too depressing looking into the eyes of each mangled lump I pass.
  • It's impossible to look at a roadrunner without thinking "meep-meep".

Editor's note: I don't think he really said eel. Maybe eagle. But I liked eel too much. Very ironic.

corona's an amazing town - very peaceful. 10 storefronts - 6 boarded up, 4 closed. one bar that shuts at 2 pm, and a motel run by a mennonite family, who made sure to ask me if i was sure i was "on the right road".

Back at the internet cafe this morning, hoping to wait out a stiff headwind.
Finally, off the highways. Off onto a small two lane road through the desert. Of course it turns out to be the route for trucks going to Santa Fe.... A couple of thoughts as I was riding along through the desert: first, I haven't passed a single other bicycle in 3 days, except for one guy in El Paso who looked drunk. Second - it's funny how significant some songs can seem when they come on a scratchy radio in the middle of the desert...C'mon, feel the noise, Mr. Porcupine! Oh wait, he's dead.

Note: Today's update is verbatim from the mouth of Bill. Yes, there is an internet cafe in Carrozozo, NM. And that isn't all

Great scenery (on the road and off). Hotel in Alamogordo is hosting the Miss New Mexico Pageant.
Managed to reassemble the bike. Rode to Las Cruces, NM. Temperature was 105. There was a headwind, which unfortunately was blowing against me. Going to Canada? What was I thinking?

Editorial note: Subject sounded disoriented and confused. Likely from adjustment to New Mexican way of thinking.

(Will leave from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Sunday. Hopefully.)

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Latest update: Sun Jun 23 10:08:07 EDT 2002