Good times, hard times.

May 7, 2010

So at that border stop, where the last picture I posted was, I met Geoffrey Hunt, who was driving somewhere, he wasn’t sure exactly, but he was in a hurry. He had been hiking the Appalachian Trail, got off before the flooding and decided to head west. He had a bunch of trail food and sent some with me. We had coffee and relaxed for a minute, and an older couple heading to Oregon shared some delicious strawberries with me.

On the AT they call it “trail magic,” and I didn’t expect to find it way out here.

The wind was at my back, and I made amazing time to Tucumcari, where I was planning to stop. The sun was still high, and the town was more of a tourist complex, so I shoved on. My map showed a city called Montoya about 18 or so miles west.

The town looked deserted, only a few houses were visible from the road. Coming closer, I saw that many of them were only crumling shells of houses. Oh well. Good place to camp, I guess.

Then I heard music. Loud, amplified music. Weird. I rode along a dirt road and came across a barn surrounded by pickup trucks. There was a large crowd of well-dressed cowboys. Hats, belt buckles and jeans, the whole nine.

One of them said to the other: “Hey, go see what he wants.”

I rode up with my shaggy hair in a ponytail and dirty as ever and introduced myself.

“Looking for a place to camp.”

“Go talk to him,” he said, pointing.

I talked to a few people before I met Scott, part of the family that owns the 200,000 acre cattle ranch I stumbled on.

They were having their annual ranch tour, where the A-list of southwestern beef tours around different ranches for a couple of days.

Everyone was incredibly kind and good-hearted, friendly and inviting.

They fed me steak and potatoes, sweet tea and biscuits. While I was eating about ten different people came up and introduced themselves to me, including an Albuquerque journalist and a beef-blogger from Kansas. My arrival was hot news, apparently, and within an hour, everyone knew who I was. Daren Williams did a quick interview with me for his site. He is a bike tourist, triathalete, and beef advocate. And the party went on.

An amazing day.

They told me it would be windy the next day. Oh, and it was. 35mph sustained, and recorded gusts as high as 62. It was unreal. 8 hours of pedaling got me 30 miles to Santa Rosa, where I promptly got my first hotel room and soaked in a hot tub. Call me soft if you will, but man it was nice.

I should be in Santa Fe tomorrow or the morning after.

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12 Responses to “Good times, hard times.”

  1. Alex said

    Awesome, steak and tea! I bet it was great.

  2. Andrew — It was great to meet you. I thought about you often on Friday. That wind was brutal! I finally got my post up with the story and pictures of meeting you at T4. Hope you made it to Sante Fe today and are enjoying a nice, relaxing evening. I will be following your journey via your blog and will update my readers. Stay safe. Ride on!

  3. Patty Waid said

    Hi Andrew-I was part of the group who planned the big shindig at the T-4. I am so glad you were able to experience the wonderful hospitality of our NM Ranch families as well as having the opportunity to enjoy a good wholesome steak! God Speed to you in your adventures! Patty

  4. Andrew, have you made it to Sante Fe? Where are you now?

  5. Art said

    Hey, cowboy,
    I’ll be where you are now in about week.
    May the wind be at your back.

    Happy trails.

    Art

  6. Miss Michigan Misses You said

    Beef-blogging.

    I knew I needed a new hobby.

  7. Miss Michigan — Now that’s funny…seriously!

  8. Andrew, where are you? Time for an update!

  9. Frank Thibeault said

    Hey! I wish I could be “out there” with ya-best of luck.

  10. Debbie Sineath said

    I have been enjoying reading about your travels across the US. You are a wonderful writer. Been exciting to see all the friendly people who have helped you along the way.

    We are keeping you in our prayers.

  11. hwardphoto said

    So glad to hear you are meeting wonderful people on your trip out. Not too much longer, be careful!

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