Day 35: (63 miles) After eating our pop-tarts, we were packed up and ready for the road. The map indicated a longer day in mileage but it looked like the majority would be downhill. Unfortunately, the downhill didn’t serve as well as we had hoped due to a headwind that continued gathering strength throughout the day. Riding out of the mountains offered some new views of expansive fields, some of which were dominated by grass and others by shrubs and small trees. Every time we looked over our shoulders we were both relieved and disheartened to be leaving the beauty and the turbulent weather of the mountains. The wind was relentless and our speed continued to decrease. The wind also carried gnats that would get stuck in our eyes and clothing. At any given time, there were 30 or so on our bodies. Entering I-40 east put the wind on our shoulder, but offered a final test of a few steep hills before we descended our way into our long anticipated destination of Santa Rosa. After a 10-day stretch we determined Santa Rosa would be our respite so we picked up a pizza and found our hotel around business route 40/historic route 66.
Day 36: (0 miles) Rest Day! 🙂 After a good nights sleep and enjoying some breakfast, we headed out to explore Santa Rosa before the predicted storm was to roll in. We walked to the famous Blue Hole. It is a very popular scuba diving hole full of clear, bluest of blue water and a constant temperature of 62 degrees. We dipped our toes in, and wished the air were warmer so we would want to take a swim. We then made our way up the large hill to visit the Route 66 Auto Museum. For $5 you can peruse over 30 ‘classic’ cars and even purchase them if you’re in the market. We weren’t, but enjoyed day dreaming about which one we could take home. We both especially loved a 50’s Chevy truck that was immaculately redone and had plenty of room in the bed for two bicycles… we spent the remainder of the day lounging and watching movies. After all, that’s what rest days are for, right?!
Day 37: (65 miles + 3 for ice-cream) We logged our longest mileage today. Although there were some substantial hills, having come off of a rest day, we were knocking them out. Plus, the route offered a good amount of level & descending terrain to mix things up. The day was spent on side roads which meant our shoulders were the whole lane and very few cars passed us. Knowing that our time in New Mexico would be coming to a close in the next few days, we really took in our surroundings. We saw a calf, who looked to be just born as it was still getting its footing, and we saw about a half dozen prong horns frolicking (or running from us) in a field. The views really cannot be captured in a photo. For one, they’re so expansive. When you’re surrounded by 180 degrees of beauty, deciding which direction to point the camera to truly capture the view becomes impossible. The array of colors is remarkable. Mint greens, dark greens, burnt reds, dusty browns, the blues of the sky, and the whites of the clouds- today was absolutely stunning. We made it to Tucumcari by 5:30pm and checked into the historic Blue Sparrow Hotel. Under new management since 2011, the current and previous owners have done a stellar job at refurbishing the property and the neon glows as brightly as ever. Cameron and Jessica, along with their brand new baby are on site and make you feel welcome as soon as you open the door. The rooms are well kept, but still have that ‘old time’ feel including rotary telephones that were added in 2000. We walked to the grocery store where we purchased items to make a big salad. We sure have been missing our veggies and fruit on this trip. After rewarding ourselves with an Oreo peanut butter milkshake from Sonic we settled into our comfy bed, covered in a, most appropriate, comforter featuring an image of a blue bird.