28th April 2016 Chambers, Az to Gallup, NM 93.0 kms - 57.8 miles Up = 546m - Down = 257m
28th April 2016 - Chambers to Gallup, NM
Chambers toGallup today the profile said it would be uphill all the way!! While we reached 7335 ft above sea level back before Flagstaff, I think we get really close to it again in the next few days - time will tell!! About 40 kms into our ride this morning at a place named "Lupton" (a name that amuses me as it was the boarding house at the high school I went to - Whangarei Girls' High) - we should be at the border between Arizona and New Mexico!! Temperatures are going to be between 46 and 60F - so not too warm. The weather forecast says a cloudy day with a very slight chance of "precipitation". It was this "precipitation" that I thought was to be rain when heading into Flagstaff that turned out to be snow - so we will be prepared this time! Wind with a bit of luck should be side / rear so should help more than hinder. Changing States also means a change in time zones, so we lose an hour today!
What we can predict - is that things will be unpredictable!! We headed off from Days Inn, Chambers after enjoying a nice breakfast and headed for our first stop - "the border". There were road works not far into the trip where they were sealing cracks in the road and on the shoulder, with tar. Unfortunately when we crossed I ran through some wet tar which subsequently picked up stones and made for awful riding. Thank goodness for Don's pocket knife to cut/shave it off! I stupidly was the worst and Finn now needed tar cleaned off his underbelly and hidden little places!!
We got to the border with the assistance of a tail wind - took photo's and then proceeded towards Gallup. Lunch was taken on the western side of this town, and even though our clocks had gone forward an hour we were pleased with the time we had made - with only about 20 kms to go so we lingered a bit longer over lunch.
What we hadn't bargained for was the wind rising to gale force - so some sand storms started happening and the wind became a strong sideways one. It was extremely hard to keep the bike upright so walking them in a couple of sections was the safest option.
I had been really looking forward to our stop at the Red Rock Park - this was a Council owned equestrian centre where rodeo's are held - in the summer. It also has phenomenal rock formations and many hiking tracks amongst them.
But the wind totally spoilt it for us. Most unpleasant weather - in fact downright horrible. Cold, windy and sand being blown everywhere. It took sometime to find a place to pitch the tent - a worrying matter in this much wind. We found a spot beside a tree that had fallen and started to set-up. Just as we did, a ute of council workers arrived and told us to move as they were going to clean up the fallen tree. This seemed unfortunate for us - and in the end - all they did was chain-saw it into smaller sections and then drive off - finished work for the day. Meanwhile we found a bit of a bank for protection and strategically parked the van to hopefully minimise the affect of the wind.
This was a huge test for the Coleman tent - and it flew through it! After that night I had no doubts it would stand up anywhere!! Don and Annie had bags inside on each corner weighing it down, - the pegs hammered into the sand seemed way too light and I didn't think they would last long. A couple of corners were tied on to nearby trees - and we toyed with tying it to the van as well! And in the morning - it was still there!!
There wasn't any wifi here either - so I snuck back down the road to Denny's to use theirs and have a snack. Pat and I also popped into a Casino that was on this road - but what a disappointment. Not a nice environment as patrons are allowed to smoke - and most did!! I have very mixed thoughts on the right's and wrong's of the Indian Nations putting in these casino's. There were many impoverished beggars outside the Casino. I suspect they had lost whatever worldly possessions they may have had in this gambling den.
Along the I-40 / Route 66 path that we have been following, we are also alongside the railway line - and we would all feel rather lost if we didn't have the long (seemingly excessive) "toot-toot-tooooooooooooooooooooooooooting" of trains throughout the night. It still amazes us how BIG these trains are as they rumble past us both during the day, and during the night!! Coupled with the fact that so many big trucks pass us daily on the I-40 there sure is a lot of stuff being moved around!!