Week 7 (Yukon, Oklahoma to Portales, New Mexico)

Day 43 – Bike Ride to Yukon, Oklahoma

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Today was another short day at only about 60 miles. The day being so short it gave Kristin and I the opportunity to stop frequently at the cool things we passed.

Our first neat attraction was one of the oldest gas stations in the country which serviced vehicles back in the early 1900s. It was also used to produce counterfeit money out the back of the store.

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It was such an eerie feeling to walk into such an old structure and imagine what it must of been like 100 years ago. The customers shuffling through with their Model T vehicles and the criminals producing the money. It is such a different lifestyle I couldn’t imagine living in.

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Our next stop was the Round Barn which I don’t really know why someone decided to make a round barn or the significance behind it but it was pretty cool to check out.

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Shortly afterwards we arrived at Pops, a fairly large gas station with a restaurant inside containing over 600 different kinds of pops.
I had a buffalo burger for the first time and it was delicious!

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We arrived at our host which I’m pretty sure was the heaven of all hosts. Upon entering the front door they handed us a cold towel to help us cool off. We waked our bike into the gym to find three bike mechanics set up ready to do maintenance on all of our bikes for free and clean them as well.

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We were informed that we would be served steak for dinner which is unheard of in Bike & Build.
We were also informed of a church member owning a home near by that had a pool available for us to use. And to our pleasant surprise it was a luxurious pool at that.

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On the walk to the pool we thanked the lady repeatedly for all she has given us and how amazing the church was.
“Don’t you guys get this at every church?” She asked.
For a second we couldn’t tell if she was being serious. “Uh…we are usually happy if the showers are on site.”
We couldn’t believe that she thought we got this kind of hospitality every place we went.

 

Day 44 – Bike Ride to Cordell, Oklahoma

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Today I rode with Julie on a fairly long ride, compared to the last few days, of about 85 miles. The morning started off fairly well until we started hearing thunder. We tried to pedal out way out of the storm but on a bicycle that is nearly impossible. We got stuck in a downpour that almost felt like hail. It felt like tiny needles were darting at my skin.
We finally arrived at lunch dripping wet to find we were eating near a lake with a giant water slide. We, of course, had to enjoy the slide even though we were already cold from the rain.

After lunch was fairly smooth riding. To our discomfort, Oklahoma is not nearly as flat as I’ve heard from people. It has many rolling hills much like Ohio and to add too it there were very strong winds coming up from the south which caused us to ride at an angle to keep from getting blown away.
Also, there is pretty much nothing to report as cool things we found along the way.

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Once we arrived in the small town of Cordell, which is home to 2,500 people, we found that the town is comprised of 13 churches and zero bars so I am going to bed at 10:30. Goodnight!

 

Day 45 – Bike Ride to Wheeler, Texas

Today I mixed it up with my riding groups. I rode with Ella V. in the morning to a cafe 22 miles in where we all stopped for a second breakfast. It was pretty much the only restaurant we would see in a very long time so we all had to take advantage.

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After that I linked up with Matt until we got to first lunch. We saw a whole lot of nothing the entire way. Pretty much all red farmland which gave the feeling of getting more west now that the dirt was changing color.

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After first lunch I rode by myself for awhile to switch it up. It was such a peaceful ride. There were hardly any cars on the road and not another rider in sight.

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Just before second lunch I stopped to take a break ad met up with Abby, Claire, Sam, and Alex which is who I finished out the ride with.
Then, finally, after second lunch we crossed the state line into Texas!

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It was such an amazing feeling to bike into a state that I’ve flown to before. Although it took me I only a few hours to fly there and half a summer to bike there. We finished out the ride in a nice smooth Texas road to a dry town so again we are all going to bed early which is probably best since we have nearly 100 miles to bike tomorrow.

 

Day 46 – Bike Ride to Amarillo, Texas

Today was yet another century ride. I rode with Ellie for the long straight bumpy roads of Texas.

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Luckily for us we left a half hour early and for the first 40 miles there was a heavy fog so the hot sun couldn’t bake our skin.
Surprisingly, it turned out to be cool all day.
But for the entire day we saw nothing,

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nothing,

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and more nothing.

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However the ride was flat the entire day which made it a fairly leisure ride and we stopped at a Dairy Queen and scored ourselves some free ice cream.

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Later that night we went out to hit the town. The streets were not a very happening place in Amarillo. Half the shops were closed and the other half were empty.

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We did manage to find one place in Amarillo which wasn’t too bad.
It was kind of a dive bar but it had an outdoor patio so all was well.

I found out they had absinthe at the bar and thought it would be genius idea to take a shot. I talked Matt and David into doing one with me which took minimal convincing.

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Later on that night I met a man that looked absolutely identical to Mike Tyson, he even had the face tattoo and everything.

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So naturally we did a shot together.

 

Day 47 – Build Day – Amarillo, Texas

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Today was a build day which, as I’ve mentioned before, is like a day off in Bike & Build world.

All day we were anticipating the dinner that night. We were heading to The Big Texan where one of our fellow riders, Shane, would attempt to eat a 72 oz. steak.

The Big Texan offers a free limo service to pick people up and bring them to the restaurant. 20130802-062920.jpg20130802-062944.jpg
We arrived in style to the giant restaurant and awaited Shane’s challenge. After signing waivers and getting settled into his stage seating table he was off to the races. 20130802-065415.jpg

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He started off strong shoveling it down like he hadn’t eaten in years. It was disgusting and amazing at the same time. We pretty much took over the entire restaurant. 26 people all wearing the same shirt cheering on one kid we tend to make a scene. Once he started the majority of the restaurant huddled around to take pictures and cheer him on.
He started out strong but began to bonk about halfway through. For a moment we thought he was done when he rested his head down on the table but the cheers of our team carried him through.
He ran out of time with just 16 ounces to spare which means in one hour he at 56 oz. of steak!!!

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Day 48 – Bike Ride to Friona, Texas

Today was the day of headwinds. The roads were flat but it was a constant grind of 10 mph traveling through the wind.
About halfway through the ride we had the pleasure of riding through the Hereford, which is the beef capital of the world. The smell was worse than a port-a-potty that hasn’t been cleaned out and sitting in the hot sun all day. I could hardly breathe the smell was so horrifying. And to look over and see heards upon heards of cattle waiting in line to get slaughter brought a sickening feeling to my stomach. I don’t think I will be able to eat beef for a little while after that ride.

Once we finally arrived at the host we learned we would be being accommodated a different way this time. We would sign up with different members of the church to stay with at their home. David and I heard from a past alumni that an old rancher by the name of Tom was the best one to stay with so him am I scurried to find the paper with his name on it to quickly sign up.
We hopped in his Dodge pickup truck and set off down the road. It was nice heading down the long straight roads of Texas at 60 mph to his cattle ranch of in the distance.
We arrived at his quaint peaceful home out in the middle of nowhere.
We showered and then relaxed for some pleasant conversation.
As I mentioned in recent posts about the different culture of the locals that attend rodeos for their form of entertainment I reflected upon this and noticed that I was living in one of those locals home for the night. They were so content with their lives. “Watching the sun rise and the sun set makes it all worth it.” Tom said.
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Tom’s wife, Jackie, made a chocolate pie for us which was delicious.

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Afterwards Jackie took us out to the barn to put the hens away. She told us all about how she sells the fresh eggs.
It reminded me of growing up in McKean raising chickens and pigs on our small farm land.

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We returned to the home and Tom showed us pictures on his walls of his children and grandchildren. I watched his eyes light up as he described his granddaughter winning awards in rodeos she competed in.

Completely exhausted from the headwinds all day we eventually went to rest in a bed. It felt amazing to sleep in a real bed with sheets and blankets. It felt like I was at my grandmas house.

 

Day 49 – Bike Ride to Portales, New Mexico

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We awoke to a beautiful sunrise over the farmland. Tom took us out to show us his cattle across his ranch. He talked of his days of being a cowboy and how proud he was of his son, Tommy, for following in his footsteps.

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We went back to the church for breakfast which Jackie helped prepare for everyone and David and I snagged one last photo of the happy couple that was so generous to us.

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Finally it was time for us to set out on our way. Today I rode with Julie for a very short day of only 50 miles. We most definitely took our time today stopping at almost every gas station and shade tree we saw. Getting closer to the desert we have been in the mindset of stopping at those particular places because you never know when you’ll see another one.
About half way in we crossed another state line. NEW MEXICO!!!!!!

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Shortly after the state line we came across a giant boot store. There were probably 10,000 different pairs of boots to choose from along with all kinda of western furniture and nik-naks.

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I came across this neat horse running with a confederate flag that I really wanted to get for my dad but I knew it wouldn’t survive the rest of my ride in my backpack.

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For the rest of the ride we began to see a definite change in scenery. It was beginning to look a little more dessert like the further we got. No giant cacti yet but we certainly aren’t in Pennsylvania anymore.

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We arrived at our host site at a local college which means we get to sleep in dorms which means WE GET TO SLEEP IN BEDS!!!!

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