Trip Summary

Day 52: 2929 miles completed, 8 states, 7 flat tires, 4 flat mattresses, 40 new friends and Bruce #1, 8 rest days

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 18: Van Horn, Texas

We needed to exit the school buildings by 7am, so our day on tyhe bike started before the sun broke over the hills.  It was a brisk and dewy first five miles, but we quickly warmed up as the sun rose and we climbed to the first SAG stop.

It had been predicted that we would  have a tailwind, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the prediction and our wish came true.  A route that has usually been a difficult day was magically transformed into a fast, enjoyable seventy-three mile ride to Van Horn, Texas.

Today's Milestone:  we reached 1000 miles pedaled

Best part of today, after lunch we came upon a couple loaded down and cycling..and in a milk crate on the back of the man's bike was a delicious little puppy!  We invited them to stop at our next SAG stop, and they did.  I learned they found the pup in Sierra Blanca, just in some bushes.  When they went inside their tent, the pup cuddled up against the outside of the tent. 

The next day (today), they found 3 kids harassing the pup, and witnessed one kick her!  They decided on the spot to scoop up the pup, now named Blanca, found a milk crate behind a restaurant, and plopped her inside.  My heroes!!  When we came upon them, Blanca was very comfortably riding in her crate.  Turns out the woman is a veterinarian and they are biking the southern tier, just like us.

They hoped to find a vet in Van Horn to vaccinate and worm Blanca.  It was hard for me to leave this little pup, but the guys  I was riding with indulged me the time I wanted before heading out again.

We experienced a gentle assist up the initial climbs, which covered about 11 miles and even greater assistance down the other side.  The steady Westerly wind pushed us as we traveled East.  Our group was averaging over 20 mph up a slight incline with minimal pedaling to Sierra Blanca.  Creating our own breeze as the temperature climbed into the eighties.

After our last rest stop for the day, we still had ten miles to home. Two miles of climbing followed by an eight mile descent all on Interstate Highway 10.  With the wind at my back, I was able to climb at 18 mph.  The descent speeds topped out at 38 mph.  See Udi, Lisa, and Ken zoom by in the video below:

We saw the younger cyclists ride by our hotel later today and waved.  Blanca was still riding comfortably in her crate.  Wonder how this story will end.  Although I think she is one lucky puppy and there will be a happy ending. 

UK Update:  Graham experienced another puncture while navigating the highway.  Again, a problem with the front tire, but other than the tire, the only thing damaged was his arrival time to the motel.  The puncture was probably caused from the debris left behind from an exploded tire from a lorry.

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