The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

We're in New Mexico and out of the extreme heat

Moving 30 cyclists across America, their luggage for 2 months, their bicycles, requires staff, vehicles, and planning. Especially since dinners and many breakfasts are cooked out of a chuck wagon.

The vehicles are a 15-passenger van, a combined chuck wagon and luggage trailer (see photos) and a station wagon which functions as the SAG wagon. The big van is named Rosie. The SAG wagon is called Bo Peep.

Riders load and unload their luggage every day, experimenting with the best ways to stack suitcases and duffle bags.The trailers are a marvel of efficient use of space, also storing 35 plastic lawn chairs and various other items, such as the important drinks cooler.

The other half of the trailer is the chuck wagon, out of which comes delicious meals prepared by Linda, our chef. These are meals made with fresh local foods and are better than most restaurant meals.

On top of the van are bike racks for 15 bikes. If a rider does not feel like riding on any given day, she rides in the van and the bike goes on top.

The van also transports riders up a big mountain, or even down one.

The SAG wagon provides support and gear to riders on the route. We carry water, food, inner tubes, tires and tire pumps. The SAG also picks up cyclists and their bikes, but can only accommodate 4.

In bad weather, like the extreme heat in Arizona, the SAG patrols the route to make sure everyone is OK, and must account for every rider at the end of the day.

I can happily announce that while it's warm, the extreme heat has gone. I'm in Lordsburg, New Mexico as I write. Tomorrow some of us will bicycle over the continental divide near Silver City, N.M.

Since the pass is over 8,000 feet high, and the descent steep and twisting, I think I will pass.

I am battling the mindnumbing boredom of cycling these long, straight highways. Yesterday I catalogued in my head the things people throw away along the roadside.

I may make that catalog one of my next posts, the way the epic poets would include lists of the hero's armor and weapons. All I can say now is l don't think Arizona has a bottle bill. We'll see if New Mexico does any better on the roadside trash score.

View all of the blog entries from Pat's trip across the United States here.

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