Tuesday, March 30, 2010

About My Friend, Chip Seal

I tried to warn them.....I really did!  I told them......Texas in the spring--fields of bluebonnets and candy tuft, migrating butterflies, Chip Seal  and big wind....everything is bigger in Texas.....they heard the part about butterflies and flowers, and wanted to know when they could met this bigger than life fella I kept talking about, Chip Seal. Well, they've met him during the last couple of days, and aren't overly enamoured.  It's just not me suffering from a sore fanny anymore, and many are glad that thier significant other isn't here...if you get my drift.  The only B.O.B. these days is Chip Seal.  mmm-mmmm

So, you neophytes that don't know what chip seal is---it is really nasty material Texas uses for their roads.  It is cheap and easy to lay.  Essentially, it is made up of very large hunks of gravel pushed into tar, but only far enough so that it sticks.  It makes a very, very rough surface.  One feels like a jello jiggler after a day of riding on it.  The good news is that you can hear traffic coming up behind you from a very far distance.

Then there is the wind.  Lynn rolled in one day and said she needed poligrip on her behind just to say in the saddle--boy, did she hit the nail on the head.  Even an easy day of riding is difficult with chip seal and wind. Both really create hard work--more effort for less result.  But, hey, we're in Texas, and all that is worth being in the Lone Star State.

We keep looking for the armadillos?  Where are all those little buggers?  Haven't seen a one--not even road kill--and we know that's what they do best.  I think all the rednecks are selling them to the tourists as possum on the half shell!  Or perhaps they are being used as tour guides; you know, take one in the woods with you, and if you get lost, just let it go.  It will lead you straight back to the road!

Speaking of roadkill--there have been so many deer carcasses on the road.  I came upon what one would expect to be a typical Texas scene today--take a peak
Turkey Vultures!  Nasty, but necessary creatures.  It may be my imagination, but when they fly, they sound like harbingers of death...(or it just could be me slipping into delirium from the chip seal)--heavy, ponderous wing flaps. They don't make any noise except for the wing sounds.  And they're greedy too--they don't fly away until one gets very close to them--they just keep eating away, watching.....then when they do fly, they circle over head, waiting..... (for the chip seal to do us in).  Nature's miracle.....they remind me of Snape in the  Harry Potter books. Creepy.

But I met some new friends along the way, also.  Look at these sweet faces.  It took me almost 20 minutes to convince them that all I wanted to do was take their picture.
Of course, they don't know I had Swiss Steak a couple of hours later......

Well--I need to get my bike ready for tomorrow--heading for Hill Country and some steep grades. There also won't be any internet for the next couple of days, so if you don't hear from me, don't worry--Mr. Chip Seal hasn't done me in and the turkey vultures aren't circling.............yet.

SSSpiders and SSSnakes (March 27: Day 24--Sanderson, TX

We do stay in some of the most.....unusual places.  Our stay in Sanderson, Tx was at the Oasis Hotel.....not only did I find this nice big, ol' toenail on the floor of my room when I first walked in.....{{gag}} (Too big to be Mary's)
But the woman also collected albino animals, including a cat with lavender eyes, named Charlie.

She also had a room full of venomous snakes and spiders right next to the Registration Desk, and a shed next to the laundry area was also full of the poisonous lovlies. Of course, I went in and browsed.  I am not normally creeped out by this sort of thing, but I have to confess that I did get the heebee-geebies--especially when the things were striking at me!  However, for the education of my readers. I snapped a lot of pictures and even videoed a rattlesnake shaking his bootie....that is, rattling his rattle.  I have only seen this on TV, thankfully, so it was quite interesting.  The rattlesnake is shy, as snakes go, and only rattle when threatened and are unable to retreat.  There is actually nothing in the end of their tail that rattles.  Each time the snake sheds, it gets another rounded end on its tail, called a button.

These buttons are hollow, and empty, and as the snake shakes his tail in warning, the buttons clang against each other making the 'rattle' sound. "There are numerous subspecies and color variations, but they are all positively identified by the jointed rattles on the tail and a triangular head. Rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths are all pit vipers--snakes with two pits under their nostrils to detect heat, which enable them  to hunt warm-blooded prey. The pits are so sensitive that the snake can determine the size of the warm-blooded animal and can even detect prey in complete darkness. Rattlesnakes also give live birth (ok--remember your 4th grade science--reptiles lay eggs). These snakes carry the eggs inside their bodies, and once hatched, the live babies emerge.  The baby is about 10 inches long and has a small horny button on the tip of its tail. They have venom, short fangs and are dangerous from birth. In fact, they are more pugnacious than the adults. Although unable to make a rattling sound, the youngsters throw themselves into a defensive pose and strike repeatedly when disturbed. But enough information.....though fascinating, it was way more than I wanted to know.... and by the way, I refused to hold the tarantula.  Enjoy the pictures and the link to youtube, where I have a video of a rattler rattling.
More Rattlesnake


I also saw buffalo while riding today.....

Gotta run!!  Dinnertime.......

54 miles

I'm BAACCCKKK! (March 30: Day 27--Camp Wood, TX)

Hello dear Followers....I am baaacckkk!  We have been in the land of no internet....heaven forbid!  Just smoke signals and wildlife.....  And there was a day (all right, two) that I chose to 'socialize' rather than blog...that is, interface with real humans instead of virtual ones....not that I don't love you all....  But today I got in early and there is nothing to do in this little town of Campwood...everything is closed on Tuesday, or closes at 2:00pm.  My clothes have been washed and are out drying, so I have time to catch up on blogging.

Now, let's see....where did the story leave off.....Hmmmm.....  I had actually written a blog about group dynamics, but decided it was a bit too technical and dry to post.  I was exploring the stages a group goes through, from first meeting to departure.  It is interesting, so at some point I may 'liven' it up and post it.

We had our longest mileage day a few days (3-28) ago--110 miles.  For many, it was the first time they had ridden a century (100 miles); everyone finished--even our oldest member, who is 75.  For me, it was a personal best timewise, pacing at 17.5 mph--six hours and sixteen minutes in the saddle.  The top four riders all finished within a minute of each other regarding saddle time-- 6:15, 6:16, 6:17 etc....the arrival times at the actual finish differed according to when we departed from the sag and lunch stops, but actual riding time was remarkably close.(That is why in rated marathons and triathlons, the athletes are required to wear electronic timing chips--it shows the true racing time not just who crosses the line first)  Some say we had a tailwind--I never felt it, nor did I see the grass blowing to indicate it was there; perhaps it started blowing after I came in. (**this was confirmed later by undergroundweather.com)  I did experience some extremely strong crosswinds that caused my bike to move significantly on more than one occasion.  I started with a group of other riders in the morning, but as I got into my zone, I ended up riding alone most of the day, as did many other people.  I truly enjoyed cranking my tunes, singing out loud, mooing at the cows, and spinning, spinning, spinning by myself--it was very liberating  It was a great ride and I was very pleased with my performance.  I still had 'juice' in my legs and could have gone longer, but my rear end.... a different story....

We are riding a good portion of our route next to the US-Mexican line; the Border Patrol is everywhere.  I think the government must have some definite hiring requirements for these officers--specifically, young and cute.  (Did I mention that there were signs posted warning of cougar sightings )  On both sides of the highway, US 90, twin dirt roads run parallel to the highway.  A single Border Patrol officer slowly cruises these roads in a pickup truck, hanging out the window, looking at the sandy-soft road surface...just like tracking wildlife.  (I thought they were looking for foot prints, but was later told they are looking for tire imprints crossing perpendicular to the road--where the tracks went cross-country over the range, crossed over the road and entered the highway.)  After examining the road, they pull huge tires behind the truck on the dirt to smooth it out and make it fresh for more tracking that night. 

I tried to take a picture with  the BP guard that busted me behind a bush, but he said no pictures could  be taken of him in uniform because it puts him at risk.  I thought they were tracking illegal immigrants, but in actuality, they are trying to control the drug trafficking.  By posting a picture of him in uniform, he could become a target for the drug cartel.  Scary, huh?  Seeing this up close, not as an intangible news story or cop show, show really hit home.
"The triple threat of drug smuggling, illegal aliens, violent gangs, and the concomitant rise in violence is no more evident than in the state of Texas.

A friend that hunts in this part of Texas said that all his buddies carry pistols in addition to their hunting rifles. (The rifles are always 'broken' in the safe mode as they walk, so without the pistols they would essentially be unarmed.) Apparently the illegals cross the border then hide in the deer blinds as night fades into daylight.  The hunters have opened the door of the blinds and find themselves confronted entirely filled with the aliens....some were armed.

Scary stuff~~this border issue is so much more than Mexicans trying to find a better life--I just never realized the scope and severity of the issues.  The news plays it down, but when I'm here, talking to those that are protecting the border, the reality of it really smacked me in the face. I now understand why George built the fence!

Want a job as a Border Patrol officer--here are the requirements, (besides being young and handsome).

Those already doing the job, 'thank you'/

49 miles

What Does SAG mean......

S.A.G. or sag means support and gear.  It is most refers to a vehicle that follows the riders, offering support and mechanical aid.  To SAG refers to riding in the vehicle instead of under your own power. (...on your bike). A 'sag wagon' is sometimes called a 'broom wagon' because it 'sweeps' the riders that lagging or need aid.

Karen Cooper, one of SAG drivers at a support stop with the SAG wagon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Out of Touch--no internet. They still use smoke signals here.(March 29:Day 26--Brackettville,TX

Can't get my iPhone to work properly with this site. There is no Internet and cell service is spotty. I'll be back when we reach civilization.

42 miles

Friday, March 26, 2010


I've had a bit of feedback about my 'Attitude is Everything'  post.  Some are amazed that I would share the emotional trials and revelations that I am experiencing, feeling, perhaps that it maybe a bit too 'up close and personal'.    Maybe....but the struggles, triumphs and experiences are what is making this trip so extraordinary.  For me, this trip is one big classroom, and what I learn, I want to share.  Who knows when my experience my trigger an "A-Ha" moment for you.  So enjoy....!

Heaven, Almost Heaven....(March 26: Day 23--Marathon, TX)

You guessed it...I am back on my bike and HAD A FANTASTIC RIDE TODAY!  My old saddle arrived, on my birthday (thank you, Bob!) and what a difference it is making!!!  The is still some residual soreness, but every stroke isn't a 'grit your teeth' and smile effort anymore!
Riding out today was exhilarating--some small climbs, a alot of downhill.  I was riding with Pam today; she sets a very steady, sensible pace--especially given that we have a 110 miler coming up on chipseal.  Pam is from Auburn, CA and knows how to ride and climb, so for her to set the pace is a good thing for me.  Not having been on the bike for a while, I wanted to hammer it and blow off the walls.  I paced with her and Mary for probably 10 miles, then I just couldn't contain myself.  We hit a downhill on smooth pavement, and I was gone! Woohoo--what a glorious ride!!  Up and down, up and down...it was wonderful.  Perhaps I wasn't "smelling the roses" as one might think, but for me it was....
I flew down the road, which miraculously had changed from chipseal to silver smooth asphalt--must have been riding through a wealthy county.  There was a some wind, but who cares....  I was in 
And it was....I flew into the first SAG stop...I was starting to feel that familiar 'ouch', so I changed bike shorts, stripped off some layers and did the other stuff one does at a SAG stop.. (use your imagination).  I left with Pam and Mary, at a sensible pace.  The crosswinds from the west were ferocious! Still, I was in....
(sing it, baby--you know you want to....)
We stopped at a wonderful little cafe in Alpine, where I was kindly requested to use the back door.... 
 They did have the best pigs-in-blankets and cinnamon rolls.  I got the former. mmm-mmm.....
 After dillydalling around, (I can say that now that we), we we're in Texas out for Marathon, going east.  We expected (there's that word again...) the west crosswinds we battled coming into Alpine to now become a tailwind...what a sweet ride this was going to be.  Well, Mother Nature had other plans, (and obviously wanted to reinforce my lesson on expectations)--the tailwind became a crosswind and a headwind.  Caught between buttes and mountains, the wind just didn't seem to know what it wanted to do; it went every which way but behind me. It was strong--up to 21 mph.   Head down, steady cadence....still....
Arriving in Marathon, I had no expectations of the hotel for the night. After staying at the wonderful Indian Lodge in Ft. Davis, anything was possible, even the Bates Motel again.   Was I ever surprised to find myself at the beautiful historic Gage Hotel, and in a room by myself!!  Sing it loud~~
So here I sit, in a luxurious suite, Bud Lime beside me and a decent internet connection (still no cell service).  Aahh--life is indeed sweet!  Yes...I am in Heaven!

60 miles

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Attitude is Everything (March 25: Day 22--Ft Davis, TX)

Ok Folks--here it is...........two days ago I was ready to hang my hat and come home.  I was still having to sag, the weather was beautiful, and I had worked myself up into a regular old 'poor me' funk.  It was one of those days, when I just couldn't find the good in anything.   My old saddle hadn't arrived, my sores were worse than ever, (to the point of keeping me awake a night), I was sick of unloading the luggage (because I was there), and tired of helping with breakfast clean up while I watched everyone else peddle away in amazing weather and on great roads. Ordinarily, I wouldn't mind these tasks, but I just wanted to ride; I did not want to be in support....again and again. Was it ever going to end..was I ever going to get back in the saddle again?
 ~~POOR ME~~
That afternoon, the others all rode in happy and ecstatic from a fast, invigorating ride ....and there I was, twiddling my thumbs.....again...listening to their tales.   I didn't even want to hear about how great the ride was--I was so out of sync. I felt myself falling down that rabbithole of self-pity, where all I wanted to do was withdraw and be by myself.  Unfortunately, on this trip, there is little alone time, except on your bike, which is where I wanted to be.  Down, down, down I went.....
 ~~POOR ME~~
I couldn't even have a good cry alone....my room mate for the night came in, and though she tried to console me,  I continued to wallow in self pity, and perhaps anger.  I was pissed--why was this happening to me?  Tried as I might, I could not find 'the lesson' I know was lurking there, nor could I sincerely find anything  for which to be grateful.
Even sleep didn't bring me relief.  I had lost my PJ's at the last hotel, so had to concoct something that I could wear to bed that would not irritate my sores, and yet be comfortable and concealing. Then my sleep was continually interrupted by persistent hot flashes and the poing- poing-poing of the cheap fitted sheets letting go of the corners, leaving a bare, nasty mattress  for me to sleep on.  So up I got to fix the sheets, over and over again  while, my room mate slumbered blissfully, no doubt dreaming of sailing down 8% grades with tailwinds. 
Finally morning came, and I knew the moment I pulled my bike shorts on that it was going to be another day of SAGging.....and that thought caused me to physically and mentally sag....and on my birthday, too.
My room mate left for breakfast, and I hung back.  There was no reason for me to hurry since I was not riding. Finally, in solitude, I sat back and had a little talk with myself......

 .....From all obstacles come opportunity--was this really an obstacle for me, or was I making it one? What opportunity was I failing to see?  What lesson was being presented that I was not learning?  This was not the trip I expected!
Expectations are projections into the future....much like worry.  Expectations are something over which I have no control, and yet something I assume will happen because that is how I imagine it should.  This being true, then disappointment is very likely to occur because I have no control over future variables. And that is precisely what has happened; I was disappointed that the 'story' I had written in my head about this trip was not the one actually taking place.  I was also not taking responsibility for creating that disappointment, reverting instead to feeling very sorry for myself and wallowing in selfpity.
Earlier in the trip on this blog, I talked about feeling like a dog, enjoying the moment of the wind rushing over my face as I sailed over rollers in the Imperial Desert.  A dog lives in the present, without expectations of the future or dwelling on disappointment from the past---he is just fully present at the moment and enjoying what it has to offer. I am the source of my happiness and responsible for choosing how I wish to experience my life....full of expectation and disappointment or being present and savoring the moment.  I choose the latter. 

Having made that discovery and making a conscious choice to embrace the moment instead looking at the  'what if' or 'woulda, coulda, shoulda',  I left the room and headed for breakfast, with a new attitude and ready to enjoy what the day had to offer.  As I stepped into the breakfast room, everyone started singing "Happy Birthday"....and at that moment, I cried, but for an entirely different reason than I was crying last night. I immersed myself in the glory of the moment and savored it. 

I still SAGged all day, but the difference in how I chose to approach the day and situation made it rich with experiences I would have otherwise missed. I am indeed grateful for this lesson I learned.

My AHA moment certainly was a 'birthday'. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Straw Houses

Because I have a few extra minutes, I want to back up a few days to our stay in Kingston.  There we stayed at a 'rustic' B &B, Black Range Lodge,  that focuses on being very eco-conscious.  The inn itself was built from the ruins of an 1880ish building that housed miners and cavalrymen, and was later a casino and saloon.  Some of the original brickwork and plaster remain today, but it was remodeled and reconstructed in the 1940's.

Since then, the current owners have built on and remodeled until it feels rather like a maze.  All rooms join a central gathering area, but to get to some of the rooms requires a bit of navigation.  I would describe it as a rustic hodgepodge of quaint and interesting things.  The resident dog, Charlie, greets everyone....all he moves are his eyes.  Let's just say, he is one very calm dog. 
What really caught my interest, however, were the full time residents and what they were up to......Mike (right) is a 'WWOLFer' (My son, Michael, 'WWOLF'ed, so I knew what it was) as well as a Peace Corp retiree.  He was joined by Josh and his wife and child, as well as Jas, from the Netherlands. They were building a straw bale building on the property to use as a workshop.  I had read about this, but have never actually seen one.

Straw-bale construction is a building method that uses bales of straw as structural elements, insulation, or both. In this building, the workshop was framed in with 2x4's, with the bales of straw in between and in front of  the studs, creating the internal structure as well as providing insulation.  Then, Mike, Josh and Jas dug dirt from a nearby pit, mix it with water and used it to plaster over the straw.  Several of these mud layers were applied, and the exposed mud was smoothed and sanded as a finished wall. The first layer of mud on the straw reminded me of those chocolate haystack candies that are made from crunchy chow mein noodles and chocolate chips.   The mud they were using was a beautiful deep brown, looking almost like fudge. I never thought I would say this, but that mud was truly beautiful. The finished walls looked so rich! 

When complete, the workshop  will be powered by solar panels as well as having a cistern to catch rain water.  Very cool.

Applying mud to the secured straw bales

First coat of mud to the straw--doesn't it look like that Haystack candy?

Side view of construction

Finished and unfinished mud

Freshly finished walls--mud is still wet.

Pit where from where the dirt for mud is dug

                                                     Mixing the dirt with water to make mud

Using syntetic plaster is not effective as it heats as it cures.  Since syntetic plaster is not very porous, it send s the heat and moisture produced as it cures inward, and compromises the straw.

Completed straw bale structure (tool shed)

And so the WWOLFer huffed and he puffed, but he couldn't blow the straw house down..... (Thanks, Jeff).

Monday, March 22, 2010

State Animal of New Mexico

Before I forget, I have to tell you that, given what I have witnessed on the roads, I know what the state animal of New Mexico is.......a flattened skunk.  I have never seen so many dead skunks on the road way before.  I think Pepe LePeu must have moved down here with all of his relatives!  Sorry, no pictures....I do have some class, you know.

On a Mission (March 22: Day 19--Ft Hancock)

I don't have much time....we are staying at another 'no star' motel, and the internet is very intermittent.  We are in Fort Hancock tonight.  There is no fort here...there was one here in 1881....probably about the same time this motel was built.
 It is pretty much a 'dead' or dying town....one of many I have seen in my travels.  Fort Hancock played a prominent part in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, as the place where both Andy and Red crossed into Mexico after leaving prison.  There is a port of entry here; that means that there is a gate in the fence where people can cross the border.  The Border Patrol is very heavy--looking out my window tonight I saw three BP cars arresting a car load of people.

Today's ride took us down the "Mission Trail", where there are several old missions that can be visited.  We skipped the first one--it was only a few miles into the ride, and we just didn't want to stop that soon.  The second one had a funeral mass in process, so we also did not visit it.
The third, we never found.  BUT, we did find a wonderful little Mexican restaurant in Torilla--I had a wonderful brisket taco--delicious.

I must say that I do not feel like I am in the United States--it feels more like Mexico.  We passed an elementary school, and there was not one White, Asian, or Black face among the children playing at recess.  Everything is written in Spanish, and Latin music blares from the store fronts; the towns just have a very Mexican feel to them.  I have to also say, that except outside the Post Office, I didn't see any American flags flying, unlike other parts of the country I have been through. It is a very odd to be in my own country and yet feel like a foreigner.

Well, I've been kicked off the internet and signed back on three times now, so I will attempt once more to upload these pictures, then sign off.

Love your comments~~they keep me going.

 Ft Hancock General Store, est 1883

 Formerly the bank of Ft Hancock

 Deserted building

Lengthening Shadows

Time for laundry!

My room tonight                                                                        

47 miles

A Perfect Day......

Today was a perfect day for riding....albeit cold, initially, but perfect otherwise.  The skies were the bluest of blues, empty of any clouds, the wind was gone, and the grade was flat or slightly negative. We rode through mile after mile of pecan orchards--who knew that New Mexico grew pecans.  It was a beautiful ride, with the trees overhanging the road.

 Some things just make you go 'hhmmm', others make you smile.   Rare is the case when both happen simultaneously, but the following made me laugh out loud.  I really think those New Mexicans have the right idea about things, and I admire that they are willing to take a stand for common decency.  It's about time someone did something about this!

Another crop that New Mexico grows is cotton; Arizona grows it, too.  In fact, we went through Pima, AZ a few days ago...you know...Pima cotton??  The growing season hasn't started yet, so this plant is left over from last year and the first that I have seen.  Look closely at the picture.  I have read articles about how brutal picking cotton is in slave accounts as well as sharecropper stories.  After seeing these plants up close, I can really understand how hard and painful it must have been to have had to gather cotton by hand.

Rather makes a mockery of the expression, "cotton soft".

In El Paso, we encountered the border fence.  Did you know that it was electrified??  I didn't--wow!  It runs right along the highway, and feels like it separates the town.  Between the fence and the neighboring Mexican town is about a football field width of 'no man's land' illuminated by huge lights and monitored by the Border Patrol.  I am not sure what I think about all of this--seems like overkill, especially if it isn't working.  Things that make you go 'hmmm'

 Every single post made by others today talks of the perfection of today's ride.  And it was... unfortunately, that problem I had before (you know....) is back, and bad enough that I elected to get off at mile 20 (it was a 65 miles day) and sag in.  {{SIGH}}  This really is not how I planned to make this ride....sitting in a car, uncomfortably, I might add.  Yes.....I was having a big pity party and everyone was invited. Poor me, poor me, poor me.  But with every obstacle comes opportunity, if one seeks to recognize it.  So, put away the pity party. By sagging, I have the opportunity of supporting and cheering on those riding--and seeing a different aspect of the trip.  So I get to put away what my expectations of this trip were and embrace just the moment as it occurs....what wonderful surprises do you think will be in store for me?

It's late--I need to go to bed.....

65 miles

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mariah, Mariah, The Call the Wind Mariah......(March 20: Day 17--Las Cruces)

March 20---Downhill for the first 10 miles.....should have been fun, fun, fun, but it was cold, cold, cold.  The temperature was a balmy 28 degrees, and it had rained during the night.
 Frozen Washcloth

The pavement was dry, but there were metal cattle crossings that were frosted with ice, so caution was the name of the game.

Riding down the mountain was like one of those cold winter days when, as a child, I went sledding...the downhill ride and cold crisp air were exhilarating, but every exposed skin surface quickly became numb and tears from the cold slid down my cheeks, leaving frozen rivulets.  Fingers, on this ride, threatened to become inoperable, so frequent stops were made to warm them up.  Once at the bottom, pedalling quickly warmed me, and as we all know, what goes down, must go up, and I was soon climbing again. Spin, spin, spin....5%, 6%, 7% and up...the BAM!  Holy moly!   A huge head wind hit and continued to blow the entire day, gusting up to 21 mph. As we made our way across the flat, flat valley, the headwind became a cross wind so strong that I could actually see the riders in front of me leaning into it, their bikes at an angle.  I tried to get a picture of it, but it didn't come out.  (the happy cow picture didn't come out either)--I am not good at handling a camera while trying to stay upright!  Eighty-eight miles of this wind....the good news is the last 20 were a tailwind, on smooth surface....so we flew.

We passed through acres and acres of chili pepper country and Hatch, the chili capital of the world.
Interesting facts about chili peppers:
  • One fresh medium-sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
  • One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
  • Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn in the body, which speeds up the metabolism.
  • Teas & lozenges are made with chile peppers for the treatment of a sore throat.
  • Capsaicinoids, the chemical that make chile peppers hot, are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles.
  • Chile peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, all belonging to the nightshade family.
  • The color extracted from very red chile pepper pods, oleoresin, is used in everything from lipstick to processed meats.
  • There are 26 known species of chile pepper, five of which are domesticated.
Adapted from the New Mexico Chile Institutes’ “Chile Pepper Facts”

We stopped and had lunch there at a little Mexican diner.  Being daring, (heck, you only live once), I ordered the house special.....stuffed fried chili peppers.  They were good, but the chili sauce they were in about took my head off!!  Once again that day, I had tears running down my cheeks!  Whew!
After lunch we caught the tailwind to which I referred earlier, and rode straight to an old fashioned custard stand on 20 miles of smooth surface. There I was finally able to cool the fire left in my mouth from lunch.

It was a very enjoyable day.  I reconnected with my intention on this ride, and slowed down.... To this point, I have had a hard time doing that.  Old habits die hard--I am very used to riding hard and fast with the bike clubs in Dallas, and that is what I have been doing up until this point.  Almost everyday I would start out at a moderate pace, but soon found myself biting at the bit to go....actually impatient, until finally I couldn't stand it any longer.  Then I would crank it up and go, passing people and missing opportunities to connect, and savor the new experiences....but I was going fast and hard, and it felt good....it felt comfortable. Today, I have finally let that go and though I may not travel as fast, the ride is so much richer....

88 miles