March 10, 2016: (kinda) Day 1 of the Biking for Love in all the Wrong Places Tour (Hey! If you think you might have a better name for my Southern Tier Tour Title, bring it.)

Okay, first off, thanks to all of you who sent me bon voyage emails this morning and told me to wear sunscreen, watch out for road ‘gators, hydrate, and so forth. That’s tomorrow, folks.

Today all I have to worry about is all of the junk food we bought at Trader Joe’s on our way through Santa Fe. The husband wanted to photograph it, but I’m too ashamed. If I burn 4000-6000 calories per day, as projected, I’ll need to cycle to Tierra del Fuego.

We started from our home in Taos about 1.5 hours late, which isn’t bad considering 40 odd animals and excessive amount of luggage I decided to take. Luckily for me my first cycling companion bowed out of the tour a few days before, so I didn’t have to leave behind even one pair of shoes, which is the space he’d been allotted in the back seat of the Cube.

Many of the creatures gathered around to see us off.

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Viccus admiring his reflection on the car door before we drive it away…

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Lola and Ms. Squawkers wondering who will be bringing them breakfast, lunch, and dinner while their servant is off cycling across country.

Many errands and two! roadrunner sightings later we ended up around Hatch, NM, where we spent the next 4.5hours driving the two routes I had to choose from for the first day of my journey.

Option A: 90+ miles of ugly but flat terrain on a relatively busy road. (180, which touches I-10 at one point)

or,

Option B: 75 miles of beautiful scenery that ascends 4000 feet over 10 miles. (Not to mention some hair-raising drop offs and sections of road that had been recently washed out with flooding and quickly repaired). Emory Pass is 8228 and the highest point on the Southern Tier cycling route. As far as a segment for my first day out…well, it sucks, but that’s the way it is.

Well, it was an easy decision. Option B won.

I decided it would be prudent to start my journey at Hillsboro, NM rather than Hatch, NM, which would take about 18 miles off my trip.  That meant 57 miles for the first day, which is inside my daily projected average of 55-75.

After viewing what I would have to face the  next day we went to our motel room in Truth or Consequences, NM and tried to figure out if it was too late to book plane tickets to just about anywhere else.

So, a little about Truth or Consequences, NM, just in case you were eyeballing it for a future destination. Whatever you decide you want to do in TorC (how the locals refer to the town) make sure you do it before 8 p.m.- even on the weekend. Yes, even the Blake’s Lottaburger closes at 8 p.m.

We stayed at the TorC Holiday Inn Express, which apparently had its WIFI hijacked by somebody in Sioux City, Iowa (link thoughtfully provided for anyone interested in US hacker strongholds) which meant my Google account went on lock down.

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Here is Snoopy (my bike), my chicken handbag (necessary when actual, real chickens can’t be around), and some pink luggage at the Holiday Inn Express.

Bed at 11 p.m. and tomorrow will come early….