Let me warn you up front, this is going to be hard reading. I've got notes and ideas from two days or more, and I'm going to try to sort them all out.

First off, I'm at the Chama River Brewing Company in the North side of Albuquerque having a Rio Lodo Brown Ale. Got the pork belly special on order. It's been rough, and I'm going to treat myself.

OK, picking up from where we left off, I think it was Sam's awesome green chile cheeseburger and fries back at the lodge on El Camino Real. Gawd, it seems like a week ago.

From milepost 131 of I-25, the shoulder is badly cracked and dangerous for several miles. The cracks aren't just perpendicular to the shoulder, but parallel as well, and if I had steering problems with my mountain bike tires I can imagine how bad it would be with those skinny road tires. It looks as though a road crew did a cosmetic job of patching it without making it functional. Or perhaps it just eroded over time. Whatever the case, the road there has obviously been repaved, and the shoulder has not. The message I'm getting from the NMDOT is that bicyclists are considered second-class users of the roads. If you're considering a trip like mine, and you want to get some of those problems I mentioned fixed, you might and to call the Highway Dept. at 1-800-432-4269. I'll try to email them too if I get a chance to look some things up; I remember there being a special bicycle liaison.

It gets hard to motivate oneself when there's 30, 50, or even 100 miles to the next town. I've found a little trick that helps me: praise every footstep, rejoice every mile, celebrate every 10 miles. Use different numbers or units if you prefer, but this helps avoid the drudgery of "still only one mile closer?!?"

Notes on gear: the Platypus water tank, at 6 liters, is one of the best out there. But one of the two won't keep sealed and the other one does. Guess I'll have to buy a few, test them out, and keep the good ones. Cloth shopping bags can be used as mosquito head nets while sleeping. And remember, you can never have too many carabiners.

Kinetic sculpture idea "King Tet": tetrahedron with capsule and 4 legs sticking out with wheeled pontoon feet. Wheels retract when leg is moved from inside capsule, so you can propel it that way. I think it would tumble beautifully down Dead Man's Drop. And if the wheels all turned at a tangent, it could spin dizzily during the brake test.

As I'm sure I've already mentioned ad nauseam, gear should be multi-use. Since I already need a life jacket for the KGC, I should get one that also functions as a sleeping pad.

I made it to MP 175 for total of 60 miles day 4. I guess it must have been yesterday evening I hit Belen. What a godforsaken, unfriendly town. Darkwads at breakneck speeds on the freeway. Sheriff dept. truck stopped to tell me I was going to get hit after I just crossed the street to McD's. Sullen teens mumbling obscenities about the hippie. My bike is invisible, and a guy pulled right in front of me. No bike lanes in the South end of town, and not all sidewalks have ramps. Even the mosquitos were mean, descending on me like a plague just at dusk.

I got lost a few times and hit at least one dead-end, trying to avoid the harrowing breakdown lane of the freeway. Ended up getting back on it anyway. All those cars screaming by at 70MPH plus. Reminds me of that quote in Wounded Knee, something about the white man always hurrying here and there and never seeming to be any happier when he gets there.

Up to now I'd made it a point not to pass up a bar. Now that I'm in a metropolitan area, I'm having to be more selective.

I've come upon what might be another vision curing method. Close eyes hard then open as wide as you can. Look at distant target. If blurry, keep trying till it comes in clear, maybe one in 30 tries. Then test it on closer and more distant objects. Eventually it will blur. I've managed to hold the focus for maybe 5 seconds. But I could be deluding myself and it's just another manifestation of the pinhole effect, somehow.

It finally struck me after thinking about the YouTube video Greening the Desert, which I've watched umpteen times: keeping land swaled and bermed makes it desertproof. People watching encroaching desertification should start now, not wait until everyting dies.

My fingers are getting numb. Got to watch that; it took months, as I remember, for them to recover after the last big bike trip, and I'd thought at times they never would.

Sold my first commodity option at about an $80 profit, my first win after a string of 5 losses. Tip: buy and sell using limits: placing market orders almost guarantees you'll pay too high and sell too low. I've got a hunch that the wild price swings during the trading day are due to clueless newbies placing market orders. Remember, a sucker is born every minute, and two to grab him: the brokers for buyer and seller, who probably split the profits made by making the trade at a few cents higher or lower than the going rate.

It struck me: I'm at last truly nomadic. All those times I waited for rides to EP or LC were unnecessary; I could have just biked there.

Perhaps you're familiar with the "cornucopia" idea, popular among conservatives, that states that everyone can be rich. I once was an adherent myself. But I see that the zero-sum people are right in some respects, at least in the short term. Fresh water being one glaring zero-sum item in the desert, with a few squandering it.

Applied dust to the buttcrack rash, from under a mesquite tree, and it definitely helped. Also have been applying light-colored dust to backs of hands, and they haven't gotten noticeably worse. Same thing I used as sunscreen at last year's Burning Man.

Made it to MP 226 by 5:30, for a total of 51 countable miles for day 5. Feet hurt. Right knee hurts. Not enough sleep. Might not be able to go anywhere tonight after these 2 pints. Next goal: Santa Fe, about 55 miles North.

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last updated 2009-08-05 03:57:35. served from tektonic.jcomeau.com