Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rosemary and Blondie

My last set of photos as I passed through Tucumcari, New Mexico and crossed the Texas border.

Sharing this photo album:

Lots of old-school neon signs line the Historic Route 66 in Tucumcari

Loved the Motel Safari sign (above) with the tobacco ad
showing the "most doctors" endorsement.

The Blue Swallow Motel came highly recommended by locals.
Owners put a lot of work into the building.

"Cooper" was the greeter at the Historical Society in Tucumcari.
It was the former Central School House in 1903. In the 1930's
it was a soup kitchen, and from 1936-37 it was a hospital.

Just one of the nuggets from the display. The writing is priceless.

Some of the photos at the Historical Society that really captured my attention.

Majorette Dorothy Aull and Twirlers Ruthie Callers Drake
and Juanite Graham from Tucumcari High School.
They were known as "The Rattlers.'

The story of outlaw Black Jack Ketchum fascinated me. It dated to 1901
and there was a lot of documentation on his "hangin'."

According to the article in The Quay Sun:
Ketchum was very pale as he mounted the platform but showed no fear. A priest stood at his side. He declined to make a speech and merely muttered "Goodbye, please dig my grave very deep." Ketchu mad the strange request that he be buried face down.

When the body dropped through the trap, the half-inch ropes severed his head cleanly as if a knife had cut it. Many spectators turned away in horror. Dr. Slack pronounced life extinct in five minutes. The drop of seven feet was too great for so heavy a man. 

Credited with 15 murders, 38 years of age, 6 feet in height, 200 pounds, black hair, mustache and beard, muscular and strong and a very dark complexion.


Just a glimpse at the current temp...

Lots of opportunity to pick up a souvenir

Obviously a snake.

I'm told to beware of snakes, especially when I step off the side of the road.

(Photos below) Taking advantage of a smidge of shade along I-40.

My Morning So Far

Safe inside First Baptist Church. Storms should end by 9 and then I'll get on the road.

As I wait out this strong morning storm, I'd just like to thank all the wonderful people who have helped me along the way....

Pastor Mike and his family (photo above) from First Baptist Church in Vega, Texas let this weary traveler throw a sleeping bag down at the church overnight. Such a simple thing that meant so much.

Brandon at the bike shop in Tucumcari (photo above) put a liner in my wheels to help ward off frequent punctures. He also threw in a another spare inner tube.

Paula (photo above, with me) - in charge of the fabuous History Museum in Tucumcari. She helped turn the old schoolhouse into a great collection of local artifacts and she got me connected with Gail at the Chamber of Commerce.

Gail (photo above) is from Waukesha, Wisconsin. She took me to the Economic Development Committee meeting where I was given the opportunity to share my story about the tour and Alzheimer's. Then she set me up at a wonderful hotel for the night.

The kindness of strangers throughout this trip has been amazing.

IN TRIBUTE: Al Steffes

Today I'm riding in honor of my dad, Al Steffes.

If you would like me to ride in tribute of your loved one, please email a photo to or, include the person's name and a brief note if you like, and send your contribution securely by clicking HERE.

The entire $100 donation is tax deductible and will go toward Alzheimer's programs at Cedar Community.

Where's Judy? Follow along on the Amazing Ride for Alzheimers!

View nm las vegas in a full screen map

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hello, Texas!

Got an early start but took many breaks because of the heat. Finally crossed into Texas around 1:30 this afternoon. 

There's little cloud cover and lots of hills. I have 64 miles in and Vega, Texas is 13 miles away. Aiming to see if I can get a church there tonight. 

Cedar Community Butterfly Release

Tuesday was Cedar Community's 5th Annual Memorial Butterfly Release. Here are a few photos courtesy of LifeStar Emergency Medical Services from the event.

Yep, those are my folks in the background!

A View From the Road, and a Little Bit More

Above: Route 66 frontage road; I-40 traffic is to the right

Clouds were a big help while biking. It was hot with a lot of hills.
After 60 miles, my feet started to cramp so I drank more water.

(photos above: Another brief stop on Route 66.
The dog at this station thought me to be very threatening...  :-/

Guido and Michela were from Italy.
They flew to Chicago, rented a Harley, and were motorcycling Route 66.

Photo above: Overlooking I-40

Photo above: Cattle grating on Route 66 drove me nuts.
I had to stop and walk over them.
Photo above: Sadly, one of the first hotels I see when I pull into Tucumcari.

I wash my shorts every day; it's so hot in New Mexico that I strap them to the top of my gear to dry. So far, the number of guys it's attracted have been...

  • I've purchased a few more inner tubes and now have 5 spares. I've also patched three others.
  • I plan on pedaling into Texas on Wednesday. It's about 120 miles to the next big city.;
  • When the locals say there's no water ahead for 50 miles, they MEAN it.
  • A jackrabbit ran in front of me the other day and I didn't really know what it was.

Mary Lou and Antonio

Made one 20-minute stop at the Cuervo Gas station. It was one of the originals on Route 66. 

Mary Lou married the owner of the gas station when she was 17 and he was 20. They just celebrated their 53rd anniversary.  

She sold me a Gatorade and talked about the changes on Route 66. She proudly bragged about her daughter who became the principal at the elementary school in Santa Rosa and she confessed she was about ready to sell the gas station and move on. 
Antionio at his station. We were talking about the mounted rattler on the opposite wall.

Careful What You Wish For

Received an interesting comment the other day regarding my bike tour. It read, "Tears already. I love these adventures. I get everything from 'I wish I was there' to 'Thank God I'm not.'

To give you an example - every day is a different adventure. 

On Monday I left Santa Rosa at 7 a.m. with the best of intentions to make it 70 miles east to Tucumcari. 

Stopped at the restaurant, Sun & Sand, because it looked like a classic on Route 66 and it had a ton of cars out front. 

I found a table of good ole boys and they adopted me right away offering hand-drawn table-napkin maps, shared bits of their personal lives and bought me into the mix with a little good-natured razzing. 

I finally hit the road around 8:15 a.m. with my napkin map in full view. I found the Route 66 frontage road. 

Just past Luv's gas station where I made a final stop to check my tires. On my way out I passed a nervous guy in dark sunglasses squatting behind a cardboard sign that read 'Hungry and Stranded.'

I had also just passed a posted sign that read, 'Don't pick up hitchhikers, prison in town.'

So I rolled down the frontage road about 2 miles and I had second thoughts that this wasn't going to be the best route. So I turned around, went back past the sketchy hiker and to the interstate. 
Then I hit another posted sign, 'No bicycles or pedestrians allowed.'

Serious. I rode on that same highway all the way from Las Vegas into Santa Rosa the night before. 

So I flipped around and pedaled past the sketchy guy and back up the frontage road again.

Made it 14 miles before my first flat. Good grief!  I had already lived this episode. There was no shade so I started changing out the tire when a guy drive up in a white van. 

Jesse worked for the state. He confessed he thought it was a dead cow in the road. No, just me. 

We struggled together to fix the tire and pretty much just got in each other's way. 

Another pickup pulled alongside and Cleve said he could drag me into town to get me fixed up. 

It was a tough decision but I blew off a rescue ride the other day and thought this may be best. 

So back 14 miles, past the sketchy guy again.  Cleve had to go to town for medicine for his horses;two had run through a barbed wire fence and got some severe gashes. 

He spoke with some urgency, and between comments he'd spit tobacco juice into a tin cup that he held between his legs. 

Cleve dropped me at an auto repair shop. He knew the fellas there by name. They dunked my inner tube, found the holes and we got it all fixed. 

"Take I-40," the guys at the shop said. "Those posted signs are merely a suggestion." 


So for the next 70 miles, starting at 10:30 a.m. I was one with the road and the semis. 

IN TRIBUTE: Vic and Gen Albiero

Today I'm riding in honor of Vic and Gen Albiero.

If you would like me to ride in tribute of your loved one, please email a photo to or, include the person's name and a brief note if you like, and send your contribution securely by clicking HERE.

The entire $100 donation, is tax deductible and will go toward Alzheimer's programs at Cedar Community.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Legendary Women's Basketball Coach Dies of Alzheimer's

Pat Summit
Photo courtesy:
From the Washington Post:
Pat Summitt, who won eight national championships as head coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team and had more wins than any NCAA college basketball coach in history when she was forced to retire at age 59 because of a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, died June 28 at a senior living home in Knoxville. She was 64.

Read more HERE.

Breakfast with the boys in Santa Rosa

My breakfast mates at the Sun & Sand Restaurant on Route 66 in Santa Rosa. Bill helped me with directions drawing a map on a table napkin. The other fellas told stories of farming alfalfa, fixing trucks and Billy the Kid. 

"Every business that wants to make a buck was visited by Billy the Kid," said Bill. 

He was visited by one of his 35 grand kids. "This pretty girl is Miss Shelby," he said "I also have great grandkids," he clarified. 

The waitress brought my scrambled eggs with green chili. "You eating with them," she asked. 

I looked at Bill for approval. He nodded and said, "Bring another spoon."


Monday, June 27, 2016

Come on in, the water's FINE!

Video of Park Lake in Santa Rosa. It seemed like the popular place for families on a hot summer day.

Excitement and Mystery: The Blue Hole

Logged 70 miles on Sunday from Las Vegas,N.M. to Santa Rosa. Majority of the route was along Highway 84, which was pretty desolate and wonderfully downhill. 

Route 66 stamped into concrete sidewalk

The final portion of about 17 miles was on I-40. By the time I arrived in Santa Rosa my feet were melting.

Beau and Melissa from the First Baptist Church in Santa Rosa gave me a place to stay Sunday night.

The boys were super courteous and they tipped their hats and politely shook my hand when they greeted me.

Just down the street from the church was a local tourist attraction called the Blue Hole. It's a circular bell-shaped pool, about 130-feet deep and the water temperatures in the 60s. A lot of people use it as a local swimming hole and for scuba diving.

The water is a deep rich blue color. Some locals say if you dropped a nickel in the water you'd be able to see it at the bottom. Others say there are 600 miles worth of caves underneath and that's where the scuba divers explore.

There's rumor this is where Billy the Kid once swam.

In March of this past year a Navy veteran and expert diver, Shane Thompson, was scuba diving and exploring passageways. He got trapped and died in the caverns below. Read more HERE.

Santa Rosa is a very small community of about 2800 right on the Historic Route 66. 

On an interesting but sad note the old hotel signs with the illuminated pipe neon lighting are still here, but so many of them are closed and in very poor shape.