From the time I awoke to the smell of coffee and bacon, the day felt like something really special. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast of eggs (from local "deranged" chickens), bacon, hash brown potatoes, and fresh squeezed orange juice. As we were loading the van, the sounds of Cat Steven's "Morning Has Broken" came from the piano played by one of our riders. Then I walked outside to this scene. Notice the fresh snow on the mountain.
It was 40 degrees when I pedaled out of Kingston, dressed in my regular cycling clothes, plus arm warmers, booties over my shoes, long-fingered gloves, and a headband. So I felt warm as the road took us down 2000 feet in the first 10 miles. The vistas were incredible. I had to stop several times to contemplate the beauty of God's world and take some pictures. The pictures don't tell the whole story, but give a flavor of what we saw. This part of the ride was truly a spiritual experience.
After a few more miles, we were in the flat lands, but the weather was still cool. This farm scene was not far from our first site of the Rio Grande River.
After this point we pedaled along the Rio Grande for quite a while. In Hatch (famous for its chilies) we stopped after 51 miles, at the Pepper Pot (appropriately named) for lunch. Some riders from the Las Cruces cycling club had been there earlier and pedaled into Las Cruces with our faster riders. After lunch, it was a long way to Las Cruces, passing pecan trees, chili fields (ready for planting) and some very expensive homes scattered along the road. After 88 miles, I arrived in Las Cruces and the Hampton Inn, our home for the evening. The Las Cruces Cycling Club, called Bike and Chowder, hosted a reception for us before dinner. One of the members told me that her 85-year-old mother (Esther) who is an athlete, would be meeting us in St. Augustine. I must remember to look her up.
My roommate for the night was Barb Cassels, a retired elementary PE teacher from NY. So we talked education for a while. Tonight I was more exhausted than any day so far on the trip. But, I did sleep well.