September 24, 2001

9/24/01 Socorro, NM

67.1 / 8202 miles

I'm finding that staying with people is so much more enjoyable than camping alone. Allen was gracious enough to even cook me pancakes this morning. We sat out on the deck, having a final cup of tea, as we let the sun warm up New Mexico.

Just over the pass. What's around the corner?

Allen said I had a climb first thing, but I made good time for at least fifteen-miles before the pass came into view. But compared to what I've been climbing lately, this was pretty easy. Once over the top, I could see for miles. The road was ruler-straight all the way to the interstate.

Sometimes, riding on the road, you get a lot of time to think. Yesterday I was angry. The whole fund-raising portion of the trip seemed a bust. I saw so much potential in it, but didn't have the charisma to get people to see what I saw. Today I'm trying to ride just for me and Nancy. Even with the money collected, I should be pleased because it WILL make more scholarships available for students. Sometimes (ok, most of the time), I set pretty high standards. I know everyone is trying their best.

It's hot and dry as it looks

And here I thought Wyoming was pretty desolate. Hardly a building in the first fifty-miles today. Riding on the interstate, while noisy, is pretty easy. The miles went pretty fast, but I was still famished when I spotted a few fast-food joints. While getting a burger, Bernardo Pena from Denver asked about my trip. Before I left, he handed me a donation for Nancy's memorial fund. Such generosity I've seen all across the nation! Gracias.

Riding the interstate

I found Socorro's plaza and didn't have any trouble locating the Doug West Gallery where Judy Lovelace works. After talking with Suzie Kyle and her mother, Elizabeth, who work there too, we phoned Judy up at home. She drove back to the gallery and enlisted my help as she was taking her dogs, Janey and Lillie, to the vet.

Judy's mother was a very good friend of Holly Hughes, one of my engineering school study partners many years ago. Judy moved here a few years ago after her mother passed away. I'm so grateful for the kindness Judy has shown me by letting a complete stranger come into her home. Judy has just returned back to work after having orthoscopic surgery on her knee. But even with a good recovery, the dogs get to be a little too hard to handle because of a spinal injury she got in a car accident.

Besides shots, Lillie needed her toe nails trimmed. For a one-year old, very, small terrier, she became a Tasmanian Devil when they started to clip those nails. Even the vet and his assistant were having great difficulty controlling her contortions. But she survived to get a dog treat (and hopefully the vet assistant got one too).


While Judy went to therapy, I headed back to the plaza, looking for the newspaper offices. Thomas Guengerich, who runs the El Defensor Chieftain, Socorro's biweekly newspaper, had suggested I talk to one of his reporters. He wasn't in but I told my whole story to editor, Karen Weil. She didn't promise anything but I hope we get a story.

Back at the gallery, I found out Suzie had quite a record of wandering herself at a younger age. Now retired, it's her mother's turn, having moved here from Ohio. Elizabeth is planning a trip to Belize soon that includes several days of canoeing. Good for her! We talked till it was time to close up, then we walked over to Socorro's Pizza Pub for some dinner where we were joined by Suzie's youngest daughter, Emily. Three generations and they were all delightful dinner companions. I'm sure the other patrons were jealous.

Back at Judy's, we laughed almost too much watching 'Chicken Run' and 'The Full Monty'. This house is just wonderful. After Judy went to bed early, I admired all the antiques, but especially her mother's own artwork on the walls of every room.

Judy with Lillie