The city of Artesia marked the beginning of New Mexico oil country. It was clearly a thriving small city with several hotels, freshly paved roads, a number of fancy restaurants, prom-goers with hoop skirts with a six-foot diameter, art centers, and numerous public art pieces.
The economy of Artesia has been driven by oil for a century. I had the feeling the town didn’t want anyone rocking its boat. Still, I wonder if there’s someone there now with an entrepreneurial spirit who recognizes the abundant wind and sun as new resources it could develop, like Mary Yates and her husband did with oil a century ago.
Just south of town, we started seeing pump jacks and occasionally picked up a faint sulphur smell from the oil operations.
The wind blew ferociously from the west with gusts up to 40 mph, giving us a crosswind that forced us to lean noticeably to stay upright on our bikes. Miraculously, the road curved eastward for most hills, giving us a tailwind that pushed us up them. The wind blew across us for the final hill, then turned eastward for a thrilling downhill tailwind entrance into Carlsbad and a finish on a bike path along a canal with pale turquoise water.
My New Mexico adventure, the north-south squiggle, is over. (The west-east squiggle was part of my first transcontinental bike adventure in 2015.)
There is something I didn’t want to put in my blog until now. Back in Santa Fe, we reassembled our bikes, pumped up the tires at the bike shop, rode a trial ride around Santa Fe, and were all set to go. The night before, I turned my bike to face the door and discovered that my rear tire was flat. I thought about writing that I hoped it would be the only flat of the trip. Now I can safely say that it was.
It’s with a big mix of emotions that I bring this adventure to a close. I’m sad that it is over. I’m jealous that Dave is continuing on. I’m glad I made it safely. I’m delighted that the only flat occurred before the trip really started. I’m tired yet pumped with endorphins. I hope I gave my mom some entertainment in her first months in heaven.
I’m incredibly grateful to Dave’s wife, Connie, for driving SAG (support and gear). She always showed up at just the right moment, checked in on us, and provided ice, water, and snacks when we most needed them. I greatly appreciate Dave letting me butt in on his adventure on short notice. He did all the planning and made all the reservations. All I had to do was show up.
Dave will continue on Tuesday toward Austin through the Land of Fire and Wind. I’m wishing him a safe journey collecting lots of material for a next book. I hope he has nothing but tailwind and encounters no goatheads, tarantulas, or rattlesnakes. (I know of what I write – I rode across Texas in 2015.) You can follow Dave for the rest of his journey here.
Start: Artesia NM
Finish: Carlsbad NM
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/5232052106
Total miles: 340.55 miles
Elevation gain: 722 feet
Total elevation gain: 7747 feet
©2021 Lynnea C Salvo