Continental Divide; its all downhill from here!
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Rode from Gallup to Grants
Chris rode with his mate Dana and they pressed on strongly averaging 18.8 mph and have the muscle aches to prove it.
To compound the problems for the slower riders, it started to rain at 14:00
About halfway through the ride we crossed the Continental Divide at 7,250ft So it is 'all downhill from here' even if only slightly. The drop down from the Divide was the best part of the ride being predominantly downhill, down wind and, thankfully, not on I-40E but a quiet state road that might actually be, as claimed by marker posts, Route 66. This claim is probably correct but it is Route 66 as it really was, not the bright, glitzy version that the tourist towns proclaim. At intervals there were abandoned farms, small rundown hamlets, tatty clusters of trailers and occasionally a tidy ranch. We were clipping along at over 30 mph for around 10 miles on this section before the road leveled and turned into the wind.
Now we can see why the trains have so many locomotives; the rail road runs over the Divide at the same points as the road. Hence these huge trains are being hauled up a significant slope; it takes considerable mechanical muscle to pull a mile of coal trucks over the summit. Dana and I made 'pulling the whistle' signal to the trains from our bikes and occasionally the engineer would respond by sending the classic American train whistle sound booming across the plains. Very evocative and fitting to the scene.
Penny and Chris