Today was the longest ride of about 300 miles which showed us the vastness and just how big America is. Mile after mile of mostly flat land made for a very pleasant experience along very straight roads right out of a tourist information guide. This was our sixth day on the road and despite the distance covered the ride is getting physically easier.
We were on the road from Amarillo at about 8:00 am (as we are every day) and our first stop was at the nearby Cadillac Ranch - a fantastic and simple attraction. We painted the cars and posed for photos. The cars are in the middle of a huge field of oats and I was struck by how short the oat stalks were and how few grains were on each head - definitely a very poor yield per acre here. Soon after this we reached the Mid point Cafe - we were 1,129 miles from Chicago, with another 1,129 miles to Los Angeles. Wow!
Next we made our way to the deserted village of Glenrio - this was a collection of the few remaining derelict buildings left on the original Route 66. In the late 1940s, the US started out on building motorways, and roads like Route 66 lost out. At this village, the highway runs right behind it and you get a real sense of lost grandeur on this iconic route. Very soon after this we crossed into New Mexico and stopped at the town of Tucumcari which has a great array of old style neon signs along the Main Street. I bought my first ever waistcoat here - genuine Buffalo leather at a fraction of the cost of a similar one in a Harley-Davidson shop.
Following lunch we had a ‘free ride” though increasing altitude towards Las Vegas (the New Mexico one). Our guide Jan rode off and we were allowed to take our time to travel through the land of the Comanche Indians. Roma and I enjoyed a few unscheduled stops to take in the dry air and admire the mostly empty spaces around us. Then it was on to Santa Fe with a fast (75 mph) ride to our hotel in the heart of the city - we are close to the central plaza. Tomorrow is a welcome rest day so we will get to know the city a bit better than we did in other places. Five people in our group are leaving us today as they are just doing the first half of the route - we are all sorry to see them go as we have become good friends over the past week. There are 10 of us left plus our two guides, and we will be down to seven bikes - we still have the second installment of our adventure to complete.