Hasta Luego U.S.A
The last week of riding through the US has been very varied. Starting with the vast deserts of the Indian Reservations in Arizona I then climbed to 8500ft (2590m) on the New Mexico border and had a few days in the lush highlands, before the vast plains of south east New Mexico and into Texas.
One of the highlights for me was stopping in the small town of Sanders, AZ. I was expecting to be met by one person, but instead cycled up to find over 30 people who had turned out to clap me in. Everyone stayed for a meal which was cooked in traditional Navajo style over an open camp fire with flat bread, beans followed by some local cake and tea brewed from the plants found in the desert. I felt very under dressed and dirty in my cycling gear after a tough day on the bike compared to everyone else but it was a wonderful welcome. My main challenge was how to excuse myself from conversation and film the evenings party, whilst keeping the local press photographer out of the shot!
That night the Goodluck family kindly had me to stay, and in the morning I had the chance to visit both the Elementary and High school to chat with the pupils and also to film. The kids were great at explaining the culture and history of the Native American people, and I was able to tell them about cycling all over the world!
In the few days that followed, I was starting to crack up slightly in the never ending desert, so was relieved to eventually climb into more alpine scenery. Desert riding is awe inspiring stuff but not where I feel most at home - the forests and trees into New Mexico were a sudden and welcome change.
After a days break in Silver City, NM (a quirky wee town) to get my bike serviced, I cycled down to join Interstate 10 at the town of Deming, and in doing so met the path I took on the world cycle. It looked much the same despite being September instead of January as it is so arid, but it was a good bit warmer!
Today I have been riding the same section of I10 that I rode before and true to form it is still covered in glass and bits of wire and I punctured in almost exactly the same place!
I am now on the Mexican border and so finished cycling down the USA. Through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, News Mexico and lastly into a tiny bit of Texas it has been mainly hot and very hilly riding. I have met the most interesting and welcoming people along the way and filmed some great stuff for the documentary series. At the same time I have also found some parts of the culture a challenge. A lot of the other road users are not used to bikes and I feel less safe on US roads than most other countries.
This is my 35th country I have cycled across so I can justify this comment! The food available from roadside places has also been a real challenge - it has been hard to find in the quality needed for hard cycling. At this point I am ready and really looking forwards to a change and the new challenges of Mexico and beyond.