Monday, January 06, 2014

Bike Snow Tires for the Rez

Made in Finland
I took some big chances riding in the ice and snow to work, Gentle Readers of This Blog.  Before leaving for KS (and waiting for the snow to melt off the roads) I looked on the web for some snow tires for the Desert San Campus Bike.  Right away you see Peter White's pages, and that is great because the man and his staff tell it like it is - so after reading Mr. White's pages -- yeah I need to get set up with these.

All the really good tires are made in Finland, and I pretty much had to settle for what I could afford - a good tire made in Taiwan probably would have to suffice - and I'd have to wait until I got back to Lawrence before I could even think about getting some shipped to me.  I needed money for gas to drive home, and a hotel for one night along the way.

I got back to Lawrence with a big ice and snow storm snipping at my heels as you know... but a few days later I did pop into the Local Bike Shop and inquired about the guys there getting me some tires sent to Lawrence.

This is why you should frequent and get you bike shit at the LBS, mes amis - So Joe and Collin say about the same time, "Aren't there a set of 'em down there in basement that nobody ever bought?  Yep been down there for years..." Turns out that they got ordered, never were sold, got put away - oh and maybe one of the guys put them on his bike once that worked there, just to see what they were like.

So Collin brought up the tires from the basement and handed them to me.  "There ya go Bruce.  They've been sitting around down there in basement, kinda dirty and stuff" I saw right away what they were, Gentle Readers - a set of the expensive Made in Finland studded snow tires - and at $100 a piece - even with dust on them, they were the best tires you could buy.  

I insisted that I pay something for them!  "No. Take them..." "Guys I can't do that..."  So they sold them to me at cost (so they said) for $30.00

After this trip to the bike shop, I added one more quick errand to my list of things to do, which was to purchase said LBS guys a case of their favorite beer, and then deliver back at the shop before closing.

Okay so back up here on the Rez I put on the snow tires - and of course we've had sunshine and almost 40 degrees.  The snow has mostly melted but more will come so the Navajo tell me - a lot more.   I am ready!

Heading West on Old Historic Route 66, Texas-New Mexico Border
What I do is buy enough supplies to last me for about a month.  Things out here are expensive, and you got to drive pretty far.  The rule is that the roads are beat to hell and in turn beat you vehicle to shit.  And gas is incredibly expensive.

The oil, gas, and coal companies take billions of dollars worth of energy out of this county, and you would think that the Tribe would subsidize fuel for Tribal Members or something, anything- but that is not the case and here on the Rez the Navajo pay out the ass.  If they charged you and me that price we would be in revolt and some politician would lose their job unless they put some heat on the greedy energy companies.  Not happening here, but I will tell you many want to change that equation for the Navajo People...  The energy companies take all the resources, make huge profits, and leave pollution.  It really doesn't matter if you skin is red or white - money talks, and paying certain people in positions of authority or bookkeeping or what ever - to do nothing - works very well out here.

Okay so I had the SUV packed full of food.  I was making okay time, and the weather was warm for a change - so driving West on I-40, I was inspired by one of the ladies in the New Mexico Rest Stop/Information Center, to drive on part of Old Route 66.

If you stop, ask questions, and listen to locals about where they live - you can get awesome information about places.  The woman I spoke to told me that I could get on the last 20 or so miles of Route 66 - the last part to be open before Interstate 40 shut 66 down.  I did and was rewarded with a feel for The Mother Road - and an idea to bike some of it as well maybe in the future.

Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Route 66 officially closed in 1984 I think.  Anyway, the route went through Tulsa where I grew up, but already that area of town was run down, and not the best part of town to be in or drive around in - you could get shot.  Route 66, and the old diners and motel on it where eye-sores and ruins.  But now of course all that is having a Renaissance.  Old Historic Route 66 through Tucumcari is awesome!  

Restored in Tucumcari
 I found a great cafe at this place - more like a museum than a motel, its been restored and has "period" decor.  It's basic and no frills - you can see from the prices that it is cheap.  I think the airplane was left over and back in the day would catch a traveler's eye, and they might stop in.  

What caught my eye was the bright neon sign that said "Espresso Bar" and "OPEN"  I don't drink the Methodist Coffee at the hotels and truck stops, mes amis - this was what I wanted and it was the morning and I needed coffee.

Oh yeah, I made my first stop on the two day drive in Shamrock, Texas, and ate at Big Vern's Steak House on Old Route 66 there, so I wanted to see what was up with this stretch.  Really glad I found this place...

Funky and Cheap - from the 1950s of 1960s
 Might stay here next time around.

Good Espresso (Finally! A place with a Barista)
I had my Americano here - and got a few post cards.  Young hip kids, high-school age, were here as it was also an Internet Cafe.  When you probably live in a Podunk, NM shit-hole town, and have pink hair, might appear gay, or just beat to a different drummer, a place like this can be a haven - and who does not like friendly and sexy girls that work there that want to know your name and where you're headed? 

Sunday Morning and need to un-pack
I took my time and photographed some cool places, but don't have time to put in the blog.  Little Egypt's mother (full-blood Navajo) worked as waitress on Route 66 back in the day, and her father was a highway worker (Irish) and worked on dam projects - and when they married, they built and ran a motel and garage in Winslow, AZ.  So Little Egypt loves this kind of stuff.

Speaking of the wife - she loaded me down with stuff she thought I would need - like yet another chair?  And as you can see I packed up and brought the LeMond back to Arizona - for rides up here in the High Country!

I got in Saturday back up to The College - it was getting dark and the last 50 or so miles on the road up to here are pretty scary.  It is dark, all the road signs are "tagged" which means they're spray-painted over with layers of graffiti by Navajo Gang members- so sometimes you don't really know where you are exactly...  The road is rough and the paint faded.  At times, probably because I was so tired, the road seemed to just blend into the rocks and fade all together.

Exhausted, I got back to the trailer (I was not robbed and was not broken into - which I feared) and then I just threw everything into the house.  Stuff that needed to went into the fridge, but soon I crashed and slept like a ton of brinks.

Sunday I unpacked.

Well, here's to 2014, some riding, and some blogging.

Please come by and check out the blog from time-to-time!

Cheers!  Bruce

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