Day 12 on the Southern Tier Route

Rain patterned on our tent much of the night. Rain continued when we awoke at 7:00 A.M. What to do? As we discussed our options, the rain stopped. We decided to pack up. I asked around the RV park to see if someone with a truck could take us to Las Cruces, 60 miles south. No such luck. We decided to start riding. After seven miles we ate an excellent breakfast at the Arrey Cafe, cash only. Plenty of local color, too. Back on the bike past small farming towns on the fertile floodplain of the Rio Grande River as we paralleled Interstate 25 a mile or two away. Lots of irrigated fields of red chilies, appropriate given that we rode through Hatch, New Mexico, the chili capital of the US. Past Hatch, the highway mostly ran through native Chihuahuan Desert vegetation on hillsides with waist-high creosote bush and salt bush shrubs. We also saw fields of irrigated cotton, corn, alfalfa, more chilies, and pecans. We rode over the Rio Grande several times and saw surprisingly high flows. The traffic in Las Cruces was obnoxious but we enjoyed lunch at a Subway. We rode on more peaceful NM Hwy 28 through more small farming towns serving the huge pecan industry. At one point the pecan trees overhung the highway much like the Deep South, but without the Spanish moss (see photo). We stopped for a cold drink in San Miguel for more local color. The patrons at the store urged us to be careful. We fought strong headwinds for the last 20 miles of the day. We left the official route on Hwy 189 and rode to Interstate 10 then took the frontage road for a mile to an interchange with all manner of chain stores and restaurants. We rode through a large puddle and checked into the Best Western at 6:00 P.M., happy that we escaped the rain while biking today. 89 miles today.

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