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“The Dust Storm”

July 13, 2010

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris has returned from his trip to the Arctic!  Here is one more of his archived journals from another bike trip.  Stay tuned for stories from his latest adventure to the Arctic Circle…

“The Dust Storm”

May 21st Alamorgordo, New Mexico 7:45pm

I dropped off of I-40 in Santa Rosa and jumped on Route 54 south. I stopped in a small town grocery store and bought a pound and a half of some of that famous New Mexico chili powder. I walked across the street to the post office and mailed it to myself. I immediately noticed that the wind had become quite strong as I was returning to my bike. This was just a small taste of what lie ahead. Route 54 can be a pretty desolate place. It is very desolate in many parts. The air temperature was about 93 degrees which is not that big of a deal, but the wind was holding at a steady 50mph

Sign on a New Mexico Highway

with gusts in the 70mph range. Soon I was in total brown out. I could see the outline of the landscape, but there was so much sand in the air, I could hardly see. Even though I had taken to wearing a bandana over my mouth and nose, my beard was caked with sand and sweat. My clothes and bike were also covered with sand and dirt. Unknown to me, the interstates had been closed down and many were without power.

Soon, my bike began knocking and pinging as it struggled against the strong headwinds. These were the most difficult cross winds I have ever experienced as a rider. I stopped in a very small town (Population less than 200) for some gas. The wind was pushing my bike so hard, I stood against it while I filled up for fear that it would tip over. Two older gentlemen on bikes had arrived at the gas station several minutes before I did. They were on the road from Georgia. They looked exhausted and according to them, they felt even worse. They were heading in the same direction as me. They were hoping to get to the next town of Carrizozo about 45 miles away. I had been through there a couple of years before. I knew that there were a couple of small motels there as well as two gas stations. They said that they were not having fun. It didn’t take long before I caught up with them and passed them a few miles further down the road.

I pushed my glasses closer into my face in an effort to keep the sand out of my eyes. I had small little sand piles in the corners of my eyes. I was getting tossed all over the road. I soon developed a blister on my thumb and the joint hurt terribly from hanging on for dear life. This went on for 170 miles. I would stop every now and again to call Sora and let her know where I was for fear of wrecking or breaking down without anyone to find me.

I met up with my Georgia biker friends again in Carrizozo. I decided that I was going to press on. I needed to get more miles behind me. I downed some Gatorade, turned up the volume on the stereo, put my head down and went for it. Even with the best of intentions, I wasn’t able to hit my planned goal for the day. I simply ran out of energy. I stopped here in Alamogordo and called home.                        Today’s Total Miles: 368

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