I sit here writing to you in the Days Inn of Socorro New Mexico. I know, that’s right we are in New Mexico, that last time I wrote we were still in Kansas. Of course we had huge help leaving Kansas, and we practically flew through Oklahoma and Texas. The last you had heard was that we past a Dutch man traveling around the world who inspired us greatly, however that day we only ended up going 30 miles since strong head winds basically stopped us in our tracks. We camped out that night leaving early the next morning to avoid wind and get a jump start on our longish day. Needless to say about eight miles out of Pratt, KS Gen stops in front of me with that oh so familiar clanking sound of a broken spoke. Really not again I think stopping to get the duck tape out of my bag for the ‘quick fix’ that would hopefully let us continue on our way. But seconds later Gen again stops, or did she even start moving, whatever it was her rim had bent and she no longer could move, a slight problem when biking is your only form of transportation. At that point we had no other choice but to stop right there, the only catch was that Emma had taken off and was miles ahead. Quickly I took off after her sprinting as fast as I could. By the time I had become in sight of her (after about 5 miles) I was hyper ventilating with a line of snot running out of my nose and tears were pouring out of eyes. Would she ever stop? I started screaming for her to halt but the lack of oxygen circulating in my lungs prohibited me from screaming very loud. The sound ended up coming out as more of a screeching panicked yelp. At about the point I thought I might collapse she stopped and I slowly rolled up to her. With the lack of breath and teary eyes I thought in my head shoot she’s going to think Gen has been hit by a car or something, later to find that Emma had actually thought that. Between heavy breaths I explained how Gen had another broken spoke and that her rim was bent and wouldn’t turn. We waited a couple of minutes so I could regain my breath and then turned back towards Pratt. We found Gen chilling on the side of the road with information that the next bike shop was in Liberal, KS two days the future of our trip and about 140 miles away, or it was back to Wichita (we were not going backwards). So we did what any like minded stranded traveler would do, sick out their thumb. Of course we were no normal group let along single hitch hiker with a backpack, we had in tow three bikes loaded with gear. Luckily pickup trucks are a common find in farm country and it wasn’t long that some one had stopped and was willing to take us to the next town, about 20 miles down the road. Once in town we fashioned a sign that read ‘To Liberal, Please Help’ and continued our search for the perfect ride. After about ten minuets of sign holding on the side of the road we tired calling AAA, but they weren’t much help and at the end of the conversation they still thought we were on motorcycles. However at about the same time a small red car pulled up and a young man stepped out questioning our situation. We explained and he quickly got on his cell phone calling any one of his friends he thought could help. He soon got his friend to let him barrow his pick up, the only snag was that it was back in Pratt. We quickly hide our bikes in some bushes, and piled into his car meeting his dog Shellie a black lab puppy with the calmest composure. Back in route to Pratt we introduce ourselves and started to learn a little about each other. He’s 22 enjoys hunting, grew up on a farm in a small town in Kansas, and is in school to become a paramedic in a large town. He explained to us how the other day his car broke down and he had to walk seven miles to get it fixed, along with this and a slew of other things that had happened recently he proclaimed how he must know how we feel, miles from any one we know and any help. We were overly joyful to find such a charming helpful person, and it was only the beginning. It was about lunch time when we reached Pratt again and he quickly offered to take us to lunch. We first tried to find a Pizza Taco place but both we closed so we ended up at a Mexican restaurant. Quietly between ourselves we decided to treat him to lunch, the most we could do for him, but he insisted he pay. After full stomachs and filled brains with information about life in Kansas, the land, and more information about him we were on the road again to get the pickup truck. After getting the truck we headed back to our bikes, loaded them up and headed toward Liberal. Along the way we he showed us the secrets we would have missed off the road, including a historical round barn and a beautiful lake with colorful fall foliage. There was a pit stop to meet his mother and show her Shellie and then off to Liberal. Once in Liberal we found the bike shop and were dismayed to find it closed, however he quickly called the number and the owners showed up soon enough. They fixed Gen’s bike putting a new rim on that will not fold under the pressure, but she lost some speeds in the change. After they fixed bike he insisted on putting us up in a hotel. There was no stopping his kindness, but only by treating him to dinner. He is defiantly the nicest person any of us has ever met. And the coolest part of the day was hanging out with some one our own age that could tell us so much about life. Even cooler was the simple fact that he shares the same drive in life to live and try and die without regrets (he’s SCUBA certified lives in Kansas and has never seen the ocean, should I say more—awesome). It was refreshing and just what we needed. And that’s why we love Josh. We can’t say thank you enough. He is our true angel. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. After two days were squeezed into one with the long car ride we were on the boarder of Kansas and Oklahoma. Leaving in the chilly morning we soon stopped in the town of Hooker, OK home of the horny toads. We got a chuckle out of that and pushed on. We had planed on staying in a town on the boarder of Texas and Okalahoma, (Texahoma) but decided to push all the way to Texas. It was the first day we had been in three states in one day. We ended up in Stratford, Texas on Halloween eve after traveling 80 miles. Why stay in Texas for too long so we decided to again push big and were planning on going for a hundred mile day, but why hundred when you can go a hundred and twenty miles. Dressed in our Halloween costumes we set out early. Though I soon started to feel a bit out of place, perhaps it wasn’t Halloween and we were just idiots dressed up riding our bikes. We got a couple honks from tuckers and some long stares form passing cars but that’s about it. I think perhaps it’s the first Halloween I have gone with out eating a single piece of candy. After seventy miles of biking we stopped for lunch in a deserted town just over the boarder of New Mexico. The entire day I had been lagging behind and thought it was because I was tiered. However it really was because I was stubborn and had a flat tire, I suggest never try riding seventy miles with a flat tire it’s really not fun. By the time we had the tire fixed the sun was almost ready to set (it sets at about five here very inconvenient). We still had a while to go before we were going to stop and knew we were going to have to ride in the dark, we didn’t mind, there was less wind. We watched one of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen and were awed by the open space and different landscape. By 9:30 we reached our 126th mile and the motel Emma promised to pay for if we reached the city of Tucumcari. Chilled to the bone we were glad to have hot showers and a warm bed as well as take out pizza. We crashed soon and slept well. The next day we slept in (awake by eight out by eleven) and made it sixty miles (a now short day for us) to Santa Rosa. The entire ride to Santa Rosa was on the interstate which was pleasant and unpleasant at the same time since most of it was being repaved and the traffic was condensed into on lane. However Gen and I have discovered that interstates are very convenient to find licenses plates (I collect one from each state I have visited). About two miles before the rest stop we were going to eat at Gen got a flat and I had to go back and rescue her. After a bit of time changing the tire, we then stopped to remove a California plate form a bumper on the side of the road. Only about an hour after I thought I would get to rest stop we arrive to find Emma sitting there patiently reading. We ate lunch and I questioned when we would start to see mountains. Before leaving we again changed Gen’s tire, patching the tube and pulling a staple from the tire. We again arrived after night fall and stayed in a hotel to do laundry and use the internet (sorry no blog update I was too sleepy). Emma and Gen were however to look at the future and realize that the next couple of days might be scarce on the lodging and camping ability and we would most likely end up on the side of the road. After a very late start stocking up on food and resenting the wind (Emma hates the wind) we made it eight miles from Santa Rosa and found a good spot to camp hidden from the road. It was about two o’clock and we enjoyed greatly our nap. At about four we got up to cook dinner. Emma and Gen had set up one tent for the both of them and it seemed to work fine. Remind you that we have very small one person tents. We cooked up a concoction of refried beans, salsa and cheese, which I soon started calling bean turds after we had to put half of it into a zip lock bag for later. The next morning we awoke early to beat the wind and to our surprise instead of the usual layer of condensation on our tents there was frost, our first frost. That day we made it a little further, still however with strong winds (Emma really HATES the wind). We made it forty miles, past a town named Vaughn which to our shock was 5,600 feet elevation, when did we get that high? And we still hadn’t seen any mountains. That night we didn’t find a nice hidden place to camp but we did have a picnic table. To be less obvious we decided to set only one very small tent, we thought it would be fine, two people was okay what would three do. It was NOT a good idea, suggestion number two don’t put three people in a one person tent if you actually want to sleep. We woke up early, perhaps we were already awake, and got biking before the sun had fully risen. For most of the morning we road in a cloud it was fun, but we couldn’t see very far. The wind was still in our face (Emma really really hates the wind), but not that harrowing. The excitement for me was at the top of one hill there were suddenly mountains off in the distance. We decided to stop in Lucy for lunch, but when Lucy didn’t exist so a roadside picnic table did fine. It over looked a beautifully scenic large salt marsh. Of course we first weren’t sure if it were salt, so after a lunch of top roman Emma and Gen hiked down to the edge of the marsh. They came back bearing gifts, Emma with a large chunk of salt and Gen a handful of gushy mud. They said how they tried to walk out towards the inch of water but were soon being sucked in by quicksand. Not soon after their return a joyful couple showed up. Steeped with information on the mountains, the surrounding area and New Mexico itself they educated us on everything we wanted to know. They were there collecting salt for various reasons. Reassuring us that there were no venomous creatures to fear that they were all frozen and that after Mountain Air (our destination for that night) it was downhill, we were on our way again into very strong wind. After fifteen miles into the wind we had made it to Mountain Air elevation 6,500, with the peaks of the Manzana Mts. Reaching up to 10,000 ft shadowing over us. It was all the way downhill to Socorro where I now sit and we completed the 66 miles day in less then five hours. We passed over our first mountain range with only a couple more to the future. We plan on being in New Mexico for three more days (if all goes well) and the mountains don’t test our strength. We will again resort to road side sleeping, this time legal since it will be in national parks. We feel like we are almost done and every time we talk about it makes us feel all bubbly inside. Perhaps we will be done in twenty days? Or even sixteen? Now that would be pretty awesome.