Lovely New Mexico litter. If only this could be the only litter on our roads!
Norb gets a new doo
After being harvested, cotton bales are on the side of the road for pick-up
Thursday 11-4-10. We left Las Cruces at 8:30 wearing our cold weather duds to stay warm in the 44 degree morning air. Once again, we rode past pecan orchards, fields of cotton, red chiles, onions, and alfalfa. The fields have irrigation canals providing the crops with water from the Rio Grande River. We crossed the Rio Grande near Radium Springs and again later between the tiny dusty settlements of Derry and Arrey. There didn't seem to be much water flowing and we speculated that the irrigation and damming of this waterway might be the culprits causing such low water. All along our route, through the wide farming valley that the river created, we could see the ridge lines and peaks of brown & tan desert mountains. With the exception of a few short climbs, our route on both 185 & 187 was flat with smooth pavement and hardly any traffic. We rode for miles hearing only the soothing sound of our thin tires spinning over the pavement. Both the scenery and quietness were awesome. At Hatch, we stopped for lunch at Sparky's, a fun place that had some quirky statues of Colonel Sanders, Ronald McDonald, and a huge white chicken on top of a van, welcoming us to Hatch. Apparently, this gaudy display keeps the owner of the cafe at odds with the City Council. We picked the brain of a local diner about agricultural trivia as we have been very curious about some of the equipment, etc. we have seen. He advised that pecan harvest is just starting. Practices have become much more mechanized over the years. The nuts are now shaken from the trees by a machine onto the ground that has been cleared. Another piece of equipment picks up the nuts and sorts out the leaves, sticks, and debris. They are then taken to the shelling plant where the shells are processed for mulch. The finished nut product is then baked in your over for a Thanksgiving pie. Fascinating! Our local resource also said he worked one day in the chile fields as a kid. He rode on the back of a planting truck and had to keep the seeds from clogging. By the end of the day, his arms, hands, throat, eyes, were all burning so badly that he never did that job again. Surprisingly, we met three other cyclists on the road today. One heading east and two doing day trips out of this area. We stopped for the day at Lakeview RV Park in Caballo where we rented a cabin the size of an Ozark tool shed. It even came with a resident lizard that we were unable to evict. Before retiring, while Ann was attempting to remove the huge stickery tumble weed from our "yard", some of the prickly pear cacti attacked her. We spent some time extracting the needles from her left leg with tweezers. She didn't even whimper once.