Bike & Build

June 30th - Leaving the Plains

Dawn in Clayton. An armory abutting an airfield hosted us for the night, so we had this clear view of the rising sun. Since today was so long, we all left at dawn.

We biked into Colorado today! As we crossed through New Mexico and approached Colorado, the plains gradually began to give way to mesas and hills. As we neared the state line, the Rockies even came into view. 

Unfortunately, bikes were banned on the highway we would have ridden into Colorado. To cover the last 20 miles into Trinidad, we loaded bikes into the emptied trailer 8 at a time and drove across the state line. 

June 29th - Visiting a New Mexico Museum

An Edison phonograph. This holds maybe a few minutes of audio.

I accidentally skipped the entry for June 29th, so here it is. 

The ride today took us across another state line into New Mexico, where we stayed at the National Guard armory in Clayton. A local museum, the Hertzstien Memorial Museum, invited us in and offered dinner. The Hertzstiens's were a local benefactor to Clayton. After making a fortune trading land during the depression, Mr. Hertstien started looking for ways to give back to the community. 

The museum itself was themed around Clayton's history and included all sorts of oddball gizmos. Read the image captions for more!

June 28th - The Exact Center of Nowhere

The sunrises out here are pretty, with nothing to obscure the view.

Spearman is a bustling metropolis of 3300 people. There is a church, though, and they were nice enough to host us. They even arranged for free snowcones as we arrived last night. 

The ride today, like the ones before was full of nothing. You'll see in the photos. 

June 27th - Into Texas!

Texas has the coolest state sign so far. Here I am modeling our route.

We crossed another state line today! I don't think I've biked across a state before Bike & Build. And now I've crossed South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. 


June 26th - Watonga to Arnett

Watonga at dawn with stunning clouds.

One of my images from yesterday noted that these South-central towns have three features: churches, silos, and water towers. Today, I'd like to submit a similar description for the plains between the cities (towns, communities, whatever they are): oil wells and wind turbines. It's an odd mix. 

June 25th - First Flat

Bikes illuminated by indoor lights
All our bikes stacked outside before sunrise. The first order of business every day is airing up the tires, checking the brakes, and cleaning the chain.

At just a smidge over 2000 miles of wear, my back tire blew up today. It wan't too bad, really. I was only two blocks from the Babtist church and going slowly. Really strange, though. One second you're riding. Then a loud bang, like a nailgun. Then the road is suddenly harder and the bike starts sliding around. 

Today's ride took us from Oklahoma City to Watonga, OK in 74 miles. Outdoor of the minor afternoon explosion, the ride was really nice. We left OKC a bit past dawn, as usual. After leaving downtown, the route took us on trails for a while. Then we all got lost. We found our way, then settled in on the historical path of Route 66. 

Increasingly, we barely hit civilization on these routes, so even a lone gas station is an event. 

June 24th - Raise the Roof!

Huddling under a wall for shade
The van had a flat on the way over, so the 15 of us that rode the Habitat van got to hang out in the shade for a while. Don't leave Allen wrenches in the road, kids.

We kept building on the same house today. As I wrote before, the sheeting needed a ton of nails, so lots of today was spent nailing those down more securely. We also hoisted a pile of prefab roof trusses, and a few people scrambled around on the roof nailing then down. 

June 23rd - Fun with Framing

Household framing from above.
All the walls framed up at the end of the day. I sat on a wall!

Our two build days in Oklahoma City were spent on the same build site, so we had the chance to make really substantial progress. Our group arrived to an empty concrete slab and managed to complete the framing and sheeting in one day and the roof trusses the next. 

The Habitat site was super organized,too. They'd previously laid out the to and bottom plates for every wall. Stud locations were penciled and doors and windows were marked in color-coded spray paint. The doors and window frames themselves were all preframed. 

The house itself had a 2-car garage, two bedrooms, a kitchen, den, and lots of closets. 

June 22nd - Headwinds.

Wooded road in the morning.
In the morning, dense trees kept winds fairly low.

Today's ride took us 92 miles into the first real city we've seen in a while - Oklahoma City. High headwinds made the ride a little slower than usual. There are reliable winds out of the southwest across most of the plains, and they were rough today. 

The ride was great, though. I was with Erin and Lauren, and they both did a great job of pushing forward despite the winds. We only z stopped every 15 - 20 miles, which works out to two hours or so between breaks at headwind speeds. 

June 21st - Into Oklahoma

Dawn in Van Buren.
I post a lot of dawn photos because everything looks so different before sunrise. Here's the van illuminated by the glowing sky.

We crossed another state line today as we rode from Van Buren, AR to Henrietta, OK. At 109 miles, this was the longest ride so far. 

A few miles before lunch, Dustin, Helen, and I decided to stop at a donut shop for a snack. On a whim, we also grabbed a dozen to share at lunch. (Did you know that a box of a dozen donuts will fit on the back of a camelback?) Everyone loved the treat - even though we career carry all manner of leftover goodies, fresh-baked donuts were a winner. 

Helen's knees weren't feeling so great today, so she decided to call the van a few miles before lunch. After taking a day off to recover, she got back to biking.