Tessa Pierce bio photo

Tessa Pierce

PhD Candidate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD

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Wow. this trip is going so fast. Let me recap the last few states: Missouri was crazy: hilly, windy and tiresome. we did a 3-day stretch of 300 miles that wore all of us out. Then we had a few shorter days into oklahoma, where we all remembered that we could do fun things DURING the ride (stop and see the sights, take pictures, etc) because we actually had plenty of time to do the mileage! Our oklahoma hosts were wonderful, and we had some great southern cooking. The red dirt was beautiful.

On to Texas. Well, I’ve been informed by some texans that the panhandle is “different.” It was certainly a change. Though we had a good shoulder, the texas roads were the bumpiest roads and fairly unpleasant to ride on, especially considering the many cattle feed lots lining the roads. You could smell Hereford, TX (the beef capital of the world) from miles away, despite having a good wind to keep the smells to a minimum. We were in TX for three days, and had our Bike and Build Prom (with amazing thrift store outfits) in Hereford. Everyone looked amazing- please check out pictures on Larry’s or Christina’s blog- apparently they’re good at updating and uploading!

After Texas, we headed into New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment” and my favorite state (although Massachusetts is a close second because it was so beautifully green that I couldn’t help but smile and stare during the entire ride). The roads have been smooth and usually have a good shoulder, but most of all, there is just so much land out here. So much land and not much else. Our first or second day in the state, we had a 65 mile stretch with NOTHING. no gas stations, nothing. And then we realized that was not bad at all - today we rode 80 miles on only two highways and passed only one real town. Carizozzo (where we stayed last night) had a gas station but no supermarket. Tonight we’re staying at the Pastor’s house in Socorro, in the shadow of mountains. New Mexico is gorgeous. Words can’t really describe the desolate beauty of the desert. I’ve been taking pictures that I know will never fully portray the landscape and the feeling of emptiness. We rode a few flat desert days (saw our first cacti!) and have been climbing the past few days. We’re climbing the bottom of the rockies (i think…) and will hit our highest point tomorrow in Pie Town, NM. Last year’s trip voted Pie Town their favorite place, so we’re all excited. I love the climbs out here- they’re usually slow climbs and you get rewarded with a full 360 degree view from the top AND usually an awesome downhill. Yesterday I hit my max speed since I got my cycling computer- 48.2 mph!

We had a day off a couple days ago in Roswell, NM. Megan’s parents and Christina’s mom took us out to eat. The first night we had awesome mexican food, and I met up with my (2nd) cousin Philip Tarpley, who happened to be roadtriping back from CA to TX! During dinner, it started rainstorming, and we got our second crazy thunderstorm of NM (The first one was a beautiful lightning show in Portales, an amazing town that declared our day there “Bike and Build Day”). Wow, I have the hardest time summarizing- there’s just too much that happens each day. Oh well. You can read the B&B Boston to Santa Barbara blog for a more complete idea of the trip! Well, I’ve got the cold that’s been going around, so I’m off to take a nap to try and recover. We’re getting up at 4ish tomorrow to beat the heat (hopefully we’ll be on the road by sunrise), so naps are pretty key if we want anything near a good amount of sleep!