Post 170: Gallup, New Mexico
From Flagstaff I head East, back on Route 66. I pull to the side of the road and unhitch the primus stove, ... it's time for coffee. I stand watching the Santa Fe goods trains roll past, ... counting the wagons, all double deckers, .. I get bored and stop counting at 47, my mind is wandering aimlessly. In Russia the Trans Siberian Railway had been our shadow for over 3,000 miles, ... here on Route 66 it's the Santa Fe line. It's probably not quite as famous, not quite as long, ..... but it's a constant reminder that I'm heading the right direction.
I'm pulled back from my daydream by the sound of voices, English accents. I turn around to see a silver Jaguar XKR Convertible parked in the road. We talk for a minute or two, they're traveling along Route 66 from Chicago to San Bernardino. I learn that 60 members of the UK Jaguar Enthusiasts Club have shipped their cars here, .. the traffic builds behind the parked Jaguar, ... we move on in opposite directions.
For the rest of the day, I pick out vintage and modern Jaguars heading towards me, I flash my lights, I honk my horn and I wave. Of course, ... they have no idea who the guy on the bike is, no idea that the bike is British, but what the heck, ...... it relieves the boredom of this all too often straight and featureless part of the journey. In the past few weeks I've been totally spoiled with the beauty of America and at any other time, .... riding this road could feel like the ultimate biking experience. After Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and Bryce, .... Route 66 is following the hardest acts you could ever imagine.
In Gallup, a long straight town of Motels and Gas Stations, I meet the rear-guard of the Jaguar group. I take pictures of a vintage model and talk briefly to it's owners, we wish each other safe journeys, .... we each have miles to cover, ..... I haven't seen another Jaguar since.
As I ride East out of Gallup, I pass the John McCain Election Bus, .. though I doubt very much that the man himself is on board. I'd heard on the news that he was making a speech in Santa Fe the following day, ...... the bus is heading in the wrong direction, ..... read into that what you will, .. but I'm siding with the Polar Bears.