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There were once two muppets from New Zealand - part 2 and 3!

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway". John Wayne

Sunday 23rd Oct

After our previous days experience of (what we thought was) high wind, and there being another High Wind weather advisory we decided to leave very early in the the morning and try and make it as far as we could cross Kansas before the high winds kicked in again.

Staying where we were for a day and waiting was not an option as our time in the USA was now running out ...we needed to hustle!

The early start was beautiful and still and the sunrise spectacular. The only reason that we don't normally ride this early in the dark is that there are a lot of deer on the roads, live ones and very dead ones! And as previously mentioned by Nick they tend to dart right out in front of you, so having a little more vision of them approaching is a good idea. Riding in the dark is NOT!

Wind? Deer? Wind? Deer?

We decided on deer!

The first few hours of riding where perfect and then an hour before it was predicted to the wind picked up.

Within another hour we were riding through dust storms that blocked your eyes and noses. We were still picking out and coughing up grit 2 days later!

If you rode through a town there would be nobody about and tumbleweeds blowing across the streets, but there would also be some protection for a few minutes so you would think the worse had passed until you got back out onto the Plains.

There are a lot of corn storage towers in Kansas and passing these was great fun as they created massive wind sheer that would push you right across the road.

The Maize/Corn fields were also fun to pass as straw from the harvest a few weeks ago hit you sideways! Seriously there was so much corn blowing North that we were convinced Canada was going to be metres deep in the stuff the following day!

Finally after being almost blown off the road a few times we decided enough was enough and around midday pulled into a farming town called Ulysses. At this point when we checked on our phones the wind was at a constant speed of 77kmph and gusting over 100kmph.

The locals were saying they had never known wind like it and were just waiting for the power to go off. So before it did we got cash out of an ATM so we at least had a way of paying for things without power, and then found a room for the night.

At least it was warm with the temperatures again around 30 degrees C, so walking to get dinner that night ...while interesting ...was not cold!

Mon 24th Oct.

The following day when we woke up it was still wind! - phew!

It was also cold; really quite cold.

We got on our bikes and rode through a flat and calm Kansas ...this is what we were expecting ...vast areas of nothingness.

We started to pass some plants that looked like Christmas trees in the fields and stopped to have a look.

They were actually cactus. After a quick stop to investigate we carried on and crossed the border into Colorado.

It got colder and colder and more and more remote. We had missed out on breakfast so as midday approached our tummies were grumbling.

We came across the tiny farming settlement of Kim. A flashing red "open" sign on a back country store caught the attention of our peripheral vision and we swung the bikes around.

It looked dodgy and we fully expected it to be a bar with cowboys swigging the first few beers of the day, but we were REALLY hungry and cold! Note to self: Never judge a book by its cover as it was in fact a lovely little cafe/store where 3 ladies were sat around doing patchwork!

Fed and coffeed an hour later we walked back out in the cold to see flecks of snow in the air.

SNOW????!!!! turns out there was another weather advisory, this one for a winter storm. How can that be? it was 30 degrees C yesterday? This country is crazy!!!

We head towards Trinidad in temperatures just above freezing looking at the snow falling on the hills either side of us and glad that it wasn't us!

We headed straight for the tourist information centre at Trinidad to ask for advice on which way to head next that might avoid the snow as it was full on snowing when we rode into town.

After some research we decided to to head to a place called South Fork on the Rio Grande river. Nick had said he wanted to visit "John Wayne" country (as in Canyons etc.) so seeing as JW starred in Rio Grande it seemed a good place to start.

The ladies assured us the snow was stopping in a few minutes and we would be fine on the bikes.

Unfortunately the snow didn't stop and we spent the next hour riding through wet slush/snow that would settle on the front of our luggage and screens and stay there all day as it was so cold!

Once the snow had stopped we carried on riding through the Colorado mountains ...which actually looked very beautiful and white.

After 3 hours of riding through near zero temperatures we pulled into South Fork and found a cabin ...with a heater!

We were both so cold that it took us around 30 minutes of standing right over the heater to stop shaking uncontrollably!!!

Although on the outskirts of South Fork, there was a restaurant 1km up the road so we had a brisk walk there to get one of the best meals we had eaten in the US, surrounded by genuine cowboys in dirty jeans, boots and spurs!

That night it was -7 degrees C

Utah had better be worth the ride through this we thought to ourselves!

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