The elevation increase is gradual and the west wind of 7 mph is not bad. Eighty four degrees is not too bad either. The Continental Divide is still 200 miles west and I know I will gain elevation as I proceed.
I enjoy riding the shoulder on a divided highway like this. There is plenty of space to keep me from traffic and most vehicles will move to the left when they pass. The big problem of the shoulder is the debris. Watch out for bits of metal. The steel belts in truck tires are troublesome. Always carry a tire patch kit, extra tubes and on a long trip like this I will bring an spare tire. The nearest bike shop ahead is in Santa Fe.
Many of the towns that I have seen started as the Rock Island railroad came through and eventually it connected with the Union Pacific. Now the Rock Island company is a small shell of what it used to be. As highways developed the trucking industry took over more and more freight hauling. Fewer trains and diesel engines meant less reasons to stop in some of these small towns and this effected their fate. When Route 66 started in 1926 it was a dirt road and did not get the first pavement until the mid 1930s. Once roads were paved this allowed for increased truck traffic and provided greater route flexibility for transporting goods. Intercity bus routes helped to move people without cars.
I love my riding days and look to find interesting and informative items to share.