Tom Browne, my roommate, and I missed our wake-up call and were rescued only by my iPhone, which beeped on schedule on 6 am. Nonetheless, we managed a quick breakfast before joining the group and hitting the road.

We cleared Amarillo easily, heading for the town of Adrian, which claims to be the midpoint of Route 66, equidistant from Chicago and Santa Monica. We managed to take the necessary individual and group photographs and run across the road and order delicious cinnamon rolls and coffee, before the other groups descended on the town. Again, picking up yesterday’s point, “town” is perhaps too grand a term for Adrian – beyond the “midpoint” sign and the cafe, there’s little else.

Tom and myself at the halfway point!

Tom and myself at the halfway point!

On to Tucumcari, once known as Six-shooter Siding, now staging something of a comeback, with several new hotels and restaurants. Arriving here, some of the lads contributed mightily to local drought prevention, unable to wait to use the restrooms at the gas station just down the hill, less than half a mile away! Maybe shamrocks will grow in Tucumcari one day – and only the Irish 66ers will know why!

Irish 66ers do their bit for drought prevention, Tucumcari NM

Irish 66ers do their bit for drought prevention, Tucumcari NM

Lunch at a brand new Denny’s, where the other guests were entertained by our obvious enjoyment of a long series of jokes, one better than the last, but (thankfully) spared understanding of them by our foreign accents.

Then to Clines Corner, a large rest-stop on I-40, famous for souvenirs and trinkets. Cowboy hats were the de rigeur purchase here, probably fueled by memories of the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, the night before. Although some US states are quite relaxed about whether bikers were helmets, our road captain was not – all hats had to go into the panniers and we had to wear our conventional helmets.

And then into Albuquerque, arriving earlier than usual, helped in part by crossing into a new time zone – which we will do again tomorrow, as we cross into Arizona.

A good day’s biking for me – things came together: good, smooth, straight roads, with plenty of forward vision, allowed me to keep up with the group easily – not the case on Thursday, when the Challenge felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew. But I’m on track, gaining in confidence, more than half-way to Santa Monica. The only problem is that rain and snow are forecast for tomorrow, Saturday. It’ll be interesting!!

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