Cross-Country Segment 5

Santa Fe, NM to Lawton, OK

img_4921-xlSegment 5 will be a test of endurance, with long mileage days through some of the driest and loneliest lands in the American West. The challenge of the route will be matched only by the beauty of the High Plains and the charm of the small towns along Old Route 66 which still retain their classic Western character.

Segment 5 begins at the very bottom of the foot of the Rocky Mountains, with a 69 mile ride around the southern perimeter of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from Santa Fe to Las Vegas. Las Vegas, New Mexico might be less famous than its glitzy cousin in Nevada, but the city was once known throughout the Old West as a notorious stomping grounds for outlaws and desperados. Day 2 brings the route out of the Rockies and onto the Great Plains at long last, and that elevation loss will be very welcome since this is the longest ride day of the entire summer: 108 miles. Three-digit mileage might be matched by three-digit temperatures, as we trek across the arid Pecos Plain, a vast expanse of shortgrass prairie with no trees to speak of.

Ride Day 3, from Tucumcari to Vega, will be a banner day, as we pick up Old Route 66, cross into the sixth state of the trip (Texas!) and enter the Central Time zone. Day 4 brings us 94 miles across the Texas Panhandle to the town of Clarendon. On the way, we’ll pedal past the famous Cadillac Ranch in Bushland, and navigate an urban landscape for a change in Amarillo. After Amarillo, the route diverges from Route 66 and heads southeast across the high plains on quieter country roads. The Oklahoma state line awaits on Day 5, which includes a 67 mile jaunt from Clarendon to Hollis. Most of this portion is a steady downhill, and we will continue to lose elevation little by little until we reach the mighty Mississippi River in Segment 7.

The final ride day of Segment 5 is a haul, as we shoot past the 90-mile mark for the third time in 5 days into Lawton, Oklahoma. Like other cities of the Great Plains, Lawton is characterized by prairies, few trees and flat topography. It will make for a comfortable stopping point on Sunday as we enjoy another hard-earned off day.

Build Days: 0            Bike Days: 6            Total Miles: 512            Average: 85

DateDepart Arrive Mileage
July 2Santa Fe, NMSanta Fe, NMOff Day
July 3Santa Fe, NMLas Vegas, NM69
July 4Las Vegas, NMTucumcari, NM108
July 5Tucumcari, NMVega, TX81
July 6Vega, TXClarendon, TX94
July 7Clarendon, TXHollis, TX67
July 8Hollis, TXLawton, OK93
July 9Lawton, OKLawton, OKOff Day

(Note: This mileage is an estimate and could change depending on church host locations, and the major cities are listed although we may stay in a suburb.)

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