I got up early to enjoy that hot tub. It's a good thing I did too. The cold water valve did not work so I filled the tub up with hot water only and let me tell you - It was HOT! In my feeble attempt to cool the tub down I filled up the hotel ice bucket with cold water from the sink and dumped it in the tub. I repeated this process somewhere between 20 and 25 times but it didn't seem to make an immediate effect. Fortunately, I was up really early and did not have to check out of the hotel until 10 am and I didn't have to be at church until a little later then that. So time was on my side. I waited, and waited and then finally the water was "cool" enough to get in. It was worth the wait.
I ended up going to Sagebrush Church. I had been watching their sermons on line at youtube and was quite impressed with the preaching. It is what you would call a mega-church. Something I have never been too crazy about but I have enjoyed the sermons and was quite anxious to hear one live and in person. The pastor, Todd Cook, preached on Jonah and forgiveness. It was a powerful message. The church had kiosks in the front lobby with signs that said, "GIVE HERE" I snapped a picture of it. A few minutes later people were lining up to give their tithes and offerings via a card swipe. I have never seen anything like that! You will notice the people in the picture are quite casually dressed. People don't seem to put on their best anymore when going to God's house. I wonder if these people would dress differently if they were getting ready to visit the Oval Office with an invitation to meet the president. Perhaps this is what appeals people to go to churches like this. You don't have to put much effort into going. I will say that the environment of the church gave me an overwhelming sense of being welcomed. I did an estimate on the auditorium I was in. I think it had about 3,000 in attendance. Sagebrush also broadcast their services to satellite churches in northern New Mexico. I was told the overall attendance can vary, maybe even upwards to 20,000 people total.
The Albuquerque Police Department had a detail to assist with traffic coming into the parking lot. I had never been to a mega church and the experience was quite educational.
After church I ran to the mall and while there I tried a Boba Tea! I had heard of this chain. All they sell is pretty much tea, butt different kinds. I had a "lollipop" - a sugar free mix of different fruit flavors. It said 0 carbs and I don't know how they did it because it was certainly sweet enough. It was also lightly carbonated but I didn't sense any of the carbonation.
Back to Alamogordo I headed! I filled up with fuel at one of the last exits before leaving the city limits. My GPS said there was another gas station in San Antonio, NM just after I turned off onto 380 so that would be my next stop for fuel. When I made it to that station I went in and plopped two $5 bills on the counter and told the lady I wanted to fill up my cycle. She then told me their pumps had quit working. I asked where the closes fuel station was and she told me that it was 8 miles in the direction I had just come from. I then asked if I could use the restroom before I left and she said that the restrooms had just quit working. I was beginning to feel like I wasn't wanted in the store.
I went back to my bike, preparing myself for making a round trip of 16 total miles for fuel. I had a reserve tank but this was not going to get me the 61 miles to get to Carrizozo - the next stop. As I was getting ready to hop on the bike a lady came running over with a one gallon gas tank. She said that the Lord had impressed upon her heart to give me the gas that she had in her truck for her lawn mower. I offered to give her $5 for it but she refused. I put it in the tank and headed off to Carrizozo.
I was glad to get there. My friend, Roger, says that the last leg of a motorcycle trip can be the most fatiguing. He was right. My dad suggested a few days back that I should get a wrap-a-round back support at Wal-Mart. I'm glad I took his advice. But still, I was a little saddle-soar. I filled up with gas, bought a large fountain diet soda and a water for the road. I sat down for 30 minutes listening to some old timers at the next table talk about...of all things, a local art gallery. One of them said a few minutes later that he had just bought a Honda Shadow 750. That peaked my interest. I told him the Shadow 1100 outside was mine and I was just finishing up a trip from St. Louis. He said, "Dressed like that?" I laughed and told him I had just come from church in Albuquerque and that I didn't change into my riding gear, I just wanted to get on home. He said he didn't know if he could do such a "hard ride." I didn't think of it as a hard ride. I have spaced out 1900 miles over 7 days. That's about 271 plus miles per day. Grant it, some days were longer, some were shorter. I think the longest day was from Killeen, Tx to Brownfield, Tx. 366 Miles. It's all very doable. You just have to stretch a lot. I did find one stretching exercise that I could do while I was seated on the bike and in motion. I would keep my posterior seated and square in the seat and my head stationary looking ahead. I would then twist my torso to the right several times and then to the left. I would do this several times and it only took less than a minute. It gave me a great deal of muscle soreness relief.
Well, I'm back home and thinking...I may have to do a shorter version of this again. Several, in fact. It's been a great ride. Maybe I'll do the Grand Canyon next. Maybe my other favorite place in the world, Tombstone, AZ. I'll keep you posted.