Elephant Butte was one of the first towns we hit that wasn't on the map set. When you're on the actualy route, the people you run into in towns are aware of the divide and its riders. They aren't overly surprised to see others doing it, but are still very welcoming and share encouragement. The great things really happen when you venture off route. The people we ran into in Elephant Butte were hilarious. Many people would stop and ask us what we were up to and were shocked to hear of our trip. At breakfast, the manager actually came out to get us to autograph a napkin???? He said he was going to hang it on the wall. After a few conversations, we were packing up and leaving the diner. A man well into his sixties followed us out and struck up a conversation. He was delighted to learn what we were doing. He asked us "How are yall doing for money?". We responded that we saved up for the trip and have just been roughing it, as the trip requires. He dug his hands into his pockets and pulled out a wad of cash to give us!!! We had to refuse, but its this type of generosity we've been getting that really helps you get through the tough days of the trip.
We began to pedal towards our destination of Demming, NM. As we were leaving EB, we saw two businesses side by side. One named "Mr. G's", the other "Randy's". Thought this was pretty awesome that our fathers secretly had businesses in New Mexico. Taking after Walt, likely.
About 20 or 30 miles into our ride, Cam's final flat occured. This must have put him in the double digits for the trip. We tried patching the tire. Didn't work. Tried redoing the rim tape. Didn't help. Tried another tube. Not working. About 2 hours, 3 tubes, and 4 patch jobs later, we had no choice but to give up on the tire. We concluded that it was too hot for the adhesive to work properly on the patch (it was booooooiling hot out). We honestly had no option but to hitch hike to the nearest bike shop. This happened to be down the road (off route, mind you) in Las Cruces. A couple hitched rides later we found ourselves at the bike shop. We were paying for some heavy duty tubes when another shopper overheard us talking about local campgrounds. Lilly came up and offered us a spot to crash at her pad. She was a young professor of Creative Writing at New Mexico State University.
Lilly took us out for dinner at a local mexican joint for dollar tacos. Cam and Geoff's dream come true. We debated cancelling the flights and staying there forever. We hung out and exchanged stories for the evening before crashing. What a treat. Much better than any campground around. Thanks, Lilly!!!! And sorry about leaving my disgusting rotting shirt at your house. I really didn't mean to!