Mar 28, 2009


Today's exciting trip news (reproduced with permission) from the Coast-2-Coast USA team - a bunch of brave dads/uncles/brothers/friends of children from the UK, cycling across the southern continental United States from Oceanside, California to St. Augustine, Florida to raise donations for the Children's Hospital for Wales and the Noah's Ark Appeal. Show them your support with pledges and, if you're on their route - especially at the end in St Augustine, Florida - turn out and welcome them, put them up or feed them or just buy them a beer! Previous days entries here:- March 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th , 28th Interview with Americymru member and Coast2Coast rider Gareth Evans:- here. Listen to Coast-2-Coast USA's Richard Belcher on Radio Glamorgan with Peter Cox!

Facts of Taos

On Wednesday 25, at 1300 hrs, the Coast 2 Coast charity cycle ride team met up with cyclists from Taos Cycle Club, New Mexico. We met a Randy, who was sent out as a scouting party at the Rio Grande bridge. He took a Welsh flag on to Taos main plaza where it was to be flown alongside the new Mexican flag. At 1330 hrs, at the KTAO parking lot in Taos, Rose Bauhs and Matthew Foster from the Taos cycle Club met us and welcomed the group. A police car then escorted us into downtown Taos stopping the traffic as the 25-30 cyclists were given the privilege of driving through red lights. At 1400 hrs, after a few miles we turned into the plaza where we were met by Zorro on his horse. The horse danced and twirled in front of us as we did three ‘laps of honour’ around the plaza. Circling the main gazebo/bandstand in the plaza the Taos High School Mariachi Band played and the whole welcome scenario overwhelmed us. Getting of our bikes we were invited to listen to the band whilst they went through some Spanish numbers with individuals and duets taking it in turn to take the lead vocal.

The Mayor made a welcome speech and we swapped gifts from Carmarthen’s mayor, Anthony Jenkins. Next up was Billy Archeleta, a local recording artist, who sang and played guitar on his own composition which was followed by La Bamba. Next up were Paul and Grace Jones who played their own beautifully composed music and finished with a number entitled, ‘Spanish Love’. Andy was asked to make a small speech and Marilyn, a Taos resident and a lady who was born in Wales and feels incredibly Welsh even though she hasn’t been home for many years MC’d the whole event. I was then presented by Lucy, a local Taos herbalist, with a concoction of local herbs to stave off the affect of altitude whilst cycling.

Marilyn and Randy showed the boys around the town, and took us to Dean Johnson’s Souvenir shop where presents were given and presents received.

We returned to the Alta Mount Ranch where we were hosted for the evening by the lovely Phyllis and Jan. After a long hot tub session we adjourned to the barn for an American style BBQ with all the friends who had welcomed us in the afternoon attending. Some more relaxing peace pipe music from Paul, delicious food, sponsored beer and wine gave everyone the chance to relax and reflect on their past experiences. With more giving of presents and speeches by Andy and hugs and kisses from Mervyn we tried to sing a few Welsh songs along with the National Anthem. Phil then provided some singalongs and the Barn party finally broke up after the group photos and goodbyes.

The next morning we were invited to take breakfast with Jan and Phyllis. An outstanding fare was provided with fresh strawberry smoothies and blackberry surprises followed by Blueberry pancakes, sausages and fresh coffee. We left with yet more presents and finally said our goodbyes at the Church of St Francis. An incredible day of welcome and hospitality – what are we - but memories.

Clovis to Sweetwater

New Mexico to Texas. It was only to take us 5 minutes to get into the next state but heavy snow and high winds meant the morning cycling was abandoned.

A visit to Wal Mart in Clovis, a cafe stop in Anton and interviews all round for the camera crew create a sense of under achievement. The weather subsides and as we move south we are met by tail winds that push us along at over 26 mph average. Time is made up and we arrive in Sweetwater along with the dusk of a bitterly cold Texan evening.

Austin tomorrow and everyone is up for an early start at 6 a.m. and the 240 miles that lay ahead!

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