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October 01, 2009


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I appreciate your heart for the people and land of the American West. What you saw today is common in some parts. But there are many other still-vibrant small towns in New Mexico where agriculture-based economies still thrive. Where universities and community colleges still offer good education. Where downtown squares still offer friendly hub of small city life. Where parades still feature fire trucks and candy for children along main route through town.

Places like Portales, New Mexico. Home of the nation's Valencia peanuts. Lots of dairies, where many dairy women are united in their mission of working hard to make sure area children have enough milk to drink and food to eat. Where there's a big parade and citywide celebration this weekend. Where neighbors, friends and even strangers will help you if you need it. Where the pioneering spirit of the West still lives...survives...and thrives. Wish you could see that too.

At the same time, I'm so grateful that someone with such a big heart is riding with such an open heart through the Land of Enchantment. We're honored to have you here, Chris.

Wonderful entry Chris. The plight of the small community has been going on for years actually. Many communities missed out on the economic growth of the 90s as their populace moved to large cities and were hit even harder by the recession of the 00s as what jobs remained were outsourced or just dried up. Methamphetamine took over many and those that remain struggle with many of lifes basics. I traveled through some old rail towns in northern Texas a few years ago and wondered if there were some way we could reinvigorate many of these communities and I always seemed to come back to public works projects and national rail systems as well as reinvigoration of farming. Many communities are in perfect country for farming, but international prices for grains and traditional commodities are too low. New crops and less focus on intensive farming and a return to more organic approaches could perhaps go a long way towards reinventing farming in this country and rescuing small town America...

Just a few thoughts....

I may be posting two entries...can't be sure whether one got lost in the tween world. Chris I find many of the ghost like towns in that area depressing too but our need as a country to begin to cut away to the essential needs seems important. I am concerned with the loss of the small local farmer and good healthy untampered food. Many of these areas are agricultural based. Sad but we seem to have lost the love of tilling the land and instead prefer the quick fix and drive thru method. So many of children have no clue where food comes from. I work in public schools right now and nowhere is the economic problems more reflected than the classroom. I am happy the road finally came up to meet you and that you finally got a good tailwind. The view from a bike is spectacular and I am certain that someday I will try to do a cross country even if involves quilting together a few shorter ones. I am really wanting to go find a job with the state parks or something that puts me closer to the earth so I too can experience the wind at my back more often. I am preparing to ride in my classroom or spin on trainer all day to promote awareness of Livestrong Day. Collected many names of those surviving and those you have lost the battle. Onward. I'd send cookies but hard to figure how they would actually get to you. I'd still love to come ride, but the drive would be 6-8 hours...so ride for those of us who would love to be there!

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