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Cross Country Chase Daily Update – 9/19/2022

After several days of rough roads, Stage 4 saw riders glad to get out into some open stretches, bringing smoother sailing across 266 miles of Route 66. Today’s ride took us from Elk City, Oklahoma, to our lunch stop at the Big Texan Steak House in Amarillo, Texas, where the restaurant staff put out a bounteous spread consisting of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, jalapeño corn casserole, and peach cobbler.

The first checkpoint at Cadillac Ranch, just 14 miles west of the Big Texan, was one of the coolest experiences of the Chase so far. As a reward for checking in and completing the quiz, Chasers were permitted to ride their vintage machines all the way back to the Cadillacs for photo ops, a rare occurrence (and maybe even a first), as vehicles are never allowed past the outer gate. The Cadillac Ranch is an art installation comprised of a line of heavily spray-painted, graffiti-covered Cadillacs, manufactured between 1949 and 1963, partially buried nose down.

From Amarillo, riders traveled another 100 miles, crossing from Central to Mountain time zone and ending the day at the Historic Train Depot and Museum in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Bikes were parked around the plaza where the City of Tucumcari, the Tucumcari Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Historic Downtown Tucumcari joined together to host dinner for Chase riders and staff. The train depot, built in 1926—the same year as Route 66 was commissioned—was, and still is, a source of great pride to Tucumcari. And the fascinating displays in the museum trace the history of the railroad and its effect on the community.

Today, only five motorcycles ended up on the sweep truck, however, a number of bikes needed repair. Clay Thorne of CCMS, a motorcycle repair shop in Tucumcari, opened his doors for riders to use his lifts, his tools, his supplies, and his expertise to get their bikes in shape for the next day. At least a dozen bikes were in and out of Clay’s shop, with problems ranging from small to serious: one rider needed seat springs, another a new inner tube, and yet another had to change a head gasket. Knowing Clay as we do, we’re sure he kept his shop open until the last machine was repaired and road ready.

The top points earners in all three classes maintained their positions from Stage 3: Dave Currier (#64) in Class 1, Richard Campbell (#96) for Class 2 and Roger Green (#37) in Class 3. Interestingly enough, these class leaders are also the top three points earners for the overall score. There is only a half-point difference between second and third places, so watch to see who the leaders will be in the coming days.

Tomorrow, Stage 5 leaves from Tucumcari, ending the 254-mile day at Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the public is invited to meet the riders and view their bikes.