Welcome to Texas

Today was a very long day of riding, including some riding at night.

Another day on the road!

In the parking lot, while we gave our luggage a few additional pokes to make it roadworthy, an old man came walking out and chatted us up.  “Gonna be a lot of wind today,” he said, casually.  “I had to tell most of my crew to stay home, on account the wind is too dangerous.”

I surmised that he was in charge of that massive project on the south side of town.  “Oh yeah?  Which direction is it going today?”

“Goin’ south, mostly.”

“Dang; that means it’s going to push us around.  We’re goin’ northeast.”

“Well you be careful out there.”

Chocolate, nuts, and fruit. Road snacks!

As Nick and I rolled out onto the street, Nick noticed he had a flat rear tire.  I think that brought us up to something like five flats for the trip so far, spread out over four wheels.

I knew we were pressed for time, and I was much faster at changing a tire, so I made a deal with Nick:  “I’ll stay here and change it if you ride over to that coffee place we saw yesterday and find us something good!”  We both liked that idea.  20 minutes later the tire was changed, and as I was inflating it, Nick returned.  The shop had been closed!  Drat!  But he brought me a big bottle of water, which I poured into the sack.

Looking back on the town of Logan. See ya!

We rode out of town and turned northeast, and the wind began to press at us from the side.  Fortunately it was on the less dangerous side, pushing us away from the road rather than into it.  Nick ranged ahead for a while and then drifted back.  The land sloped gently upward, making us feel like we were working a little too hard to maintain speed, as though our tires were leaking or our brakes were stuck.  Just an illusion of the terrain.

Go legs go!

Gettin' a little windburn here.

The terrain, by the way, was gorgeous.

The cotton trucks shed tiny fragments, which accumulate by the side of the road this time of year.
Cotton by the side of the road.
The lumpier the road, the slower the ride.
Please do. Us cyclists appreciate it!
This was probably here long before the big green metal sign.
Long slow construction projects going on here.
Roadside snacking

In the late afternoon we passed into Texas.  About a quarter mile after the state marker, we passed a construction crew, and the road began to get very sketchy.  One lane was constantly torn up and blanketed with loose gravel, with cones fencing it off, and every couple of miles the lanes would switch.  We had to spend a lot of very uncomfortable time watching our mirrors and launching into the gravel to give trucks the room they needed.

Worse yet, the highway was sometimes narrowed down to a single lane, forcing us to pedal in the “oncoming” lane while blinking temporary roadsigns switched the flow of traffic between “with us” and “against us” faster than we could cross the gap.  At least the wind was dying down.

Lovely sunset colors over Texas.
Miraculously, the kid isn't sunburned ... yet!
Nice evening colors in this vast sky.
Putting on the windbreaker and pants. Getting cold out!

It grew dark and we turned on our headlights.  The miles of road cones continued.  The shoulder of the road got more and more chewed up and even vanished for a while, forcing us into the lanes.  It was one of those all-too-familiar intervals (at least for me) where I knew I was being constantly passed by drivers who were thinking, “Why would anyone choose to be in that dangerous situation when they could just get in a car?”

Towers in the night.

We eventually rolled into Dalhart.  The streets were a mess and trucks were everywhere, pulling in for food or a hotel or just trying to thread their way across town.  Trains rumbled by frequently, down tracks that were routed heedlessly through busy intersections.

Yes, it's also a bowling alley!
Night time in Dalhart. Groovy lights but not much going on.
The Dallam County Courthouse
I've never heard of this chain, but it seems to be all over Texas.
Stopping for a pee break and some night photography.
Me:
“So, what’s the most run-down, decrepit city you’ve ever been in?”
Nick:
“Probably that one we were just in. The one with the abandoned gas station and all those other abandoned buildings.”
Me:
“Tucumcari?”
Nick:
“Yeah.”
Me:
“I don’t mean just on this trip, I mean, in your whole life up to now.”
Nick:
“I think it would still be Tucumcari.”
Me:
“Hah! Well all right then.”

You know it's a Texas motel because of the stars!

Finally arrived. Time to shed layers.

So many layers!

As soon as we scored our hotel room we went with the worst angels of our nature and ordered a huge pile of Sonic drive-in fast food, then devoured it all quickly.

I checked in with work and Nick watched some classic Star Trek on his phone.  We’d earned our rest for the night.

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