Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Mon Oct 14, 2019

Day 30

I feel like I got some good rest last nigh. We camped in the lot adjacent to the Community Center building in Langtry. This is a very small town. I don’t know what people do here for a living, but I suspect that most of the employment is connected to the Visitor’s Center and Judge Roy Bean Museum. The legend of Judge Roy Bean lives on in this town. The museum and visitor’s center was built and is managed by the Texas Department of Transportation. I overheard one lady say they get 40,000 visitors a year. It is a very nice facility. Much nicer in fact than you would expect to encounter in a town this size.

Last night after dinner I took a walk down to the Rio Grande river. I could not see any water, likely because I could not get close enough. Here the river flows through a very large canyon. On the Mexico side, the canyon wall must be 100 feet high. On the U.S. side the canyon wall is something less, but still significant. The entire landscape speaks of a mighty river that literally is no more. There are a lot of trees and vegetation in the bottom of the canyon, so it seems likely that water still flows here, I suspect mostly underground.

After a nice chat with our Community Center host this morning, our host came to unlock the building so we could use the rest rooms, I learned that the river does flow here. It flows right along the Mexico side of the canyon. She confirmed that the river is much smaller here than it was back in Judge Roy Bean’s day. I shared with our host my theory that Texans pronounce the “o” and the end of words like an “a” so they can tell who the “outsiders” are. She laughed and agreed with me. She is from Missouri and she married a native Texan. She told me that occasionally when she pronounces a word incorrectly, using “o” instead of “a”, her husband laughs at her and tells her that her “yankee is showing.”

I’m going to take it easy today and try to conserve some energy for tomorrow. Tonight we will be in Del RIo. It is a fairly large town and I need to try and find a new bicycle seat. I never thought a B17 would fail me, but it has become so misshapen that it is now uncomfortable. Time to pack up and head out for the day.

Drink before you’re thirsty, eat before your hungry, shift before you have to…

That’s my motto. I left Langtry and forgot to fill up my water bottles. The first town was 30 miles away. The mornings are a bit easier to negotiate without water than the afternoons, and this morning was on the cool side. When I reached the next town 30 miles down the road, I bought a chocolate milk, a 24oz Dr Pepper, and two bottles of water. That fixed me up and got me through the rest of the day. Shortly after I pulled into the town, a dozen (Harley Davidson) bikers rolled in. They were all from a vintage Harley club in Austin. They were riding bikes that were all pre-1970’s era. They were fun to talk to, every one was a mechanic, several were doing repairs to their bike at the stop. I left and they passed me several miles down the road, roaring by in a group. I waved, I don’t think any waved back. I do get waves from the bikers on BMWs from time to time.

Yesterday the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to two researchers doing work in the field poverty, specifically how to alleviate poverty. It was refreshing to me to see this award. Perhaps the four decades trend of selfishly accruing wealth at the top, also know as “Share Value” economics, is coming to an end. It may be too much to ask, but perhaps the science of Economics is growing a soul. It needs to.

I can’t say enough about today. The weather was perfect for cycling. Not too hot, the terrain very civilized. Some days are good days, and some days are bad days. You just have to power through the bad days. The good days like today make the entire experience absolutely worth doing, by an order of magnitude. Today I rode just how I like!

Eight miles out of Del Rio I passed a drive-thru “beer barn.” I have never seen such a thing before! Of course I pulled over and drove through. For my selection I had a Modelo Especial. I also stopped at a liqueur store and picked up a bottle of Crown. I might add I am enjoying that as I write this post.

Tomorrow is a 75 mile day. It will be challenging, but I’m sure it will not be without reward. Tomorrow we enter what is referred to as the “Texas hill country.” Things will probably get a bit more challenging. We will be in the hill country until we reach Austin.

Miles: 61

A truly marvelous day of riding.