Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Wed Oct 9, 2019

Day 25

West Texas

Today we covered 75 miles. For me, it was the toughest day yet. I lost the odometer off my bike hauling beer ice on the handle bars a few towns back. We were “off the map” meaning for today’s ride we were not following the published ACA route. An improv of sorts. I believe we will be back on the map tomorrow. The distance and the terrain and my lack of spatial orientation (miles covered, miles to go) were messing with my head. The terrain was beautiful, but wicked. We were traveling through “High Texas Desert.” We climbed up to an elevation of 4,500 feet, over basically a distance of 65 miles. It was a gradual climb, probably only 1 or 2% grade, but the miles at grade took a toll. The last 10 miles were a gradual downhill with rollers. The town fathers of Marfa sadistically put a big “Welcome to Marfa” billboard, 5 miles out of town. It made you think the town was just over the next roller, which of course it was not, another head game to deal with. I did not deal with all the head games well today. I’d like to just say that covering 75 miles on a bike is not normally a big deal. I’ve done 150 in one day, the trick is these bikes are loaded, and each day they seem to get a little bit heavier. Yesterday all me tent gear was wet, adding literally a couple of pounds to the load, and I was carrying extra water since there were no services for the entire 75 miles. Extra water adds several pounds of weight. I don’t know exactly how much the bike weighs, but I’m guessing it is north of 80 pounds total.

The day started out with the discovery of the largest caterpillar I have ever seen. It was green, about 3 inches long, and it was happily sitting on one of my panniers. I took a photo which is of course posted to Instagram (@badkins65). The Van Horn RV park has one of the most useful weather stations I have ever seen. The accuracy is uncanny, in fact I would say the accuracy is near perfect. It consisted of a large sign with a rock hanging on a rope, the rock was about 2 feet in diameter. The sign read:

If the rock is wet… it’s raining

If the rock is swaying… it’s windy

If the rock is hot… it’s sunny

If the rock is cool… it’s overcast

If the rock is white… it’s snowing

If the rock is blue… it’s cold!

If the rock is gone… TORNADO

Along the route today, I saw a Prada store. I’m not exactly sure why there is a Prada store in the middle of the High Texas Desert. There was a plaque next to it that probably would have explained the purpose. I took it as high irony and humor combined, and of course took a photo. One of our company was standing along-side the building. I should note there were actual shoes and purses inside the building, the whole thing was built to look like a glass showcase. If you look carefully at the photo, you will see my reflection. Entertainment comes cheap when you’re on the road.

Miles: 75

Vertical: Guessing 1,500 to 2,000

Marfa is a very cool town.