bike ride reaches higher elevation

The headwinds were gusting at 30 to 35 miles per hour today. I bet the wind farms were getting a workout. Our bike ride was certainly one long constant push! We would ride until the winds were blowing us over, then pull over, swap our biking cleats for gym shoes, trudge on for a couple miles till the wind would die down a little and then hop back on the bikes again. I even shot a video of a windstorm. I will post it to our YouTube Channel as soon as I can find a decent connection. (They seem as far and few between as towns out here).

After riding the rolling hills earlier on our Texas adventure, we were unprepared for how vast and desolate the West Texas plains really are. At times, it seemed that Mary and I were the only two people on the planet. Bike ride pause to admire trainsHowever, we were reminded every so often that was not the case. The heart of American commerce rumbles along almost constantly on more railroad tracks than we have ever encountered. As urbanites, we rarely ever saw a train. In fact, most train tracks have been converted into bike paths back in Florida. Out here, we are fascinated by the active signs of robust commerce that roll along those tracks continuously. And these trains are huge. Texas-grain bins on bike rideToday, we saw a train with four engines pulling 128 cars full of coal. To get an idea of just how long that is, 128 cars add up to just less than 7100 feet. That is a little over one and one third mile! I took a picture the other day of a train pulling military equipment. Mary and I watch them in sheer amazement. It has given us a completely new perspective on how just how important our transportation system is to how we live. If trains and 18-wheelers stopped, society as we know it would truly come to a grinding halt.

After a long day’s ride, a cold beer tastes mighty fine. Completing another long ride makes each day cause for a little celebrating. It helps to take a little time to wind down when we stop riding for the evening. Like my limited knowledge of trains, Mary and I had never encountered a dry county. In this part of Texas, crosses are abundant but beer coolers are rare. In Dumas, we did find a little restaurant, the Roadhouse 287 that would let you buy a beer as long as you had a license to buy it. For $50, you could buy beer for a year. Fortunately, they offered a temporary three-day license for $3.00. I had never heard of anything like this. We are learning so much on this bike tour.

Our plan from here is to enter the tip of Oklahoma and then trek west into Colorado. We are not confident in our original timetable, though. Today’s bike ride took 7 hours. The good news is the road was flat as a pancake. If we had been determined to follow our original plan and route without deviation on this bike ride, we never would’ve made it over 2,000 miles so far. We will just have to see what tomorrow brings! Stay tuned to see how it goes.

A long, windy day for Mark and Mary on their bike ride for hydrocephalus but an eye-opening glimpse into the heart of American commerce.

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