September 30, 2001

9/30/01 L.E. Wood picnic area

67 / 8606 miles

Stayed up late talking to Dave. I guess we both needed that. And when I offered him a beer, he had one in his hand to offer me. That was funny. Talked about everyday stuff like jobs, careers, travel, women and relationships. Before you knew it, it was after 11PM.

Pretty good painting in Van Horn

Kind of surprised I'm not a little more hungover after all those beers I drank. Cloud cover made it still seem like night so I kept going back to sleep. When I saw that it was after 8, I jumped out of the tent. A long day ahead and I'm still in bed. Argh! But after all this time, I can break camp pretty darn fast. Said good-bye and good luck to Dave and I was on the road by 8:30AM.

It didn't matter. Even at this early hour, the headwinds were already pretty strong. At least I had the frontage road all to myself. That way I could just drop my head and push on. Very slow going. There was a truck-stop at the 19-mile mark and it had taken me almost three hours to get there. Had a bite to eat and then back out into the wind.

Had to get back onto the interstate at that point. But I think the trucks helped me a little. It seemed that the wind lessened just a touch when they got close. Then as they passed me, the bike seemed to get caught in their draft. At least that's what I kept telling myself. The amazing thing was all the traffic on a Sunday. And most of it semi's, probably ten trucks to every car I saw. And most of the time it seemed bumper to bumper.

Took another three hours to go twenty more miles to my exit off the interstate. Two o'clock and I'm not even half way yet! The wind was still so strong, it kept blowing over my bike when I went to get more water at a gas station. I'm getting concerned that I can even make it to Fort Davis because besides the wind, now I begin climbing too.

Finally off the interstate

I'm concerned about water. At the speed I'm going, even five liters might not be enough, especially if I have to dry camp somewhere. At least the temperature is cool with some high overcast clouds. Took a break every five miles and only took moderate sips of water. I think only three or four cars passed me in those 25-miles off the interstate. I thought the mountains might shield me some from the wind, but it didn't feel like it.

Found this guy in the middle of the road

The fences were pretty far off the road and there were a lot of short fat shrubs here and there if I needed to find a camping spot directly on the road. But the map showed a picnic area ahead, just before I get to the final climb up to the observatory. Maybe it will have water.

Bike sign out in the middle of nowhere

At 6PM, almost ten hours after I began, I haven't even done 70-miles. The picnic area is a good place to stop. Besides I need to eat something to keep my energy up. Since I was low on water (none here at the picnic area), I ended up licking my cooking pot clean after making some dinner. Traffic on this road seems to have picked up and one car even cruised the picnic area. That was weird because the nearest town is 25-miles away and it's Sunday evening.

As it got dark, I found what I hope is a secluded spot where no one can see me. There is a $200 fine if you get caught camping so I hope tonight is my lucky night. It's cool and the winds still haven't lessened any. Not sure at all what to do tomorrow. Maybe after visiting the observatory and the fort, I'll take another short day. It's not like I have a deadline or anything. But it's also all downhill to Del Rio after tomorrow morning's initial climb. Yippie!