Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bicycling from Amarillo to Pampa, Texas. April 6

52.24 miles in 4:16...The rain that everyone has been praying for, came down last night, and it got real cold, near freezing, and real damp. The wind wasn't bad at all when I got rolling, but it was still cold and gray. I think my GPS said it was 44 when I started out. I had four layers on, as well as my foot warmers, but my finger tips were still real cold, for about 6 miles, till I got warmed up. I had a very gradual descent of a couple hundred feet over the entire trip, which helped to make up for the very mild headwind. Generally speaking, it was a windless day for this neck of the woods, but my legs were still more tired at the end of the ride than I would have liked. Even a ten mph headwind is like a 20-25 mph headwind when I'm going 10-15 mph myself.
On this stretch of open highway, I at least had something to look at as I rode. Trains were my constant companion, as maybe 15 passed me in four+ hours. Every ten miles or so I came to a huge grain elevator and an accompanying town. Sometimes the town was very small, other times, like the town of Panhandle, it was a little bigger. I went thru two small towns, that had the red brick Main Street shooting off of US60, that every town in north Texas seems to have. I traveled through three wind farms, with the huge windmills on the three tallest ridges I crossed ( not very much higher than a twenty foot climb in elevation.)  The largest wind farm was still under construction, but it took me over five miles of riding to get through it, with windmills on both sides of the road. None of the windmills were turning. At first I thought it was because of a lack of wind, but then I figured out that the place wasn't up and running yet. There were power poles with no lines attached, and about a half dozen over sized load trucks rolled past me with various windmill parts, for even more windmills. In the distance, I could see windmill bases, with no propellers. Since it was Sunday, there was no work going on in the field, and the towns I went through were also pretty much shut down. 
Pam found a campground area at the Top of Texas Rodeo Park, which had a lake, playground, ball fields, and picnic areas, as well as a large rodeo arena, in Pampa, Texas. When I pulled into the rodeo park, the first sign I saw was "Danger!  Beware of rattlesnakes!  Woohoo! Pampa is a town of about 17,000 which is big in the energy (wind, gas, and oil) area. It's claim to fame is that Woodie Guthrie went to high school here, and worked as a soda fountain jerk, until moving on to greater fame as a songwriter, lyricist, and poet. Only select older people have even heard of him these days. 

The scenery and the elements - and the forecast of strong winds

Only in Texas do you celebrate the first tree on the Texas High Plains!!

This must be it!  My guess is it is a grandtree

Wind farms are big business out here - well it is windy!!

Closer view

Cotton and wind energy country
Gin like in Eli Whitney's, not Seagram's!

Cotton picker by John Deere

Never did see any white deer around this town

Lots of the historical markers spoke of the cattle drives

Passing wind turbine parts on the road - twice as long as a regular 18 wheeler!

Trains are constantly passing us

The town's pride of their high school teams - the Pampa Harvesters!

Alice's Restaurant was a great song written by Arlo Guthrie

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