Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pampa TX to Canadian TX April 7

April 7......45.52 miles in 4:57.....It was appropriate that I was riding to Canadian, because I felt like I was riding in Canada! When I rolled, it was once again in the mid forties, but the wind was rocking, causing the wind chill to be significant. I chose to wear gloves and long pants, as well as my new gortex jacket ( bought it in San Diego at Road Runner Sports Factory Outlet for days just like today. Thanks Pam!!! ) I can't find anything on why they named the town and the local river Canadian, but I know I had to ride through Miami to get to it. The weather was more Canadian than Miami, for sure.
I was mentally prepared for 50 miles into the wind, so I knew what was coming. It never blew me off the road, and I actually felt pretty strong, even though there were times that I was going five mph on the roller climbs, and times that I was pedaling downhill, and I was going ten mph. The wind only let up a little, when I was down in the valley, just past my halfway mark, near Miami. I got everything I thought I would.
The first five miles of my ride, the wind may have been catching my tail as much as blowing in my ear hole, out of the north. As soon as I went around one little curve, that was over with, and I was getting rocked. US60 was headed northeast at this point, across a mega flat plain, filled with cotton and corn fields. It being Monday, traffic was heavier than yesterday, and I actually hoped and cheered for the eighteen wheelers that would go by and break my wind current and suck me along for just a few seconds. I was headed into serious oil and gas country, so there were tons of trucks, especially those crazy Haliburton trucks that dominate Washington County at home right now with the Marcellas Shale gas wells. 
Eventually the flat plains began to roll, and I descended in staircase fashion into a valley that contained lots of trees and hills, which is where the wind was lightest today. That's also where Pam caught up to me, and pulled into a neat little picnic and rest area, where we could have spent a free night, but it was too early to stop. The trip also provided more wildlife than I've been seeing. I saw a dozen or so antelope sprinting across a corn field early in the ride, a dead bobcat and two dead coyotes along the road, and  two birds that I know I've never seen before. One was very small, like a sparrow, had an orangish belly, and a very, very, long and skinny tail. Unlike anything I've ever seen. After some research, I found out that it was the Oklahoma state bird, the scissor tailed flycatcher! When I was down in the valley near Miami, I also stampeded about 50 black cows, who actually ran along side me for about a half a mile. Really. It turns out that they were running for the protection of a little hill between the field and the road, where I would not be able to be seen. There they stopped and just stared at me as I rode off. 
I was hoping that I would follow the railroad tracks the rest of the way to Canadian that I picked up near Miami, but I knew it was bad news when the track went left and I went right. I had to climb out of the valley, and it's wind protection, back up to the higher plain on the other side. It was really rolling for the rest of the trip, as I ended up climbing 1700 ft, even though the entire trip ended 700 ft lower than it started. As I came out of the valley, the wind was still rocking, and what made it worse was that US60 intersected with US83, which is a north/ south route, and for the first time, for the last eight miles into Canadian, I was going due north, directly into the teeth of the wind. This side of the trip was major oil and gas country, as the farmland was gone, and the rolling hills were filled with oil wells, gas wells, burning flames coming out of burn off stacks and even one five fan ventilation shaft. Probably the last five miles were going downhill into the Canadian River valley, but the wind made any speed or relaxation impossible. I went down my steepest hill, down in the arrow bars and pedaling hard....and I got up to 19 mph!
For the second night in a row, we are stayed in a small town rodeo venue that has RV hookups. Just put your money in an iron ranger, and go hookup. No check out times, no campground host. It rained some more as we watched TV in the evening. That's two days in a row with some rain, in an area that is crispy dry and in extreme drought conditions. Its a late arriving winter in Canadian!

Miami, Texas

Texas longhorn posing with Bike in Miami, Texas

Anti litter campaign

We met up at a nice little rest area (with trees!!)

The masked bandit riding the highways!

A scene from the valley outside of Miami (note the train!)

Climbing out of the valley

Red dirt and uphill grades

Someone was watching us from the hill - this is big fossil country

Sign of the big business in Canadian, TX

Canadian Main Street - of course it's red bricks!

Wind turbine propeller driving by in Canadian

Artwork on a motel wall

This is a guinea fowl - but maybe it's Foghorn Leghorn as a tike.  (old cartoon character)

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