Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22....Bicycling from Logan, NM to Dalhart, Texas

68.53 miles in 8:22...total ascent...1451...descent...1171 ft...average speed 8.2 mph...max speed 14.9
Total trip miles...779.42.... Total trip ascent...22,394 ft.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning because of the uncertainty with the weather. There is supposed to be some severe weather potential as the day goes on, so I thought I would want to roll early. The wind is also supposed to be a factor, with the Logan report saying that it's going to start as a pretty stiff headwind, but then change to a tail. The Dalhart, TX weather says the wind is going to be a stiff headwind all day. I'm going to travel NE, and don't you know, the wind will be rocking out of the NE. I can only hope that if I leave early, I'll beat the storms, and maybe the wind will change at some point and give me a break.
US 54 goes as straight as an arrow toward the NE, but it does roll constantly. I climbed almost 1500 ft, and barely changed elevation, from beginning to end of trip. Scenic highlights of the day were a dead badger, a couple of dead coyotes, and antelope sightings on at least four different occasions, just like yesterday. None were very close, however. There really wasn't much to look at. A few range cows, no civilization, except for the struggling town of Nora Visa at the 24 mile mark. The traffic was not terrible, and a thank you goes out to every commercial trucker who was very respectful, and usually moved over as they went past me, or at least timed it out so they didn't pass me at the same time as a vehicle coming the opposite direction. The shoulder was not very wide to the Texas line, and it had rumble strips right in the middle of it. In Texas, the shoulder became wider and the rumble strips disappeared. The dreaded Texas chip seal didn't start until I was twenty miles into the state, which I was thankful for. That stuff really sux. 
It took me over three hours to go 24 miles because of the wind, to the little town of Nora Visa. It was so brutal that I was just resigned to crawl along, not get stressed, and hope the wind changed, or I would be pulling into Dalhart in the dark, and hope there were no storms. Five miles past Nora Visa, I came to the Texas state line, and took my first break. Also, I moved into Central Savings Time at that point, so I lost a hour of critical daylight. At about the time I got into Texas, Mother Nature cut me a little break. The wind continued to wail, but it changed direction just enough so it was so totally head on. It was off to my left now, and it really didn't hurt or help my speed, it just made it harder to steer with the side wind. The temperature finally started to warm up after a start in the fifties, and my sock less toes really appreciated that. With a little warmer weather and speeds greater than 6-7 miles an hour, Dalhart in daylight began to seem more likely. Then the chip seal shoulders started, and that bumping slows me down 2-3 mph, as well as makes my rear view mirror bounce so much that I can't tell what's coming up behind me. I will reiterate. That stuff sux.
Time began to drag on again, and it seemed like I was never going to get into town, especially when dark clouds began to form all around me, and the sun disappeared before 5pm. The air on the outskirts of town was aromatic with two huge cow feeding facilities, with thousands of cows, even though it looked like millions, I'm sure it wasn't. I gotta tell you though, I have the ability to make ten thousand cattle stop eating and watch me ride by. It's a really eerie feeling to be stared at by that many animals. They even stared at me from their King of the hill perches on the top of the feed piles. And they stunk. OMG, did they stink. This went on for miles, as I kept looking for the town boundary, but all I saw was more cows staring at me. The clouds began to rumble with thunder, and I got a sense of urgency about my speed, but the rain still hit right as I hit the edge of town. I didn't see any lightning, and boy, was that rain cold! Fortunately, the Texas Motel was right there, and only one layer got wet. Another $40 room, so I took it, waited for it to stop raining, and walked across the street to eat at Piasano's Mexican restaurant. I had a Texas burger with green peppers and salsa on it, and I needed two beers to wash the heat off my lips. When I turned my phone on, it blew up with texts from Pam telling me about all the tornado warnings in north Texas. Fortunately, they were further south, near Amarillo, and I am way up in the northwest most corner of the state. I planned the route to get as little Texas chip seal as I could, so I'll be rolling into Oklahoma tomorrow already

Rails leading out of Logan

Hasta la Vista New Mexico!!!

Uh oh! Chip seal?

I liked this old monument better than a green sign.  

Storm caught me before I got to this room in Dalhart, TX


This salsa lit me up!!!

Nice Mexican restaurant, eh?

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