Day 3: Monday
Distance: 34.81 mi
Average Speed: 10.0 mph
Maximum Speed: 21.9 mph
Time in Motion: 3:27:37
We woke, slowly got ready, and made our way to Michael's Restaurant for breakfast. After that we headed out of town on a frontage road along I-10. Immediately it became obvous that the temps were quite low. Some guy in the restaurant said it was 32 degrees, but it felt colder than that. And what was worste-the wind forecast yesterday was off by 180 degrees. Tailwinds were forecasted, but we were fighting a headwind all the way. I was only making 10 miles an hour, or less, for much of the ride.
About 20 miles into the ride, the frontage road ended and we road onto I-10 once again. The traffic is very heavy out there, and it wasn't fun. At least on the Interstate the shoulders are smooth, wide, and separted from traffic by a rumble strip. But the noise of traffic was unpleasant. At one point near Allamoore I pulled off the road and sat behind some big rocks just to get a break from the wind.
As we rode along today it got more hilly. The hills once off in the distance were now towering on each side of me, cut in two by the Interstate.
Finally I rolled down into Van Horn. After finding Jesse, we spotted a Pizza Hut, which we have been craving for days. The warmth of the restaurant and the protection from the wind was very pleasant. Oh, and the pizza was good, too. While we were there we visited briefly with a guy who had done some bicycle touring.
After gorging ourselves on greasy pizza (this trip isn't about health food!) we rode on to find some lodging. My body protested the cold as we got back onto our bikes. As we rode along, we passed literally dozens of motels in this small town. We checked into the Days Inn on the eastern edge of town. It's very nice and affordable.
This town has no attractions to speak of (though I did spot the Church of Christ). It's only "attraction" is that it is situated at a place in Texas where people passing between larger cities need to stop for a night and rest because of the vast distances. Texas truly is big and empty.
After watching the forecasts and looking at the maps, we decided to stick to the Adventure Cycling route, through the mountains, to the McDonald Observatory or Fort Davis, tomorrow. The distance worries us. It's about 90 miles to the next motel, and that includes at least 40 miles of climbing steep hills. If we have a headwind, there might not be enough daylight to make it to the next town (even if we start at sunrise). So I was thinking about jumping on highway 90 and riding southeast to Marfa, around the mountains. The terrain looks flat (train tracks next to it) and the road looks good on Google Maps (though it's kind of hard to tell). This would have been shorter and flatter than the climb through the mountains. It could be a good alternative. But we want to see the McDonald Observatory and the scenery of the mountains. The weather looks tolerable (I hope the forecast is right!) so we're going through the hard way.
I lost my bicycle pump today. Oops! It fell out of its holder and I must not have heard it bouncing on the pavement. Jesse and I will have to share until we get to the bike shop in Alpine, hopefully the day after tomorrow.