Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The melting of time

Now that I have been on the road for a decent little stretch of time, I have started to have the familiar old feeling of THE MELTING OF TIME that seems to accompany me anytime I seem to get myself into a routine lifestyle. It is hard to say what happened yesterday, from the day or even the week before.

This feeling was most prominent in WELLINGTON, TEXAS on the morning of the 15th of October.
Upon reaching the town on the evening of the 14th, having pedaling around 80 mi that day from Canadian, I went to see the local police to ask if there was a place in town I could put up my tent. (I do this every time I plan on staying with in city limits.)
Now this particular tent was the firs of which the answer was no. There was no where in town they would be comfortable having me camp for the night. So instead, they drove me 6 miles back in the direction I came from, where there was a roadside point and campsite.
After waking a little late in the morning having not had the best sleep, (sleeping on a concrete pad in the "free zone" of the campsite) and having a coffee and chatting with the lady who is the campground host. I headed back into town. For the first time on my journey, covering the same ground twice.
 As I neared town I had a weird feeling. I remembered this patch of road. I remembered seeing two Mennonite ladies walking, after which came a very nice little roadside pullout in the trees where there was a historical marker, and following that I knew I would pass a little school house whose fence was lined with old wagon wheels. I remembered the road perfectly but I remembered it as if it was somewhere I had been a long time ago, years even; as opposed to the mere 16hrs that had actually passed in the time since I had last travelled this stretch.It was a weird moment of Deja vu that I think
I will remember forever.

For everyone elses benefit I will now speak of what has happened in the last little while in chronological order. (Lucky for you... I have become accustomed to taking notes on the day as part of my power down routine).. For me, the memories will remain grouped together not by time but by the simple category "while on the road in______ state or town". All memories are cherished but can not really be distinguished to a particular moment in time.

 Leaving the Best Western I was staying at in Perryton (courtesy of the Sabra Mc Adams Key Height Baptist Church; thank you!) at about 9:45 on the morning of the 13th, I was expecting bad weather as that is what was predicted. The weather was BEAUTIFUL. That does NOT however, mean my day ran smoothly.

After being told for the last few weeks that the "roads will be the best you have seen when you get to Texas"; the first decent length stretch of road I had....was under construction. This left no shoulder, and YET AGAIN I had to walk my bike for most of the morning. And because it had rained all night and the day before... I had to walk through mud. Pushing a heavily weighted bike through mud, is NOT a pleasant task by any means if you were wondering.

About 3 hours of this treacherous task, the construction pattern changed to my advantage, giving me a road of my own on the opposite side of the barriers. BUUUT... not half an hour into this new wonderful situation. I noticed my rear tire was a little flat, and upon pumping it up, it went COMPLETELY flat.... the tube tore where the valve meets the tube. AND, being that I was on the other side of the barrier making it very hard for anyone to stop and assist; I would not be able to use my sit and look helpless until someone stops to help tactic that I have become a fan of.. SOO, for the first time on the trip I was required to change the inner tube all by myself (well... that is not the complete truth, I had some long distance mechanical coaching over the phone from my mom's boyfriend Tom.) It took a while but I got the job done...Only seconds after getting the tube changed, a man pulled over. He had recognized me from the newspaper in Perryton, asked if I needed help,(to which I was proud to say no!, gave me$20, and the newspaper which featured me on the front page!).

footbridge in Canadian
With everything fixed up and good to go I was able to make it into the beautiful little town of CANADIAN, TEXAS by sundown (named for the Spanish meaning of "boxed in"..who knew?).

I decided that after a stressful day and as a month on the road celebration; I would treat myself to a nice dinner in town. But upon reaching the restaurant it became apparent that I would not have to treat myself at all. A couple in the BEEF EXCHANGE recognized me from the paper and informed my waitress that they would be paying for my meal...but upon hearing my story, instead the restaurant gave me a free meal, leaving the kind couple to donate $50, and even a few of the waitresses gave me a total of an addition $40 donation. Glad I opted out of the tuna sandwich I was debating having instead. I left town having had the best meal in a very long time (free of charge) and an extra $90 in my pocket. Again, there is nothing more inspiring than The Kind Hearts of Strangers.

The next morning (14/10/12) got off to a good start. When I woke, there was a nice old man in the campground with whom I had a chat and ended up getting another $10 donation. The day would go on to be a very enjoyable and productive one.I travelled about 80 miles from Canadian to Wellington over a much hillier terrain than I expected out of TEXAS. The weather was hot, but the wind cooled me down and it was a helping instead of a hindering wind, for the most part coming from behind me.I also saw my first armadillo!! Upon reaching Wellington, I was turned around and set back 6 miles (which I already mentioned) a bit of a pain.. but one I can deal with).

The day of the 15th would prove to be one of those days I question why I am doing this. After having to travel the same ground twice; I made it into town around 10, where I did a interview with the local news paper. I got back on the road a little before 11 and began feeling sick to my stomach almost immediately, which didn't go away and therefor made the day progress very slowly, not getting very far. After a slow day of stopping and starting, passing many cotton fields, I was finally making it into the city of CHILDRESS, TX., when I got a phone call. The road was fairly busy so i pulled my bike off and into the ditch to talk, and when I ended the call I realized that both of my tires were full of thorns and completely flat. They were both pumped full of sealant so I pumped them up and tried to continue on my way.... the front stayed inflated, the back did not. And I used the last of my spare innertubes on the way to Canadian. So, I pushed my bike the rest of the way into town to WALMART (pumping the tire up often). And upon reaching WALMART, I found... they did not have innertubes in my size, so I bought one size too small and will have the challange of dealing with that today. The only good things that happened this day were... first a game I invented of squishing peanuts along the roadside (small things ammuse me!), and more important and heartwarming... A very nice man named Raul noticed my problems in WALMART parking lot as it was getting dark, and drove me to his daughter (MARY HINOJOSH)'s house where I spent the night, and still am now.Another random stranger with a heart of gold who not only let me sleep in her house, but gave me her bed and slept on the sofa, not allowing me to disapprove of the arrangement. I will fix my bike and be on the road as soon as possible.

Wish me luck, I hope for no more flat tires in the near future and the winds to stay at my back. I am eagerly awaiting my entrance into MEXICO and the next leg of the adventure.




  1. Hi from goathead country! So, goatheads aren't quite such awful things as long as you have the right stuff...if you happen to find a bike shop that doesn't suck, buy a bottle of Stan's No Tubes Sealant. And a large syringe to inject it into your tube. You might have to punch a small hole into your tube to inject it, (2 ounces, not the whole bottle), then patch the hole, if you don't have the right type of valve stem, but the sealant will then seal the patch, too. Stan's is more of a liquid with little latex crumbles in it, as long as the tire has pressure and is turning, it will suck the grit into the hole and seal it nicely. Trust me, this stuff has gotten me through many 50 mile days on Western Kansas dirt roads! Oh, and good luck.

  2. Surprised you undertook this journey without knowing how to change an inner tube!