- Picture of the Canyon Fire Department entrance. The plague is pretty interesting stating that before 1909 the volunteer firemen used buckets and homemade ladders to fire fires in Canyon. They bought there first horse drawn “truck” in 1910 and successfully stopped a fire from burning the downtown area although the hotel was lost.
- The Pampa’s firemen honored me by giving me their station patch. Last night they sat down to eat. One fireman had his pork chop cut up with the fork ready to go into his mouth while second fireman picked up his fork. At that instant they received a call and immediately dropped utensils and were in the truck gone in 3 minutes. They returned two hours later to heat up their dinner to eat. Last night they went on at least two other calls that I know about. If you see a fireman tell him how much you appreciate his work!
- As you may know storms in the West can be quite violent. A concrete company was offering their version of a storm shelter made entirely of concrete. They don’t look big but based on the truck they put on top of one they are durable.
- This morning for breakfast I had a choice of a diner that had the Route 66 decor but slow service or a Mexican Bakery with fast service. I went with the Mexican Bakery and was delighted. Their breakfast had eggs, bacon, beans, and hash browns along with salsa and chips. Great price, great food, highly recommended.
- This is the view I had in front of me this morning. Two helicopters were still grounded in Amarillo due weather. Last night there were severe storms that were moving out this morning. Looking at the Cumulus clouds ahead of me I wondered if I was going into a storm. Turns out I bypassed the storm with only wind in my face.
This morning I said goodbye to my good fried 152W and started on 60 W, my route around Amarillo and to Albuquerque. My directions were precise but I decided to follow the 60 W road signs rather than my Google directions. Ultimately this lead me to Interstate 27. Once I realized that I was once again on an interstate I moved off to a frontage road that paralleled my intended route of travel. I wanted to make it to Hereford but it is still about 40 miles from Canyon and didn’t want to have another 100+ day without resting a bit. Concerned that at some point my muscles may rebel and don’t want to get to that point. I did get 74 miles today which isn’t too bad for a rest day.
Google maps tells me that I am 1,082 miles from LA and 1,241 miles from Candlewood. These aren’t accurate as the route varies widely and I show I have pedaled 1490 miles to date which is more than 200 miles off. The big takeaway is I am getting closer to LA.
- Two or three days back I was told that the Oklahoma/Texas weather was much colder in April and much warmer in May that is the usual case. I am getting a taste of that now. This morning I started off in 65 degree weather which is about 20 degrees colder than the usual. Glad May has been warmer than normal!
- Rain has been coming down all around me or at night and has yet to catch me. My time will come but I certainly don’t mind being lucky a time or two. Being dry makes so many other things nice.
- As you can imagine being out in the sun has a negative impact on the skin. I didn’t put it on my legs to start with and got a heat rash. My arms in direct sunlight much of the day was also getting pulverized. While in Louisville I bought sleeves that basically go from wrist to shoulder which effectively protects against sun burn. Just when I was getting ready to tell Jill, “and you said I’d be losing things” I noticed that my sleeves were gone. I went back to the Bristow fire station (I was a mile out) looking for them to no avail. This forced me to wear a long sleeve under my bike jersey. Two days later I wake up in my tent and get ready for the rode and both sleeves were at the top of the mat. The mystery? Where did they come from. The tent and sleeping bag were wrapped up so the sleeves couldn’t have been in them, the clothes I was wearing were packed so the sleeves weren’t there. I will never know how they reappeared.
- Trains are everywhere in the West. If you ride down a highway next to tracks you are likely to have a train pass every 30 minutes coming from both directions. Today a train kept passing me and then getting put on a side track which allowed me to pass him (could tell by the graffiti on the cars). This happened 3 times. Reminded me of when I was in East St. Louis earlier in the trip. The roads have car and bike lanes. I ended up racing a city bus for 17 miles. He would get ahead of me and have to stop to load passengers at which point I would pass him. We had many lead changes with the ending being a draw. He had to turn off the road to stay on his route and I wasn’t willing to follow.
- For the last two days there were balls of white in the grass. It looked like cotton but it couldn’t be since cotton needs lots of water, right? Turns out there is a strain of cotton that was developed that needs much less water and is now grown in Texas. I was actually seeing cotton that had blown off the transport trucks.
- Last night at dinner the firemen were talking about nuisance animals. These are animals that kill cattle or tear up the farming land. At some point they started talking about black cats. At this point I lost the thread of the discussion and wondered if they were superstitious. Turns out they were talking about panthers that happened to be black.
- The best story is the last story. Have you ever seen prairie dogs except on TV? I hadn’t till today. I was riding my bike not thinking about anything in particular when I noticed moment. I saw 3 or 4 little brown furry things rush back to their houses. As I continued to ride I would scare up new prairie dogs and they too would run to their houses. Really neat seeing something that existed only on TV suddenly appear, unexpectedly, by the road.
That’s a wrap for today. Need to start doing a better job on my route planning as the towns are getting farther apart and need to ensure I get water periodically.
Hope your day is amazing!