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Day 18: Seminole, TX to Lamesa, TX

45 Miles - Bicycling On The Wide Open West Texas Plains; Hosted By Kennedy Family In Ackerly, TX - March 9, 2011

Seminole, Texas

Photo Above: Myself in the motel bathroom in Seminole, Texas. What's with those creases under my eyes?! Sigh.

Shocked at the expensive rates from two nights in motels in Artesia, NM and Seminole, TX, I was quite upset. I faced the reality that the cheapest motel rooms across the country were rarely under $50. $50-$60 was the norm, with an occasional cheap, no-frills place for $40-$45, if I was lucky.

I recounted how I had gotten to this point: I worked and saved as much as I could. I raised money before and during the ride. And there was no question in my heart, mind and soul that I was called to do this ride. Still, the financial matter bothered me. (Read the "RV Guy" section of Day 11 to learn how this tour got started without 100% financing.)

Fueled by anxiety, despair and anger at God, I didn't care about anything except finishing this journey as soon as possible. I know ... I was only in west Texas, but I already did this once. I was ready to be done! At least, this is what I told myself on this morning.

With Sean and Glenda Kennedy in Ackerly, Texas as my hosts for tonight, I hoped to ride far and take advantage of their ability to shuttle me to their home. I had gone 197 miles in the past two days, and felt confident I could get in another 60-70 miles.

West Texas Land

West Texas Land

West Texas Scenery

Flat. Empty. Kind of surreal.

Lamesa, TX Lamesa, Texas. 35 miles away. I told Glenda I'd call her in Lamesa no matter how much farther I would go.
West Texas Scenery

West Texas Scenery

A variety of factors seemed to work against me. The winds blew from the north, a crosswind. The shoulder wasn't the greatest for maintaining speed. I lacked any burst of energy or "kick" this morning. And so I struggled in the 10-11 miles per hour range.

Although the elevation from Seminole, TX (3,297') to Lamesa, TX (2,956') was a drop of 341 feet, I didn't feel it. In fact, it felt like I was riding uphill.

Ahhh, but I hung in there as best as I could.

West Texas Scenery I think this is what they call "fly over country." :p)

Texas Cottonfield A cotton field.

A Familiar Face In West Texas - Sean Kennedy

Compared to the past two days, I struggled to ride well this morning. Nothing was flowing. None of the elements were working for me. I also knew the most convenient place for Sean and Glenda to pick me up was in Lamesa, the town with the shortest distance from their home in Ackerly. It wouldn't be right to burden them with more driving, and so I called it a day in Lamesa.

As I approached Lamesa, I noticed the water tower and large cluster of trees that represented the town from afar. Ahead a dark red vehicle in oncoming traffic made a U-turn and pulled over on the shoulder. Strange. As I passed, the driver's window was down. "Steve!" someone shouted. It was Sean Kennedy! He was the first familiar face I had seen since Mike and Jo in Globe, Arizona.

Sean is teacher and sports coach at the high school in Ackerly, Texas. But on this weekday, he was in town because of a dental emergency. He was waiting for a call by a dentist who squeezed him into his busy schedule. With all of his waiting, he figured he'd look for me on the highway.

Lamesa, Texas
The water tower in Lamesa, Texas

Lamesa, Texas

Sean went to his dentist, and I biked to the center of Lamesa and ate at the KFC. Then I continued on Highway 180, which turned south for four miles before turning back to the east. That spot would be perfect to start my ride on Friday. It was Wednesday afternoon, and tomorrow I planned to do absolutely nothing but enjoy the hospitality of the Kennedy family. :)

The timing worked out well. Sean saw the dentist, found me on Highway 180 after I stopped, and brought me home.

The Kennedy Family - Ackerly, Texas
Kennedy Family
Meet the Kennedy family. Sean and Glenda (parents) and their lovely daughter Leyna.

I first met Glenda via my website, www.ColoradoGuy.com, when it had a bulletin board style forum. My site was and still is well-visited by those who love Colorado, wished they lived there, frequently vacation there, or are researching hikes and mountains in my state.

We met in person during the previous year, and then in 2008 the Kennedy's hosted me when they lived in Whiteface, Texas. They were already acquainted with my madness; I am their "crazy friend" who bikes across America. :)

This year, Glenda played a helpful role in online research of motels on my route. She also posted on my Facebook page with daily updates providing my location and daily mileage. Yes, I know. If I had a smartphone, I could have done all this myself. Still ... Thank you for all your help, Glenda!

For dinner, Sean and Glenda had a massive cookout. Their rationale: If they must make the effort to cook, they might as well cook enough food to last them for a week. Chicken, burgers, sausage, potatoes, oh there was much more food we ate that wasn't included in that photo. My stomach was so happy! :)

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