52 Miles - Rough Headwind; Dairy Queen in Munday, TX; Arrival in Seymour, TX - March 13, 2011
As I was getting ready to leave the Haskell Inn,
I said good-bye to these two friendly men who were also staying at the inn.
They were from Kentucky and North Carolina respectively, and were
working for over a week on telephone infrastructure in the remote region near Aspermont, TX and Clairemont, TX.
Last evening, they had a small cookout and offered me a beer, but I declined. It was already
8 p.m. and I was ready to settle into bed. This morning, they apologized if they made any noise, but I
had the vent on all night and slept hard. I didn't hear a thing.
I snapped their picture and gave them my web address on the back of a business card.
I wonder if they'll ever see how they're celebrities now ... ;)
Traveling north in Haskell.
Initially I was hopeful I could make it to Wichita Falls (99 miles),
although Seymour (53 miles) was my safety goal.
I learned my lesson: If I endure a peculiar bump or noise, turn back to make sure it's not something you lost!
Up front, I'll tell you today was the start of a seven day period where I'd battle headwinds of some sort
for six of those seven days. F-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-o-n.
From Haskell to Munday (22 mile distance), Highway 277 continued to
travel in a north-northeast direction (NNE). However, today's gusts were northerly,
meaning I'd have a full headwind for the next 22 miles.
Obviously, I struggled. In a headwind, the wind's gusts are louder, and I can't hear oncoming vehicles as well.
Riding slow hurts morale.
It causes stress and anxiety. Within the first hour,
I knew reaching Wichita Falls wouldn't happen, and in fact, reaching Seymour didn't seem so easy.
Nearly Lost My Portable Pump
The shoulder was generally wide, but a section of road came close to the rumble strip and white line.
When debris or other hazards were on the shortened strip of shoulder, sometimes I'd ride over the
rumble strip and go on the white line for awhile. In one instance over that rumble strip,
my back tire ran over something large - like a big rock. "What the (expletive) was that?" I yelled.
As was the case sometimes, I didn't want to stop and wasn't nimble enough to do
a full 180-degree twist to look back to see what it was. Well, little did I know that big bump was the portable pump that had just fallen.
Onward I continued on Highway 277. Struggling like crazy. Going slow. Pitying myself.
Hating this ride. After 2-3 miles, I grabbed my water bottle and noticed the pump (usually affixed to the frame) was gone.
Noooooooooooo! I put two and two together and knew I made a mistake.
Now going back three miles might not seem like a lot,
but with these winds, those were three precious miles through that damn wind that I was forfeiting.
Still, I couldn't abandon the pump. I had to retrieve it in case I got a flat.
And so I turned back, cycling gently on the shoulder and going against traffic.
Amazingly, once I went in the opposite direction, the wind pushed me like crazy.
I was hardly pedaling, not wanting to go too fast as I searched for the pump,
which may have rolled onto the grass. After about three miles,
I caught up with the pump sitting on the pavement. Relief.
I made it to Weinert, hoping any store would be open
to get some relief from these winds, but to no avail. I guess I couldn't expect much from a town with a population
of only 177. I did rest and got off the bike; I turned
my back to the wind for a few minutes.
Eventually, I made it to Munday, another small town but this one had services ...
... and I had a full break at the Dairy Queen.
A post-church Sunday crowd was inside and nearly everyone stared at me.
I guess I looked conspicuous with my road bike, cycling gear and
long naturally curly hair all over the place. Most seemed friendly though.
The three tacos and patty melt were wonderful. :)
Beyond Munday, Highway 277 turns in the direction of northeast-east (NEE),
which reduced the intensity of those headwinds. I rarely sped, but I hung in there steadily.
At Seymour, Texas, I knew I was finished.
There was no point continuing in the wind. 52 miles was pretty good, all things considered.
TOP: Empty buildings near the Seymour town square.
SECOND: Outside my motel room and happy to be done. Look how
I was becoming! :)
INVITATION: Enjoy my book about my first trip in 2008.