Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rough Road Ahead

I felt sick most of the night, due, I think, to my dinner. I am having a problem in these small towns getting nutritious food. I had to settle for a hamburger, fried burrito and chicken fingers for dinner the night prior. Eating like that isn’t really conducive to maintaining a level of health and stamina that is required to pedal a bicycle 100 miles a day.

As I had 118 miles to ride until the next hotel, I got started at 7:30. The morning met me with temperatures in the 40’s. I probably could have used the leg warmers and long fingered gloves, but I figured I would tough it out for the first half hour until the sun rose over the mountains.

I always enjoyed riding early on Sunday mornings as I could see towns as they woke up. As I was in the desert I was hoping to see some morning wildlife. I didn’t see much, other than a woman feeding a deer just outside her front door.

The landscape looked very much the same as it had for the previous few days, but yet more barren if that was possible. Every now and again I would see a deer-hunting blind in the distance, but little else. Periodically there would be a sign declaring the existence of some canyon or another. The funny part was that many of the “canyons" were no deeper than an above ground swimming pool.

I had met so many nice people along the way, but there are always exceptions. I do my best to stay on the shoulder of the road, but for the most part today, there was no shoulder, but rather a collection of gravel. I ride in the road quite often, but when I hear a car coming from behind me I get over as far to the right as possible. Today though a trucker thought it would be fun to share a lane with me while he was going 70. There was a perfectly good passing lane with no cars in either direction as far as the eye could see, yet the trucker didn’t feel the need to move over a half dozen feet. Jerk.

As I was still hugging the Mexican border, I had the chance to speak with another border patrol agent. This guy had a different opinion on the construction of a wall between the US /Mexico than the last agent I had spoken with a few days prior. This guy wanted the equivalent of the Berlin Wall built between the two countries. Texas has a different policy than Arizona on illegal immigrants. In Texas they send them to prison right off the bat, then process them for deportation. The sentences grow exponentially for each time they are caught. The agent was saying that many people that had previously tried to cross in Texas now try and cross in Arizona, which is overwhelming the border patrol there. Despite the prison sentence in Texas, the agent was telling me that he caught 15 people today and 7 yesterday. It seems like the work of Sisyphus.

I had to ride on 30 miles of the worst road of the trip. The 30 miles really did a number on my back. I had to stop once or twice to take a break from the pounding on my spine, not to mention the pounding on my bike. From the worst road I had ridden on, it had turned out to be the best. The road turned in to the equivalent of a sheet of glass. After riding on that bumpy road it felt like riding on a cloud. In the time it took my feet and arms to stop tingling though, the road changed back to the same old garbage I had been riding on.

As the day wore on and I got closer to the Amistad National Recreation Area, I kept seeing trucks with bass boats in tow. I would later come to find out that the BASS Club World Championship was being held March 13th & 14th in the area so stay tuned!

Eventually, a town began to appear out of the desert. At first it was a building here or there, but eventually I was in a full-fledged city. I had a little more in the way of dining options, but as it was Sunday night, many places were closed. I also wasn’t going to get on my bike to find food, which left just Subway and Little Caesars. I couldn’t decide between the two so I had a sub and a large pizza. It took me all of 15 minutes to chow down 3,000 calories.

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