Hank – We intended to wake early to get a head start on the winds. This being the first time I’ve camped at a rest area, I woke early many times thanks to all of the truckers coming and going. And the one idling half the night didn’t help either. So I was already awake at five.
After tea and oatmeal we packed up and hit the road. Mary, who works at the rest area, wished us good luck. (We met Mary last night when we arrived.) The sky was just starting to brighten. We turned our lights on but only needed them for about a half hour.
The winds were light and we made pretty good time until around 9:30. Then the west wind picked up and slowed us down. An hour later the wind became much stronger and we were crawling. Our progress was sure but slow. Along the way I had my thumb out while we were rolling. We had a hotel reservation in Fort Stockton, 50 miles away, and we didn’t want to miss out on that. I also had my thumb out when we stopped. I had my eye out for pickup trucks with empty beds. One truck did stop but it was a crew who did roadside assistance. Even if they had room they couldn’t give us a ride to Fort Stockton.
During what turned out to be our last break an RV and a car stopped. It turned out to be Jim, who we met the night before at the rest area, and his wife, Claudia. They were kind enough to haul us and our gear the remaining 24 miles to Fort Stockton. Jim is retired Army. They live in Alaska but have been avoiding the harsh winter’s by traveling around the country. They are super nice people. I didn’t want to inconvenience them further by having them drop us off at the hotel so we pulled over right after the off ramp.
We had about a mile to go to the hotel and it was all into the wind. It took us almost 20 minutes to ride that last mile. Whew!
The evening was mainly relaxing. This Best Western is the best one I’ve ever stayed at. Snacks are out for guests all day. They have sandwiches, soup, and salad out at dinner time in the bar. And they have a bar!
Tomorrow we have more high winds from the west. We are reevaluating our plans. Stay tuned.
Kathy – We decided to get an early start because the temps were going to get up to 82 degrees by the afternoon (finally warmth again) and the current sustained head winds are 15-20 mph with 35-40 mph gusts.
So off we went slowly with headwinds, but not too bad in the beginning. After 14 miles things took a turn for the worst. The headwinds and gust became very severe. At times both Hank and I struggled to keep our bikes upright with all the winds. We would be riding in flat surfaces and only going 4-5 mph because the headwinds were so strong and we had really poor shoulder areas. It took us 4.5 hours of fighting the winds just to get in 27 miles. We both had enough of the winds.
Hank had his thumb out to hitch a ride because we knew the winds were only going to continue to get stronger throughout the day making our ride even more difficult. I’m not a fan of hitchhiking but we were both being challenged extensively today with our ride. We are SO thankful for Jim and Claudia stopping to pick us up. They are really wonderful people that we could have talked with for hours. Unfortunately after only 30 minutes we had to say our goodbyes. We so appreciate the kindness of strangers. Maybe some day Jim and Claudia will stop by Spokane so we can visit with them more. In the meantime, Thank you for helping us out today! I also have to say the RV lifestyle seems to be much easier than the cycling lifestyle. Working on talking Hank into purchasing a small RV once we return to Spokane in September.
This is day six of riding. We have had a few tough days so we are relaxing this evening in the hotel. Looking at our plans moving forward since the headwinds are supposed to be even stronger tomorrow. More to come…
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