It's been a long four days since we've left Katie Shaw in Fort Worth. 350 miles of US-287 northwest into that Amarillo sky. We haven't had the internet for posting, so I am going to go through a quick recap of each day. 4.1 Fort Worth to Wichita Falls, 115 miles
This was us just before dawn, before a massive thunderstorm rolled over us and forced us off the road on our longest day yet on Keys to Freeze. With the storm came a massive tailwind that pushed us towards Wichita Falls.
I had three flats that day, Tyler had one, and Brady stopped to film twice and we still arrived in the seemingly vacant city of Wichita by six. The highlight of our ride came either when Google took us by reroute onto private property, where I then got a flat and therefore we got to meet Texas Game Warden Pete - who wanted to show us a rattlesnake den by where Rachel was sitting - or on a descent, when Tyler's front wheel positioned a glass bottle to be crushed by his backwheel, resulting in a massive POP of his back tube.
When I said that Wichita Falls was seemingly vacant, I meant it. Downtown is boarded up, the only happening area around the college. When I asked why I learned that that area is under a Class 5 Categorized Catastrophe drought. They were the nation's first county to begin reclaiming sewage water for drinking purposes.
4.2 Wichita Falls to Quanah
This day was a long day of moderate crosswinds. Manageable, but you had to keep pedaling. We had some cool stuff that we rolled through, however. Like Electra, population 164, the self-proclaimed pump jack capital of Texas. These things are weird, man. Unmanned energy extraction machines popping up all over the thirsty countryside wasteland, bobbing their drone heads like drinking pigeons.
I was confused by Electra. US-287 in general is weird. Brown everywhere, with gnarled deadwood trees, and then BOOM! Yellow rose flower fields to the left.
So this day it was me and Tyler all the way into Quanah. Waiting for the rest of the group to roll in - bike issues and an accidental three hour lunch by Megan and George left them chugging in at dusk - we caught a pretty sweet, big Texas kind of sunset. I fucked up the picture by putting my face in it.
Where we stayed that night was an interesting experience. We slept in the same space as this guy named Nick, who is gaining fame across the state of Texas for pushing a 300 pound cross 350 miles from Memphis, Texas to Dallas. He calls it Jesus Billboard. I don't really have much to say on the subject other than the people of North Texas were flipping their shit over this guy. It's cool to see someone so devoted to their passion committing themselves to a trip like this, but I wonder about the narrowness of his vision.
I suppose, however, I could say the same thing about myself and Keys to Freeze.
There are always two sides to every coin.
4.3 Quanah to Clarendon
Today was the hardest day of biking I have ever had. 25 mph headwinds with 35 mph gusts, there were times that I was pedaling as fast as I could and going only 7 mph. On a 85 mile day to Clarendon this was unacceptable but unavoidable.
The good news was, it was a pretty sunrise.
Tyler had spent the morning teaching me some pieces of German. My favorite phrase is 'gros arschloch,' which means Fat Asshole.
Around midday, when we were only a third of the way into our ride, I made a short video.
And then all of a sudden we climbed into this big brown plowed under swath of cotton fields that stretched for miles in all directions. I felt like a martian. I mean, look at this. Like the set of Mad Max.
I wanted to demonstrate the full force of the wind, and failed with this video.
Really the saving grace of this ride was this veggie stand. I bought a tomato and ate it. I get soda and tomato cravings on the road.
I rode the final thirty miles by myself into Clarendon. It was Good Friday and Clarendon is a God-fearing town full of fear-mongering signs like, and I quote, '9/11 WORSE TRAGEDIES TO COME! BELIEVE IN JESUS!' Clarendon recently made the news with a gay couple receiving death threats.
I'm not a big fan of Clarendon, Texas. But we had a nice night in the activity center of Clarendon College, which claims to be the Athens of the West, so there's that.
Oh. And everyone we met that day asked us if we'd seen the guy with the cross. We said we had.
4.4 Clarendon to Amarillo, 60 miles
What a nice day. I didn't take any pictures or videos, but I did eat over 900 calories of Cherry Pie cakes from a Mexican restaurant in Claude, Texas while talking to this nice great-grandmother Nikki who five girls and is working at the restaurant to pass the time. A lot of our conversation revolved around nutrition.
It's Sunday, Easter, and I am headed to The Big Texan to attempt my first true food challenge of the trip. 72 ounces of steak, a baked potato, a salad, and a shrimp cocktail in 1 hour.