Leaving Texas

Texas did not go without a fight. We'd done 700 northwest miles in nine ride days, ascending to 3,000 feet elevation and facing ferocious headwinds rushing off the eastern slopes of the mountain ranges of the west to masterblast us right in our faces as we rode to meet New Mexico. Our final day of Texas, a 107 mile saga from Amarillo to Cadillac Ranch to Clovis, New Mexico proved as difficult as yet we'd experienced. Joy.

In truth, if we'd just cut out Cadillac Ranch from the program we might have made it as a bit of alright. But since the eccentric art exhibit was an item on our Keys to Freeze shirt we felt obligated as both a team and as fine appreciators of large vehicular art projects to check out the scene.

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Cadillac Ranch, in its simplest form, is a straight line of old sedans stuck nosefirst in the middle of fuck nowhere by some millionaire eccentric. It has since become a state attraction, the custom to come and graffiti the Cadillacs whilst visiting.

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Photo by Jake Splawn

We also had a dance party here to celebrate our 2,000th mile on the road. A worthy stop if I've ever seen one.

The problem was, of course, the winds of departure. When we left there was a stiff 20 mph headwind that was only going to increase to 30 mph come lunch. We had full hundred miles to Clovis.

I descended into a poor mood.

Well, our ride ended here. Sixty miles of pedaling to Hereford, Texas. The self-proclaimed beef capital of the world.

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Well, would you look at that. Fucking Hereford, Texas. These are my thoughts on the place.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rkge9gaBBU&w=420&h=315]

I was in a sad state. The group split up at a bbq joint. I headed straight to McDonald's for the largest chocolate milkshake money could buy in a town where the cattle:people ratio is 600:1, or 1,000,000+ cattle to 15,000 residents.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAPe7337GTM&w=420&h=315]

But then, feeling refreshed and considerably less sad, I headed back over to Pop's BBQ and called it a day, 50 miles out from our Warmshowers host in Clovis. His mistake was in offering to pick us up should we encounter trouble on the road. His words, our downfall. What a guy.

We sat inside Pops BBQ for two hours as the winds howled and gusted to 40 mph. A truly unpleasant riding experience made decent by the opportunity for indoor fun. We met Pops himself, he of retired farming background sporting a ball cap counting down till the days till our president changes over.

Our host drove over and picked us up. It was a wonderful experience. Not quite a hitchhiking tale, but definitely something worth remembering. We were traveling 70 mph, and boy what a thrill that was.

So there we were, in New Mexico. Having successfully managed our way to and through Texas I'd like to say this: that state is stupid big. It just goes on and on and on and on and on and good God. Pump jack oil rigs everywhere, thirsty land, weathered and withered trees, tough people proud of their hometowns.

The folk of Texas sure were nice to us, though, and I made some good friends during our ten days riding through.

But now we're in New Mexico, and heading north to the western edge of Colorado, and looking forward to the national parks of Utah. Counting down the days, in truth.

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