Day Fifty-two, Date Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Time in Saddle: 5:59
Distance for the Day: 58.91 miles: From Pecos, TX To Ft. Stockton, TX
Accumulated Trip Distance: 2312.8 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 2846’/3277’, Highest: 3355’, Accumulated: 1007’
Speeds: Avg: 9.8 mph, Max: 20.3 mph
Weather: 45° in the AM, warming to upper-80s, low 90s in the afternoon
The Thermarest mattress held its air better, this time, but it still seemed a little bit deflated. Demitol! It probably still has a tiny leak that will require a full-submersion water test to find. Swimming pool, anyone? I got up just as the sun was rising, right at about 6am, and packed up. I actually went back into town to pick up a few needed items (a new lighter, another spare inner-tube, a 2GB SD card, and some marker pens) ($30), and then headed out of town SE on Hwy 285, heading for Ft. Stockton. It was hotter, today, and I found it harder to get and keep up my speed. About 25 miles out of Pecos, I met this black guy, Jimmy, walking through that west Texas no-man’s land with a Stetson hat and a plastic bag with some clothes in it. He was trying to hitchhike, but no one was picking him up. I gave him a quart of Gatorade, an apple, and a big candy bar. Sure hope he was able to finally get a ride – I don’t know how he decided to try to walk anywhere in that heat without supplies, but it wasn’t a wise thing to attempt.
I watched the rest of Star Wars Ep. VII: The Empire Strikes Back, and then started Ep. VIII: Return of the Jedi. The miles crawled by in the heat; my knees were hurting again, so I had to slow down. I finished the movie, and decided to try listening to music for the first time from my CC Witness radio/mp3/recorder combo device, and it helped keep my mind off all the pain and suffering I was going through. I finally limped in to Ft. Stockton by about 3:30pm. Bill D and I had been trying to contact each other, because he was attending the practically-nearby Texas Star Party at Ft. Davis, about 80 miles to the southwest of Ft. Stockton. He offered to come pick me up and drive me up to it so I could attend for a night, and I agreed (thanks, Bill!) I went to the town library and accessed the free wi-fi, worked on the blog, and left at closing time. Then, I went to the town park, and cooked up some rice and brussel sprouts for dinner, and went into the downtown to get a Dairy Queen choco malt ($3). Unfortunately, this one wasn’t as chocolaty or malty as the one in Pecos, but I still enjoyed it. I went back to the library and found a power outlet nearby – I could work on the blog, but their wi-fi was shut down. A local in a truck stopped by out of curiosity to see what I was doing, and we chatted about my trip and the Marfa lights that were apparently an attraction of sorts someplace near the region. I worked until 11:45pm, and went to find a stealth campsite somewhere nearby.
This turned out to be a challenge; there were streets with houses, some of which had noisy dogs. I went back to the main strip, but didn’t find anything there. I remember seeing a couple of churches at the end of the town’s historic Main St., so started heading that way, when a cop car drove up and asked what the heck I was doing wandering around at midnight in a recumbent trike. I told the officer that I was looking for the Catholic church on Main St. to possibly steal… to camp, there, and he obligingly gave me directions (I almost said “stealth”). I found the church, didn’t see any sign that anyone was still up, and moved my trike behind it in a clean little alleyway between buildings. It was still shirt-sleeve weather, so I just put out my tarp, air mattress, and sleeping bag, and hit the hay at 1:40am. I would wake up early, and get out before anyone would notice. Yeehaw!