Day Fifty-eight, Date Monday, April 27, 2009
Time in Saddle: 6:24
Distance for the Day: 56.76 miles: From Trey’s house To southeast of Junction, TX
Accumulated Trip Distance: 2549.0 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 2494’/2052’, Highest: 2504’, Accumulated: 2621’
Speeds: Avg: 8.8 mph, Max: 30.2 mph
Weather: 63° with overcast skies and light breeze
7:24 am ready to go, still overcast and breezy, no rain (yet) very moist, and heading for the next town of Junction; coming out of Trey’s place, saw a bunny rabbit, and saw two turkeys in the middle of the road who flew off to opposite sides of the road; made it into Junction at about 1:30pm soaked to the bone, made big mistake of not putting my waterproof clothes on before getting wet, heavy rain with wind strong enough to make raindrops painful, huge trucks blowing spray every time they passed; had a little tailwind for a short while, but mostly headwind, there was almost always some degree of rain happening, at one point I pulled off the road and waited under an overpass with a couple of cars to let the worst part of the front to pass over, but I began to get hypothermic with numb feet and shivers, so I did pushups off the rail at the side of the road, and some running in place which helped a little; at one point a bit earlier, when the rain and wind got particularly fierce, I pulled-off to the side of the road and stood on the lee side of some bushes, which helped deflect the wind, but the water on the side of the road was getting higher, and started to run like a river, so I got back onto the road and continued cycling; every time I got back to cycling, the hypothermia would ease off, but if I stopped, I started to get it, again; the lightning strikes varied in distance from my location along the road from 12 secs to 5 secs; as I approached Junction, I saw a nice, big bolt of lightning come down with about a 5 sec delay before the crash of thunder; after I reached Junction about 15 minutes later, I saw another big lightning bolt *behind* me that had a 2 sec thunder delay; yeee-hawww! I stopped in Junction at the local truck stop around 1:30pm to change into dry clothes, and put my wet clothes into the dryer; the main compartment of my rear rack pack filled-up with water from all that rain I’d just been through, giving my expensive CC Witness radio/recorder/mp3 player a good soaking. Demitol! I was just starting to actually use that thing. I hoped I could get it to work again by drying it out, but was not optimistic. I also had to dry out the contents of my fanny pack, which included things like my voice recorder, cell phone, money, credit cards, and a bunch of other important/expensive items. I did this while my other stuff was in the dryer. When I finally got most everything dry, I packed it away neatly and stowed it on my trike. The one big problem was my shoes. I couldn’t throw them in the dryer because that might damage the dryer or the shoes, but if I put them on while they were still wet, I’d be certain to soak my lovely dry socks and have numb toes again within an hour. I found a pretty good solution: I got a couple of small plastic bags from the clerk at the mini-mart in the truck stop, and put them over my socks, before putting my feet in my shoes. The plastic bags provided a thin, waterproof barrier between my wet shoes and my dry socks and feet, and kept my feet dry. Earlier on this trip, I’ve used a pair of booties to cover my shoes against moisture, but my feet would still, eventually, get wet. This makeshift solution actually worked better, and I would continue to use it for the next several days with excellent results. Good, eh? I picked up some more supplies from the mini-mart ($15) and a Subway sandwich ($9). The guy at the Subway mentioned that every year, they get ONE really good storm to dump a lot of rain to sustain the local plant life, etc., and this one, the one I just rode through, was it. Just my luck! I left Junction under cloudy but non-rainy conditions, and continued a bit further down Hwy 290 until I hit the turnoff for Hwy 83, where I found a spot to camp within sight of the main highway, but far enough away to not be affected by the noise (N30 26.527’ W99 43.004’). It was a low grass hollow that had some dry, mostly flat, rock surfaces next to a barbwire fence. I had to be careful to avoid the little sprouts of new cactus around, as I walked my trike to the designated spot (I wouldn’t be able to ride it, as the ground was too soft in spots). I set out my gear, had some soggy M&Ms, Power Bars and a meat stick for dinner (note: the little packets of M&Ms are *not* waterproof) – I realized that I had accumulated quite a number of breakfast/energy/power bars for the great West Texas Crossing, but I didn’t really need that many, and would like to start getting rid of them. So, for the next day or so, that’s all I would eat. Ought to be fun. I then hit the hay a bit after sunset, and hoped it wouldn’t rain, though the sky seemed to be clearing at that time.