Ride Across America, Day 12

Dear Readers,

This morning while biking into the wind, a song by Billie Holiday came to mind. Her song “Good Morning Heartache” had been remade in my thoughts to: “Good Morning Headwind, calm down” completely in her style of singing. Alas, the headwinds never did calm down and remained at 25 miles an hour throughout the day. For instance, into the wind today, I was averaging about 11 miles an hour, with a side wind of the same wind speed, I have been at 16 miles and hour and with a tail wind of 25 miles an hour, with the same effort, I would be traveling about 24 miles an hour.

To help with the wind, Brian and Phil Anderson from Winona, MN, formed a peloton with me. Each would take a turn at the front for half a mile and then go to the back of the line. We did well, but were able to only achieve 11 miles an hour. Then, Peter from Belgium and Chris from Germany came by at 16-17 miles per hour, and we pedaled in their draft. That lasted about 20 miles to the first sag at 39 miles. After that it fell apart as we could not keep up with Peter and Brett – the duo that formed after the sag stop.  So, for the rest of the day, I was solo – and it was slow.

My GPS machine, a Garmin, with the route, the mileage and the time, had a battery problem and turned off at 70 miles.  The good news was that I didn’t know time, distance or speed – so I just focused on the riding.

Storms were predicted for 6 p.m. and the last 4 of us from the group were frequently monitored to make sure we could finish ahead of the storm. I reached the hotel in Pampa at 5:15 p.m. after riding for 112 miles. The rain and hail did come on time.

Early in our ride, we were seeing much equipment, farms, trucks, grain elevators and other materials related to the feed lots. The above ground sprinkler system – similar in style to those in Minnesota are a much larger scale; the radial arm of the sprinkler is half a mile long in some fields!

Around Stinnett and Borger we saw a few scattered, small fields and the beginnings of some oil well pumps. Many of them had been turned off due to the low price of oil. Oil storage facilities at Borger. At 90 mile, looking south, one could see vast numbers of wind turbines.

At rap tonight, the weather was the main topic. Rain and possibly lightening is expected tomorrow throughout the day. We reviewed guidelines about taking shelter if hail, lightening or heavy rains develop. The good news is that there should be less headwind tomorrow. We will go unless there is a thunderstorm or more serious weather. So, the rain gear is taken out in preparation for dressing tomorrow morning.

Given the weather conditions today, I did not stop to take pictures. And if raining tomorrow, I will not take pictures.

I wanted to write more, but it is time for bed. Outside, strong winds, rain and hail are continuing, and the noise is transmitted through the room’s air conditioner.

Tomorrow, our goal is Elk City, Oklahoma, 102 miles away.

Jeff

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