Day 34 - Crane, Texas

Bicycle touring is about being a predator. When the prey comes in reach, you pounce!

Stiff tailwind all day.

131 miles.

I kid you not. The terrain is flat and treeless. Nothing to keep that wind from blowing me right down the road. Even the sleek, aerodynamic Reynolds Weld Lab Dual 26 T-Bone will feel the effects of the wind when it blows 15-20 mph. Average speed 13.9 mph, the highest for the trip.

It was a grim, overcast day, and the temperature never got out of the low 50s. Who cares, when there is a 20 mph tailwind.

I saw a pyrrhuloxia today. I've only seen a pyrrhuloxia once before. I was pretty excited by this, but not excited enough to slow down. A tailwind is a terrible thing to waste.

I've decided there are two kinds of towns in Texas. The nice ones I described a couple days ago, with fancy courthouses in a central square full of nice shops, are ranch towns. As you go west, the towns change to oil towns.

Oil towns are dumps. They smell like farts. God farts on west Texas. It's from the gas wells. Big Lake, Rankin, Crane. A giant egg-salad fart came down from heaven and settled upon these nasty little towns. There are no nice buildings or parks or squares. There is oil drilling machinery lying around all over the place, and deserted buildings.

Eldorado, where I started this morning, was an oil town that did not smell bad. They have ambition in Eldorado.

Olympics (155K)

And a sense of humor. As you leave Eldorado, the trees get smaller and smaller. After I passed Rankin, 97 miles later, there were no more trees, and no more grass either. Now, it's just shrubs and dirt. And oil wells. And bad smells. Most of the oil wells are abandoned and just sit there rusting. After Rankin, there are mesas, and they all have windmill farms on top! I couldn't believe this when they came into view.

TexasEnergy (46K)

These are really huge windmills. I think they are over 200 feet tall. My topographic map software says the mesa they are sitting on is over 200 feet tall. There are about 100 of them.

I'm pretty beat right now. Today was one of the most strenuous days of the trip. I spent the longest time on the bike of any day so far, but you can't let a tailwind like that go to waste! I rode from sunup to sundown. I didn't even really stop to eat, I just grabbed burritos at gas stations along the way. For dinner, I had a backpacker meal, cooked in the motel room, which has a microwave. I feel great.

Here is the extremely long route for today.

Actual34 (98K)