Dalhart, TX to Liberal, KS
Mileage: 113.46 miles
Riding Time: 7:52 Riding Speed 14.4 mph
Total Time: 8:55
Climbing: 1821 ft.
I forgot to mention yesterday’s slide show.
Since we got to Dalhart early, Mike set up a slide show from the first ten days. He is an excellent photographer, and he took shot that we, on bikes, could not. All his shots will be available on a CD to me after the ride.
As a reminder, here is a link to Mike’s Blog, you will get the tour leader’s perspective:
Today, I was a parasite. We rode due NE, and the 15 mph+ wind was coming from the N, at about a heading of about 10:30 or 11:00. To ride efficiently in these conditions cyclists form an echelon. Since the wind was coming from the left; think of an echelon as the right half of a flock of geese. Of course, this takes road width, and most of the time we had a very large shoulder that could easily take three riders in an echelon. 99% of the time the lead rider was Tom, the second oldest rider (61) on the trip. And I was a remora, glued to his right hip. This took great strength on Tom’s part, as well as generosity. (in biology, one learns that successful parasites form a symbiotic relationship with the host, who also gets something from the deal). In this case, Tom likes to talk, and I am a willing listener. We both had fun as a result. I promised him a steak dinner, but he opted for pizza in his motel room and took a rain check for tomorrow. But even with Tom’s generous help, today was no picnic; probably the third hardest day after the two climbing days.
By the way, there are conditions like this sometimes in California but never for 113 miles. The entire day, covering New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas, we did not see a single tree until we reached Liberal. We would pray for the suction created by a passing semi, and dread the shock wave of a semi coming the other direction (on the other side of the road, of course).
Although the scenery is at first desolate, road kill implies that there are lots of coyotes, badgers and hawks in the area. And the meadowlarks were out singing.
Motorists continue to give us a wide berth, and we got a number of friendly toots from cars and trucks. The train tracks parallel the road most of the time, and most of the passing trains acknowledge us with a whistle.
Our motel in Liberal is right next door to Dorothy’s house. Really! It is a 1907 farmhouse moved to its present location at the county museum. The Governor declared it the official home of Dorothy Gale in 1981.
BTW, if you are interested (as I was) in how Liberal got its name: the motel receptionist tells me that back in the days of the Santa Fe Trail, a man drilled the only well for miles around. But he welcomed anyone to take the water and he became famous to everyone passing through as being “Liberal” with his water. She also assured me that “we’re all Republicans” and assuredly not liberal.