This morning we made great time. Smooth pavement, cool air, soft winds. At first.
Windmills, old and new, were spinning outside Vega, Texas.
We covered the 13 miles to Adrian in no time.
Halfway from Chicago to Los Angeles! L to R: Jeffrey, Joey
West of Adrian, as the air warmed, the winds picked up. Soon we had (according to the Web) a 19 mph (30 kph) headwind.
The smooth pavement changed to this bone-rattling rolling-resistant stuff, and back again.
The land at the Panhandle’s edge began to look like something out of a movie Western, raw and dry.
Gina and her cool machine stopped at a Texas picnic area on I-40. She was headed for a women’s biker gathering in Colorado. Jeffrey explained the Ride and the work of Human Rights First. Gina acknowledged that asylum applicants are poorly treated. One of Gina’s group’s charitable foci is U.S. military veterans. When Jeffrey said at least veterans’ U.S. presence is secure and no one is threatening to behead them, Gina replied that they’ve already (metaphorically) had their heads cut off. Jeffrey acknowledged the point and agreed with Gina that we as a country owe veterans thanks, an apology, and whatever help they need. Gina and Jeffrey wished one another well in their work and their travels.
A few miles west, at the top of a long I-40 hill, Jose and Jafeth were waiting. Jose sent Jafeth running to greet Jeffrey with a bottle of cold water. The father and son had passed us, were concerned, and offered us more water, a ride in their “Climbing & Tree Service” trailer . . .
. . . whatever we might need. Jose’s English was little better than Jeffrey’s Spanish, so Jafeth acted as interpreter. After Jeffrey explained our mission, Jose (making an assumption) told Jeffrey that a better use of his time would be to accept Jesus into his heart. Jeffrey replied that a way to honor God is to help people, and that Jose’s help to us honored Jesus. Jose liked that. And we like Jose and Jafeth.
We passed many ranch gates, beyond which we saw what looked to us like vast wastelands. Shows how little we understand of western cattle country.
A few miles later . . . New Mexico!
We stopped at the New Mexico welcome center so Jeffrey could cool off inside. When he came out (he had left me cooking in the yellow bag), he found several people photographing our vehicle. Miranda and Luke, late of an Atlanta suburb, took particular interest. Miranda works with Southeast Asian refugees and knows of Human Rights First. Luke, a doctor, is about to begin a psychiatric residency in California. Miranda asked whether she could spread word of the Ride on social media. Of course!
These New Mexico roadside flowers were new to us.
These sedimentary rocks were formed by sand deposited in ancient seas. The sand came from mountains that took millions of years to rise and millions more to erode into sand. Makes you think . . .
At San Jon (pop 200), Jeffrey need to drink and cool down; it was in the mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius). Taste of India was the only place in sight.
The place sells Indian meals, Indian groceries, and Bollywood DVDs. Jeffrey asked the clerk (who happened to be from Pakistan) who in eastern New Mexico buys such products. His answer: India-born truck drivers! The place was hopping. A slice of Real America!
Trees in this cemetery all lean away from the prevailing wind.
We couldn’t take full advantage of downhills due to poor road surfaces. Sometimes the wind was so fierce and the road so rough, Jeffrey had to pedal to go downhill.
At last, Tucumcari, New Mexico. A 77 mile day, 1326 miles so far on this Ride.
Thus ended a hard day, but a good day. We overcame the physical obstacles of weather and road. We made more friends—for what is a friend but someone who talks, listens, helps, and wishes one well—for ourselves, for refugees in principle, and for Human Rights First.