So I woke up bright and early, feeling good mentally, a bit knackered physically, but what else to expect..
No breakfast again at the Blarney Inn, so I hot footed it up the road to have my first, and I hope last mcdonalds breakfast.
Having paid attention to the great Chris Summerill among others, I went and stocked up on food for the day, probably overdosed on bananas, then set off. Now because I was certain that interstate riding is legal in good ole texas, the first thing I did was hop on it. Smooth roads, not much traffic, sun just coming up to reveal endless fields of dry scrub grass, with cattle quietly grazing... this is what I had dreamed of when I set off, a land unlike the one I was born in, something unique. It was completely mesmerising. A few miles in I hopped off the i40 and stopped for 5 mins to take photos of the stunning landscape... behind me a golf cart came chugging up, pulled up alongside and an older gentleman enquired what I was doing... we chatted for a good 15 mins, he told me about his paperound of 5 papers and I told him about my ride and the charity. It was a lovely start to the day and I felt pretty carefree.
Although it was cold, the morning held the promise of warm sunshine and no wind, and the blue sky stretched endlessly. I wish u could all be here to see it! I cant describe it that well im afraid and the pics will never do it justice!
So back on the interstate I went until I came to the barbed wire and route 66 museum in mcclean, which had some cool stuff but just didnt have time to look around, maybe next time! Unfortunately I came out with some more souvenirs, must must stop doing that!
After mcclean there were miles and miles of interstate and nothing else, which was great. There wasnt much traffic, more in Reading on a sunday, so it wasnt stressful and I got to enjoy the scenery. I climbed up gradually until I hit what's called the panhandle, which was flat and smooth and if you are a cyclist, to die for!
I was making great time and entertained pushing on to do 120 odd miles, whilst conditions were good- but first lunch stop
The dairy queen, unhealthy, horrible, but my only choice.. so I sat in there, gulped down a burger and then went back out to my bike... something was wrong... yup you guessed it, another puncture. So off came the panniers, off came the back wheel again and half an hour later, it was all fixed, the brakes were out of whack though and by the time I'd sorted them, an hour had gone the way of the wind.
So still feeling ok, I set off again, aiming for amarillo and the halfway point of this jouney. I was still hopeful that if the wind remained low, I could push on past amarillo.
As I neared the city though, traffic and junctions became more numerous. The problem with junctions is I had to slow right down, make sure nothing was turning off the interstate and then hop across the exit lane. With that and the traffic, I decided it would be wise to get off and run along the frontage road. Problem with that was where two interstates crossed over the frontage road ran out, forcing me to go in towards the city, which took loads of time.
Due to the lost hour and this detour away from the interstate, it was getting late and the hopes of pushing on were waning. I decided to get as far through amarillo as possible before calling it a day,
This found me in a lovely, if slightly expensive room with time to do laundry (yes again, remember I only have 2 of everything) and do my nightly catch up with folks from home. Pizza (chris summerill take note) ordered to deliver and counting the cost of the day, in a non monetary sense. The next few days are going to hurt big time. Because of the lack of places to stop, tomorrow I have to get to tucumcari, 107 miles away, but then there is a whopping 134 miles to the next place, this would then leave me 30 to 40 miles to do on my rest day to get me into Albuquerqe! Hmmmm. Well I will certainly give it a good go. It will be on the interstate and hopefully the weather will hold. However there is a distinct possibility that my tent will be put to good use, the day after tomorrow.
So another whoop of joy at getting to the halfway point, a moment of caution as to what the next few days will bring but above all continuing to dream aloud!