Day 579 – USA (TEXAS): And it all goes to pot…

Today’s distance / ???????: 37 miles / 60km
Average speed / ????: 6.7mph / 10.7km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 5h 38m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 2743mi (plus 266mi) / 4414km (plus 430km)
Ascent / ??: 360m
Descent / ??: 260m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N29.19.36.3, W100.29.20.5

At the risk of tempting fate, I will name this day as the toughest day on the board ever.

It all started OK. Comments from a shop assistant yesterday indicated that the road improved once I got to Kinney County. Well, she wasn’t wrong. Brand…spanking…new…chipseal. And not your usual chipseal either. This is the true representation of “Bigger In Texas”. Big, rocky, gravely chipseal.

Smooth and rough in Bracketville, Texas, USA

I was looking forward to smooth riding. When I hit the Kinney County line however, my hopes were shattered. I was hoping for two easy days to Del Rio. No way would that be happening. The border patrol checkpoint guards told me that the road surface was the same rough pavement all the way to Bracketville, 20 miles away. And possibly further than that too.

The road from hell - US90 through Kinney County, Texas, USA

Four hours and 20 miles later I could just see the outskirts of the small town of Bracketville. I had grown more and more despondent. The rough road and effort of pushing past the rolling resistance had taken its toll on me. I picked up the board and threw it into the grass on the side of the road. For the last four hours I had timed 20 minute intervals whereby I would battle on for 20 minutes and then take a break.

I kicked my board further to the side of the road, dropped my pack, and sat there with my head hung low.

A passing State Trooper traffic officer pulled up. Must have been alarmed by this apparently down and out traveler. The news was not good. “How much further on this surface? All the way to Del Rio, Sir. That’s about 35 miles,” he said. “This county upkeeps the US90 pretty good. You’ll have no problems with it, for sure.”

I thanked him, and he drove away, leaving me once again alone. I turned away from the road and cried. Shouted. Screamed.

But you had tougher roads than this in Tajikistan, remember? Remember that time on that high pass? You got through that OK!

Ah yeah, but at least I had a pass to head for. A goal. A tangible result. A reward. Here, there is no reward. Just the promise of more crap road tomorrow. More pain. More frustration. Skateboard is a stupid way to travel. So totally impractical.

It took more tears and more frustrated screams to finally convince myself to push on. At least the wind was at my back. At least there was a town just up ahead…

In Bracketville I stocked up on water (5 litres) and food enough to last me a dinner, breakfast, and lunch. If it was indeed 35 miles of the same tough road, then I would need it. I headed out of Brackeville and set up camp after struggling on for another 3 miles with the now very heavy pack.

Prickley campsite just out of Bracketville, Texas, USA

I was happy to be off the road at last, and resolved to enjoy the peace and quiet of the campsite for the 12 hours from sun down to sun up the next day.

Sunset just out of Bracketville, Texas, USA

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9 thoughts on “Day 579 – USA (TEXAS): And it all goes to pot…

  • Fin Lumsden

    Sounds like you're having a tough day of it Rob. Have followed your trip and blog from Georgia (Asian Georgia, obviously..) onwards, and it genuinely excites me to see a new post, to see what you've seen, who you've met, the ups and downs of your trip and to enjoy your photography.

    I'm amazed you don't seem to have had this bad a day until now, but we – and I think I can speak for a few hundred if not thousand people when I say this – we're behind you. I know we're not struggling in bad weather, or pushing up interminable hills on appalling surfaces, but we really want to you to succeed.

    Your journey has become part of our daily ritual – check e-mails, check 14degrees, then everything else……

    Keep going mate – we know you can, and you know you can…!!!

    With every best wish,

    Fin Lumsden, Scotland

  • marcCO

    I must completely agree with Fin,

    I think lots of quiet readers, are in fact supporting you. I'm one of them. You showed so much courage to al of us, keep going.

    Wish you all the best,


  • Lee

    Yes – yes to Fin and Marc. It may be little consolation when we're all at our computers indoors but we are for you. And we don't expect you to do it for our sake, or to please us, or to do it our way (at least, some of us don't…) but we love it when you keep going for your own sake (well-said by Sir Ed in the next post).

    Sucks to have chipseal. Especially big ol' fat chipseal. No denying that.

    If I could post you a packet of Toffee Pops and some Sola Rosa & Salmonella Dub mp3s, I would.

  • Rach callander

    Oh stink

    your descriptions of your poo day and your tears and shouts and screams and the like made me cry too!! Call it being oversensitive pregnancy hormones or whatever…

    but golly gosh you are a trooper.

    well done Rob

    Love Rach

  • Mum

    Didn't you say that it would be too easy biking along good Western roads? Well Rob, you wanted a challenge and it sure sounds like you've got one! Just remember the lines from Romans 5 – '(We know) that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character and character produces hope..' So just think of the bad roads as character (and muscle) building!!!

  • Aunty Les

    Sounds like you need some special sort of wheels on the skateboard ie larger, steel surface wheels, that would roll better on such rough surfaces. Would holding up your 'breaking' sail when you have a back wind help at all?

  • Marija

    That was one of those days…

    When you just do not know what & why you are out there.

    But somewhere deep inside there is clean answer. You want to do and give your best. And this is just another day, that is not easy.. But you can do it today, as you did yesterday and will do tomorrow.

    Once I had a question – why we need to take "harder" roads through life. And friend of mine answered – to read about the beauty of the world, about the size of the world is one thing….but to experience and feel it is another thing..You are doing it.

    So keep going. For the crazy moments…

  • John


    Me living in texas and being a fellow longboarder can sympathize for you about road condtions here in our lovely state of texas. i cant stand it here. roads suck, its flat and ugly, too hot. and just plane boring. srry you had a bad time here but honestly it isnt a shock to me.