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: N184.108.40.206, W220.127.116.11
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.
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.
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.
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.