14degrees off the beaten track
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February 24th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (Texas)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 47 miles
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 2913mi plus 261mi (?) / 4688km plus 420km (?)
Ascent / ??: 630m
Descent / ??: 270m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N30.08.50.2, W102.36.20.1

Another very early start. Tough to wake up early though. Not only is it cold and dark, but I haven’t been sleeping very well, and I have grown to greatly dislike skateboarding in Texas. I eventually dragged myself out of my sleeping bag, and was glad I did. The morning was crisp, the full moon was shining brightly.

Sunrise near Dryden, Texas, USA

I skated for 2 hours until I arrived in Dryden. A small all but ghost town, the store was closed. Not that I needed food. Just water. Distances are long along this stretch of US90 in south western Texas. 60 miles yesterday without any services, 55 miles today. Carrying enough water for a day and a half on my back is jolly hard work. Plus food. That equals an instant 15kg addition to an already heavy enough pack.

I was feeling in a standard sorry-for-myself mood, until I met three separate cycling parties on their way east across the country. The camaraderie between us human powered travelers gave me a well-needed mental boost.

Rob with cyclists near Dryden, Texas, USA

Rob with cyclists near Dryden, Texas, USA

I arrived in Sanderson, a small town nested at the bottom of a scorching canyon – Sanderson Canyon. I arrived there at about 12:30pm, and it was already hot. I was about to head to the grocery store, when I was called over by a couple in a camper van.

Sanderson Canyon, Texas, USA

Sam and Kim Fry are a retired couple who have sold everything and are living the good life. Driving to all the nice spots in the country. Kayaks, mountain bikes, and other human-powered toys strapped to their car. On their way to Big Bend. Someday, I tell myself, someday. Someday I will travel like that. Forget this stupid board.

Approaching Sanderson, Texas, USA

Sam and Kim treated me to lunch in their camper, and filled me up on water and snacks for the road. I left them and found a bridge to sleep under. Snoozed for three hours, and took an hour to get my pack re-packed. My mind and soul was not in the mood to get out from the cool shade of the bridge for more of the insidious gradual uphill.

Now don’t get me wrong. The surroundings I am skating in are incredible. Very nice. Big and desertish. Just don’t travel here on a skateboard. That’s my advice. Call me a flacid girly blouse if you will. But I am finding it tough. So tough I hardly notice the scenery. A bit of a waste, even…

After the break under the bridge, I carried on for another 10 miles, and set up camp just across the train tracks. Quiet and still. The perfect desert campsite.

Until 3am when the freight train comes rolling by and shakes the ground.


Another crappy night’s sleep.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (3)

Comment by Scott — March 8, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | post a comment

Hey, Rob: Nice to see some more posts after a dry spell. Seems like every tour has moments like you're experiencing in Texas. For me, it was west Kansas–boring, hard, unpleasant work for days. Hang in there, mate! You'll get into some nice country in New Mexico.

When I was facing the bad heat and humidity in the Midwest, I did the early rise thing as you know. Just another fact of life while conditions are tough. We're all pulling for you!

Ride well. Tailwinds, brother.


Comment by Rob Thomson — March 8, 2008 @ 4:08 pm | post a comment

Scott, it is really great to hear from you, and your encouraging words. To know that someone else felt this way is real encouragement. Cheers, bro.

Comment by Aunty Les — March 9, 2008 @ 7:37 pm | post a comment

It seems incredible to think that the wilds of central Asia were easier to travel in than the wilds of Texas. However,skateboarding in the wilds of central Asia may have been something else.

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