14degrees off the beaten track
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March 1st, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (Texas)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 49 miles / 79km
Average speed / ????: 8.8mph / 14.2km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 5h 33m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 3051mi plus 261mi (?) / 4920km plus 420km (?)
Ascent / ??: 830m
Descent / ??: 975m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N31.04.06.5, W104.12.59.4

Tough, steep climbing was the name of the game today. Had to rest often on the grind up to McDonald Observatory. Great fun though. Steep climbs are much better than long hardly noticeable climbs. Short and sharp is how I like hill climbs.

McDonald Observatory in Jeff Davis County, Texas, USA

The area is beautiful. Low shrub-like trees abound. The hills are dry and hot.

Cactus near McDonald Observatory, Texas, USA

Now, what goes up, must come down. Over four separate short ups and downs, I was feeling the strain on my shoe soles. My grand plan of using the blue hammock as a parachute was well and truly shot out of the water with a steady tailwind rendering the parachute useless. Foot-dragging it was.

Dragging perfectly good shoes along on the rough chipseal road surface was too much to bear, so I added some more layers to help things. The duct tape, however, is nice and shiny and smooth, so requires more pressure in order to slow me down. My weight (74kg) plus about 18kg of stuff on my back takes some stopping, so the tape lasted about 10 minutes. It was better than nothing however, and saved a little wear on the soles.

Shoe protection on TX118 through the mountains from Fort Davis to Kent, Texas, USA Shoe protection on TX118 through the mountains from Fort Davis to Kent, Texas, USA

After the worst of the ups and downs, it was all gentle downhill to Kent. Downhill with a stiff tailwind. For once I was able to feel sorry for the guy on the bike going uphill into the wind; Russell is cycling west to east (http://russellb.livejournal.com/). He snapped this pic – http://pics.livejournal.com/russellb/pic/0006hexy/

State Road TX118 near Kent, Texas, USA

Not far after meeting Russel, I was out of water, and still at least 15 miles from Kent. I spied a windmill in a field, and sure enough, it was pumping water from somewhere deep in the hills into a big open tank. Water bottle filled. Yay.

State Road TX118 near Kent, Texas, USA

I was considering carrying on, as I was feeling strong, but decided to camp in Kent just behind the petrol station. Get going early in the morning, I figured.

Hills and clouds aproaching Kent, Texas, USA

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    Permanent Link     Comments (1)

Comment by Aunty Les — March 10, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | post a comment

I wonder if there was ever much in the way of anything where you are now. it all looks pretty barren. Obviously the road surfaces have been smooth enough to get up some speed.

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