Due to intermittent internet access here in the great state of Texas, I have not been able to blog as frequently as I would like. Therefore, this post is a compilation of the past week. I will try to date it and keep it in chronological order, pay attention!
PS- Check out the previous post for new pictures!
The One Legged Man and the Ten Year Walk for Jesus
For two days I have ridden with one leg. I have been riding with a shortened crank on the left side and I have been trying not to use the left leg for power, it just helps to turn the crank around.
Yesterday (Wednesday) we met a group at the United Methodist church in Van Horn. Linda Mizzel had contacted me and told me that she had some close friends that were affected by Ataxia. She invited us to have lunch with her and some of her congregation. It was a very nice lunch with some very nice people. On Saturday, in Fort Stockton, I will meet the Nylands who are friends with Linda and who recently lost one of their daughters to FA.
That afternoon, we decided to put in 20 to 25 miles to try out the new crank configuration and to start moving forward after spending a day trying to get my knee working. We started out at about 2pm and a storm was brewing. There were thick, black clouds to the west and the wind was blowing to the east. As soon as we got about 100 yards down the road, the sky opened up and hail poured like crazy. We turned around and headed back to the trailer like little girls. After warming up and watching the intense hail pass, we gave it another try. This time we made it to the freeway and we were off. The new crank worked great! My right leg did all the work while my left was just along for the ride. We rode about 20 miles fighting a brisk crosswind. Our ride showed up and we quickly jumped in out of the cold. We took off heading east to find an offramp so we could head back to Van Horn. We got about 2 miles down the road and passed a guy walking on the side of the freeway with a huge cross on his shoulder…what the? We noticed a frontage road so we got off at the next offramp and decided that in the spirit of the adventure we should go talk to this guy and see what he was doing.
We stopped on the side of the frontage road and waited to greet this cross bearing gentleman. We asked him where he was headed and he said, “Well, I am on a ten year walk for Jesus, I started seven years ago in Tijuana with a dollar. I am going to write a book when I am done.” The cross he was carrying on his shoulder was made of light weight fiberglass and it had wheels on the bottom for long distance travel. Wally jumped out of the car and asked if he could take a picture and the guy was happy to pose for a souvenir shot.
He seemed like a very nice down to earth guy. He was hoping that we were heading east toward Pecos so he could catch a ride because it was very cold and the sun was getting low on the horizon. We told him that we were heading back to Van Horn and he said, “Well, some days I just say, ‘Alright Jesus what now, how are you gonna help me out.’” And with that, he kept his head down and his cross rolling.
Today we got up early and it was 28 degrees outside. We were wondering if the cross bearer (I gotta start getting the names of the people that I meet) made it to Pecos to survive the night. We got on the road at about 9am wearing about four layers of clothes each. We rode 55 miles on mostly flat terrain and finished before three oclock. I rode with only the right leg once again and it seems to be working fine for now. I plan to try this for a few days and then try to go back to the old configuration, each day it will have to be a game time decision.
One Leg, Up Hill, Against the Wind
It is Sunday night. On Friday we woke up in Balmorhea, TX and found that our water hookup was frozen. The pipes in the trailer were ok but we put an extra layer on before we left that morning. We rode about 40 miles that day through scewnic West Texas. We might as well have been on a treadmill for 5 hours, the scenery never changed. Every time we would climb over the slope in front of us, we would see the same shallow valley that we just crossed...for 40 miles!
The next day we woke up in Fort Stockton and rode 20 miles through the same scenery as we had experienced the day before. However, we stopped early that day to meet some new friends for lunch. We met the Neylands at a nice Mexican restaurant in the metropolis of Fort Stockton (also present were Clint, Dave, Vanessa, Jaden, Wally, Mary, Mom and Dad).
Side Note about Fort Stockton: The reason that there is even a town here is the fresh water spring. Native Americans and later White Settlers found the spring and said, "Hey, water! We have not seen this stuff for 400 miles, we had better not go any further or we might never see this stuff again." Every July there is a festival to honor the water, no joke.
We had a great time meeting Emily, Ruth and David Neyland. This family has been through some tough times lately as they lost their oldest daugheter Betsy to FA. They had all kinds of stories to tell about Betsy, sounds like she was a great girl and quite a fighter. Thank you, Neyland family for lunch and the great company, it was very nice to meet you. We will meet again and Betsy is in our thoughts.
Today we woke up early to start out where we left off yesterday.
Fort Stockton Sunrise
We started right next to a giant wind farm and the wind mills were not facing west like we had hoped.
The wind was coming from the south east and we were heading due east so it was quite annoying at first. Then our route turned a bit more south. at mile 17 we looked at the time and it had taken us 2.5 hours to get that far. At mile 20 Mom called and said that she was at a rest stop about 2 miles ahead. At this point our route had turned south and the wind was in our face. It took us 30 minutes to travel those two miles. We had traveled 22 miles in 4 hours and it felt like we did enough work to have gone 50. The other thinng was that we saw at least 25 dead deer on the side of the road today. I don't know what it was about that stretch of road but there was large roadkill at least every half mile. Our ride reeked of roadkill and crude oil from the oil fields all around. The sving grace of this stretch was the giant wind farm. It is nice to know that someone is actually using the hellacious headwind.
Me and Clint-dog