Day 11 – Ride Across America for GTG. Tucumcari, NM to Dalhart, TX

Without the support of grief group I don’t know how my life would be or if I would even be alive.  It has helped me so much since my mom died.” 

– 16 year old GTG student

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Today we entered Texas and we will leave it tomorrow. One of our shorter days at only 96 miles, with a headwind of 17 mph gusting to 25 mph, it became a long day, indeed. We continued on Hwy 54E from Tucumcari – it will take us all the way to Liberal, KS, our destination tomorrow. Another challenge today was the narrow strip of shoulder to ride on for the first 25 miles. The rumble strip was 10 inches to the right of the white strip. We had to bike on a shoulder only 18 – 24 inches wide between the rumble strip and gravel. Riding on the rumble strip creates discomfort/pain at all contact points with the bike, especially the hands. And if you veer onto the strip, you grip the handlebars tighter, increasing the discomfort in your hands and arms.

New Mexico geography into western Texas was relatively flat. About 20 miles into the state, some rolling hills developed. The major point of interest for the day, just west of Dalhart, was the livestock yards, where cattle spend their last 90 days being fed before slaughter. Along Hwy 54 we saw two feed lots; I’m told one had 750,000 head of cattle and the other 850,000. Finally, from the scattered tress along Hwy 54 we heard the beautiful songs of the Mockingbird, the state bird of Texas.

Riding into the wind is always a challenge. It requires more time and energy to reach your destination. I try to get as small as possible, often getting into the drops, the lower part of the handlebars, to reduce wind resistance. The wind can easily make you colder or hotter depending on the ambient temperature and, as with any outdoor sport, one must dress thoughtfully for the activity. Then, just keep pedaling.

On a side note, bikers must do everything they can to be seen by drivers. I use daytime flashing lights on the front ( white light) and back ( red light) in addition to bright colored clothing and helmet. When I designed the GTG jersey, I wanted bright colors and lettering that could easily be seen and read. ( The logo for GTG has been professionally designed. ) And always, bikers should follow traffic laws.

Tomorrow’s weather forecast is for Northeast winds about 15 mph. Cold with a morning temp of 39 degrees and wet. Proper clothing for the weather was reviewed at Rap tonight. We can get in the van if we get too cold.

Please check out the video from today.

Tucumcari, NM to Dalhart, TX