Today’s distance / ???????: 45 miles / 73km
Average speed / ????: 9.1mph / 14.7km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 4h 57m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 3102mi plus 261mi (?) / 4993km plus 420km (?)
Ascent / ??: 415m
Descent / ??: 310m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N31.03.41.7, W104.58.04.9
Ummmmm, hello? Ahhhh, hi? What are you doing?
What’s all this snow business about then, aye?
So, in the middle of the night, I was woken by the car port corrudated iron roof flapping. Clank! Clank! Thump! I was not going to sleep in any hurry. I got up and pulled my sleeping bag and mat out and took shelter in the abandoned house. The side door was open, and inside was still warm from the warm day yesterday. The wind was ferocious. I lay awake in the house deliberating most of the night whether to pull my tent inside as well, lest it fly away in the wind. I slipped into a light sleep before I roused up the motivation to brave the cold wind again.
At 7am, the light from the windows told me it was time to get going. I took a double take when I looked out the window. Snow. About 5 to 10 cm. Still being blown by the strong north wind. Freezing cold outside, I quickly transfered my tent and pack inside the house. I guess that means I won’t be going anywhere this morning then, I thought.
Stupid skateboard…I thought as I was eating my standard breakfast of peanut butter and honey on flour tortillas. If I was on my bike, I’d be out in this in a second! Remember that time in Turkey?. It was great fun! But noooooo! Not on a skateboard.
I chomped down on the tortillas, brooding.
Keen to know exactly how long I should expect this weather to continue, I called a friend, Rob Inglish. Rob and his wife Leisl let me stay at their place for a few days when I was in Boerne, Texas. I sneakily figured that since Rob works from home, he would most probably be in front of his computer. My plan worked grandly, and he kindly pulled up a weather forecast for me. The news was good. The worst of the weather was supposed to die down late morning.
Even cooler, Rob had noticed that my website was down, and offered to do what he could to get it running again. I talked him through logging in to my server and deleting some email messages that I figured had put me over the hosting storage limit. Thanks Rob! A great help.
On that note, I must also thank Neil McNeil, a former workmate from Japan, and co-owner of www.g-raff.co.nz/ . A web wizard that knows his stuff, he has been helping me with some website issues that I have not had time to attend to. He has had his work cut out for him – with all the hacking on my hosting account, things have not been going smoothly for Neil. Thank you so much for your support, Neil!
By 11am, I was on the road again, being buffeted by a strong sidewind along the I-10 interstate express way. Massive truck and trailers roared by at far-too-regular intervals. I had been dreaming of smooth pavement on I-10. Not so. It was nice gravely chipseal once again. I dealt with it. This is how it is. Don’t complain. Just hunker down and do the hard yards. Maybe it will get better up the road, maybe it will stay like this all the way to LA. Either way, giving up isn’t an option, so stop griping.
After the little pep-talk, I hunkered down and took it. Jolly cold, but I love this stuff. Tough conditions are what I like…
Nearing Van Horn, things changed for the better. Euphoria isn’t the word for how I felt when the road surface changed to smooth asphalt. I wish someone was there to record my reaction. Jumping, elated yelps, fists pumping in the air…generally very embarrassing. But oh so stoked. Finally, finally. After 500 miles of the most terrible surface for skateboarding on, the roads are smooth. I told myself not to get too excited. I reminded myself that the only consistent thing about the road surfaces in Texas is in their inconsistency. Nonetheless, I was elated. An instant increase of about 2 miles an hour is a big plus on a 6 hour day. Instead of a vast majority of your pushing force going into simply overcoming rolling resistance, it all goes to forward motion. Sweet, unadulterated forward motion.
I was so stoked that I didn’t take any more photos today. I savoured the smoothness. I pushed on past Van Horn and camped at the top of the pass on I-10 in a low spot in the Carrizo Mountains at about 1500m. Stoked.