Day 19: Vega to Amarillo

If?every?day was as easy as today . . . well, this ride would take six months to pull off.

Just wasn’t anything to it today. ?Flat roads. ?No wind to speak of. ?Cloudy and cool. ?(Started off with a little rain, but that was gone in 5 miles.) ?Sun didn’t make an appearance all day so didn’t need my sunglasses, either.

Today was the last day I’ll be riding only on Interstate 40. ?I’ll stay on it for another dozen or less miles tomorrow morning and then veer off for good to head southeast along US 287 to Clarendon, TX. ?The original plan was to follow 40 to McLean, TX and then into Sayre, OK.

But by starting a southerly drift now, it’s going to save me about 90 miles and a day’s travel. ?I haven’t quite figured out where I’m going to ride in OK to claim the state, but with that 90 miles “savings,” I’ll work it out.

Some things I saw today:


I saw a fellow biker early this morning on west bound 40. ?He was gone before I could get my camera out.

Not ten minutes later?another?guy was trucking down the road in the same direction as the first one. ?That’s the fifth one I’ve seen since I’ve started. ?All of them headed west. ?So far I’m the only one heading east.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned a wind farm that had gone on for miles and miles. ?I looked it up and?assumed?that it was the Wildorado Wind Farm. ?But according to the Wikipedia article I linked to, Wildorado only had 70 windmills.

Late this morning I came across the little town of Wildorado. ?Off to the other side of 40 were what appeared to be about 70 or so turbines.


So what were the farms that preceded this one? ?I swear there were 7 million turbines along I-40 from just about the NM / TX border.

All right, I may be exaggerating just a tad, but I can’t find what the other “farms” are named. ?I’m just curious as to how much electricity is provided. ?The Wikipedia article on Wildorado said those 70 turbines can generate enough power for 50,000 homes, then how much power is being created by those 7 million (give or take) turbines?

Gotta tell ya, Texas wins hands down for the?best?construction of Interstate 40 so far. ?Concrete vs asphalt. ?What a?smooooooooth?ride it’s been.

Except starting about 15 miles from Amarillo. ?At the point the highway department said, “Hey, let’s cut some rumble strips into?half?of the breakdown lane!

Easy enough to ride around, though you’re 4 feet closer to the road itself.

But that wasn’t enough for the pro-rumble-strippers. ?(Believe it or not, that’s a band’s name.) ?No, the highway department thought, “either go all the way or go home.” ?So the breakdown lane started featuring full-on rumble strips:


Well, hell.

That ain’t gonna stop me.??’Cuz the I-40 Frontage Road was literally 30 feet away. ?Just tote the bicycle across the grassy median and keep an eye on I-40 to make sure it doesn’t run off somewhere:


Running on the frontage road let me zip right through the town of Wildorado. ?My stomach started growling when I saw this place:


Time for lunch.

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I asked the waitress about the name. ?”Windy, I get,” I said. ?”But what’s with the ‘cow’ angle?”

“‘Cuz just down the road is a huge cattle place.”

When I left I looked in the fields on both sides of the road. ?I didn’t see one damned cow. ?(And they?are?my biggest fans.)

Until about 2 miles down the road:

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I have never seen that many cattle in one place at one time.

That’s a?lot?of T-bones and hamburgers.

Gas prices are ridiculously low:

20150924_124601?$1.99. ?Haven’t seen that for awhile. ?A couple of miles down the road it was even less:


And even lower not far from the hotel:


Where bus bench advertising goes to die:


Well, dem hosses needs a place to stay, too!


Saw this sign:


Which reminded me of this book:


I see these signs frequently, but it occurred to me today that perhaps they’re talking to the?bicyclists and not the drivers.


I’ve seen some pretty stupid bicyclists who think?they?own the road.

Took a day?and a half of driving to get here from Columbus, Ohio:


Only took me 19 days of bicycling from Los Angeles to get back to it.

A more?elegant?car display:


Gotta love creatively named companies:


My faithful steed is in the hands of these guys right now:


I’m having the front rack replaced and the gears / derailleurs checked. ?The gears have been slipping badly for the last couple of days. ?Besides, I promised myself I’d have the bike checked every 1000 miles or so. ?We’re at the “or so” point.

UPDATE: ?Little miffed. ?Rack cost $35. ?Expected to pay $10 to $15 to install. ?$25 or so to examine and fix the gears.

Bill came to $3 shy of $100. ?Why? ?Because they threw a new chain on there. ?Said the old one had stretched to the point it needed to be replaced. ?I?suppose?that could be true . . . but I have no way of knowing. ?Every chain I’ve put on a bike — and I replace them at the beginning of each riding season — lasts the entire season. ?Usually that’s 1500 to 2000 miles.

That said . . .

With chains I’ve replaced in Ohio, I’ve never ridden over?The Rocky Mountains before. ?I’ve never put 1200 miles on a bicycle in 3 weeks . . . which included several hundred miles riding over The Rocky Mountains.

I tested out the bike in the parking lot and the gears did fine. ?Once I got away from the place, though, and started to put some stress on the pedals, the gears went back to slipping again. ?I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay $100 for fixing something and it not be fixed.

I got back to the store at 1 minute after their closing time. ?They were still there. ?Tanner, the mechanic, did take another crack at fixing it. ?He blamed it on the “hanger” being off kilter a little bit. ?Well, we’ll see. ?After leaving the store (again) I put it through some paces. ?It’s better but it’s not perfect.

Thought?seriously?about joining Woody and Buzz here:


But opted instead for:

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Was in the mood for some carbs, I guess.


Plus, believe it or not, I had the very first beer of this ride. ?Paul, since you were the first person to Beer Me?(thank you!) this one’s for you!


(I’ll try to do much better in drinking those beers y’all have bought for me!)