Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Elevation: 4,990 ft.
Distance: 82.0 mi.
Odometer: 2,862.9 mi.
Downhills and tailwinds to start the day. The tailwind would eventually die away and turn into a headwind, which is a weird pattern I'm noticing in New Mexico. Downhills stayed put though. At the halfway point, I took a rest stop at a gas station and bumped into my host for the night, Andy Wright. He was taking off on a double century (!!), had left at about 5:00 AM that morning, and expected to get back at around midnight. And I thought I was covering long distances!
Rolled up to Andy's house on the most bike-friendly directions I could've possibly imagined and met his wife Laura and his sons Tristan and Ted. Showered, ate, and felt much better. Had a mostly lazy day after that, though I did make it to a truck stop where I got a New Mexico shot glass. I’d now succeeded in getting one from every state of which I didn't have one yet.
The folks I'm staying with are cool people. Most of them are into outdoorsy stuff, and both Andy and Laura are teachers, which allows them to take long adventures in the summer. That's probably the biggest thing I'm going to miss about teaching. I'm strongly considering going back to school for a while, then teaching at the collegiate level. Apparently you can teach at a community college with only a Master's. I may go that route.
Oddly enough, these folks are amateur beekeepers! They have hives in the backyard and consistently have several large jars of honey in their kitchen. While I was there, they used it to make granola, and showed me how. I might try my hand at it when I get home. I love granola!
Staying in a house for once alerted me to one of the stranger things about the area: many people don’t have air conditioning! Instead, they have these things called swamp coolers. It involves a big pan of water on the roof, which evaporates and cools the air with the moisture. Then you just use fans to push the cool, damp air through your house, displacing the warm, dry air. It works well in the desert, where the humidity is so low, any moisture lowers the temperature of the air. It wouldn’t work at all in Texas; it would just make it more humid.
Also, I loved the poem hanging on the bathroom wall:
In this land of warmth and sun,
We don’t always flush for #1.
Glad to see people conserving water!
Had a much-needed lazy day off, and now I'm rested and well-fed. Andy, Laura, Tristan, and Ted, thanks for sharing your home with me.
from Pedal for Potatoes