Okay so this is a little bit deceiving, I did make it to Marathon, Texas back in July of 2015 but for some reason I forgot to post my ride. So now let me tell you one thing, I did not properly prepare for this ride and it really showed.
So I got off a few hours early but there was a problem with the weather, namely it was raining very hard and although I managed to get off early a few hours from work, I had scheduled myself to get up in the morning, drive out to the location, make the ride and then drive home the same day. I honestly don’t know what in the hell I was thinking because I’m certainly not a young woman any more and I need my sleep. So I thought, hey I get off at 2000 hrs so maybe by 2100 hrs I would be asleep and then wake up at 0200 hrs and I could drive out there on about 5 hours of sleep. Did I mention that I’m not a young woman and that I need sleep…well I do and so I was fighting sleep the entire drive to Marathon. One thing woke me up and that was when I saw deer along the Interstate, so if they were out there on a busy Interstate and yes it was busy even in the early morning hours, then I was very glad I wasn’t on the more scenic route because I’m sure I would have come back with a few dents in my brother’s truck.
So I get out to Marathon and look around for a spot to park because it is a very small town and didn’t have a lot of tourist attractions and most of the parking were for local businesses. I finally found a spot to park not too far from the center of town so I unloaded Serenity and got everything set for the ride, such as applying copious amounts of sunscreen on my face.
Oh I forgot to mention all of the baby bunnies that I came across while I was driving down to Marathon after exiting the Interstate. There were lots and lots of baby bunnies and they reminded me of our baby bunnies we had as kids so I did my best and managed to avoid hitting any of the rabbits.
So I take off on my trike and got a few odd looks from people going for breakfast but I let that pass and started down the road towards the east. I thought it would be an easy ride but I quickly found myself out of breath and I was beginning to wonder if the short break between rides had done more harm than I realized. So I struggled up the hill but I could have sworn in looking at the Map My Ride show of elevation it wasn’t that bad.
Finally I hit a point that the uphill slope was gradual and I was still avoiding hitting bunnies and scaring them away from the road so they wouldn’t get hit by the fast-moving vehicles when I started noticing something. I was exhausted and I still hadn’t fully caught my breath from riding the earlier hills. It just didn’t make any sense. I continued riding until I reached my turn around point and instead of just turning around, I stopped and grabbed on of my wafers which was a quick way to carb up. I learned from my Comfort and Brackettville ride that it is okay to have the carb blast because I would be riding it off.
So after my brief break, I went the extra mile to see what was around a bend in the road but I only found another bend and I decided that was all I had the energy for, so I turned around and started my ride back towards my truck, not even knowing if I would be able to go the full 7 miles forward but I thought I would try.
I finally come back into Marathon but know that I need to use the facilities but in order not to be rude and just use the facilities, I go and buy a snack like a few cookies. Yes I know that these are not the best things to have but it was something I had to do in a pinch and since my bladder was screaming I decided the cookies would be fine.
So there I am sitting down on the stoop of the gas station and convenience store when a guy drives up in a truck. He was a nice guy but unfortunately he was already drunk and it only about the noon hour. He was friendly enough but that made enough of an impression for me to stay off the road for a bit for my own safety. I went back into the store and asked the owner which direction the guy who just left lived and he smiled and pointed out the direction but told me it would be best if I waited about 15 minutes before leaving. He understood but the sad part was this is apparently a regular happening.
In order to entertain myself, I spotted a sign right across the street from the station that had the city’s name on it so I grabbed my camera and went across the street to take a few shots. I took a couple of shots and didn’t pay much attention to what the sign said, because it was an iron sign that showed the background and I was too busy trying to get the right shot and the right background. Then I saw it, elevation 4,055 feet. What the heck!!! Then it hit me, I knew why my ears kept on popping as I was driving here in the morning and why it was so hard for me to breathe and catch my breath. Yeah it didn’t help that I was so tired but to suddenly jump to only a couple of hundred feet above sea level to several thousand feet above sea level was what made it hurt to breathe. So I knew I had to quickly take precautions so I made sure I drank a lot of water because I really couldn’t afford to feel sick while riding.
Now that the shock was over, I knew what to do as I rode and that was force myself to drink more water. So I continued on my ride and did my best to remember to drink water. A motorcycle passed me and then I saw them come back the other way which was kind of odd but then even odder was when they turned around and passed me again. Then as I hit about the 5 mile marker out of the city, I spotted both the rider and passenger off the bike and looking around. It turns off she lost her necklace and I really doubt if she would ever find it but I would not know because I had reached my half way point and was once again exhausted and I had only done 5 miles. So I turned around and went back to my truck and by this time the sun had really been beaming down on the truck which was extremely hot.
So the tailgate on my brother’s truck sticks and I had to climb into the bed of the truck, pull up the handle from the outside and hit the tailgate from the inside and finally I got the latch to release. I quickly started breaking down everyone on my trike because it turns out that the restaurants in town were all about to close for the afternoon and I only had 1/2 hour to eat before they were closed…so much for a relaxed lunch.
I went in, went to the restroom which is a shared facility and washed my face, arms and hands as a quick means to cool down so I wouldn’t burn up now that I had stopped. I thought I would have a good meal but after the first couple of bites the vinegar base coleslaw started to burn the back of my throat and I tried the fries but it was obvious that the cook was not happy to have made a meal at the last minute. Some of the fries were not completely cooked and others were over cooked which meant that I probably got someone’s left over fries. The club sandwich I ordered wasn’t much better but I was hungry and I didn’t know when I would next stop and get something to eat so I ate the meal and was actually happy to leave the restaurant. Oh and I got a look at the cook and cook was appropriate to call him because the food was barely cooked.
It is my normal habit if I take the faster route to a location and then ride, I usually try to ride back on the route that I’ve substituted the miles for so I could say that I had actually been there or at least passed by the city or site. So this is where my trouble began, I was still tired and with food in my belly, it made it even harder for me to stay awake. I found I had to slap myself several times to wake up and was at about the last bit of energy when I came across Langtry, TX.
Now any of you who have ever seen the movie Judge Roy Bean will know that Langtry, TX was the place that Roy Bean, a self-appointed judge dealt out law and he was the Law west of the Pecos. Well I grabbed a soda and then drove down to the memorial where things had been set up. Suddenly I realized that I had left my bike lock at home but I was exhausted and I needed to do something different to wake up so I took a chance and went inside the museum which was actually a large white adobe type of fence which enclosed several buildings, a windmill and a cactus garden. So I would either wake up or fall into the cactus…I woke up.
I know it was a risk to leave an unlocked trike in the back but if I was lucky no one would take it. So I walked through the museum and read the captions by the photographs and marveled at things, it was just what I needed to wake up. I checked on the truck and things were still in place so I continued to the cactus garden and onto the windmill. It was just what I needed in order to wake up.
So I left, now awake and headed out on one of the roads that would take me back to the Interstate where I could make up some time. I was doing good even with the Border Patrol check stop and then I started thinking that I would have to put gas back in this beast so about 10 miles outside of Junction things went wrong. There was a drastic shimmy in the truck as I was driving so I slowed down my speed and things appeared to be okay so I picked up the speed and the shimmy returned. Long story short, the tires on the truck were old and the tread was slipping off the tire. My top speed was 35-40 mph which is too slow to be on the Interstate. So since I had ridden the back roads on my trike earlier in the summer, I was able to use the back roads to slink my way home. By the time I got home it was almost midnight and if I was exhausted before, I was even more exhausted now.
I managed to get my trike off the truck and took in the back of the house and then I had to unload all of my crap. I took a shower to wash the grime of the road off of me and then collapsed in my bed. That was one of the longest and one of the hardest drives I had done…the only drives that beat it was when I would drive from Colorado Springs back to my home city in Texas; usually it took me 18 hours of straight driving of course minus the pit stops for coffee/soda/food and bathroom breaks for me and the dogs.
So one thing this taught me is that I have reached a point in my riding that I really do need to prepare better for where I’m riding and look a little bit closer at the terrain so it won’t take me so unaware. I also know that my elevation will from here on be much higher than where I live so it will take a little bit more effort on my part to muscle through the rides. I will also need to make sure I bring along plenty of carb snacks but most important of all, I need to get more sleep before I do a ride. It is not like the short rides of 30 miles or less, this is out on the open road where vehicles are whizzing by at 70 plus mph on the roadway and kicking up all sorts of debris. So being alert is vital to me completing my journey.
This is very late in being posted and one of the reason of my not wanting to divulge where I would next be riding, a simple thing of rider safety in case someone who wanted to harm me was reading this. I know there are only a few of you and I thank you for taking the time to read/laugh along with me. Have a good day and remember to be a defensive driver/rider because there are too many people out there who don’t belong behind wheel/handlebars.