Amarillo--> Shamrock today. In 2006 when I rode this route we had a 40 mph tail wind. Today we had about a 25 mph cross wind which never let up, but the temperature did go up, up to 103.
Today and the next two days we'll be on and off Route 66. This time on The Mother Road I find myself much more sensitized and sensitive to what it must have been like for folks in the 1920's--1940's to live in such expanse; be constrained to their acreage, or mileage.(A couple of days ago when riding on the Interstate we passed 4 exits, a mile in between each, all for a particular individual's ranch. Can't even imagine that much property, let alone what to do with it if I had it!) And then, for Route 66 to open up the country to both those living on this frontier as well as others who wanted to get out and see our country. So much of this area's identity is wrapped up in Route 66--even the rest stop on I-40 is bedecked in Route 66 lore.
Breaks your heart to see these tiny little towns like Conway and Groom that were once booming and that are now nearly ghosted with population in the 2-300's. I wonder, too, as I ride through the emptiness, what it would be like, who I would be, if I had grown up and lived in a place such as Conway. I say that not as a "one up" statement, simply a musing; there are always gifts and debits to everyone's culture.
Lunch was in McClean, TX, population 500ish, about twice the size of Canning where we lunched with the flies yesterday. Seems the biggest "industry" in McClean is the Route 66 Museum. Spent a few minutes inside and came out with 3 take-aways: first, no clue what the significance of barbed wire was back in those days, but it apparently was HUGE. The Museum entrance is even flanked by two huge balls of barbed wire; books on barbed wire fill the shelves; and evidence on the walls that each state on The Mother Road has a Barbed Wire Association. Second, the devastation of the Dust Bowl, back in an era when there was no federal aid for disasters; and 3rd actually cost me $1.08--a Don't Mess With Texas decal for Daniel who has been wanting one for some time.
Another scorcher of a day, but the mileage was only 93 so not quite so debilitating.
Tonight we're in the Irish Inn in Shamrock. Our hotels could be rated by the towels. There are three grades of hotels/towels: Plush (lots of heft and absorbency and actually big enough to wrap around your body), See Through (no explanation needed), and Exfoliating, (so coarse you'd think you were drying with a spa-grade lufa). The Shamrock is of the third ilk.