After setting up on our site at the end of today’s drive, Deb and I slumped into our camp chairs. At 4pm the sky was overcast but not threatening rain, and a cool breeze rustled the trees over our heads. I pulled out my phone to check the temperature — the weather service said it was 72 degrees.
If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a full 35 degrees cooler than the heat index we experienced pretty much every day last week in Bandera. Tonight’s low here is forecast to be in the high 50s.
Break out the hoodies.
We haven’t been in weather this comfortable in weeks. Where we’re headed come Wednesday we’ll see the low 100s once again, but for now we’re enjoying a brief reprieve from the heat.
Our route this morning took us west out of Abilene, then northwest across the high plains. Watching the scene unfold through Ernie’s windshield I kept thinking, damn, this is big country. If you’ve never seen the plains and prairies west of The Big River, you just can’t imagine the expanse of sky, the far horizons, the immensity of the place. It’s magnificent.
The few inhabitants of this land traffic in livestock, field crops and, of course, oil. Thousands of massive wind turbines — Texas boasts more of these other-worldly machines than any other state — squeeze electric power out of thin air.
And it was the wind that we’ll remember most about today. The curb side of the bus was buffeted by a steady 20mph crosswind, occasionally gusting as high as 30mph, requiring constant steering inputs to keep us between the lines.
I took a half-hour break from the strain at the only real whistle stop along our northwest passage — Post, Texas, an intriguing old town that refused to be bypassed by the highway. We pulled over and parked at a gas station, where Deb went inside and picked up a slice of pepperoni pizza, a blackberry “fried pie” and a pop for each of us.
Refreshed, we knocked back the last 50 miles in unremarkable fashion and settled Ernie on our site without drama. We’ll be here two nights — chillin’.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.