Monday, May 10, 2010

Telescopes and headwinds

Yesterday we gained some elevation as we rode up the highest road in Texas. The day started pretty relaxed and we parted ways with both the cyclist we met and thehippies we crashed with. We skipped breakfast and rode 25 or 30 miles to Alpine, TX. We stopped at 10amand sat outside pizza hut until 11am when the sign said the buffet opened. We were disappointed that the Sunday buffet is no longer available but we made do with the standard menu. Tons of water and a bit of stretching and we were off to Ft Davis, another 25 miles away. The scenery is beyond words, there are mountains in every direction and the desert is totally green. The last 10 miles were hot, i mean really hot, like cook an egg on thee pavement hot. We stopped at a small grocery store and got into the shade. Temps were very high and I was feeling pretty worked by the sun and the greasy pizza hut. A gallon of mint and honey ice tea did the trick. Feeling hydrated we continued the last. 15 miles up a steep mountain to the Mcdonald Observatory to meet our host. Our host John was really smart, he had tons of degree and a phd in geophysics. He also had ridden his bike across the country when he was in grad school. He wife was really great and she did our laundry and everything! John and Debbie live in a communitty on the mountain that only observatory workers and their families can live in. We hit the pool with their young daughter who was very personable and seemed quite smart, like her parents. We dried off while walking uphill a few miles to the telescopes. These things are huge, I mean huge, at one point they were some of the biggest in the world. We were thrilled to tour the observatory and John explained everything about how the scopes work. We met an astronomer and walked the catwalks outside the domes ofvthe scopes. The views from the highest point for miles were unreal. We had dinner and some whiskey before bed. In the morning the house was filled with beautiful music as John played the violin. We said goodbye and pedalled on to Kent, TX.
The only thing in Kent is a tiny gas station, I never even saw a house. We tried to get on the westbound highway, but we were shut down by 55mph headwinds. We were unable to move forward and had trouble staying out of the ditch. We called it quits and decided to take refuge under the interstae overpass. I saw a gust of wind push a bird into a wall. We are resting and hoping to ride in the dark when the forecast predicts 15 mph headwinds. Having a great time, this really is an adventure.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could have been with you to meet the geophysicist and his family and the astronomer ... and seen the observatory and the views. I would also like to have had plenty o suds with the hippies. I am a frustrated hippie, I sometimes think (not that i am a frustrated hippie -- i was merely observing that i sometimes think). most of the people you have met and stayed with seem like such great people, too. you two are 'living the dream' as you would say. it's fun reading about it -- i'd do it myself, in a heartbeat, if i did not have to pedal. nothing ventured, nothing gained.