Plateau, Texas

We continued our descent down the mountains. The wind was at our faces, blowing thirty miles per hour with gusts of over fifty. We had to push hard to ride the steep decline. Coasting was not an option, we would be blown to a halt if we stopped pedaling. Occasionally a gust from the side would knock us off the road. We would steady the bike, walk it back to the pavement, and continue.

We crawled off the side of the road and hid in a drainage ditch for a bit. The wind did not let up. We had our first stretch of Interstate 10 to ride soon. We were not looking forward to seventy mile per hour traffic added to the riding conditions.

We hit the town of Kent, an intersection with a service station and convenience store. We had lunch on the side of the building, slightly shielded from the wind. Then we were off at about three miles per hour on the massive road west. Traffic was heavy, but our shoulder was wide and smooth. Our knees hurt as we pedaled to maintain three our four miles per hour for a couple of hours. We found a truck stop as darkness fell. We decided to get dinner and find a place to camp.

It was wonderful being indoors. I washed my face with warm water in the restroom. I made four trips to an all-you-can-eat salad bar. I could have done five. Steve ordered a Mexican plate. The food was not great, but it was appreciated. The owner of the truck stop told us to camp around back. We set up our tents, which almost blew away.

The owner told us the wind would eventually blow itself out. I saw a weather forecast that suggested the same: tomorrow, winds would actually be coming out of the east. Hard to believe, I thought.

The stars were again covering the sky, which suggested a dry night. As we prepared for sleep, the wind decreased velocity. The screaming in our ears ceased. The air was suddenly still. I felt like we were in the eye of a tornado. Steve and I looked around in amazement. The air was hot. Then, as suddenly as it had stopped, the wind began again. It was blowing from the east, and with the same velocity.

I could never live in a place where the wind ruled. Your best friend, your bitter enemy. Tomorrow we will try for big miles. We have the wind to our backs and a nice, smooth surface.