Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Day 5: Texas (~900 kms)

I arrived in Laredo around 6:30 pm, set up camp and did a little shopping. Nathan still hasn't arrived so I came to a McDonald's to squat on their Internet and see if he'd sent me any messages.

The day of riding was enjoyable but relatively uneventful. It felt like the first day of the trip in some ways since the weather was warm and the landscape was different than anywhere I'd riden before: west Texas scrub.

I did a range test on my bike. I recently changed the gearing after running out of gas twice on the ride with Chris to Labrador this summer. I now have 415kms on a tank at an avg speed of 108 per hour plus an extra 1.5 liters of fuel in a can, so nearly 450 effective range. That's about a 25% improvement.

Highlight of the day was stopping for BBQ for lunch. I ate outside in the back. The only other people were an older white couple and a black man having a heated conversation. I didn't catch everything but the gist was that the couple wanted to borrow some money from the man. It was a kind of bridge loan and it seemed to be required because the couple had been the subject of a scam or needed to sell their home quickly or both. In any case they seemed resentful and bitter. The man was trying to assess how likely he was to get his money back, but it came off like he was unsympathetic to their situation. I spoke to him afterwards and he was the owner of the BBQ place as well as two others nearby. He had finished college, been drafted into the army, done 18 months in Vietnam, survived and come home to start the business. He told me: "Nothing's free in life." Maybe he was worried that I thought he was preying on the old couple. It was excellent BBQ.

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