Quite a few miles in the past five days, averaging around 80 per ride.
In the last post I described the problem of long stretches of country without potential hosts, with two solutions. The first was attempting to leap from host to host, no matter the distance. The second was to... not do that. I ultimately opted for the latter.
Day 25 was a 130-mile ride from Broken Arrow to OKC. I left early in the morning and didn't reach my host Kara until after the sun had set. That's probably the limit right there given the load and my level of fitness, and the exhaustion was not something I wanted to deal with several nights in a row.
So I backed off and hoped for the best in terms of putting a roof over my head each night. In Hydro OK, the cashier at a gas station put me up with her friend Jamie. In Elk City OK, the church and a local coffee shop pitched in to buy me a motel room. In McLean TX, the owner of a church put me up. My point: there are members in every community who are kind, generous, and willing to help a traveler. I don't need to worry about shelter out here, and it just took a few days for me to get over that mental barrier. So solitude wasn't really what I ended up needing, only the chance to focus more on communication with the people I met. Relative to the beginning of the trip, I'm more social and talkative than ever with locals, and it pays off. For example, in Elk City I wandered over to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, and my mediocre Spanish with the owner earned me a free meal!
Speaking of Spanish - racial demographics are changing dramatically on the route. Beginning in Oklahoma I started seeing many more hispanic people, and that proportion has grown since. Language skills will come in handy in this part of the country.
Hot! Hot hot hot. By mid-afternoon everyday the Sun pounds down on me unapologetically. I'm trying to outsmart it by getting up at 5 a.m and leaving as early as possible. This allows for an hour or so of riding before that hot orb peeks over the horizon. This has its pros and cons. I get to watch the sunrise and stay cooler longer, but this morning I mistakenly merged onto I-40 in the dark and was subsequently reminded of my mistake by many loud truck horns. Probably safer to start the ride when the sun is up, and just deal with the heat.
Typing from the Amarillo Public Library; I have yet to meet my host for the night. However I know she is currently on strike from her job - should be interesting!
Looks like this computer has restrictions on uploading photos. I'll include some the next time I post from phone.
Albuquerque by the end of the week.