August 27. Lake Bridgeport to Lake Arrowhead (Wichita Falls) TX. 77 miles. So far 2655 miles.

Couldn't get going all day -- perhaps still burned out from lack of sleep, etc. My body is sore all over and I also don't feel too good. Hung around eating pastries, drinking coffee, and talking with the people around Lake Bridgeport. Rode through the increasingly bleak countryside toward Wichita Falls. Ate a cellophane-wrapped sandwich and drank a quart of Gatorade for lunch. Finally found somewhere to camp on Lake arrowhead in the midst of much red clay mud. Ate chili/rice/beans as it got dark. Found the first mosquitoes in this part of TX -- trapped 2 inside my tent which had a field day till I squashed them. The bugs erased any desire I might have had for fishing. Fell asleep sweaty and uncomfortable.

September 2 (Labor Day). Dumas TX to Springfield CO. 125 miles! So far 3100.

Breakfast was the typical -- 2 eggs scrambled, biscuits w/gravy, hashbrowns, much coffee. Got on the road around 8:15.

The terrain around Dumas got wierd quickly, changing from the familiar semi-arid plains to a sort of endless grassland. I saw perhaps 20 trees total in the 40 miles of the OK panhandle. It's like being on another planet... as far as I can see, there's nothing but fenced natural grassland. The overall color is sort of green, but the locals assure me that it's normally much less green.

Wind from the SW at 20-30 mph caused severe problems when it became a crosswind through OK. US287 changed from a 4-lane divided highway to a narrow 2-lane without any shoulder for about 40 miles. Every time a truck would pass going North, I had some instabilitiy as it passed and I was sucked into the lane, and when a truck pased going in the opposite direction, it was like hitting a wall. The blast of wind at maybe 80-100 mph could literally knock me off my bike if I wasn't alert.

Ate a couple of times -- a chicken-fried steak lunch and a mini-pizza with a glass of beer. Dinner was cooked at my nighttime camp at the city park in Springfield and was boxed macaroni and cheese.

One negative incident marred this otherwise exceptional day -- as I was 13 miles S of Springfield, some asshole in a van with CO tags threw a half-full beer bottle at my head, missing by inches. I spent the last 13 miles of my day fantasizing my revenge -- cutting their valve stems, calling the cops, or smashing their heads with my lock. Dinner cooled me down -- perhaps it was the quart of beer.

Sun, Sept. 8, Guffey CO to Alma CO, 49 miles (3393-3442)

Slept late -- till 7:30. It was still in the high 30's, so I put on all the clothes I could find and hurried to make a warm breakfast. My fingers
wouldn't work well enough to light the stove easily -- they were numb and weak, and I couldn't wear gloves because the stove requires you to put your thumb over the pump hole. Finally got it lit. Ate oatmeal and drank coffee, and was joined by the Schlecter's two children, Hannah and Isaac. [part about considering having kids someday omitted] Finally hit the road at 10:30. More or less flat (stairstep up, actually) terrain all the way to Fairplay changed to more uphill into Alma. Ate lunch in Hartsel and talked to the owner of the cafe, who wanted to move to Fla. They told me about the "Almafest" happening in Alma, so I decided to go there. Got into Alma about 4:30 and heard a band playing there. Enjoyed good live music, a juggler, and several beers until it got dark. Alma is an old gold-rush community which once had 3000 people but now has only about 300. Around the late '60's, lots of hippies moved into the vacant buildings in town. I felt really "at home" with the people there. As it got dark, I decided to stay in the community teepee at the Almafest with several other people and a couple of dogs. They had a fire going inside the teepee and we sat around the fire, drinking beer and smoking dope. Since I was the only person who played guitar, I found myself playing an old, out-of-tune guitar with a missing string while people sang. Fell asleep about 1:00 AM, fully clothed, in my sleeping bag. Stayed pretty warm despite the 20 degree weather, perhaps because I dragged one of the dogs over next to me.

Sept. 9. Alma to Breckenridge CO. Over Hoosier pass (11,541 feet). 18 miles (3460 so far)

Woke at 6:40 AM. By that time, one guy was already drinking beer again. I had a bad hangover and was muddy and smelled smoky. Drank water and ate ibuprofen. Got out of the teepee and just about froze. I went down to the store and hung around getting warm, drinking coffee, and eating oatmeal. Finally found out about a more-or-less public bath house and laundry in the middle of "town". Went there, did my laundry,had a shower, and read an old Playboy while waiting. I felt much better after that. Went over Hoosier pass with little trouble. Rolled down the other side for miles, having to ride my brakes to stay below 35 mph.

Breckenridge looks like an expensive resort town, which it is. The stores are all replicas or reconstructions of Victorian houses, and everybody's sign is painted, sandblasted wood.

As I rolled into town, another bicycle tourist waved me over. This was Frank Douglass, from N.O.LA, an acquaintance of Wayne's. He had biked to Breckenridge to "become a ski bum", though he'd never skiied before. I went to the bike shop to get new toe clips (having broken one this AM), then had lunch at a restaurant/bar nearby, where Frank joined me. Frank's bike weighs perhaps 110 lbs, with most of the weight piled on top of his rear rack. He's got a Specialized Expedition, which should be able to handle it, but I sure wouldn't want to have to pedal all that suff around.

I went to the laundry to wash my sleeping bag (which smelled pretty smoky). When I got it out of the washer, I realized I had a big problem. The bag had managed to tie itself into a very tight knot internally then turn itself inside-out. Nothing I could do would return it to normal. After about 90 minutes of trying to untie it, I finally decided to cut along one of the seams for about a foot. I was finally able to undo it. That's good, because I was about to freak out -- I was just on the edge of crawling into a fetal position somewhere and sobbing to myself.

After that, I decided to check in to the Fireside Inn, a hostel which had been recommended to me. They charged $11 for a dorm-type room with a single bathroom down the hall. But I was out of luck when it came to fixing my meal -- the kitchen was "off limits" (I don't know why I even wanted to eat again-- perhaps to make myself feel better). So as it got dark and cold, I colked my dinner out in back of the hostel in the woodpile. At least I got to do my dishes inside. I talked till 11:30 with the young woman who was managing the place -- she was an experienced mountaineer, and had been to Nepal and Europe to climb.

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