Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bike Trip Update - Day 3 - Raymondville to Kingsville, TX

This was one tough, tough day of bike touring. We went 74 miles, straight north, into a howling headwind. It was so bad at times I was only making 8.5 mph, and Jim was making 6. (He has a lot more wind resistance on his upright bike.) We didn't get in until well after dark as a result, and we spent nearly 8 hours pedaling.

We rode all day on US 77, which you can see on the right side of this picture from last night's Best Western.

We got some Mexican food for breakfast in Raymondville before setting out.

The highway parallels the railroad line to Brownsville. This is one of two identical strange structures along the tracks in Raymondville.

This route goes through the King Ranch. The Wikipedia page says it's larger than Rhode Island, and covers most of Kenedy County, which is what we rode through. There is nothing in Kenedy County.

The road is a divided highway, with a good smooth shoulder. It's as nice a divided highway as you could want. Except there are no trees to break the howling headwind.

Here's the start of Kenedy county. It looks just like this for the next 60 miles. There is a rest area (the nicest rest area in Kenedy county) in 42 miles.

As we headed out, a whole bunch of police and fire trucks flew by at high speeds. You might wonder what could possibly be going on in the vast expanse of undeveloped ranch land which is Kenedy county. A couple miles later we learned - a train wreck!

Derailed hopper cars shredded up like tin cans. Mountains of grain spilling out from the wreckage. I only got a couple pictures before the police shooed me away. I think this is some kind of Texas metaphor.

It seems I was outsmarted by the camcorder, and I lost the rest of the pictures I took, and I had some really cool ones. We stopped for lunch in Armstrong, TX. Armstrong has a house, a trailer, a boarded-up house, and a post office! We ate lunch in front of the post office, which consisted of snacks we brought ourselves. The post office is an unpainted plywood shack about 8 feet square. It has an ancient, rusted mailbox in front. The sign says open 8-10 am, Monday through Saturday. I lost the pictures of the post office.

I can't believe somebody drives out to the middle of nowhere Armstrong Texas to sit in that little shack for two hours every day.

I can't believe the postal service pays for this.

Kenedy County is mostly undeveloped. Some of it has horses and cattle grazing, and a little is planted, but most of it is in it's natural state. There is lots of wildlife. We saw a roadkill ocelot, which I photographed. How often do you see a roadkill ocelot? I lost the photo though.

There were also lots of cool birds and lots and lots of hawks. Here are some of the unusual Texas birds I've seen so far this trip:

Green Jay
Vermillion Flycatcher
Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Greater Roadrunner (It was running across the road...)
Loggerhead Shrike
Northern Caracara
White-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk (dark morph)

We got in to Kingsville at 7:30, and checked into the Super 8 with free wi-fi. The guy at the desk wanted $74 dollars, but I demanded a discount because they had framed portraits of President Bush, Laura Bush, and Vice-President Cheney in the lobby. He knocked of $10.

After we got cleaned up, we went and got some Mexican food for dinner.

Here's the route for today. Armstrong is too small to be on the map. It's about 20 miles south of Sarita.

Here's the MotionBased page.

1 comment:

Cham said...

Neat train wreck, those headwinds sound miserable. I'm not sure I would want to stay in a hotel which has pictures of scary people in the lobby.