Day 15 on the Southern Tier Route

What a day! All started well enough. I decided to change my route because thunderstorms were predicted. I wanted to be in the valley along US 90 rather than in the Davis Mountains. I headed south to Valentine and Marfa. Initially, riding was easy on a smooth shoulder with no wind. In about 15 miles, the smooth shoulder gave way to construction. The shoulder was rough but riding along the right side of the south-bound lane worked well. Not much traffic. About 10:30 A.M., rain fell and continued as I rode past increasingly grassy landscapes (see photo). I ate lunch under the canopy of a dead gas station in Valentine, 38 miles on the day. After lunch, the rain abated. About 50 miles on the day, road construction ended and rough road began. About 2:45 P.M., I got a flat tire. Rather than fix it on the road side, I flagged down a pickup truck. A guy and his wife gave me a ride for the final 13 miles to Marfa. I sat at a convenience store wrestling with the tire. I found a fine piece of wire that caused the flat. I extracted it with a pair of borrowed pliers then mounted a new tube. However, I got the tube kinked and it blew. Fortunately, my guardian angels arrived. A guy offered to let me stay in a house he'd just renovated. I quickly agreed and wheeled my ailing bike a half block to the house. With some coaching from Betsy, I patched the first tube and mounted it correctly. While I was doing that, a tremendous thunderstorm with torrential rain passed over. Was I ever grateful to be dry and warm! After the storm moved on, I rode to the gas station to pump up the tire then to the food store to buy dinner. A shower and dinner perked me up. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy but without rain. I hope so. 60 miles biked today and 13 miles in the truck.

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