Hello from Midland, Texas. I am sitting in a hotel four days out from the official start of La Grande Tour 2016, but really only a day and a half into the heavy driving. Already, I clocked 1207.5 miles from the start, over 600 of which happened today in a run in from Tucson, AZ. It was actually an easy run. Unlike those trips I made on the way out, or the two I made last year which was loaded up with 12 to 14 hour days; today was just a little over nine hours including stops.
Truthfully, the trip was made by how boring of a run it was. I picked up I-10 outside of Palm Springs, CA yesterday and rode that all the way to West Texas; where we are now on I-20. I would be surprised if many of you drove that much of I-10, or at all. You see, this country is full of legendary roads from Route 66 to the PCH to the mountain passes of I-70. I-10 would not be mistaken for a legendary road. I used to complain about “The Southern Route” which is mostly I-40 in from the Midwest across Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and Northern New Mexico & Arizona. At least that road had trees … and a meteor crater.
I-10 had nothing! I mean literally nothing.
Once you got passed the California Foot Hills and dodged around the terracotta buttes near Phoenix , you are basically bludgeoned by hundreds of miles of flat, dry, brush covered dead. Towns are so sparse that you see them from miles off, and you blink your eyes out trying to miss them. After a while, I was hoping for something like Board Patrol checkpoints just so I can have something to think about other than getting the road behind me. Then once you get into Texas, the most interesting to see is oil wells … and if you have seen an oil well you know exactly how boring I am trying to make this out to be. This is road that has a legal speed limit of 80 mph, and it’s a blessing just because you know you get it over with faster.
All due respect to Robert Frost, but sometimes there’s a reason to not take the road less traveled … I’m just saying.
Tomorrow it is a short day; a few hours to find ourselves in Fort Worth for the remainder of the week. It’s back to the day job until Saturday, and part of this long run that will see me in Texas an awful lot the next two weeks.