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John B. Deitz

Build: 100521.2

Day 13
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Wednesday, 10 August 2005.  Van Horn to Weatherford, Texas

Texas, Texas, Texas.

We leave Van Horn about 9 a.m. on I-10. This leg was hot and long -- 460 miles the most in a single day so far. Temperatures were near 100 much of the way. We were glad to finally arrive. 

After about 50 miles from Van Horn, we headed northeast on I-20 toward Dallas-Ft. Worth through Pecos, Odessa and Abilene.  As we got nearer to Weatherford (on the outskirts of Ft. Worth) we began to see trees.  By our evening stop, the territory had begun to look almost Eastern.

We passed several wind farms at various stages of the trip, including a large one on this leg arranged along the edge of a mesa to our south.  Except as a passing curiosity, I hadn't taken much interest until we passed an extra-long bed tractor-trailer truck transporting a single fan blade.  The fans are huge! And must present serious engineering challenges mounted on their long, slender towers.  Texas apparently has taken the lead in using wind power.

Odessa was more-or-less the center of the oil country we passed through, and Shell has a large refinery there.  Even though we stopped for gas nearly across the street from the refinery, gas prices were still typically high.

In Weatherford, we had a good barbecue at a local cafeteria/take-out. Then we rode around town for a bit.  I had a little incident with center median divider, and lost the spring from my kick-stand as a result. Mike said it looked as if I was riding a bucking bull, but I retained control. Loosing the spring meant that the kickstand had to be tied up.  Thanks to Mike, we were able to make a repair using a spring from Lowes.  I'm not sure how I would have been able to do the return to the hotel and make the emergency repair without his assistance.  A simple part ó but it would have been a real headache if I were solo; I don't know how I would have been able to tie it up and replace it while still keeping the bike upright; lean it against a building, maybe?  The center median divider was unmarked, and the short stub of a warning sign pole looked as if it had been wiped out long ago ó a seemingly minor detail that could have lead to a very serious incident.

Weatherford is on the edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. They say "itís like stepping back years in time," and they claim to be "a draw for history buffs, western lifestyle enthusiasts and those with a pioneer spirit."  Weatherford's web page description of the city is better than reality.  The 1885 county courthouse, though, is an impressive pile of rocks in what is said to be the exact geographic center of Parker County.

We had difficulty connecting the laptop to the hotel's wired network.

Distance:  About  460 miles Accommodation: Super 8.  Wired network Cost:  $58.50

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23 October 2007