In Del Rio, Texas
It was around 11:00am Tuesday morning peddling yet another long, uphill climb with a cold, wet driving headwind of 14-20 mph—I knew I was done. Keith, ridding behind me signaled for me to pull over.
He said, “Darrell, we’ve been riding for three hours now with all the rest stops you needed to make and have gone 10 miles. And, your “fresh” now. It will be 9:00pm or later when we get in and it means you will have been riding for 13 hours. Can you do that? I had just done the same calculations in my own head a few minutes before we stopped.
“Keith”, I said, “I’m done. I’m going home.” I went on to explain, “With my limited lung capacity, that has always plagued me, and the high altitudes (4500-5000 ft), I’m having to work way too hard just to breathe going up these mountains.” He had noticed my huffing and puffing and had had a growing concern about it I knew. Then, I added, “This has long ceased to be ‘fun’. Ever since our ride up to Marathon from Alpine. I’ve got the answers I came to get. It’s time to go home.”
We were 40 miles away from Sanderson, our next night’s stop, and nothing in between. It was not like I could do anything but keep going. He answered, ‘Get on the phone and call Hannah. Ask her to come back and get you.” And I did, and she did.
We had met Chuck and Hannah Keels the night before in Marathon. A remarkable couple on a remarkable mission, and on whom, I will post on later. Chuck was bicycling the Southern Tier, across the US from San Diego to Florida, for their cancer foundation, https://www.getupandlive.org/. Both are stage 4 cancer survivors. Hannah was following him in an RV donated/borrowed from a friend for the tour.
I called Chuck, who relayed the message to Hannah from his bicycle. They discussed it, and Hannah turned around and came back and got me. We were all headed to Sanderson that night. As it turned out, Hannah needed to take a flight out of Del Rio on Friday. They decided to instead, camp at Sanderson for the night and then take me and them onto Del Rio on Wed. It was Chuck’s rest day anyway.
So, here I am in Del Rio. I’m catching Amtrak to New Orleans at 1:00am Friday morning, spending a couple of days in New Orleans, and then catching Amtrak again on Sunday morning for home.
Oh, yeah, I sold my touring bike to the Zen Bike shop here in Del Rio for nearly enough money to pay for my hotel in New Orleans. Any touring I do from now on will be on my ebike.