Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oil Patch

Day 9
Kamala’s sister and brother in law live in Kermit so we get a bed, good munchies, and pleasant conversation. The cherry on top was that Kamala’s niece, Kim, was there and that allowed Kamala and her time to catch up.
We stay an extra day, but It’s not really a rest day because we’re up and at it all day to wash clothes, replenish supplies, and make minor repairs.
Kermit is this nice town in the middle of the oil patch surrounded by boondocks of sand, mesquite and a variety of scrub bushes that can exist on a highly alkaline soil. It was on the verge of drying up and being blown off the map when oil prices began to climb a few years ago and gave it a shot of energy in it’s economic ass. So, unlike what we’re finding in so many of these small West Texas towns, there’s not a whole lot of empty buildings and storefronts. House prices have gone up and there is activity on the streets. The neighborhoods are generally middle class with lawns trimmed, flowers in the gardens, enough evidence on curb addresses and mail boxes to tell that you’re in Dallas Cowboy country.
And my personal favorite characteristic is all the pecan trees. About 50 years ago, when Kermit was in a true oil boom a large section of present day Kermit came into being to meet the housing demand and they planted pecan trees with each house. Today they provide a real nice shade, but, it would seem, not many people really go for the nuts, because they are just left on the ground. Every time we go to Kermit, Kamala and I take long walks in the neighborhood, filling our pockets to ‘til they resemble the cheeks of a greedy hamster, and munching delicious pecans as we stroll the neighborhoods.

We’re off in the morning with the wind. Now, I’m telling you this wind is getting down right eerie. This will make three days in a row that we ride with a strong wind at our back. I mean like 30 mph wind; not some puny breeze. There is something very unreal about a loaded tandem, climbing a slight grade at 21mph. I guess what I’m afraid of is that Mother Nature is going to want some payback for all these wind blessings and, I’m fantasizing, it won’t be pretty.
Anyway, we end up on east side of Odessa at a RV park called Midessa (½ way between Odessa and Midland--oh that’s West Texas humor) The price is a bit high for a tent (21 dollars) but to make matters worse the girl at the check-in counter won’t honor the discount we have because we’re tenters. Kamala has been researching all these places and the discounts that they offer and now, rejection. That ain’t good. Kamala goes into attack mode. She grabs the ear of the fellow who is assigned to guide us to our campsite. He takes us to owner (you can tell by his hat, t-shirt, and golf cart). After listening to Kamala and seeing her determination he apologizes, reaches into his pocket and comes up with 2 dollars and 10 cents and we are happy again. Well, at least I’m happy again. It’s going to take a few minutes to stop composing letters of complaint in her head, but setting up camp and getting a meal starts to mellow her out to her normal self.
Day 10
What can I say? A strong back wind again. We fly through Big Spring and alight at an old, clean, but TIRED, RV park. The nice lady lets us know that she’s been doing this work for 27 years, but next month is the last.
We sit up camp in a strong west wind, but in the night it shifts to a strong north wind that’s coooold! Burrrrr! That makes this day’s travel a little tough. A strong north wind means a cross wind, which is definitely not a wind at your back (and I was beginning to get used to that little environmental attribute). Did I mention this? It’s cold. And it’s predicted to be freezing tonight. Now our sleeping bag is rated to 20 degrees, but I have found that those ratings are pretty accurate only if you are Saskwatch. Otherwise they tend to be off about 20 degrees on the tootsie freezing scale. So brave souls that we are, we choose to face the elements and ride like hell to Colorado City where there is a motel, a cozy warm, out of the freezing wind motel.

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