We’re still in Texas and Texas is home, but some of these little prairie towns have a surreal, alien feel . We stopped at a restaurant (I should call them bicycle fuel stations), and parked our bike in front of the only window so we would be able to see it as we ate. Since I met Mack, the guy from that rest area who likes to see what happens when he moves a cycle tourist's ride, I now want to see my bike more than ever. Darn! The dining area with the windows was the smoking section! Oh well, food was good. But I watched as a mother and her six-month-old little boy sat, in the smoking section, with auntie at the same table smoking away without a care in the world while she made goo-goo eyes at the baby. The next table over, there sat another smoker. Now, I took my chances with second-hand smoke because it is so rare I share my air with smokers and I could see my bike. But the baby?
We went into a general store in Benjamin, TX. The lady is letting the phone ring because she's expecting a fax and finally decides that it must be a customer and finally answers it. She later explains to a gentleman sitting in the store that it was a neighbor and (you need to do this with a Texas drawl), "He had his wife call us. Finally after the third time, he figured she was doin' sumthun wrong, 'cause he knew we just had to be open. Of course I answered when he called and I had to explain to him that his wife had dialed it right and that I was just waiting for a fax." Another customer enters the store and she asks, “Can I hep ya?”
Does a burrito by any other name taste better? As we make our way into the area of North Central Texas we are seeing, more and more that these little tasty delights that we refer to as burritos back in El Paso, being called tacos, sometimes soft tacos, sometimes breakfast tacos. And yes, they still taste good, not exactly the same, but good.
An ubiquitous small town Texas icon is the Dairy Queen. In Holliday, TX, a couple of girls tied off their horses at a Dairy Queen while we leaned our metal steed against the wall . Then we all went in and had a burger with all the fixings and a load of fries (maybe not the healthiest of fares, but definitely good and filling).
How come if I’m at the zoo and someone says “Hey, look a camel!”, I say “Oh, yeah, cute.” ,but when we’re pedaling through mesquite pastures loaded with multicolored cattle and someone say’s “Hey, look, a camel! Then I get all excited and say “Wow! No shit, a camel? Where’s my camera? Oh, wow, there’s two of them, no three, no five, and look, that one’s playing with a plastic sack.”
Other things seen from the bicycle, "IS THAT A GORILLA?"
I have also noticed that our sense of history increases during the day. You know those historical markers that they stick along the road where some long gone school was built by the pioneers or some community well was dug. Well, at the beginning of the day, these hold little interests for us but as the day gets long and our butts tired, we find ourselves stopping to read almost all of them. Curious, huh?
I’m getting that usual odd-looking touring cyclist’s tan: helmet straps remain on the face and neck even after the helmet is off. There is a pattern on my face for my glasses. I have both sleeve and short line tan. In addition to these usual markings, I have something new: because we’re traveling west to east, I’m getting a one-sided tan. My right leg and arm (which gets more sun) are darker than my left leg and arm.
Up until yesterday, people have not been too concerned where we've come from, just where we're going. They'll respond, "Texarkana? Well, that's a long way from here." Also, when you read that sentence, do so with a Texas drawl. As of yesterday, we're beginning to get a combination, "Where ya'll goin' and where ya'll from?" They'll arrive at the same conclusion, “That’s a lot of distance.” We stopped at a Family Dollar Store in Crosbyton, an elderly gent drove over to tell us that his son-in-law and daughter have a bike like ours--built for two. "They go all over the place in that thing. They even went to France to ride in front of the tour race they have over there.”