11.28.2006,8:26 AM
Texas Canyonlands I: Out of Order

Once in the little town of Post on Hwy 84, I veered north on Hwy 207. Several hours on the road found me hungry, especially after no substantial breakfast other than a yogurt drink. I don’t like riding with food in my stomach, but I knew I needed something now.

At my second gas stop, somewhere on 207 that sports a sign “Town Name. Population: 800 ½” , I stood by the bike eating an ice cream and drinking a coffee (my special Food Pyramid). An older gentleman in a white pickup truck on his way out stopped next to the bike and asked,
“Where ya heading to?”

“Palo Duro”

“Ya don’t say. Well, wave to my grandkids while you’re there,” he smiled.

I laughed, “I will wave to all the grandkids I see because I won’t know which ones are yours!”.

“That’ll work! They live there, ya know.
Well, you have a nice trip and be safe.”

“I certainly will, sir, and you have a nice holiday!”

With smiles and waves, he drove off and I finished my ice cream, a smile still on my face.

Eight hours later, two gas and pit stops, and I’m near Palo Duro. And nearly out of gas. With the wind, the bike’s gas mileage has been less than normal. And gas stations are far between each other up this way. Passing the turn for the park on Hwy 27, I’m frantically searching for a gas station with the little gas pump on my dash blinking at me unrelentingly.

Twenty-two miles up the highway I see a sign for a Love’s Travel Center and a feeling of relief finally relaxes my clenched muscles. After filling the tank I head for the rest room about to do the pee-pee dance.


Argh! I look for the men’s room; I’m not particular at this point. Another sign, a clone of the first adorns the door. Then I hear over the store’s speaker system:
“Ma’am, the restrooms are out of order. The pumps ain’t workin’. “

Oh bother. Get back on the bike and head for the park, retracing my ride to the exit. Checking in, my reservations for a campsite are in their computer system. Yipeee!! That certainly facilitates the process.

I’m tired, beat, hungry, thirsty and I’m in desperate need of a bathroom.

“There’s one right out the door to your left.”

Thank God. But now…….all these layers………

After I caught my breath from the views and riding down a tarmac coiled snake to the canyon floor, I rode several miles to find the group of primitive campsites and claimed mine. I have to credit the rangers at all the Texas parks thus far; they always give me fantastic camp spots. This one was in the corner and relatively secluded.

I pulled the bike in close enough to the grill and picnic table, avoiding the deadly prickly pear on the edges of the site, disembarked, stretched my tight hamstrings and gawked at the views. The light was fading quickly and I needed to pay attention to setting up camp. But first I had to snap some photos of the sun setting on the canyon cliff in front of my tent.

Unload and set up the tent and sleep items first, then worry about the rest. I found a perfectly flat spot on reddish beige sandy clay and slid the tent stakes in like a hot knife through butter. With everything up and after inflating the Agnes pad, I turned my attention to food.

Unloading the stove components and choosing food for the evening, the candle lantern, headlamp and a few other items, I had my Thanksgiving meal in the canyon floor: spaghetti with beef jerky, a yogurt and a mini-pumpkin pie. A hot cocoa topped off the evening while writing in my journal by the light of the headlamp on my forehead.

Packs of coyotes and resident owls made me welcomed here my first night and I was fast approaching sleep as I wandered off to crawl into the two sleeping bags. A nearby duet of coyotes lulled me to sleep with a lullaby and I felt like I was home.

To be continued.....


posted by Macrobe
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