Date: March 23rd, 2017

From/To: Amarillo, TX/Stratford, TX

Daily Mileage: 85 miles

Total Mileage: 1460 miles

Conditions: Partially cloudy, tailwinds reaching 20-25mph

If you asked me where my easiest and hardest days have been so far, I’d simply say “The Great Plains.” I’ve discovered a love-hate relationship with this area of the country, and it depends entirely on the wind. I sailed through 85 miles today without much of a struggle. I couldn’t believe the luck I had, and I almost considered taking the day off to stay in Amarillo. I’d never forgive myself if I followed through with that. Today was a gift.

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Todays trek, from Amarillo, TX to Stratford, TX.

I woke up around 8AM and had a quick breakfast at the motel before heading out for the day. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew a strong southern wind would maintain its presence throughout the day. I wasn’t sure how much it would help or hurt me, but I was about to find out. I zig zagged my way out of Amarillo and hopped on good ol’ Highway 287. The wind was at my back, and I suddenly felt like I was coasting along the road without any effort. I was so excited, I just started laughing to myself thinking about previous days where I was heading into the wind. I wasn’t laughing then, actually quite the contrary. This was so nice, why can’t it always be this way?

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Another gorgeous Texas sunrise behind the clouds.

As I’ve mentioned previously, there hasn’t been much to see around these parts of the country. Today I passed through two towns, and other than that it was nothing but plains, with the occasional uplifted land mass off in the distance. I thought to myself, “how could it be so simple out here?” I chased the horizon for 85 miles with little change in all that time. I’m not used to these remote areas of the country, but I’m glad I forced myself to venture through here. It gives me a level of respect for the people that live out here. For the simplicity life can have. There isn’t much, and yet people wake up every day and go through their routine. It’s simple, barren, and remote; but some people live that way.

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A ride into the horizon.
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A plateau far off in the distance.
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A railroad bridge stretching over a miniature canyon.
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A lone oil pump working off in the distance. Beyond that are clouds I’m happy I didn’t run into along my trek today. 
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Here’s a center pivot irrigation system, also known as a water wheel. This irrigation method creates a circular crop field when seen from above. It was first invented in 1940 by a farmer named Frank Zybach in Strasburg, Colorado.
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It’s known for powerful winds, and today those winds worked in my favor.
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Overlooking some trains on a crossing loop.

I was in Stratford before I knew it. I’d stopped only once (not including photo ops) in Dumas, Texas to grab a quick lunch. Stratford didn’t have much to offer. What could I expect from a rural town on the Oklahoma-Texas border? There was one motel on the northern end of town called the Stratford Inn. I found a cheap overnight stay there, and then prepared for tomorrows trek to Campo, Colorado. An exciting part of the trip is sitting down after a long day of riding to see the fortune (or at times misfortune) of tomorrows trek. How long? How far? Weather conditions? Alternative options? Etc. This is certainly something I’ll miss. It goes back to that unpredictability that an adventure like this provides. Most of us wake up in the morning and know (for the most part) how our day will go. Right now I’m playing the hand I’m dealt every day, and I may win some rounds easily while others are earned strenuously.  Tomorrow, the winds are supposed to reach 45 mph from the west. This will be more challenging than my most difficult day on the road so far if that’s how it turns out. The thing is, you never really know until you’re out there. You can always hope for the best, but I certainly suggest you anticipate the worst.

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt