Jim Ray Journal Third Installment

Jim Ray rides across America, Day 10 | May 12, 2004

DAY 10
Fatigue is starting to set in now. We are both tired from the hectic pace we've been keeping. We crossed into the Central time zone late yesterday so we lost some daylight. We decided to get a little extra sleep this morning and didn't get on the road until 8 a.m.

We left Van Horn and Jim's route was to travel 38 miles on Interstate 10 to the exit where we picked up the next trail. I drove to the exit, found a comfy parking spot and watched the movie "Office Space" on a portable DVD player.  

I was concerned about Jim's safety riding on this road. The speed limit is 75 mph. I was relieved when he got to the exit where I was parked. Once we got off the highway and onto Texas 118 it was fabulous scenary again. This is a beautiful part of the country.  

On our way into Alpine, Texas, we came across two runaway horses and one minature pony. We passed through Ft. Davis, Texas, population 518, and then into Alpine. We found a quaint motel in Alpine and an old-time diner where we had dinner.

DAY 11
We left Alpine early this morning and headed for Del Rio, Texas. About 50 miles into the ride it started raining, thundering and lightening. There is NOTHING between Alpine and Del Rio. In fact, the map says to take extra supplies with you on this part of the trip because it is desolute and to be prepared to camp by the side of the road. They were not kidding. We were in no man's land and there was nothing around. We had to get in the truck and drive to Del Rio. I wasn't too impressed with our options in Del Rio and since it was a rainy day, we decided to drive to San Antonio, Texas, to visit The Alamo and the Riverwalk.

What a fantastic city, and the excitement about the San Antonio Spurs being in the playoffs with the Lakers was contagious. This city is proud of their basketball team. I didn't take any pictures today because of the rain so I am sending pictures from previous days.

A funny story happened to me while in the mountains a couple of days ago. I was following Jim down the side of a mountain in the truck and I had both windows open. A bug flew into the car and right down my shirt. Whatever it was, it was stinging the hell out of my back. I slammed on the breaks, pulled the car off the side of the road and ripped off my shirt. The bug went flying out the window.

I'm sitting in the car stunned with my shirt off, and a car passes me going the opposite direction while I'm sitting there in my unmentionables. I can only imagine what they were thinking. How embarrassing, but I didn't know what else to do. It kept stinging me. I have a welt the size of a quarter on my back were I was stung. It's funny now as I look back.  

Tomorrow we are going to drive back to Kyle, Texas, to make up some of the miles we missed today. Jim is very particular (almost obsessive) about missing mile. I'm not sure where we will stop tomorrow.  

Hope you enjoy the pictures from previous days in the fourth online gallery.Hopefully we will have better weather tomorrow.

Donna and Jim Ray

DAY 12
Today was somewhat frightening. I had a couple of close calls with vehicles who would not give me a brake, literally.

Donna spoke to an oil truck driver who took the time to walk across the street to discuss the issue of cyclists on his highway. I saw the trucker walking over to our truck as I passed Donna and said that it looked like he wanted something as I rode by. Donna had her emergency flashers on and was sitting there just waiting for me to ride by. We call this leap-frog. She will drive ahead and wait for me to ride by and then will drive past me to find a place to wait. She finds a place for photos or she will just wait.

Anyway, I wasn't sure about this and turned around. Guess what. He is complaining to her about cyclists on his highway and was really concerned about the potential of running over riders with his truck. I told him that we don't know what the roads are like till we are on them. Adventure Cycling designed the course and we have little to do with it.

I told him that I really appreciated his concern for my safety and that we would only be on this road for about 13 more miles. The number should have told the story. About five miles later I saw him coming up the road behind me in my mirror. I didn't pay any attention to him till he drove by. He was within two feet of me going about 65 mph. Cyclists call this buzzy. Motorists do this to send a message. Needless to say it scared the hell out of me and I wished to reciprocate one day!

Now that I got that off my chest. We are in College Station near Texas A&M. The ride today was around 118 miles and was relatively flat. The major difference today is the sweltering humidity. It looked like it was going to rain all day. We got a late start this morning driving from San Antonio to the start site. The course took us around Austin riding north with the wind and then turning east to southeast at the end.  

I told Donna on the drive out here that this trip is like "living a dream"  and I still feel that way. Almost half way there. Talk to you soon. Jim and Donna from Texas . . . still.

P.S.: Hope you enjoy today's pictures. Donna really loves the animals. Today she took about 12 pictures of Texas Longhorn steers.

The journal continues with a fourth installment.