|South Route: April 23--Dumas to Amarillo|
There are two things that happened once we crossed over the Texas, well, three if you count the accent differential. First, there was the time change which threw some watch wearers for a loop. Those of us who have cell phones were clued in automatically, but there are a few who wear watches...and if you were on the shuttle bus, you wouldn't have neccesarily noticed the sign that said we were now in Central Standard Time.
So at 4:30 in the morning when Larry started banging his tin cup to wake people up I could hear poor Jun Anjusan (who definitely doesn't have a cell phone) say, “Larry it's 3:30am” -- so so sorry...but it was 4:30. It was a little rough on folks, we were all so wired and up later than we should've been, just because 10:00pm felt like 9:00 to us. So..we got it going though and made it to circle and out the door by 7:30.
The second thing that changed for us in Texas was the weather. We've been waking up to frosty, finger freezing cold mornings for over two months now...what a lovely shock to be able to wake up and not have your hands sieze up while you're trying to take down your tent.
Many of us walked out the gate in shirt sleeves and shorts...ready for an 18 mile day.
The weather was a trip all day. We started out in dense fog and once we got onto the highway, Larry came back to make sure we had three flaggers stretched well out in front of us to warn traffic that we were on the road.
By our second rest stop the fog lifted a little bit and the wind started up. And then there were dark clouds and then came the lightening and the ripping thunder. It caused one of our Japanese, Ai, to run up and declare the weather was “very scary.”
Thankfully, that didn't last too long and by lunch things mellowed out, other than the harrowing wind...which has been such a constant for us that it wasn't even that big of an issue. However, at our final rest stop we started noticing these pellet sized rain drops and then as we were starting out on our final three miles, the sky opened up and just dumped on us. With the harrowing wind. We were all being whipped around, wetly. Our flag bearers nearly doubled over trying to hold on to their poles. Jun-sans garbage bag thin blue poncho was all over the place (it's a great poncho – it's got duct tape all over it, she's such a Buddhist), causing Maggie, who was drumming behind me to say, “do you think that thing comes with a money back guarantee?”
Everyone was just drenched..and then, about a mile from our finish point, it just stopped. The sun came out and, with the wind (which never, ever seems to stop in this part of the world), we all got kind of blow dried out.
So we finished up, happy to be done, happy to have tackled such an intense weather day and definitely happy to see this big 'ol fancy tour bus pull up to shuttle us the 28 miles or so to our next camp site. The director of the Indian Museum that was putting us up drove the bus himself and the walkers thanked him by promptly, almost in unison, falling comfortably asleep for the ride.