Trans USA Cycling Tour  pg 7
Send me a note just to say you
saw me
This is the Trans-USA Cycling Tour for Bill
Continued from page 6

June 3, 2003 - Day 15
Odometer 1716
Today was more or less one of those rides from
hell!  Battled the head wind all day but still
managed 100+ miles.  As soon as I crossed the
New Mexico - Texas border the head winds
picked up to 20-25 mph.  A "huge" storm cell
covered the whole sky. I could not figure out
which direction it was coming from or going to.  
I tried to out race it, going a measly 6-8 mph.,
trying to reach a rest stop on I-40 which had
disappeared from the map.  I came across the
second rest stop, which was basically a picnic
area.  I took shelter behind a 2 foot high brick
wall and prayed that the rain wouldn't wash me
away during the night.  The winds were easily
40-50 mph. I missed dinner, "good thing I had all
that candy yesterday". I spent the night there with
plenty of diesel trucks to keep me company and
BOD - Brick Wall
COD - Blizzard, Ice Cream Treat

June 4, 2003 - Day 16 "The no whirled peas
west of Amarillo segment"
Odometer 1825
By morning, 30 of my closest trucking buddies
had made camp with me.  When I looked around
there were a couple of puddles on the cement
near me, and couldn't tell if they were made by
wildlife, dogs, or rain.  I really didn't realize how
lucky I was until I peddled 1/2 mile down the
road and saw the pavement was soaked.  I had
missed that "huge" storm by l/2 mile.

Now most of the pictures of the Texas Panhandle
are not much to talk about but the story of this
day had some fantastic humor.
My plush digs for the night of June 3rd.  The
sleeping bag was next to the brick 2 ft. wall
to protect me from the 40-50 mph winds.
The story starts out about 25 miles west of Amarillo where they were doing some highway
construction.  The contractors had funneled all of the east bound traffic onto the one of west bound
lanes.  The dead highway was sort of dead and had about 1/2 of a lane dug up.  I had traveled about
2-3 miles on the dead piece of high way and was wondering where the construction was and why
there was even construction on this road.  It looked fine.  Just about then this long bed dump truck
pulled up along side of me with the ugliest female truck driver you might have imagined.  I'll call her
Bertha, and later one she earned the titled Bertha the _itch. (B's and W's are interchangeable).  When
Bertha pulled up along side of me "I thought" I heard her say "Mister you need to go up here to this
overpass (about 1/3 of a mile up the road) and get on the service road, we got trucks going up and
down this highway."

Well Bertha created a number of issues with this exchange. 1)She had a poor attitude 2) the rain
from the night before filled a gully of water between the highway and the service road that I was not
going to cross, 3) the service road still had trucks going on it so I didn't have any relief from the
truck traffic the safest place for me to be was where I was at 4) she didn't say please.

So, I largely ignored Bertha.  Well Bertha was shadowing me with her truck and I was a little
curious about this.  Then she pulled up along side of me again and said "sir you need to respect what
I'm telling you and get on the service road."  This didn't do anything to resolve any of the issues and
I realized she actually had wanted me to get on the service road earlier.  I just kind of pretended I
couldn't hear Bertha because of the truck noise.

Then Bertha said she was going to call someone, which.....was no big deal to me.  Then I started to
get a little upset because Bertha was still driving along side of me and creating the same hazard she
said I would create.  Well I looked at Bertha and pointed my finger at her and in the sternest most
forceful voice I could muster I said, "lady, you're creating a dangerous situation for me by driving
your truck so close, you better get the "fire truck" away from me right now"  She wound up her
window and drove up the highway to where the construction was.  About 3/4 of a mile.

In about 5 minutes a truck came from the other direction (towards me), which I thought was
unusual.  There were basically 2 lanes of road available 5 feet of shoulder and 1 1/2 lanes of road.  
The truck stopped about 1/4 mile in front of me and the driver hopped out.  The truck took up the
shoulder and half of a lane, while the open door of the truck took up another 1/2 lane and the driver
stood in the remaining space.  The driver had his trucking uniform on and with his sleeves rolled up
on his biceps and he sported a butch-type haircut.  His arms were poised on his hips in a somewhat
aggressive posture.  As I rode up to him I really wasn't interested in engaging in any conversation
and I thought I would pass through (I wasn't going to move the truck or the door so......).  As I was
"passing through" Ray (from the name patch on his shirt) decided to try to push me off the bike.  I
decided that Ray and I were gonna dance.

I laid my bike down 30 feet from where the push took place, towards the back of the truck trailer.  I
went up to Ray and asked him if I had said or done anything to him to upset him today.  As the
juices in Rays noggin were stirring for a response I bolted for the cab of Ray's rig, hopped up into it,
locked the door, pulled the keys out of the ignition, hopped over to the passenger side of the cab,
opened the door, closed the lock, got out and shut the door.  I had effectively sealed Ray from his
communications and any weapons.

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