Today was my first day in the desert and I got a taste of what is going to come in the following week. It was basically one long straight road over miles and miles of hills and shrubs. I kept a pretty good pace throughout but still took about 5 hours to cover 65 miles. I met a fellow TransAm cyclist on the way. We talked briefly before he went ahead. A few miles later, he had stopped on the side of the road and I got ahead of him. He said he had a partner with him but I didn't see either of them after that.
The roads here are just two lanes with rumble strips on either side and also in the middle. So, I always have to be attentive and stay as close to the side of the road as possible. It definitely gets quite tiring as the hours tick by. Luckily there's enough space for cars to pass within the lane. But it is still quite close and the margin for error is small. Just need to stay attentive!
I have a bit of a dilemma on how to go about the next few days. I can take it easy and do the 47 miles to Middlegate tomorrow and then the 61 miles to Austin day after, or try to do the whole thing tomorrow. I would have done latter if the terrain was flat, but there is 4000 ft of climbing in those 110 miles! So I think I'll have to take it easy. I feel like I am having a bit too many easy days.
Oh well, "don't try to make up time in the desert" is what I have been told. So maybe it is best to cool my heels and put in some longer days later. For now, I get a warm shower and a cozy bed in Value Inn (run by a very a nice Gujarati couple).