Big Bend National Park was every bit as hot as we were afraid it would be. Three good things about the heat: (1) We learned that we could survive in that harsh environment - it built our characters. (2) I never had to use a towel for the last 6 weeks of the trip. (3) Dousing yourself in cold water is fun.
We stayed one day longer than we had planned at Rio Grande Village, the hottest place. Beside the Rio Grande I felt like I was inside a salon hair dryer, set on “high”.
We ended Bird Year at Carolyn Ohl-Johnson’s oasis in the Christmas Mountains. The day after Bird Year ended, we rode into Alpine: 71 miles into a head wind and up 2000 feet. That built character too.
We have become strong riders, but not strong bike mechanics. Ken, Malkolm and I attempted to remove pedals, seat posts and handlebars that were firmly fused to our bikes after a year of hard use. After 2 hours of struggling we had removed 2 seat posts. Humbled, we carried our bikes around the house to where Carolyn’s husband, Hugh, was working in his shop. “Hand me that cheater”, he said. Within minutes, he had our bikes apart. Dismantling bikes is about as stressful as a moderate headwind.