It’s been a couple of weeks since we last managed to blog and we’ve now made it to Odessa (Texas, not the Ukraine), on the edge of the middle of nowhere. We’re definitely in Texas now; complete with obligatory cacti, tumbleweed and vast expanses of emptiness. It also seems that this comes coupled with bizarre weather; last week the temperature fell to -15 degrees with the wind chill (that’s Celsius, I haven’t got a maths degree to help me convert it to Fahrenheit yet), with it rising to 21 degrees over the following days. This has led to us walking whilst wrapped up in coat, fleece and gloves, perhaps a slightly surreal sight when surrounded by cacti and completely clear skies overhead. On top of this, the weather forecast has managed to be spectacularly wrong every day.
The colder weather has led to people being particularly friendly. Following one particularly long day, we ended up at a motel where the manager slashed the price of the room for us, and littered us with warm cookies, chocolate milk and a packed lunch for the next day. This was followed over the next few days by a very friendly couple bringing us a hot pizza, whilst we were camping out in our freezing tent, as well as a lovely breakfast, including plenty of something called fruit (it appears to be similar to Starburst, but just in less chewy format), for the next day. The next morning we were brought coffee by the campsite owner (neither of us drink coffee, but it was nonetheless very welcome) and then a passing driver took pity on us by pulling over and giving us both a cup of hot chocolate. Since then, we’ve also been given oranges, a burger and chips and a couple of t-shirts (yes, we really do smell that bad).
A lot of the kindness seems to come as a result of people thinking we’re homeless. To people who know me, this will not come as much of a surprise. Even on the best of days, I look pretty trampish. And after traipsing by the side of the road for 60 miles, we hardly look much better, either. However, I think the fact that we’re walking through the middle of nowhere is the main factor. After all, why wouldn’t we be driving? When we respond to folks with our English accents, I think it confuses things a bit…
We have also just purchased a baby bike trailer. No, we’re not cycling the rest of the way (nor have we acquired children…far too much excess weight), but as a way of carrying our food and water for the three or four day stints we have between towns. Otherwise, we’d be on a diet of cactus, road kill and polluted water from the oily rivers. Yum. It’s yet to be seen whether this will simply make us look more crazy.