A very tough 37 today (36 mapped + the 1 mile driveway!)
The last 4-5 miles were at a snail's pace
No matter how things go tomorrow, the first chance I will have to search for the Little gull in Dallas will be Friday afternoon. The bird is being seen at White Rock Lake either right at the beginning of the day (7:30am) or right at the end of the day (4:30pm). Incidently, the bird was seen yesterday; This is good news! I am currently 200 miles from the lake. The last 30 miles of this distance will be traffic light-riddled, so time-wise it will take much longer than 200 miles on the open road. The north wind tomorrow (Wed) and town spacing will ensure that even if I reach Bremond, I'll still have 130 miles to reach the lake. I will have a nice south tailwind on Thursday, but, given how slow the last 30 miles will be, I won't be able to cover those 130 miles before dark and/or before afternoon rush hour. Thus, the plan is to stop short of Dallas on Thursday night. I will then let Friday inbound rush hour traffic clear out before I head into the city. Since I can't be there at daybreak Friday, whether I am 20 miles or 60 miles from the lake on Thursday night won't matter. As long as I can reach it by Friday afternoon, that's all I can do. This is why it ultimately doesn't matter if I ride 50 or 70 miles tomorrow. I'm just going to see how I feel and what the wind is doing when I reach the 50-mile mark.
As a quick side note, the Galveston Island Fork-tailed flycatcher does not appear to have been seen today, at least as of this 5pm writing. Since I would not have seen that bird today even if had I chased it, it would have cost me at mininum 4 days had I done so: today to reach Galveston Island and not find the bird, tomorrow to look for bird again, and two days to cover the 150 miles back north and west to Navasota where I find myself now. We'll see if the bird is seen tomorrow.......
As I mentioned the other day, I hope to produce a series of ranked lists to summarize the high- and lowlights of the year. I was thinking about some or all of the these:
5 best rides of the year
5 worst rides of the year
5 most exciting bird finds of the year
5 biggest bird misses of the year - there will probably be an entire post on this topic afterwards
5 best strategic decisions of the year
5 worst strategic decisions of the year
5 states where I spent the most time
5 states where I rode the most miles
5 best/favorite birding spots I visited
Here's a preview!
Top 5 things I hated about this year:
4) strong headwinds
3) never-ending headwinds
2) hurricane force headwinds
1) $%^&*^& %$#$E&%^ @#$^&ing headwinds
Anyway, you get the general idea. If there is a list you would particularly like to see, please let me know either in the comments section or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lastly, since today is a bit thin news-wise, I will tell everyone that I am certainly going to enjoy my last 8 days of being able to eat WHATEVER I want without thinking about it. Dinner tonight will be a whole pizza and a pint of ice cream - yum! As soon as January 1 hits though, I am going to have to make some major adjustments to my diet. I will need to cut down what and how I eat immediately so that I don't experience major weight gain. This would be the inevitable result if I continue to eat like I do now. In fact, I am really excited to get into the kitchen and try out some of the recipes I have learned during my travels. I am excited for fresh veggies and other healthy foods. As January is scheduled as a recovery month for me, I should have lots of time to spend in the kitchen. Sonia is a much better cook than me, so I am sure she will be happy to assist/advise as needed!