Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dec 24 (Day 358) - Another miserable day on the roads

If there was going to be more strong north wind tomorrow, I think I would just close up shop and quit for the rest of the year. The last two days have been miserable and relatively unproductive. Yesterday I managed just 37 miles before the wind shut me down. Today was almost as frustrating as I covered just 50 miles from Navasota, TX to Hearne. The wind that blew from 14-18 MPH all morning (gusting >20 MPH) did actually die down a bit in the afternoon. I thought about continuing on, but I was doubtful that I would be able to find food in the next, small town on Christmas eve. When I found out the Pizza Hut here in Hearne would be open until 8pm, that sealed the deal. I have now consumed 2 large pan pizzas from Pizza Hut in the last 24 hours. 

50 miles - I couldn't make a perfect bike map since I 
did some riding on the interstate

I simply cannot stress enough how exhausted I am at this stage of the year. This physical condition translates into an incredible lack of motivation at year's end. I am really, really ready for this whole thing to end. It has passed the point of being enjoyable and now is one giant slog. Yes, all big years slow down at the end. However, petroleum-based birders could be at home with their families waiting for their phone to ring with news of one last bird appearing somewhere on the continent. If the phone never rings, they can just hang out and enjoy the holidays. This is not so for me. I am alone as ever, and I am still laying down miles on weary legs. Tomorrow I will - hopefully - ride 92 miles north to Corsicana, and on Friday I will ride the ~65 miles to White Rock Lake in Dallas to look for Little gull in the afternoon. At least for the next two days, there is no rest in sight. Mentally, I am completely done right now. I am literally out of things to think about. Cursing the wind was all I could do today. It was really awful. Thankfully, the wind is going to swing around to blow stiffly from the the south the next two days. Without these tailwinds, I might just ride the bike into oncoming traffic and be done with it. Yeah, it's that bad.

Speaking of beat up, my gear is literally falling apart before my eyes. My rear rack on which most of my weight is carried is cracked-through in two places. My rear fender cracked in half and the one half had to be jettisoned. Today, my handlebar-mounted phone holder completely shattered. Also today, the zipper on my insulated jacket broke irreparably. I purchased a $10 sweatshirt to battle the 37C morning temps tomorrow. My tripod lost a critical knob from the constant bouncing on the road;  I had to go MacGyver to fix it. The corse focus knob on my scope has broken for a second time. I am willing to bet my life that this was also due to excessive rattling along crappy roads. I am not sure what is in worse shape, my body or my gear. 

Incidently, the Fort-tailed flycatcher was not seen today either. Had I chased that bird 230 miles in the wrong direction and not found it, the bike would certainly have been thrown into Galveston Bay and the year would have come to a premature but incredibly welcome end. I can only laugh at how miserable I am right now. In some respects the blog is the main thing keeping me going. Without it I could quit and no one would be the wiser! All joking aside, I will somehow finish the year out, new birds or not. While it will be awful/torturous for the next week, I'll be glad I didn't fold the tent 20 years from now. 

18 comments:

  1. The whole internet is pulling for you! Hang in there!
    (It's the journey - right?)

    All the best - it has been a great year following your exploits.

    Ben R.

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  2. You'll be looking back fondly on this debacle in 20 days, not 20 years. Guaranteed.

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  3. You're gonna love the tailwinds, man. Keep it up, you got this! Just be glad your last bird isn't a grouse!

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  4. Hang in there, Dorian. Things will improve when that Little Gull drifts through your binos. And Sonia shows up in a couple days, too, right? We're all with you - if only we could help pedal.

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  5. finish strong! buy a roll of duct tape and keep on pedaling. I'm surprised your bike has held up this far. I'm going to have to buy one. I've always written a trip report for every place I've traveled birding, and yes, that can keep you going, and you'll love having it sooner than you think. A whole lot of people are living through your exploits this year and sending well wishes to get you to a great finish!

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  6. Dorian, after this week you never HAVE to do this again. But this was the year you chose and your almost there. 2 more species on your radar that should be your focus -- that and in a week it's over. "Mission Accomplished" (insert George Bush joke here--you're in Texas after all ). Yes petrol based big years are Mich easier at the end, but I for one didn't sit home on mine and I know a lot of others also try to squeak a little something extra out in the 11th hour. That's you right now. Keep it up dude!

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  7. Dorian - Hang in there, the end is in sight!

    Thanks so much for all you have done this year - the education, entertainment, and inspiration you and Sonia have so generously shared with us. Not the least of which is that "Biking For Birds" is now used as a verb in our house, as in

    "What are you doing today?" "I'm going Biking For Birds"

    Glenn Kincaid

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  8. Wishing you all the best and the enjoyment of the tailwinds! I like visiting White rock Lake and the bike path all the way around it should make the stop there a little less stressful than some other places.

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  9. Embrace the suck And keep your eye on the prize--even if at this point the prize is persevering! Wishing you smooth roads and tail winds as you complete a REMARKABLE year! Adam

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  10. Merry Christmas, Dorian! Even in the midst of this torturous part of the journey, you are an inspiration and a riotously spirited maniacal adventurer. I hope the winds push you in the right direction today and you find the Little Gull and delicious food. A few more days... and then the new year begins. Sending you good wishes.

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  11. Hang tough Dorian, Just think, only 6 more days of getting to eat 3 large pizzas a day and a gallon of ice cream! We're all rooting for you!

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  12. Merry Xmas, Dorian! Try to savor this as the last morsel of your outdoor adventure before (possibly) returning to the indoor life like the rest of us schmoes. The contrast will be so sweet when this is over.

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  13. Dorian, look at all of these comments! And even those who have not commented feel the same way. You would shoot yourself if you gave up now. Just a few more days remain of this fabulous adventure that possibly no one will even be able to replicate. You will share this experience with your children, grandchildren and everyone else too. Headwinds are the worst, but definitely do not let them beat you. Here's cheering for nice tailwinds in your final days. In the words of my bootcamp instructor at my gym, "Don't give up." Thinking of you with best wishes.

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  14. Keep going, Dorian! You continue to be an inspiration!
    Mike Wille

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