I am tired, really tired at the moment. I think that the combined toll of this year has finally caught up with me. I am not riding big miles right now, and still I am completely exhausted almost all the time. For example, I woke up at 6:00am this morning after my normal 6 hours of sleep. I attended breakfast at the Alamo Inn which ran from 7:00-8:00. I then returned to my room and passed out for an additional 2 hours. I am just lacking that killer instinct that I have had for much of the year. The Fork-tailed flycatcher miss from a few days ago is a perfect example of this. I am so close to being done, and for the first time I really can't wait to be done. I don't want to wish the end of the year away, but I am certainly ready for it. I am just glad it took until week 49 of 52 to feel this way. It would have been a long year had these feelings crept in during week 31!
Part of my lack of motivation right now certainly rests on the incredibly crappy weather that has blanketed the LRGV for the last 4-5 days. Every day has been foggy and cloudy. Some have been windy while few have been warm and sunny. In fact, I saw the Hook-billed kite during one of the few short breaks in the crappy weather. I'll count my blessings on that bird for a LONG while! Today was the worst day yet. There was a wet north/northeast wind blowing all day today. This meant a headwind for my 44-mile ride to Raymondville today. Blowing rain further complicated the situation. However, it was the dogs that really made today interesting.
43 + 1 unmapped for 44 canine-laced miles today.
Now, people in Texas seem really good at building fences. They build fences to keep Mexicans out, and they build fences to keep deer and cattle in. It seems that there are more miles of fence in this state than in the rest of the country combined. Why then do so few people in this whole state understand how to fence a dog/yard? I was chased by no fewer than 10-12 dogs today. Most of these are harmless, but some do nip at my feet and others do run directly in front of the bike causing me to swerve to avoid them. I went through 2 water bottles squirting them today. I had no water at the end of my ride. This approach was essentially useless. Now I love dogs, but I am really getting sick of this. I am now going to have to unscrew one of my telescopic tripod legs to use as an extended baton to fend them off from here forward. I hate to hit dogs, but if this is what it comes to, so be it. This isn't going to be on me, it's on the owners. I didn't write about this when I was in Salineno, but a dog that chased me swerved into the traffic lane and caused a car to come to a screeching halt to avoid it. It's no wonder that I see so many dead dogs on the roads around here. Nowhere else in the entire country did I see this other than Texas. I guess I just don't understand the Texas model of dog ownership where the animals are either free roaming or chained to a tree in the yard. What the heck is up with that? A dog has more emotional awareness than a toddler, and no one would chain a toddler to a tree, would they? A fence solves all these problems - it's so simple. So, cyclists beware; Dogs are big problem here in Texas.
Anyway, tomorrow is the big Ferruginous pygmy-owl hunt. The entire morning will be dedicated to this task. Finding this bird tomorrow would make my life SO MUCH easier than if I miss it. I have a back-up strategy, but it is not attractive as it would require a lot of walking on a dirt/sand road that I am sure is a complete disaster after the last few days.