Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cross the Basin

 Odessa, Texas
May 18, 2013
This was the first time this particular event was organized and it was a very good ride. I am forward to the 2nd annual Cross the Basin. The "basin" refers to the Permian Basin where Midland and Odessa are located--site of an ancient inland ocean where oil and natural gas have been produced since the 1930's.
 Christine and I had a slightly late start so we hurried to try to catch up to the main group. It was such an effort just to try to keep up with Christine that my heart rate went all the way up to 126 beats per minute. (I say this as my heart rate on routine rides averages between 108-112). My medication really works well!!
 Finally, we passed a few of the recreational riders and settled in to the first leg of the ride along the frontage road of Interstate 20. I20 is under construction and the trucks were starting to back up along the route.
 Then we turned onto FM 1788, and into the wind. A day or so before the ride I checked the forecast, and a SSW 10 mph was predicted. I told Christine and we were overjoyed with the slight wind--piece of cake.
 Well, we were into an 18 plus wind with no wind breakers. The mesquites were about head tall so they provided no break.
 Good ole pump jacks were everywhere. Bad ole oil trucks were everywhere. They were in a big hurry to get where ever they were going. Most gave us a pretty wide berth.
 Then we turned onto Dora Roberts Road as you can tell by the change of scenery and terrain.
 I did spot a couple of clumps of small trees. Even though they were small, look at the contrast with the surrounding mesquites.
 Miss happy face. I was unable to get the usual smiling happy face of Christine on a ride. There are two things she hates, chip seal roads and high wind in the face. She was getting both. (Editor's note: In addition, my saddle turned into a brick about 15 miles earlier.)
 I took this picture to show that we were about to turn onto Cities Service Road--and wind to our back!!
 Unfortunately, the road with the wind to our back was short lived. 
 One can tell from which lane I took this shot. The shoulder was pretty rough so we listened carefully for cars and trucks coming from behind.
Glancing back over the ride pictures, I took most of the shots on level terrain. The route did have some rollers, and at one point my Garmin registered a 5% and 7% climb, so it wasn't completely flat terrain.
 The ride had started from the University of Texas Permian Basin, so after the ride we took in the sights around the university. Above is a duck pond and a young rider feeding the "spoiled" ducks and geese.
 This Stonehenge replica is located near the Arts Center. The stones are just 3 feet shorter than England's Stonehenge. It was placed on the campus as a tourist attraction and as an explanation of ancient astronomy.
 The campus has a nice cactus garden. This one is a metal sculpture well over 7 feet tall. One unusual thing about the photo is the "UFO" in the upper left of the picture. When I enlarged it on the home computer, I thought I could see two aliens peeping from the upper dome.
 A huge cactus cluster. And the above comments were to see if one is reading the post or just looking at the pictures.
Prickly pear cactus in bloom. 
 The agave plant, commonly know as the century plant, is part of the desert flora. When I was growing up, I was told that they were called century plants as they only bloomed every 100 years. I believed that until we lived in El Paso's high desert. The plant lives only 10-30 years so it is slightly misnamed.
Young agave plants spring up from the seeds blown from the mature plant's flower stalk which grows up to 26 feet (8m) tall.
With the tour of Cross the Basin and the UTPB campus finished, we headed back home. We have discussed returning to another event after Christine gets a softer saddle. The wind blows year round, so a new saddle is our only draw back.  

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