May 5 
Dalhart, TX to Liberal, KS   
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112.4 miles today (1,284 total) ; 7 hrs, 39 minutes; 1,378 ft ascending,  avg speed 14.7 mph; max speed 21.8 mph; 6,805 calories

To Every Thing (Turn Turn Turn). As it is with the seasons, so it is with the wind. What has been our ally on many days during this odyssey, today became our foe. Our 112-mile run from Dalhart, TX, across the Oklahoma panhandle, and into Liberal, KS, became a struggle as we fought a 20-25 mph headwind all day. Yesterday’s gaudy stats into Dalhart with the tailwind were reversed as we all slowed down considerably. My average speed today was a much more pedestrian 14.7 mph. My day was made even more enjoyable with two flats and one tire failure (the bead separated from the sidewall and had to be replaced.) We were all relieved to turn into the posh Days Inn of Liberal and call it a day.

 

The day started out chilly at 38 degrees leaving Dalhart, and the wind made it seem even colder. My jacket stayed on until well past lunch. The scenery along the way was pretty much non-existent---endless flat fields dotted with a few grazing cattle, a handful of oil pumps, a train track running parallel to Route 54, and that’s about it. Oh, did I mention it was windy?

 

We did knock off two more states today. We got into Oklahoma at mile 51, and hit Kansas right outside of Liberal at mile 108. When photo ops at these two signs were highlights of the day, you know it’s been a rough day. After our discussion about tomorrow’s ride, I sauntered over to the local “Chinese Super Buffet” and laid waste to many (mostly bland) calories. But at least we’ve all lived to fight another day tomorrow.

 

Speaking of which, Friday promises to be the closest we’ll have for a “rolling recovery day.” We only have an 83-mile ride into Dodge City, KS, and the wind is supposed to do a 180 and be at our backs again. With any luck, we should be at Dodge by noon, and then we can relax and/or explore town.

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Big Tex standing guard outside a watering hole north of Dalhart, TX. It looks like if Tex had to pee, he's got the plumbing to handle it.
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The first oil well I've come across on this journey, in Texas along Route 54 north of Dalhart.
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At this sign, we put the fourth state on our journey in the rearview mirror.
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At this gift shop/Chamber of Commerce building in Hooker, OK, they sell all kinds of merchandise emblazoned with plays on their town name--"All my  friends are hookers"..."Once a hooker, always a Hooker", etc. The staff were ironically all grandmotherly types.
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This pretty much summed up the scenery between Dalhart and Liberal.....wide open fields, a few cattle, freight trains, lots of 18-wheelers, and lots of headwinds.
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Five states down...only 10 to go! 1,284 out of 3,457 miles knocked off!
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