11th July 2018
It’s blowing a gale already…
But worse than that, this morning I lost my laptop….. I am absolutely gutted, I cannot believe my stupidity, again!! Basically, the laptop, an external hard drive, the laptop charger, my glasses and an iPhone cable were all in a small rucksack ready for taking off the bike when I got to Starbucks so I could update this blog. I lashed all the luggage down as usual having left the rucksack in the room to put on last. I got the bag and brought it down placing it on top of the luggage while I did something else. I then got on the bike and rode away forgetting to tie the rucksack on. I had gone about half a mile when I remembered it and of course it had fallen off.
I immediately returned to the hotel, but I had to go a long way round because it was all one way only. By the time I got back it was about 20-30 minutes after I left. The receptionist was as helpful as she could be, she had been outside the hotel when I left and didn’t see the bag fall off or anyone pick it up. I re-rode the route twice, but no bag at all. The woman at the hotel tried to view the cctv, but it wasn’t letting her in. So basically it’s gone. Nothing I can do about it, obviously someone has picked it up. It’s an apple MacBook Air so I was able to remotely lock it with a passcode and as soon as someone tries to use it I will know where it is. I also have set it up to be wiped clean and it will display a message saying it is stolen.
So, my next stop is the Lubbock Police department, of course they had not had it handed in and as it was lost could not officially record it, however if it wasn’t handed in at all, then eventually it would become a crime. The guy there did make a note of it and gave me a reference number for my insurance claim.
I am just so angry with myself…. I mean, every day since I left Albuquerque I have lost something, all due to my carelessness.
I carry on to Starbucks and call home, I’m so depressed I feel like giving up and going home, but of course it’s not possible, I still have to get the bike to New York to ship it home. After a chat with Glo I feel a little better… she is right that the only important thing is that I am safe and well… it’s only stuff, it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I check out the insurance and of course one has to jump through various multi coloured, sparkley hoops to make a claim. The thing is, it was an old laptop, not really worth anything; a first generation MacBook Air so probably only worth a couple of hundred quid, if that, the insurance excess is more. I decide that I have to get going, there’s no point sitting around here moping.
So, today I’m heading for Wichita Falls, only about 150 miles away, which is just as well because it is almost 3pm now.
Firstly though I am in need of some retail therapy so make my way to the local Harley Dealers… well if you didn’t know you were in Texas this place would certainly give it away.
I do manage to salve my wounds with a few purchases….
Outside I bump into a chap who used to be with the NYPD, but moved to Lubbock to work in the oil industry. As an ex cop he remains a member of the law enforcement bike club who do a lot of charity work. It helps to take my mind off my troubles and I am beginning to feel better, although every time I think of the laptop my heart sinks.
Anyway, moving on…
On the way to Wichita Falls I pass through Idalou where I spot this…
It’s massive, but no place name unfortunately. Opposite though is this;
Just had to take a photo. I also pass through…
A couple of twofers there lol..
Sorry but I have to say yet again the wind is tremendous… I am actually being blown into the left lane; luckily it’s a four lane highway and there’s not much traffic so it’s ok, but still making me anxious.
I pull into a petrol station in Ralls and wonder what I’m going to do. Just then a red pick up truck pulls up and the guy compliments the bike and so we have a conversation, the usual stuff. I ask him if it’s always this windy and he says yep pretty much. He advises me to carry on the next few miles to Crosbyton, once through the town there is a very nice rest area with showers and restrooms. His advice is to stop there, freshen up and then, at about 6.30ish the winds normally ease off a bit. Ok I’ll do that.
I get back on the bike and, I don’t know why but I ride slower than I have been and find that at about 50mph the buffeting is much less, I can cope much better with the side winds at this speed and I have more control. So all these years I’ve been doing it wrong, yes lean into the wind, but no need to increase speed. I do think the luggage is having a detrimental effect on the bike handling, more than carrying a passenger.
I pass through Crosbyton…
And find the rest area… it’s very nice
That reminds me… of course the middle section of the States is tornado alley, so all this area is prone to tornados and there are warning sirens and public shelters in the towns.
They also have this water pump… I use it to wash the dust off my boots and cool my feet.
I avail myself if the restroom facility and then get back on the road. Am much happier now I’ve got my confidence back.
There is now a long stretch before the next town so I stop a couple of times for hand breaks. At one stop I see this chap… he is very fast and disappears under my bike and runs into my boot, thinks about climbing over but then just runs around it.
I try to get a photo, but he’s too quick for me… he scarpers across the road and then bang, a car splats him…. I feel a bit upset, he almost made it.
The landscape is pretty flat, hence the fierce side winds.
There are also the famous mile long trains
Eventually I pass through Dickens…
The last water tower I get a photo of.
I roll into a Wichita Falls very late, in fact it’s dark when I arrive at my motel. I check the app on my phone for about the 10th time to see if the laptop has been used, but it’s still turned off…. sigh!