The sign in front of the bank blinked from the time to the temperature as I rode past. It read 114 degrees. That’s pronounced “A-hunnert-n-FORT-TEEN” for you non-Texan speakers. (See Burton Gilliam’s speech in the opening of “Blazing Saddles” for reference material.)
I had already laid down over 400 miles in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees all day. And while the bank clock was probably reading a little high in the direct sunlight, since I too was in the direct sunlight, it felt every bit as hot.
Somewhere between that unknown town and Childress, Texas, all I could think about was Gatorade, swimming pools, and a big slice of refrigerator-cold watermelon. Pretty good sign that I was getting dehydrated.
I pulled into an Allsup’s gas station in Childress, which is a common convenience store in West Texas. It brought back fond memories of the days I lived in Munday. I was nearing the end of the first day of my Iron Butt ride—(big article to come on that one, O Reader)—and I was tired, hot, and thirsty.
I pumped my gas, recorded my miles, and walked inside to get a cup of ice. In hindsight, I was a little on the loopy side considering how I walked into the convenience store, grabbed a cup at the fountain, filled it with ice, and walked right back outside without saying or receiving a single word.
I got to the bike, took the hot, half-empty bottle of Gatorade I had bungeed to my bike back in Wichita Falls, and poured it over the ice.
So good. It was a swimming pool. It was a fresh slice of refrigerator-cold watermelon.
It is amazing how one cup of a cold drink can kickstart you back to life. I am sure there are thousands of stories of refreshment that have been told through the centuries.
So there’s one more.