The Daily Gazette
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Windy, dusty ride

(In photos: A border fence and desert near Ft. Hancock, Texas)

You learn some pretty odd things on a trip across America.

I learned about wind.

Day before yesterday, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a wind storm blew up, with sustained winds of 40 mph!

Not all of us were riding that day. I had looked at the forecast and decided not to ride. Our brave wind riders fought not only this gale, but a dust storm that made things, like cars, almost invisible.

It turns out the local weather forecast gives a dust index, which measures the amount of dust in the air.

Yesterday, riding out of Las Cruces, I was so cold I stopped at a gas station on a country road. The wind was blowing from the northeast, so I was fighting a headwind of about 15 mph.

At the gas station I bought a pair of cotton work gloves. The owner helped me fashion a wind vest
out of a plastic bag.

I asked him about the wind. He said, "You've come at the wrong time of year. March and April are our windiest time of year."

He then told me of a bike club in El Paso called the Ride With the Wind Club. When the westerly gales blow, the cyclists will get trucked west about 50 miles and ride home, with the tailwind blowing them along.

Today the wind wasn't any better, the same annoying, cold headwind under sunny skies. Those brown cotton work gloves got put to good use.

We're now east of El Paso, in the flattest desert I have ever seen. The wind is still blowing. The border fence keeps unwinding to the south.

Tomorrow I drive the SAG car, which gets me out of the winds for awhile.

(View all of the blogs entries from Pat's trip here)

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