Brutal (Langtry, Texas, USA)

bru·tal (adjective) [broot’l)
harsh and severe

head·wind (noun) [hed wind]
a wind blowing against the direction of travel

“I can’t do it, Mom,” Davy murmured.  “There’s no way I can make it 16 more kilometers.”

Davy stood straddling his bike and rested his head on the handlebars as he tried to catch his breath and summon up a bit more energy.

“I’m exhausted too, honey,” I commiserated.  “Let’s try to catch up with Daddy.”

Two kilometers later we pulled up to where John and Daryl rested on the side of the road.

“I just talked with the border patrol,” John told us.  “He said it’s private property all the way to Langtry – there’s no way we can camp here.  How fast are you guys going?”

“6 kph uphill; 8 down – this headwind is killing us,” I replied.

“That means it’ll take two hours to Langtry – it’ll be dark by then.  But we have no choice.”

We dug out our blinkies, got ready to ride in the dark, then set off into the wind.

Mother Nature mobilized her entire contingent of Wind Warriors against us as Mr. Sun made a rapid nosedive toward the horizon.  The four of us raced against time as we frantically pushed on toward Langtry.

Two km from town we passed a dirt road heading down into a canyon under a bridge – and turned down.  After frantically clearing a spot in the mesquite bushes in the growing darkness, we quickly set up the tent, covered the bikes, then dove into our tent to eat our dinner of crackers & cheese, beef jerky, and M&M’s.

All four of us are exhausted after a full day of fighting our worst headwind yet.  I think I’m ready to collapse into my sleeping bag.

It was brutally cold out there! Davy A cold, blustery day that's me - all bundled up! the day was really hard with lots of hills and a very cold headwind 

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

John’s Journal December 22

“The winds always blow out of the east after a front comes through,” Charles explained.  “Then they gradually revert back to the prevailing direction which is from the west.”  He should know since he’s lived in these parts for over 60 years.

Charles’ son Greg, and his daughter-in-law Marthalynn, invited us to camp on their ranch and treated us to a hot shower, a huge scrumptious dinner, and a hearty breakfast.  On top of that, David and Daryl got to play with Charles’ grandchildren.

We had a great campsite in a dried-up pond.  It was level, soft, and out of the incessant wind.  We all slept well that night.  When we woke in the morning we heard the omnipresent howling of what sounded like gale-force winds.  Since we were sheltered we didn’t feel them – only knew they were out there.

As I lay awake staring at the top of the tent, I was hoping Charles was wrong; that the winds weren’t blowing from the east.  Once we got out on the road, Charles was proven correct.

Throughout the entire day we had a headwind that was so strong I had to struggle going downhill.  To make matters worse, it was a cold one.  The forty degree weather seemed to be in the 20’s because of the windchill factor.  We were bundled up in all our winter garb.

Both boys proved they could rise to the formidable challenge today.  We knew we had to go 30 miles before we could camp because of the private property.  The day was over half gone when we had only gone 15 miles.

“We’re just going to pedal another 15 miles, so put your heads down and do it,” I commanded.  Believe me – that was no easy task with the frigid headwind and hilly terrain.

But they knew there was no choice and it had to be done, so they just did it.

After a long, strenuous day as I watched David and Daryl frenetically vacuum up crumbs of M&M’s with their mouths before the other could get to them, I realized how proud I was of them and how mature they can be if they need to be.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel