We had planned to only ride sixty miles because the next campground was an additional sixty miles past that and even though we’re sorta hot shots now that we have 3000+ miles under our wheels, we weren’t too keen on a 120-mile day. Certainly our butts weren’t. But when we got to Langtry, which was the sixty-mile mark, the tailwind was so hearty and the day was so young that we simply couldn’t bear to stop.

We swung the big Cannondale tandem back out onto route 90 and headed for Del Rio, 60 miles down the road. Perhaps it was our aging bodies, perhaps it was the dwindling concentration of caffeine in our veins but by the time we had reached the 90-mile mark our rash enthusiasm had subsided and lo and behold, there was an RV park by the side of the road! The park was passably adequate with a hot shower and at $10 one can’t expect champagne and caviar. But I digress.

I wanted to share with the reader the enormous significance of factors like tailwinds for bicycle tourists. In a car, the direction the wind is blowing is almost irrelevant. If not for speed limits, most cars would be barreling down the highway at 100 mph with or against the wind. But on a bicycle, a 10 mph wind in your face can slow your progress to a crawl while a 10 mph tailwind can give you delusions of grandeur.

Consider this: our bike plus our gear plus our bodies weighs in at about 450 lbs. We know because we pulled into one of those weigh stations the state patrol mans. If our stationary bicycle at home is to be believed, Mary and I together put out a sustained power of 350 to 400 watts – about 0.5 horsepower. That’s a power to weight ratio of about 0.005. A Honda Civic weighs about 2400 lbs and produces 140 horsepower. That’s a power to weight ratio of about 0.025. Fifty times greater than us! And you thought VW microbusses are underpowered.

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