Day 71 – August 15, 2001 – Remember all the nice things I was saying yesterday about how excited I was to be home to Texas? Well, today it was 108 F where we were so I want to modify that statement. It is really hot here! Really really hot! We are glad to welcome Bruce to Texas but we don’t usually invite people to visit us in August. We were supposed to arrive at home today but we added the extra day in Colorado, remember? Well, we wish we were still enjoying the cool air on the Arkansas River. We only have 180 more miles to go after today and we will all be enjoying the air conditioning of our home in Bryan.
Our drive today was for 235 miles, stretching from the Panhandle of Texas (Childress) to a little southwest of Fort Worth (Stephenville) and the predominant thing we will remember about this day is the heat. We passed a lot of ranches where the cows were all clustered under the one or two trees in their pasture. Only the horses were foolish enough to be out. The horses and us, of course. There is no air conditioning in the Model T’s and the wind was hot and strong. Modern cars are generally aerodynamic so the wind sweeps over them easily. You may notice a strong cross wind but not much else. In a T, everything is boxy and square. The lines are vertical and flat instead of sloped and curving like a newer car so the wind hits us hard, like a wall. Even with the windows open, it can physically rock the car. It wasn’t as strong today as yesterday but still a factor in our speed. Ross and Bruce commented that, in England where the wind comes from the North Sea, the wind is cool even on hot days. Here, it is like a furnace. The land is flat, either agricultural or grazing, and dotted with oil wells (if we had only a few of those, we could possibly pay for this trip!). I didn’t take many landscape pictures today.
We seem to be developing a problem with Ross’s car that we’ve been watching all day. The wheel bearing in the rear axle, the same one that broke 100 miles south of Prudhoe Bay, is acting up. If it fails, he could find himself sitting on the ground. We’ve been babying it, covering it with oil to keep it lubricated and stopping more frequently to check it. We could replace the axle by taking out the differential again but that would keep us from getting home tomorrow. This has been the most consistently well performing car on the tour and Ross wants to arrive at home on his own tires. Whatever happens, we are not leaving a car behind at this point. We will all go home together.