Borne of the Desert
For the third time, The Hub bike shop in San Marcos saved my butt days before a tour began. With my rear hub gone kaput four days prior, there wasn't enough time to have it warrantied. The only option was to get an entire new wheel built, without the possibility of using any of the parts from the old wheel. Since I had to go with whatever they had on hand instead of bargain-hunting, the rear wheel alone cost more than the entire wheelset had cost. But they got a wheel built in less than 24 hours. Most bike shops have a two week waiting list, and wheelbuilding is a finnicky time-consuming art. The Hub can do anything.
My friend Daron was generous enough to drive me down to San Antonio late at night, where I caught my train. 18 hours later, I arrived in Tucson. I slept through half of it, and train rides aren't nearly as miserable as flights. The seats on a train are comparable to first class seats on a plane, the air isn't thin and dehydrated, it's not as loud, and you can walk around whenever you want, including sitting in the dining car when they're not serving. The biggest problems are the AC is full blast at all times (bring a blanket!), and the people hanging out in the dining car tend to have conversations at shouting volume.
I was picked up by Lynn, my cousin's likeable mom who I've hardly met, and we promptly went to my cousin Shaughn's championship hockey game. It was already the third period when we arrived, just in time to watch them rally from your points down and lose by one.
Shaughn's was tied up for the evening, and the next day, so I decided to stick around for a couple days and have a chance to hang out with him. Wouldn't you know it, his wife Shelley went into labor the very next day, which led to me spending the day with Lynn and Dominic, Shaughn's three-year-old son, who was...what's a euphemism a parent would use…"talkative", but reasonably well-behaved. I spent a few hours riding around Tucson to visit the University of Arizona campus.
Oh, and I had a Senora dog. Arizona’s signature dish, consumed!
Late Thursday night, we were called to the hospital and got to visit Desmond, the newest member of the Landauer family. I think we’re on a stretch of 120+ years with only one female born Landauer. Shelley looked remarkably calm after the ordeal. It must’ve gone well.
In the interest of beating the heat, I left the house before anyone was awake the next morning. Off we go!
from Wild West