“If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell.”
— Civil War Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan, 1866
Two milestones were passed this week:
— “For the first time in 2009, at 2:43 p.m. Tuesday to be precise, the weather station at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport recorded 100 degrees,” said Wednesday’s Star-Telegram.
— At around high noon on Wednesday, as the temperature was creeping past 100 for the second straight day, I passed the 2,000-mile mark in my training regimen for a bicycle ride across the United States this fall. I’m now two-thirds of the way to logging 3,000 training miles — since Jan. 1 — before the Sept. 18 start of the transcontinental ride in San Diego.
It’s summertime in Texas. The temperature was in the high-90s as I finished today’s ride. The thermometer, in a shaded spot on the north-facing front porch, reads 102.6 degrees as I write this, showered and refreshed, at 5 p.m. The outlook for the rest of the week: 100-plus-degree days until Monday, when the temperature is expected to reach only 97.
In northern climes, in places like Minnesota, several months of the year are conducive to holing up inside with a cup of hot cocoa. The same applies to Texas, in a different part of the year. But the palliative beverage is more likely to be a pitcher of frozen margaritas.
Fortunately, I handle the heat pretty well and feel like this 66-year-old body is getting into pretty good shape. But I’m not looking forward to that long stretch across the northern Sonoran Desert, through such “Arizona Outback” towns as Quartzite, Hope and Salome, as we head for Phoenix and a day of rest and recuperation on our eastbound journey to Florida.
The high today in Phoenix was expected to be 104 degrees. The outlook for Friday, again 104. And for Saturday and Sunday: 106.
I wonder if Gen. Sheridan ever visited Phoenix in the summer.