October 19, 2016 – Sun, 80 degrees
Miles Today: 77
Miles to Date: 18,188
States to Date: 45
Flying with the wind! I pedaled through the largest wind turbine farm of my trip today, hundreds of turbines north of Roscoe spread out for more than ten miles. While they generated energy, I made time. A mid-morning wind shift that gave me a tail boost all day; I arrived in Abilene by 2:30 p.m.
I had plenty of motivation to ride so fast. My host Cara, a designer and local artist, invited me to participate in a design charrette, downtownABI, where over a hundred people weighed in on how to improve the city’s core. Depending on your point of view I was either a ringer, since I’ve done dozens of similar exercises; or an interloper, since I’d been in Abilene all of three hours before the event began. Still, my impressions of the city were positive since Laura Lee, Cara’s mom and co-host, gave me a tour in her 1966 Mustang convertible.
Downtown Abilene has seen better days, but it has more going for it than most small city downtowns: a handful of beautifully restored buildings, a linear green space along the railroad, whimsical sculptures that reflect Abilene’s home to the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, and a handful of cool new bars and restaurants. Abilene is half the size of Lubbock, but it’s got twice the downtown.
After the charrette we all ate and drank at Vagabond’s and then continued our far-ranging discussion at home well past midnight. The people I meet make places memorable; Abilene etched a generous niche in my mind.