Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Well, here’s our late Anniversary story. We took off this weekend to bikepack part of the Caprock Trail-way. Kind of a late-anniversary ride/weekend/camp? We highly underestimated the weather. We did ride a total of about 20 miles but at least one of them was pushing through the sticky muck-guano mix of Clarity Tunnel. That ended up being the turnaround point as we walked through the darkness, pushing our bikes laden with mud, Chiva looked up and noticed the hundreds of Mexican Free Tailed Bats swarming above us. I hadn’t said anything to this point hoping she wouldn’t see them. She looked at me, and I knew the look. “Wanna turn around?“ I asked. She replied “Yep” and around we went. After splashing around in mud puddles like kids to try and clear our tires we ended up back at the campground. Beat by the light sunburns and day of riding in the humidity, we fell asleep early to the gentle sound of rain on our tent.
At 12:30pm we awoke to the loud audible crack of thunder and lightning above us. Almost immediately, the tent violently imploded around us! Poles bent backwards and came un-attached as the tent loudly flapped in the wind. It was clear we were the only things keeping it on the ground as it lifted up in a vacuum, enveloping us and our gear. I’m not sure which was louder, the sound of the wind screaming in our ears, or the rain that was blasting through the side vents in our tent. It seems the giant thunderstorm that blew through several states late Saturday night found us as an easy target. As the wind pulled all the stakes out of the ground it also made short work of our guy-lines. We struggled to regain some level of alertness, scrambling to our feet, Chiva holding her arms out trying to keep the tent from completely engulfing us! It felt as though a firehose had been opened up inside the tent and aimed directly at us. The tent was rapidly filling with water and the wind was threatening to take us and the tent into the canyon. Working together in the light of our headlamps, we stuffed everything into the plastic tote we had and fought our way to the tent door. Chiva found the zipper and managed to get the door opened. We grabbed the tote and ran for the truck, unsure if the tent was still going to be there when we turned around.
It was one of those rains that makes the world around you slate gray with sideways jets of water making it hard to see anything beyond a couple feet. We were completely soaked. Throwing the tote into the truck, I yelled something dramatic like “Try to save the tent!”. We leaned into the wind and fought the rain, running back to the tent that somehow was still on the ground. We dove on it, crumpled it into a shape resembling a giant bed roll including the water, mud and some gear still inside. I picked it up as we fought our way back to the truck. Tent tossed in the back (it was weighed down with water and wasn't going anywhere after all) we returned for our bikes. One more time against the wind, returning to the truck, throwing our bikes on top of the tent in back we both dove into the cab. As I started the ignition we were tossing wet clothes into the back seat while we tried to comprehend what was happening around us. It was a combination of nervous laughter, pointing at broken limbs, flooding, and repeating how crazy it is as we drove back home at 35 MPH due to no visibility (even with the wipers on high).
As we passed Floydada, we both laughed at my comment of how many times a shirtless white guy has drove through town in the middle of the night. Chiva suggested stopping at a city park to rest but I told her I preferred not to try to explain to an inquisitive officer why I have a half dressed girl in my truck as I sit there with no shirt myself. (neither of us were wearing our rings as we regularly don’t wear them for outdoors activities) …so we kept going. Arriving back at about 3am we moved the wet gear to a pile on the floor and went to bed - mud and all.
Sunday was spent in a haze, sorting, cleaning, and drying our pile of wet gear. That was surely an Anniversary I will never forget. To my Wife, Chiva, you are one of a kind. No Woman would ever willingly endure that just to spend time with her husband. We will laugh and cherish this memory forever. Here’s to the teamwork and unconditional love that got us this far. To many more.