Physically Distant.

A curious thing happened about a week ago. I rode into Carlsbad to do some much-needed resupplying of water, food, and toiletries. I’ve been biking across South Central and West Texas for over a month, and once I got into New Mexico, I picked a right camping spot to wait out the cold weather further North. I wanted to make Santa Fe in the warmth of Spring.

All in all, it’s been a pretty decent bike run with some real tight spots here and there. I was ready to sit down for two weeks and collect my notes, maybe post a few blog entries on the art of touring on bike and getting the most out of a tight traveling budget.

The people on this run have been great. But for the last couple of weeks I’ve been solo and out of touch. Camping at Red Bluff Lake in North Texas was excellent. But now south of Carlsbad with a pretty spiffy little camping spot established, it was time to resupply. I headed out early Saturday morning. The wind was right. It took a little over an hour to get to the nearest grocery store.

It was strangely quiet indoors, but I was mostly in my head, making sure my list of supplies was complete.

The shelves were empty of water bottles. I usually buy gallon jugs of spring water. Employees were restocking what they could. I smiled to show that I wasn’t uptight about anything and simply asked what happened to all the water. The stocker had about 12 liter bottles of Gucci brand water at about $2.50 for an entire aisle empty of water. You could tell she was not having a good day. “We can’t tell people not to buy the water,” she said.

This was odd; she should think of it that way. The management needs to keep plenty in stock. I wandered off and then realized for a Saturday morning there were shelves all over the place also empty. It looked like they were remodeling the floor plan.

And then it dawned on me.

There was a state of emergency declared while I was out making friends with the local antelope ground squirrel and a packrat who was fascinated with the buckles on my bags.

It was that damned virus I’d heard about here and there along the road.

Not one to mess around when I see societal order crumbling I bought some empty jugs and filled them by the garden center spigots. And with some rice and other staples I headed back out of town on my bike.

I am looking at plan B now.