Saturday, January 14, 2012

Days 30, 31 & 32: Marathon, TX to Del Rio, TX

Sunday, December 18      Marathon, TX to Sanderson, TX      Miles: 58      Flats: 1     Elevation: 4055 ft - 2,790 ft

After a nice breakfast in Marathon, we got on 90 and headed toward Sanderson. It was cold and cloudy, but downhill and we flew!

 Once again we saw more wildlife than usual- deer and javalinas. We heard people say this was due to the drought driving them out in search of water. We did get one flat, once again my rear tire. We took the opportunity to make lunch too as there were no places to stop along the way.

Condensation on Eric´s eyebrows
The last twenty miles got even colder as it became foggy. We couldn't see 50 feet on front of us and water began to accumulate on the front of our fingers, and drip down the front of our helmets. I usually start a day's ride in my down coat to warm up, peeling it off after just a mile or two. I wore my down jacket this whole twenty mile stretch and it was covered with condensation when we finally arrived and pulled into the gas station to consider our options.

There was RV camping in Sanderson, but there was also a motel on (a hospitality website exclusively for cyclists) so we decided to check that our first. Danny, the manager of the BudgetInn, was very kind, offering us outdoor camping for free or "maximum discounts" on a room. Because it was cold and foggy, we opted for a room, only our third hotel of the trip and the first in the U.S.

Staying in a cheap motel with heat was such a treat after camping (or being in a cold hostel) for the previous 11 days! Shower and heat and a bed! Oh my!

Monday, December 18    Sanderson, TX to Langtry, TX    Miles: 61    Flats: 0    Elevation: 2,790 ft - 1,290 ft

We heard it was going to rain, but most of it fell in the early morning, so by the time we got packed up and ready to go, the sun was shining.  After coming into Sanderson in a fog, it was so strange to go outside and be able to see across the street!  We had cycled through the main street of Sanderson, but I had not seen much until this morning.

Not only was it sunny, but we had a tailwind and we were going downhill.  These three things = a very happy day of riding.  Eric even pulled out his shorts for the first time since we cycled into Bisbee, AZ on November 3rd!


There was plenty of uphill to keep us working too, but after so many dreary days of riding, we couldn´t stop smiling.

Our destination: Langtry, Texas.  Population: 16 ("and that is counting the greater metropolitan area" says the man at the little Langtry store, "there are only 4 of us downtown").  The interesting thing about Langtry is that it was home to the famous Judge Roy Bean, the "Law West of the Pecos."  Though we thought he had a reputation for hanging nearly everyone who entered his court, we learned from the musuem that he had never hung anyone!  We got to go in his famous courthouse, which was also Judge Bean´s liquor store.

Shockingly because Langtry is so small, we met Keith via and he offered us a place to stay (donations encouraged)--a little trailer they rent out.  It was really nice and new and we were so glad to sleep on a bed again!

Tuesday, December 20    Langtry, TX to Del Rio, TX      Miles: 54    Flats: 1    Elevation:  1,290 ft - 970 ft

This was a lovely day of riding.  On most riding days previous to this, we have ridden from point A to point B and there isn´t usually much in between.  But this day of riding included lots of stops and traveling through mostly populated areas.

Our first stop was to gaze down at the Pecos River.  Coming from Minnesota and after three years in El Paso, I am excited to be entering a part of Texas that has more natural water.  The river is beautiful and green.

The Pecos River

We also stopped at the Seminole Canyon State Park and checked out the indoor exhibits, though we did not have time to go on the rock paintings tour.  Next stop was in the little city of Comstock for lunch and when we got on the road again, the area was populated with businesses geared toward Lake Amistad tourists.

Lake Amistad

We biked over a little part of Lake Amistad, and even though it is not a natural lake, it was nice to see the clear, blue water.  Lake Amistad was created by putting a dam near the confluence of three rivers: the Pecos, the Rio Grande and the Rio Diablo.  The lake is on both sides of the border and this area is known as the Land of Friendship.

We had not found a place to stay in Del Rio, and in our short search, I got another flat (once again, my rear tire).  The first RV Park we pulled into wanted to charge us $30 for a full RV site, because they didn`t have tent camping (?).  The second place was a gas station/RV Park that only wanted $5.  Later we learned why (gas station lights on all night and constant traffic), but what a deal!

And Del Rio proved to be the land of friendship, because after setting up our tent and making our dinner, we were invited into the trailer of a couple of young folks where we watched a movie and had a couple beers.  They were so nice!

The next morning, we got picked up by friends from San Antonio where we went to spend the holidays. Happy belated New Year!!

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