Day 24: Comstock to Brackettville, Texas – 73 miles

Hard long day with 10-15 mph headwinds all day. I rode the first 28 miles alone with lots of hills but not like yesterday. We had to be escorted across the Amistad Reservoir bridge by the local sheriff.

image

I rode with a small group after that for the rest of the day. We had lunch at the famous Rudy’s BBQ, pulled pork, ho made beans and slaw. Fabulous! Long afternoon with the latest roll in of the trip so far. You know the drill, tired blogger, short post. Peace and love.

Day 23: Sanderson to Comstock, Texas – 82 miles

A very cold and windy roll out of Sanderson after a very warm reception from the high school seniors of Project Graduation. The wind howled at the gym waking people from all their sleep.  It was 37 degrees this morning so after breakfast we were bundled up and away we went.

image

The wind and road shifted and The crosswinds were pretty fierce at the start of the ride for a while. The wind did seem be helpful most of the day for a elevation gain of 3100 feet and descent of almost 4600 feet. It was a long day but, the wind was our friend. The terrain was again very interesting.

image

After lunch we crossed the Pecos River which appeared to have a river service road and put in. Rafting the Pecos must be going on.

image

We are staying at the very cool Seminole Canyon State Park outside of Comstock.

Day 22: Marathon to Sanderson, Texas – 57 miles

A beautiful night in Marathon with a side trip to the very eclectic bike hostel, La Loma de Chiva.

image

The rollout was cold but got warm quicker. It was beautiful day with the rolling countryside terrain being stunning with great mountains and rock formations.

image

It was the kind of ride that you wished your club did every Saturday.

image

Sanderson is small but nice. We have been promised the best brisket in West Texas for dinner today. A longer day tomorrow so everyone conserving a little. No littlest freewheeler.

image

Day 21: Marathon, Texas – REST DAY

A roadrunner runs across the road of the third largest national park in America and the least visited, Big Bend. A great excuse for the small but, united Smith family to enjoy their last full day together.  It had been decided that the first thing to visit was the Hot Springs on The Rio Grande River near Boquillas Canyon.

image

It was overrun with families and kids but, it a beautiful day. The spring was hot.

image

The river was refreshing after the hot spring.

image

A nice lunch at a picnic table overlooking the river under the oasis of a palm trees. We took pictures and drove to the Chisos Basin, home of the featured image, Casa Grande. It was stunning and amazing with incredible rock formations.

image

Mariella to join me with the ride group for dinner and hear about their Big Bend rest day. She has been such a welcome help to ensure I got a little extra rest and attention. She will stay in Marathon tomorrow while I go on with the group to Sanderson, Texas.

Day 20: Marfa to Marathon, Texas – 57 miles

Very cold and windy rollout of Marfa as we headed for Marathon via the very cool town of Alpine. A rise out of Marfa that lead us to the Marfa Lights. I did not go last night. It seems the routine of cross country cyclist is not conducive to being up past an established bedtime. The terrain changed into beautiful mountains and rock formations.

image

A stop at the “Bikeman’s bike shop and a cruise in for lunch. Homemade minestrone with BLTA and cinnamon roll with coffee. The southwest Texas folks have a great vibe of not taking themselves to seriously. Note the Target store.

image

Some more windy miles into the rest day in Marathon. The littlest freewheeler wisked me off to the Gage Hotel. Sweetness.

image

Day 19: Van Horn to Marfa, Texas – 75 miles

This was a 36 mile day for me today.  I must mention the SAG staff’s response to my mechanical with my rear wheel was fantastic yesterday. 2 support vehicles within 10 minutes. Rose Murphy, ride director and Pete McCabe, SAG staff took me to lunch Lickety split and on to my hotel where the wife was. The mechanics, Coach and Chandler, took my bike to Valentine and changed out the wheel with a loaner wheel from staff member, John “the Murph” Murphy and put my cassette and put my old seat post and new seat clamp on. I would not have wanted to have been in better hands. My fellow riders who I was riding with could not have been more supportive. I would not have wanted to be with anyone else. Thanks Bubba, your great staff and ALL my fellow riders for the continued care and support.

My lovely wife drove me to Valentine, Texas, population 217 and I was reunited with my refurbished bike and after some small adjustments I was on the road again.

image

A long flat then gently rising chip seal of a Texas road before me with some gusting winds that could change a little but ended up at my back. I stopped for a break across the road from the US border patrol spy plane.

image

It did not seem like a secret to me. A lovely roll into eclectic Marfa and the Hotel Paisano. They were both headquarters for the film making of Giant. No country for old men was filmed here some, too. The wife is taking great care of me. Great burritos at Mando’s.

image

I want to thank everyone for the great comments on my blog and their loving support. It means the world to me.

Day 18: Ft. Hancock to Van Horn, Texas – 72 miles

A nice rollout from Ft. Hancock with the group I rode with yesterday. A great group of experienced riders. The countryside continued to be vast, agricultural and beautiful. We saw horses and cattle.

image

The road rose again and we climbed some more. After the first SAG stop the group took  a break in a good spot in the climb. The climbs can go on for miles. My roommate noticed a wobble in my wheel. I checked the rim and it had broken and failed at 27+ miles today.

image

My day was done. I got a SAG RIDE into lunch and found out the tour mechanic and staff have a loaner wheel I can use for tomorrow. I got dropped off at the El Capitan Hotel in Van Horn to my loving wife.

image

The group had to be rerouted for the night after a report of 55+ mph winds tonight. No camping in Van Horn. They will stay in the gym at Valentine, Texas. Tomorrow is another day. Peace. The littlest free wheeler.

image

Day 17: El Paso to Ft. Hancock , Texas – 57 miles

A short hilly but beautiful roll out of El Paso. We went through the downtown section that had lots of construction and detours. There was tons of road work. Not much time here it was sort of a shame. Stopped at a Valero gas station and was mobbed by people asking about the ride. First SAG stop at huge ranch market in outskirts of El Paso. Great market. More road construction after the SAG. Pecan groves all over. More headwind today but riding with a big group. Lunch in Fabens, Texas. Great steak tacos.  It is official my wife is in the state of Texas heading to Van Horn. The earth is back on its axis.

image