Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bracketville to Camp Wood, Tx

Today was another day of Texas chip seal roads. I feel like my whole body has been put in a washing machine. Will they ever end? On the more positive side today is the last day of March. I road 48 miles today and 42 miles yesterday. That brings my trip mileage to 1,260 miles. Year to date I have done 2,497 miles on a bicycle.

The advantage of a "short day" is that you get into town early enough to look around, eat a bite of lunch, do laundry and clean your bike. My bike is now clean and ready to tackle the climbs tomorrow. There is a little quilt shop on the grounds of the hotel which of course, I could not resist. I bought a few small pieces which I will be able to send home with Greg in Kerrvile.

Courthouse building as I left Bracketville.

Goats along the way.

Same herd.

I wish that the camera could truely capture how pretty the spring leaves are in the morning light.

As Nancy rode by she noticed this sheet stuck in a fence. Her young one was near by crying for it's mom. As Nancy worked to free her several other riders stopped to help. I am happy to report Mother and child ran back to their herd after they were freed.

Dam on Nueces River

Nueces River.

Del Rio (Amistad )to Bracketville, TX

Today's ride was a very simple straight forward ride. The que sheet said turn right on US 90 from the hotel and ride 42 to miles to Fort Clark Springs and turn right. In between we had Texas headwinds and chip seal on the roads.

We passed Laughlin Air Force Base. Beside the base the road was nice and smooth (must be federal dollars). We continue to see Border Patrol along the way. Also along the way we saw lots of those ranches where "hunters" can go shot animals that are trapped on the ranches. (Think former VP Chaney)

The high light of the day was our destination. Fort Clark is an old army post that was active until after WWII. The government sold it to developers and they are doing a decent job trying to respect the history.

As we beat the trailer in that carries our bags, Lois S and I road back into town and had Magician food.

Riderless horse at entrance to Fort Clark honoring fallen soldiers.

Building housing my room

More old barracks that are now rooms

Old building waiting to be restored.

Sign over the creek into the fort.

The spring fed creek.

my makeshift laundry line (a trash can)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sanderson to Del Rio, Tx

Today's ride was supposed to be 111 miles. For me I bagged it at 40 miles. We had a head wind the whole way and I was just tired of fighting it. It is now 6:00 in the evening and there are still nine people still out. They are the 9 people who are still attempting to ride the entire thing. They have now been fighting wind for almost twelve hours. They are some very determined ladies.

I am now back from cheering the riders in. Lois S, Sherry, Connie, Marcie, Jan C. and Laurey completed the entire ride. Great job ladies! Donna and Mary Jo rode until they had to be pulled off the route.

Tomorrow is a short day and even with some wind(prediction for tomorrow is lighter winds but still winds) I figure I can do 43 miles. We do not have to get an early start to complete the ride. Breakfast is at 7:30.

Lake Amisted

Railroad Bridge

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Marathon to Sanderson, Tx

We began this morning with breakfast back in the cabin where Linda and Michele are staying. It was cold outside so it was nice to be able to eat inside. I had my usual oatmeal.

Today's cue sheet was pretty simple. Left out of hotel onto US 90, left into Outback Oasis Motel in Sanderson 54 miles later. It was an awesome ride. There was not traffic, gentle rollers then a 1% downhill with a tailwind. I felt like I was flying. I averaged 17.1 mph. Nice.

Tomorrow is our longest day of the trip 110 miles. It was nice to get in early enough to get caught up on my blog and to rest. Right now and Amtrack train is rolling east past the hotel.

Wall decoration in the cabin.

More decorations.

More decorations.

Our motel in Sanderson, Tx.

On the grounds of our motel.

Ft. Davis to Marathon, Tx

Today's ride was 60 miles to Marathon, TX. After having a rest day to relax and do things like charge my Garmin I just did not have my act together this morning. As I was getting ready to leave I realized my Garmin had accidentally been left on and the battery was dead. Fortunately the route was simple so I did not need to be constantly checking for mileage.

Since I forgot my camera when I went into town yesterday I stopped and took a few pictures for my collection. It took me almost to the first sag stop to catch up with anyone. I really hate for ride at the back alone for fear of a flat. I then road with a group to the town of Alpine, Tx. Some were calling it Alpine 2 since we had already been to Alpine, Ca. We stopped a delightful and very friendly coffee shop to warm up and eat.

Oh, when I said warm up I forgot to mention the most important thing. It was COLD this morning. I had on just about every piece of cold weather gear I brought. My core was warm but my toes despite two pair of socks and toe covers never really warmed up until the break.

After the break the winds came. We are in an area known for its winds. They were cold and and cross wind. I struggled and made it in and was never so happy to see a Hotel than I was to see the Gage.

Linda knew how cold and miserable we would be and made split pea soup for dinner. It sure hit the spot. We did not even have to eat outside in the wind because the leaders had a little cabin with a living room and a kitchen. It was great.

Sign as I left the state park. We are definitely getting to the South.

Deer in the bush.

Ft Davis National Historical Site. Wish I had time to visit it.

Beautiful courthouse in Ft. Davis.

We take over a restaurant in Alpine, Tx. I had a great cinnamon bun and a chai latte. Pure heaven.

A local Texan, Taylor Gray. He apparently came to Alpine when he was 15 and made his fortune in West Texas. Notice his car. Everything comes big in Texas.

A sign on the wall in the diner in Marathon. I love this old sign.

My room at the Gage Hotel in Marathon.

another view.

The courtyard outside my room at the Gage.

The porch outside my room

Flower garden at the Gage.

Rest day Ft. Davis, TX

The key word today was rest. I slept in until after 7:00 then went to the hotel restaurant for a light breakfast. After I ate I wondered down to the trailer to see if anyone was cleaning their bikes. Lois S and several others were going into town for a quick look. The shuttle was leaving so I decided to join them. Of course, I did not have my camera. Lois took several pictures for me but her flash driving is not working so she cannot transfer them to me yet. Hopes to have a new one in Kerrville.

Didn't do much in town but walk around. Was back at the hotel in a couple of hours. I then cleaned my bike and wondered around the hotel. I got these pictures of a herd of javalina on the grounds. I spent pretty much the rest of the day in my room, knitting and relaxing.

Van Horn to Fort Davis, Tx

Today was a very tough day for me. It was a scheduled 90 mile day. I just never could get my head into the ride. It began with a 40 mile ride on I-10. After 20 miles I decided to be bumped up to the send of the interstate ride. Much to my my unhappiness I then faced a very hard cross wind that actually was moving my bicycle and me across the road. I opted to sag the rest of the way in to Ft. Davis after about 15 miles. After I saw the ladies who did the whole ride come in that evening I was glad I had chosen to sag. There were absolutely beat.

Dinner that evening was a Mexican buffet provided by the hotel. It was very good. You could tell how tired everyone was by how quiet it was in the room.

There were lots a yucca blooming along the route.

A view of my room

More views of my room


View of the valley we are in from our hotel.

Roaming Texas

I have been without internet last few days and posting with BlackBerry takes to long. Soon maybe internet

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fort Hancock to Van Horn, TX

Today everyone got an early start for two reasons, it was a 74 mile day and we lost an hour going from Mountain Savings Time to Central Savings Time. Nancy and I were the first two to leave at 7:07. I really enjoyed today's ride. It was 73.67 miles giving me a total of 982 miles for the trip. I am almost 1/3 the way there.

Nancy is from Vermont and we had a delightful day spinning along with a nice tailwind. We had a couple of miles on I-10 at the beginning and about 9 miles on I-10 at the end. The rest of the way was either rural road or an empty frontage road. Except on the interstate we rode side by side and chatted. It was great.

Tomorrow is a 90 mile day with the first 40 miles on I-10. I have not decided if I am going to ride the whole thing or get a lift to where we get of the interstate. Either way it is almost time for dinner so must sign off. Day after tomorrow is a rest day!

The Hudspeth County Railroad Depot Museum. Unfortunately it is only open on Wednesdays but it is definately a great building. Located in Sierra Blanca it is where the Texas-Pacific and the Southern Pacific RR joined creating a second transconinental railroad.

An old car at the museum.

We are now in a new time zone.

Monday, March 23, 2009

El Paso to Fort Hancock, TX

We were told to get a little later start this morning to let the Monday morning El Paso work traffic pass. At 8:00 we were chomping at the bit and pretty much left as a group. I really enjoyed today because it was a very flat day with mostly a tail wind. The best thing however, was the fact that most of the women stopped several times to visit the missions and have lunch. When we make that many stops we seem to be a more cohesive group because there is always someone around tor ride with.

Got to the motel around 1:00pm. Again nice to have the whole afternoon to relax. I cleaned my bike and walked across the street to a chili outlet and bought some various chili powders to have shipped home. Then one of the ladies, Peggy, and I went to a diner where I had a scoop of ice cream and she had a salad.

There is no internet in our rooms but there is wi-fi in the lobby. That is where I am posting this.

Today was 47.32 miles for a trip total of 908. Tomorrow is a 74 mile day. Right now we are in the middle of a West Texas dust storm. Sure hope it dies down before tomorrow. The winds are about 30 mph with gusts of 40 mph. The sky is and air is brown.

We may not have had a welcome to Texas sign but this morning the waffle iron at the hotel made Texas shaped waffles. How fun.

Statue above a welcome sign to the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo outside El Paso.

Mission Socorro

Alter at Mission Socorro

Plaza at the Presidio de San Elizerio.

San Elizario Chapel.

San Elizario Chapel alter

I think these are pecan trees that have been pruned back.

next phase of the pecan trees.

another phase

La Calesa Restaurent in Tornillo

Manuella, the owner and cook at La Calesa. A wonderful cook and a delightful person

SAG stop along the way.

Interseting rock formation.