Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Langtry to Sanderson Tx March 26

March26, 60.75 in 4:30 hrs. Woke up this morning with the wind just whalin' away. I had serious concerns about the direction it was blowing, but my fears turned out to be needless because it was at my back! It was cold, and I started out with gloves, a head warmer under the helmet, and long pants. It didn't take long to start shedding layers however. The breeze(wind! ) was cool all day, but the sun was out and it warmed into the 60's. I really started going up and down today, but it seemed like the up hills were very long and gradual, and I was flying on the downhills. There were many large canyon beds with no water in the creeks, and some big mountains were always visible on my left. They might be in Mexico. I hit 44 miles per hour going down one of the hills, but the bridge at the bottom was really bumpy and I thought things were going to start flying off the bike. According to the Garmin GPS on the bike, I finished the day 1500 ft higher in elevation than I started it. We are at 2800 feet above sea level, in what they call the high desert. I did notice some new types of plants in the higher elevations, and the cactus are starting to bloom. I always wanted to be in the desert in the spring to see all the flowers blooming there were yellows, purples, and some bright reds almost everywhere, and they really stood out because the ground is pretty much all rock, with no type of grasses growing. Pretty neato!
The road once again, was pretty smooth as far as Texas chip seal roads go, and traffic was REALLY minimal. About half way I stopped to visit two lady riders (Cheryl and Shirley), who were stopped on the shoulder with their support vehicle, a small motor home, and their driver, Don. They had Pennsylvania plates, and one was from the Harrisburg area. They invited me in for a sit down, and we chatted and compared notes for quite a while. They were on their way from Las Vegas to St. Augustine, like others I have met, and they were fighting the cool winds that I was benefiting from.
I spent a great amount of time riding no handed today, which means the roads were good, and the wind was directly at my back, because even a little side gust, and this bike is so light that I have to hold on to steer it. What a great day! And they said I was going the wrong direction, into the west wind and uphill! It's been all good for two days, but you know how that goes!
At the campground, Pam and I hiked up to the top of one of the bluffs, or was it a butte? (Help me out here Tirzah!) we overlooked the town of Sanderson, and it was very scenic. When we got back to the RV, a guy knocked on my door, and it turned out to be a seventy year old gentleman who was riding the same direction as me. (First one I've met). His name was Alex, and he is riding for the Wounded Warrior Project. His wife was also following him in a motor home, and directing logistics, as well as taking notes so she could write a book about the people they met and the veterans who told their story to them. Their goal is to raise $100,000 on a trip from St. Augustine to Seattle. We spent the evening talking, swapping stories, and comparing mental notes. His website is www.joinalex.com if you want to check him out. They have been staying at a lot of the same places as us, and it is great to hear that a lot of the campgrounds and restaurants have been giving them donations, free or reduced stays and meals. They have also been doing some newspaper and tv types of publicity for the effort.

Spring is coming to the desert!


Just a battered Texas flag in the middle of nowhere


Claret cup cactus - beautiful!



Cheryl and Shirley on their way to St Augustine FL

One of the few and far between places to stop for a drink.


More claret cups

Now you get the rest of the story!  This is what high desert looks like.

Rail road tracks following 90

Texas decor


Train passing our campground - we were up on a hill looking down

Our campground - our rig is the tan and dark color to the right of the white rig.


The ranch near our campground had this on their fence - thought it was cool.

Starting up the hill - wind was wicked.  Pam got bad windburn on her face - screaming red!


On top of the hill looking down onto Sanderson

Finally got a picture of Mike riding.

DelRio to Langtry Tx (58 miles in 4:20) March 25

When I was a kid I used to watch Yosemite Sam in the cartoons, and he would always say that he was the 'meanest varmint west of the Pecos' or the fastest gun west of the Pecos, and I never really understood what he was talking about. I do now. The Pecos River is a huge river, down in a huge canyon, that was the last obstacle to the Union Pacific railroad in connecting the east to the west, back in the pioneer days. It must have been where civilization changed from east to west, because now everything is 'west of the Pecos', as in 'the law west of the Pecos,' and 'the gospel west of the Pecos'. Even we are now ' west of the Pecos.'
Last night when we went to bed, it was about 80 degrees. Heavy wind blew in after midnight, and it was in the forties when we woke up. Wow, what a change! But, probably for the better for me. The wind was at my back, and it was a great day to ride. The landscape became more desolate, with even the ranches pretty much disappearing. There was a border patrol checkpoint we had to go through, complete with drug dogs. Traffic became pretty thin, with nothing but trucks and border patrol going by every once in a while. For all the desolation, I had a very sociable day.
I stopped at chatted with bicyclists and motorcyclists four different times. First was a Canadian named John, that was riding from San Diego to St. Augustine . A little while later was Dave, a seventy year old, who left from north of Los Angeles, and was headed to Florida. Next, was Brian, a younger guy from Colorado who was biking to New Orleans. I compared notes and chatted with each guy for about fifteen minutes each, and picked up quite a bit of info about what was ahead, as well as biking and equipment ideas. I got to see how some experienced guys were doing the cross country trip. There was an overlook at the now famous Pecos River, where I talked to about twenty motorcyclists from Michigan, who were doing an annual ride around southwest Texas.
We stayed in a (former) town known as Langtry. It is the home and domain of Judge Roy Bean, if you have heard of him. ( I think Robert Redford played him in a movie). The town had a few residents, but it was mostly the Roy Bean museum, and many dilapidated buildings, some made of adobe. There were lots of historical markers around, and Pam and I explored in the Jeep, and toured the museum. We stayed in the community center parking lot, which had an 'iron ranger', asking for a two dollar donation. An iron ranger is a little metal box hanging on a pole, with a slot for money. This lot is a frequented sight by bicyclist who don't want to do the 120 miles between Sanderson and DelRio. It cuts the trip into two 60 milers if you stay there.

Amistad Reservoir

Check point! Bring out the drug dogs!


Brian from Colorado on his way to New Orleans

The desert is starting to flower

Cool train bridge - the train tracks are with us all of the time now.

The road ahead of us.





Hwy 90 going across the Pecos River


When she's not sleeping in the motor home, she is often posing  for pictures.....

At the Pecos River


Posing again.....

And again......
One thing that is nice along Hwy 90 is the many picnic areas, which often have historical markers at them.

Abandoned buildings are not an uncommon sight.
The road ahead....

There are MANY canyons along the way.

Eagles Nest canyon - the bridge in the foreground is 90 and the background is a train bridge.


Almost there!


A "sign" at the entrance to a ranch

Our "campsite" at the community center.  For $2 I can't complain!

Judge Roy Bean's saloon/courtroom - it was used for both!
If Mike is waiting for his whiskey, he may have a long wait!!!!



In the cactus garden at Roy Bean's place

That's a BIG cactus!


View from a hill that we climbed in Langtry.