Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Marfa to Van Horn, Tx March 31

March 31. 75 miles in 6:13. This trip was undoubtedly the most bland bike ride I've ever taken in my life. Nothing but dried up grass lands, dirt, and rocks. It's so bad that the prickly pear cactus disappeared, and the yucca sort of came and went, not growing in some areas. The day started off beautifully with a bit of a tail wind and cool, but nice temps, with full sunshine-----except for the hazy, brownish, horizon in front of me, and to the right. There were mountain ranges to the left and right of me, to the left was clear, but something wasn't quite right about the horizon in front and to the right. Then I noticed what looked to be like a funnel cloud going way up into the blue skies in the mountains to the right. (When I first saw it, I freaked out!  Here I am driving along in a tin can out in God's country and I see a tornado!) After a few minutes, it disappeared, but then another appeared in a different location. If you haven't figured it out yet, I was headed into one hellova dust storm. I knew the wind direction was supposed to change as the day went on, but when the wind changes out here, with all the dryness and dust, it spawns funnel clouds and dust devils of harmless clouds of gritty dust. The wind wasn't really blowing all that hard (maybe 15 mph), but the change of direction really fired up the dust. At about the time before I really got into the dust, Pam came by in the RV, and pulled over to the side of the road to replenish my water, and to tell me of a very well formed funnel cloud that she saw. As we were standing there talking, we happened to be very near a T.A.R.S blimp, just like the one they had in the Keys of Florida that I took pictures of, that they called Fat Albert. It's a radar blimp that is tethered to the ground by ropes, and when it goes up, it remains tethered to the ground. Well, it was too windy for it to be up, but as Pam and I watched, it did a slow 180 degree turn as the wind changed from a tailwind to a headwind. With only one cable holding it down, that thing could turn like a weather vane.
As we stood there, a woman bicyclist came flying by in the opposite direction. The fact that she was moving so fast told me that I was gonna be moving that slow for the rest of the trip. She didn't have much to say, but she did warn me to watch out for the tumbleweed that the wind was blowing around. To make matters worse, when I had left Marfa, there was a sign that warned me of no services for 74 miles. Hell, there wasn't so much as a abandoned building in which to take cover if I needed to. I got a blue bandanna and covered my face, like a bandito, and headed into the misery of a headwind for the rest of the trip. I would guess that not even 100 vehicles passed me in the entire 75 miles. It was Easter Sunday, but no one was going to Grandma's house in Van Horn, I guess. (I got a late start because I went to mass in a neat little Spanish church, and Pam went to a service at another cowboy church. My excitement for the day (besides the dust and headwind), was a train that went by. I waved, and much to my surprise, he blew the train whistle in response. I guess it was so desolate, he figured nobody would hear I but me. The KOA in Van Horn was a welcome sight, and Pam was well on her way to having a nice Easter dinner prepared. We had a small ham she had bought, with all the fixins, and I ate enough for about three people.


No caption needed!


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