Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Van Horne to Clint (El Paso) April 1

97.19 in 7:24. April 1. Today, due to the spacing of the towns, I did something a little different. Yesterday on my 75 miler, I pretty much just pounded through it, and lost about six pounds, and spent the evening staving off minor leg cramps. When I left Van Horn, I knew I was going to be riding on interstate 10, which is a perfectly fine thing to do out here. As a matter of fact, for me it is preferable to the frontage road that pretty much ran right along side the interstate, 95 % of the way. The frontage road is much safer of course, with only border patrol using it for the most part, but it was of the highest quality Texas chip seal surface, which I have bitched about enough in earlier posts. I am to the point where a potential ride on the grill of an eighteen wheeler is no doubt preferable to riding on that surface. Traffic on I-10 was much less than I had been led to believe it would be, and more than 75% of the traffic was in the passing lane, or moved over to it to pass me. Another thing that everyone talked about on their biker blogs, was that I was destined to get a flat or flats from the debris on the shoulder of I-10. Those guys must just have bad luck, or they aren't paying attention, because, not only haven't I got a flat yet, but I thought I-10's shoulder looked like they ran a street cleaner on it. No problem at all, and I felt safer that I do on a normal road with a four foot shoulder.
I rode 33 miles, and pulled off in a neat little western mountain border town called Sierra Blanca. They had a Subway in the Exxon station, so I ate and drank, even though I normally wouldn't have, to stave off dehydration and cramps in the 90 degree heat. I jumped back on the interstate and cruised another 33 miles of the easiest riding I've done in this state. The road is smooth as a whistle and the draft from passing trucks was sweet. I jumped off I-10 onto Texas route 20 in Fort Hancock, where Pam and I had predetermined to meet, even though there was no campground. She was pulled into a picnic area where we could have spent the night, but after some ice cream and water, I decided to go another 33 miles to Clint, on the outskirts of El Paso, which is where I wanted to go anyhow, but once again there were no campgrounds. Pam decided to hop on I-10, and go into El Paso to the Mission RV Park, a nice place with a pool, and we could plug into electric for air conditioning. The RV park was about 20 minutes from Clint, where I was quickly approaching a century ride on a 90 degree day. She came and picked me up with the Jeep, and I will go back to begin my ride when we leave.
Texas route 20 was a big change from I-10. It became very agricultural, with nothing but dusty, plowed fields that looked to be ready for planting. I think this stretch also has to be the pecan capital of the world, because I rode past pecan trees for at least 20 miles. Amazing, huge, fields of neatly lined trees, with no leaves on them yet. Farmers were on their John Deeres plowing some fields, and stirring up dust storms that twice blew in front of me on the road and damnear blocked visibility. And, did I mention that for the second day in a row, the wind shifted to a headwind, which is what kicked my butt in the last 30 miles. The dusty fields were surrounded by an irrigation system more extensive than I've ever seen. There were 12 foot wide ditches with flowing water, 3-4 feet deep, and 4-5 acre lakes of beautiful water mixed in with the pecan trees and dusty fields. I-10 was always within view on my right for the length of Tx route20, and the Rio Grande was always off to the left. I could tell by the streak of plush green, just in front of the mountains, which were in Mexico. There were two ports of entry along the road, tons of border patrol, and I saw what I thought looked like tall walls that stretched behind some of the farms. Interstate riding is so much easier, but it can't compare to the scenery I see on the side roads, which is what I enjoy the most. The interstates miss what I want to see. The towns I rode through, and that I could see of Mexico, are much cooler than the more sterile scenery of interstate travel.
From what I could tell, the crops that were being started were hot peppers, ( I saw signs with peppers on them), onions,( I know what they look like), cotton, (cotton balls in the fields and on the side of the roads), and alfalfa, which was pretty much mature.

A few miles outside of Van Horne, we went through another time change.

Yes folks, that is the speed limit in this area!  And some people drive that fast!

Small field fire alongside  I-10


Train alongside I-10

So glad they let me know!!!
The endless road with tepee rest stop

Trying to give you an idea of the dirt/dust funnels





Irrigating the fields


Irrigation pond

Don't mess with the pecans!!!
Getting picked up in Clint - cool picnic shelter isn't it??

Night view of El Paso

View of El Paso from our campground


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