Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 13 - El Paso to Guadeloupe National Park

102.81 miles in 9:17...ascent 4403 ft.....I went into this ride knowing that it could turn into an epic experience, and it did turn out to be one of those tour defining rides that I'll never forget. It started out with a ten mile stretch of Zaragoza Blvd to get out of el Paso. I had two stops for provisions for my first tent camping meal (read spam and vanilla wafers). From there it was US 62/180 all the way to my destination. It's a great road with great 8 ft shoulders almost the entire way. There was never very much traffic, but a decent amount was truck traffic. The first 20 miles was a gradual/ not so gradual ascent of about 1800 ft, followed by about 50, yes 50, miles of gradual descent, to a dried up lake very similar to what The Great Salt Lake is now. Scenery was very sparse, with only one huge mountain looming in the distance. It turned out to be the mountain I would camp on. The last 15 miles was a brutal ascent into the national park. It would be a testing climb on fresh legs, but at the end of a century, it was tough. There were times I felt like I would just go into massive cramps, but it never happened. The wind was not as cooperative as the last couple days, but it wasn't a hindrance either. Highlights included two herds of antelope, three dead owls, several huge birds of prey which I will try to identify tonight in the comfort of a motel room (this was written a day late due to lack of phone service), and a lady I met from Wales who is doing her USA leg of a walk around the world. While I was talking to her, a sheriff pulled up to see if everything was alright, and behind him pulled up two chicks in short dresses who were about to run-out of gas. So, out in the middle of nowhere, we had quite a crowd.
I got to the campground with just enough time to figure out my tent and get set up before night fall. It was cold as hell over night, and I had no blanket so I (tried) to sleep in many layers of clothes. My feet froze. The view from the campsite made up for all the work to get there, however.

An early sign of my destination

My first climb out of El Paso on US 62/180

One of the things I like to do is look for the "original" road that follows along the new road, with its own history

This little oasis in .......may have been a place to stay instead of two days in El Paso.  If I only would have know about it!  Cornudas 

My first sighting of Guadalupe Mountain National Park.  Still 70 miles away!!!

Rosie, from Wales, who is walking around the world.

And the sheriff shows up!

Getting closer!

The dried up salt lake at the bottom of my descent

A shadow selfie at 15mph!

Closer yet!

The climb is on now!

Made it to the park, now for the final 1200 ft ascent!

Just before the campground.

At last

Nice set up, eh?

View from my site in these three pictures.

The tallest point in Texas!

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