Days 34-36: marathon, El Paso, and Mesilla, NM

Out of the west Texas town of el paso,
I fell in love with the New Mexico state line.
Nighttime would find me in a tent in Mesilla,
The dust would blow and the wind would whine.

El Paso by Marty Robbins was stuck in my head all day long, which was probably a good thing since it took my mind off the wind, which was blowing in our faces at 20-30 mph for 4 hours. When I got sick of hearing it, I started making up my own words. Someday I'd like to make a cover with the lyrics changed to reflect the events of this day. And this day was eventful. Kinda. Sorta.

But first, where in the world have I been the last two days? Let me tell you about it.

So far you know I ended up in marathon on day 33. That's where I stayed on day 34, too. The wildfires that threatened alpine and fort Davis shut down highway 90 east of alpine during my first night in marathon. The folks in Fort Davis were still scrambling around without power or water, trying to salvage what was left of their homes and town. I decided I didn't want to chance getting stuck up there/getting in the way of their operation and thought it best to wait for Brennan in marathon. He got in around 2 am on Monday.

Sunset in Marathon on Monday.

We toyed with the idea of spending Tuesday in big Bend National Park, but sadly, due to time constraints with his job we could not. So we set out for El Paso Tuesday morning, where we spent the day basically running errands at one of the bike shops and driving around trying to figure out where to leave his car for a week. We decided on the long term parking lot at the airport for the bargain price of five dollars a day.

We tried desperately to find a place to camp but had no luck so we ended up at a La Quinta by I-10 with the government discount. Oh yeah!

Which brings us back to today. We set out for the airport early, leaving the hotel around 7. It was already pretty light out, as we had just crossed into the mountain time zone shortly before arriving in el paso. Once we parked the car and got all the gear attached to the bikes it was about 8. Then we set off.

To get back on the route we had to ride all the way around the airport, a distance of about 15 miles. But it felt good. It was all downhill and the wind was at our backs. We had covered 30 miles by 10, crossing into New Mexico right around mile 29. But that's about all the quick riding we were able to do today.

Right around 10 the wind started picking up. A lot. Then we made a left turn and started heading west. There were times when the gusts were so strong I could barely manage 7 mph. Going downhill it was a struggle to maintain 9 mph. If that's not discouraging, I don't know what is. But we cranked along and made surprisingly good progress for how slow we were going. Finally we got to turn north and have a crosswind instead of a headwind. What a difference! Cruising speed with a 40mph crosswind: 10 mph.

When we got close to Mesilla huge pecan orchards shielded us from the wind. And they were so beautiful too.

Would you believe this is in New Mexico if i hadn't told you?

Woo hoo! We pulled into Mesilla around 3:30. Boy, both of us are pretty pooped. Riding into the wind really takes it out of you, similar to how it feels after being in the sun all day, but we did that too so it's worse. Anyway, Mesilla is a real cute town with a lot of history. It is home to the jail cell that once held Billy the Kid. Just about all of the buildings are made of adobe.

Well, it is 7:10 and we just had some real good Mexican food in town and now are ready to bend to the will of the food coma and crash. Well, Brennan has already crashed. I will soon follow. But I think I will opt for a shower since we paid 19 dollars for a little piece of ground under a tree. Cute little tourist towns are the worst for ripping you off.

Tomorrow we set out for Caballo. Nighty night folks.


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