September 28, 2001

9/28/01 Sierra Blanca, TX

84.2 / 8503 miles

All I wanted to do was just get out of this city. But first, I had to survive morning rush hour! The only thing in my favor was I was headed out and the lemmings were headed in. So sad to see car after car with only one occupant. Wasteful.

By the time I reached San Elizario, the change was dramatic, like moving from a violent sea to calm water. I continued to follow the wide Rio Grande river valley Mile after mile of cotton were my only roadside companions besides the mountains on the Mexican side. Just flat, straight road.

Because I had skipped any kind of breakfast, I was pretty famished by the time I reached Fort Hancock. Went off route all the way to the interstate before I saw Angie's Restaurant. Great lunch, but everyone was a local, making me feel very much like an outsider.

Found this graffiti all over the rocks

More interstate riding with no views, giving me ample time to think. Too much time! More anger today but I'm unsure how to respond. On one hand, Nancy deserves all my help to make her memory grow. But on the other, I know the staff in charge of my project at TWU and I are light-years apart as far as what we're doing. If I continue to involve the university, my anger will only increase. My requests always are repeated until they become pleading. I don't want the ride to end with several weeks of hate and despair. Best to forget everything but the ride. Texas deserves a chance.

Since the restaurant was right next to the interstate on-ramp, I decided to head that way. From the map, it should reduce my mileage a bit too. But almost immediately, I found my way blocked by 'road closed'. The lack of construction equipment got me deciding to keep going on the closed road. Almost ten miles of pristine never-been-driven-on pavement. Looked as if crews were only doing some touchup work here and there. It felt good out there alone.

After getting a milkshake at a truck-stop, I found my trailer tire flat again. But I think it was the same thing causing me problems yesterday; a very small needle-like nail. Man it was getting warm. Plus, can't figure out if it's the wind or that I'm gaining elevation, but the bike is taking a lot of energy to keep going.

Wheeled into Sierra Blanca only to find out the High Country RV Park won't take tents. I'm tired from doing 80+ miles today. Besides, there probably isn't any other place to stay until I get to Van Horn in another 35-miles. At first, this seemed to follow the kind of luck I've been having. But, what-the-hell, it's only money! (I'm trying to forget that I don't have a job anymore.)

The room at the Sierra Motel is pretty good with a phone and cable TV (but only limited channels). Had a shower and at the motel manager's recommendation, headed over to the Cactus Grill for dinner. Even though everyone was a local again, their good humor banter seemed to include me as a listener. Very, very good homemade food too!

Went over the remaining route to Denton. Baring changes, I should finish on October 15th (1127 miles to go), exactly six months after I began. But even though I'm in a hurry to get home, tomorrow gives me little choice. It's either 35 or 124-miles. So, it's a short day to Van Horn. But instead of doing the next long day, I'm hoping that I can stop a little short at the McDonald Observatory. We'll see.