Day 17(Thurs, May 5):Fort Hancock, TX to Van Horn, TX–70 miles

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dear Friends, we are in the Central Time Zone!
Therefore our arrival at Van Horn was even later than usual: 4 pm.
Constant headwinds of 15-25 mph,with a few hills thrown in for good measure, did not help.  Oh, did I mention the only road option for the day: I-10? Thus, we had constant noise and an endless stream of semi-truck traffic. Despite all of the above, the riding conditions are superb: perfect temperatures, dry and no humidity.
The pecan groves have given way to the low sage and brushes of western Texas.  Signs of humanity are few and far between. Now I  can see how this is the second largest state and why the citizens  were a bit perturbed when Alaska showed up. Western Texas, though remote, has roads. In Alaska, roads are still not the norm for transportation throughout the state. In Anchorage, there are basically two main highways: one north, so people can visit Sarah Palin’s house, and one south, so that the tourists getting off the cruise ships can go home.
In another vein our tires are holding up well, though Joe found one of the dastardly “bullhead thorns” on the carpet of the room last night. That discovery instigated a thorough inspection of our tires and…a wire was once again embedded into Joe’s sidewall.  Last time the result was a flat tire; this time all was well.  As I write this, Joe is going over his tires with a fine tooth comb– no problems.  The thorn resistant tubes with sealer seem to be worth the cost and the effort!
We also crossed a border patrol station on I-10; there we were, following dutifully in the line with all the cars. There were numerous officers and a narcotic sniffing dog.  The only question to us: “Are you a US citizen?”  Easy A and we were waved on.  Others were not so fortunate and were being herded away to an unknown destination.
Believe it or not, thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow–perhaps we will have a welcome rain for this drought stricken area that has seen no precipitation since December 30th.
We will try to wish the headwinds away and all will be well.
Tomorrow we go off the ACA route as there is no reason to drive through desolate, black areas burned by fires.  Wish us luck on our chosen alternate. Many thanks to Joe’s sister, Lois, for checking with the Texas Forest Service for road closures. Further thanks to Joe’s son, Joe IV, for organizing the weekly group emails.
This Joe is sneezing constantly combined with a runny nose since noon; hopefully it is just the dust.
For some reason Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated around here.
Until then…

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