Day 20(Sunday, May 8):Marfa, TX to Alpine, TX–27 miles

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

We opted for a short ride today, 27 miles, so we could take a good  look see at Alpine,Texas on the recommendation of our Vida friends, Jack and Paula Kelly.
There is supposed to be a great blues club here along with numerous art galleries.
The route once again followed the rail line, always a good bet as the railroads pick the most ergonomically favorable thoroughfare. At one point, Joe wondered why we were going the wrong direction–north; I replied that our road course through the mountains was decided by the rails.    We started late and enjoyed the veritable rest day. Though we had some climbing, there were also great downhill runs averaging 25 mph.  We saw trees again and shade; there were even clouds in the sky. What we would have given for a tree yesterday when I looked longingly at the shade underneath the train trestle, anything from the unrelenting sun.
Thus today was heaven– trees and shade everywhere.
I have started using the Trip Advisor app on my iPhone(more about that treasure later) to find restaurants, motels and things of interest.  However, today we found an inexpensive little gem of a 60’s motel, very close to downtown, that TripAdvisor types must not frequent. Our bikes are in the room with us and we are only a few blocks from downtown.  The big name motels were two miles from town, isolated and at least two times more expensive.
I looked ahead on the maps and in a few days we will be out of this quiet solitude.  The maps are literally filled with roads and place names as we move into Eastern Texas.  I will savor the next few days of nothingness for  quiet contemplation as the miles pass by with no distractions except for the occasional tumbleweed.
Things changed a bit as we walked to lunch at the world famous Reata restaurant, we see smoke in the direction from we have just come- the west.  We smell smoke; we see firetrucks and trailers with bulldozers on them; we hear the community of Sunny Glen is evacuated and that a support airlift is underway.  We stop at Harry’s Tanija for refreshments and live music. While inside we hear sirens and see flashing lights; eight border patrol vehicles go speeding by in the  direction we go tomorrow.  Even the locals say something big is up.  We also hear there is another small fire between Marathon, our goal for tomorrow, and Sanderson, our desired destination in two days.  The winds keep on picking up; the temperature is 92 degrees with 7% humidity.  Something is going on-the TV keeps going off and the lights flicker.  Alpine is anything but dull.
We are having fun; we are enjoying each day on the road, each new town and each new experience.  This is a wonderful way to truly see the depth and breadth of this country.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!
Trivia:Until 1959 Alpine was the largest town in the largest county in the largest state in the nation.  Guess what happened in 1959 to change that?
Bye for now.

Update: Highway 90(our route) closed due to a wildfire shortly after we rode through. We are packed and ready to move in the event the wind shifts.

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