I’ve been off the grid while on the Big Bend trip, but I think I’m ready to re-join life. We returned to El Paso on Sunday evening. Mom picked up my bags and I biked to the house (easier than taking off the wheel to fit in the car with the tennis stuff).
Late that night I got violently ill. Don’t know if it was a bug or food poisoning or what, but I wasn’t myself again until this morning. Yesterday I wasn’t actively sick but I sure wasn’t myself!
But, today dawned cheerful and cool and I popped up ready to go have breakfast with an old high school friend. After not eating for 24 hours, IHOP is a great destination! After breakfast I came home to pack my bike. It’s now in its protective coating and shell and ready for BikeFlights (FedEx) pickup tomorrow. I know I didn’t pack it as well as Brad did, but hopefully well enough.
This afternoon mom and I went to do something fun. Lousy photo, but if you peer closely, you can see a bicycle on that nail!
So…Big Bend. Quite the adventure, as advertised in the name Adventure Cycling Association. Let’s be honest – I completely underestimated the difficulty of this challenge. I didn’t train well enough, especially for climbing. I think I need to do something with the gearing on the Surly if I’m going to be climbing SF to SF.
Our first day we caught the van in El Paso and were passengers to Fort Davis. There we met the rest of the group and did a bit of orientation. Our last night in beds was at the Stone Village Family Camp. The rooms were cool – no real doors, but small rock rooms with two beds. One of my co-adventurers, Kim, and I shared a room. She was great the whole trip.
Our second day, the first riding day, dawned overcast and threatening rain. By the time we got all packed and ready to go, the rain was coming down steadily. No rain in 2017 until this moment.
Our destination was Marathon by way of Alpine. As you can imagine, we didn’t take any photos. By the time we hit Alpine we were near frozen. Even people who had brought rain gear were feeling swamped. Mike and I stopped in a Family Dollar store and bought some rubber gardening gloves to at least keep our hands warm.
Not too long after Alpine, the rain let up some and we rolled into Marathon to our first overnight stop – an RV park. By the time the van and trailer arrived it had dried enough for us to put up tents, and get ready for our first night.
Marathon was actually quite charming, with the old, restored Gage Hotel being the highlight of town. It was fun to explore the next morning. I found a geocache at the library — and then it was time to get on the road to our next destination.