With their lift to El Paso nearly arriving the boys had a decision to make: catch their lift through to warmer weather or stick around with me for a little longer. To my delight they decided to stay on two wheels and so it was as a quartet that we pedalled out of Del Rio into the Texan desert.
With a tailwind we made good time to the small town of Comstock where after a discussion of how well we were doing Zach promptly broke a spoke. Bugger! Having just had his wheel looked at at a bike shop in Del Rio the previous afternoon it was a little disheartening especially as we were now in the middle of no-where! Rather than back track to the bike shop that apparently couldn’t fix bikes we decided to try and hitch a ride to the next town west and hope their bike mechanic was more… mechanical!
At this point you may be wondering what I had contributed to the team, I am the slowest on the bike, not very good at lighting a fire, I can’t fix anything and simply hope that people will help me when required and although I’m happy to drink the wine I’m not very keen on carrying it! Well, I was about to prove myself. “Don’t worry, we’ll be able to hitch a ride easily enough” I confidently claimed to the deflated Zach sat by the side of the road. Then needing to put my money where my mouth was I stuck out my thumb and put on my best hitching grin and, who’d have thought it, the very first vehicle to drive past pulled over!! “See!” I exclaimed to the boys who’s jaws had hit the floor, whilst trying to hide my own shock at my unprecidented hitching success!
Putting on my thickest English accent (which has served me well so far in the States) I ran up to the car window and secured our ride to Alpine with the friendly Ted. “It’s because you’re a girl” the boys concluded and I agreed until Ted told me he had thought I was a man!! Oh great, so now someone else thinks I’m a bloke! What is that! The ticket collector on the Dauphin Ferry and now Ted! I know I have short hair which may be a little untamed but surely I can’t look that masculine… well evidently I can!!!!
Kindly dropping us at a motel entrance Ted continued on his way along with my jumper which, me being me, I had left in the back seat. After smuggling Cisco into the hotel room (where he promptly pooped on the floor) we had a chilled evening before waking up the next morning to get Zach’s bike fixed, properly this time we hoped.
After much faffing around but with a successfully fixed wheel we finally hit the road again and headed North towards Fort Davis. It was a beautiful day, blue skies and warm, and the scenery was stunning. One of those days when I couldn’t keep the grin off my face! We also ate an entire jar of Nutella with a spoon which may have had something to do with it!
We camped that night at a rest stop at the side of the road. Another cold night, as they had all seemed to be, we got our sleeping bags out and lay outside enjoying the stars and putting the world to rights until alliteration struck whereby it got too chilly for chat and bed beckoned.
Waking up to another beautiful day I was excited – today was the day we were to reach the MacDonald Observatory. I’d been looking forward to this since Florida! We had a long, brutal climb to the top of Mount Locke to reach our warm showers host at the facility, a climb that was made significantly worse for Bryce who didn’t realise until a few hundred meters from the top that his front basket had been pushing down on his rear brake, something that I found rather hilarious and that he was good natured enough to laugh about!
After what felt like an age we eventually made it up to our host John’s house and that evening he took us up to the telescope for a private tour.
The next morning we had a beautiful ride cruising down 2000ft over 30km. The views were magnificent and with barely any traffic on the road it was as close as you can get to perfect riding. Zach, who’s incredibly strong on the bike, was on a bit of a speedy gonzales mission so I rode most of the day with Bryce who is usually happy to take things at my pace and basically makes me laugh continuously!
Brace yourselves for lots of photos of the same thing… as per usual I can’t decide which ones to include!
After a cracking morning our luck was about to change. Eventually catching up with Zach we had a small section of interstate to ride and within a few miles of the slip way the mother of all black clouds appeared in the distance and got steadily closer and closer! Deciding to cut our losses we hastily found a hidden spot off the road and took shelter in the tent. Within 10 minutes the heavens had opened and amidst thunder and lightening we figured there was nothing better to do than play charades and drink whisky!! A great decision I think you’ll agree!
It turned out that the storm was pretty localised and after an hour or so the rain stopped and we were treated to a lovely sunset. Considering we were within 20m of the interstate we had a super evening indeed!