If Texas has seemed like the centerpiece theme for the last few posts…well it’s because it is. When you are here you always know that you are in Texas. The flag is flown everywhere. People wear Texas on their coats, hats, shirts…we even saw tattoos. At the grocery store, every garden planter for sale either has the State emblazoned across it or shows off the Lone Star. Not to make a comparison, but I am sure I’ve never seen a single ceramic pot adorned with an outline of West Virginia.
Texas is a state who understands its identity and is very proud of it. And Tim and I absolutely love it. The people are friendly, open and welcoming. The Hill Country terrain is beautiful and rugged. And the BBQ is to die for. I know there is lots more to see, but from what we’ve experienced, Texas has been one of our favorite states on our trip. We’re surprised how reluctant we are to leave.
But by week’s end, we knew we needed to make some decisions about our next move. We had debated heading down to Big Bend, a place that we’d been told is uniquely special, but also very remote. We had to make a choice.
Instead we’ve decided to keep driving and save Big Bend for our next trip back. Bike racing season is around the corner and we need to commit some serious time to getting in shape. So despite our desire to stay another 20 days, on Saturday we packed up Frank and started our way West. We drove 6 long hours to the border to Balmorhea State Park to settle in for the night.
When we got there we were charmed by the little adobe shelters at each site, the many bird calls that filled the air, and the desert weather. What wasn’t so good was the complete lack of internet. We ate our dinner and reluctantly packed up to drive another hour, knowing that with our work day the next morning, we needed connectivity.
So instead of waking to the sunrise at Balmorhea, we instead woke up to the growl of trucks surrounding us at Love’s Truck Stop in Van Horn. From Van Horn, we drove to El Paso for the rest of the work day. Tired and ready to settle down, we picked up and drove 1 last hour to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here we wanted to stay put for a few days. We researched local mountain bike trails and found a promising writeup about a place to ride in the Dona Anas.
It sounded interesting so we decided to see if we could spend the night. Welcome back to BLM Land. We drove down a secluded dirt road to the parking lot and found the best camping we’ve seen in ages. It’s open, deserty, quiet, with a great view of the city, and mountain bike trails yards away…and free. Ah we’ve missed the West.
So here we stay, in Las Cruces, drying out, getting some biking in, and trimming up.Tim’s hair was long overdue a cutting and we are so reluctant to leave our perfect spot, he actually recruited me to be his barber. I warned him…”I am not a professional”.
It looks pretty good in the dark tonight, hopefully it will be okay tomorrow too.