Day 19: Sierra Blanca, Texas, to Van Horn, Texas

We woke up at 6 a.m. to an inch of wet snow on the ground, and decided a short day was in order, since on Wednesday the weather here is due to return back to normal. The motel owner gave us a ride to the breakfast restaurant in Sierra Blanca, as well as a couple who had stayed at the motel last night. After breakfast, I found out the couple had flipped their car on the interstate near Sierra Blanca last night. That snapped me out of my I Can’t Believe It’s Snowing And Why Are We Getting So Many Flat Tires funk. Then I told them the story about my dad rolling his truck a few years ago, and getting pelted by about 25 golf balls that were in the back seat as he rolled 1 1/2 times.

We waited until noon and took off for a 33-mile ride to Van Horn, and Tony still got two flats, both on the back tire this time. We’re hoping our supply of two patches and one spare, virgin tube holds us 100 miles to Alpine, Texas, where Tony can get new tires and we can restock our supply of tubes and patches. (Anyone ever used a tire boot for a patch before?)

In the lobby of the hotel this afternoon, I met a Japanese cyclist who’s riding from Los Angeles to New York, and this is the one spot our paths cross. His English was not so great (about one million times better than my Japanese), but we had a great chat for a few minutes. He seemed to have about as much of an idea of why he’s bicycling across America as I do, but said one of the things was that he wanted to see America. I showed him a few of our photos, and he laughed at the one of me next to the Billy The Kid sign. He’s headed to Pecos, Texas, tomorrow, so we won’t be riding together. Tony and I are heading to Marfa, Texas, off the Adventure Cycling route, in case we are marooned with a tire problem. The owner of the Bikeman shop in Alpine suggested the route, which will cut off a bunch of climbing, and a few miles.


8 responses to “Day 19: Sierra Blanca, Texas, to Van Horn, Texas

  1. Studs I tell you.

  2. Hi Tony and Brendan

    What kind of tires ARE YOU USING that you are having so much trouble with ? I have used Conti for years and rode them on my cross country tour. I had 1 flat in 3000 miles ! Also the question about tire boots: they are ONLY useful as a temporary measure for gashes in the tire. They are of no use if you have a hole in your tube. Hopefully, the snow will stop in Texas. My sister-in-law called from Austin to tell us about it and I thought of you guys. Keep on truckin. How is that triple crank working for you ?

  3. Sorry, that last comment was from me.

  4. Tony, Its time to junk those tires !! I used Conti on my cross country trip and had 1 flat in 3000 miles. Also I recommend checking them religiously and changing them after 1500 miles. Tire boots are ONLY good for gashes in your tires and only as a temporary measure until you can replace the tire. They are of no value if you have a hole in the tube. Happy trails.

  5. Pingback: Daily News Roundup February 23rd – Texas Bicycling «

  6. Sounds like Tony needs a set of Spin Skins (tire inserts). Should be able to find them, or similar, at any bike shop.

  7. Marfa is a great little artsy town with one flashing stoplight intersection and the occasional tumbleweed passing through. They also have the mystical magical Marfa lights. Enjoy!

  8. Hey Leo, if I order a pair of cold-weather cycling pants and have them shipped to San Antonio will you promise to discard those chartreuse ones? They are burning out the pixels in my monitor.

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