If we get 10 more days of riding like this one, this trip is going to be a breeze. We did 55 miles today, and the last 31 felt like it was all downhill, plus we had an enormous tailwind. Tony said he looked down at his GPS a couple times and saw that we were going 29 mph.
Our trip was pretty well saved by a guy named John Elsbury, who decided to open a bike shop in Alpine, Texas, a few years back, and is still the only bike shop between here and El Paso. We were down to three tire patches and no spare tubes until we pulled into his shop, Bikeman, today at 11 a.m. Tony got a couple of stout touring tires, and we stocked up on tubes and patches, so we shouldn’t have an ulcer-inducing block of 150 miles like the stretch from El Paso to Alpine. At one point, all three of us were back in the workshop, cramming a thorn-resistant tube into Tony’s new tire and teaming up trying to get the tire onto the rim. It was a thing of beauty when we finished, and it felt like a barn-raising, or maybe delivering a baby.
Then we stopped at the Verizon store in Alpine so Tony could take care of some business, and Paul, one of the account managers, gave Tony a $5 donation for BCM! First one of the trip.
We ended the day in Marathon, a 500-person town, and it, like Marfa, is not at all like the rural west Texas I imagined — way more art galleries and unique style, and way fewer cowboy hats, pickups and tumbleweeds. I am really being pleasantly surprised by west Texas. Dear West Texas, if you could please keep up this monster tailwind for a few more days, Tony and I would be eternally grateful. Tomorrow, we head to Sanderson, Texas.