Holy Viento

If I could be one of the earths four elements I would be the wind. I would be the wind because its presence is so powerful and forever unyielding. I see the shrubs bending backwards, and hear the air whooshing past my ears in an arduous tone for 8 deafening hours. It's a colossal and controlling force that is so sly that no one has ever actually seen it. An immense and invisible force that we cannot see or touch, only feel.  Needless to say the last few days have been dominated by a headwind. A dusty, despicable headwind. OK, I know what your thinking...need a little cheese with your wine.  I am just trying to paint a mental image of the three of us riding slow and steady on a slant through the desert with 40mph gusts in our faces on our route to El Paso.

From the beginning: We left  our gracious warm showers hosts, Bethany and Gary in Van Horn on Sunday morning before the sun was even up. Over 140 miles to El Paso from Van Horn. The team decided to take a detour from the Southern Tier for a less traveled, less serviced, more scenic route. The Manatee allows us to carry extra water so we have the luxury of doing these side excursions. Watching the sun rise peak over the mountains was worth our early morning wake up call. We got about 50 miles in  heading north before lunch while the winds were still mild.

you can just make out the wind mills on top of the ridge

With all the wind we have encountered in Texas you would think there would be wind farms galore across the state. Sunday morning was the first windmills we have seen on top of the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains.

RASR with John (our warm showers host) at the McDonald Observatory

Our private tour,  and the giant telescope. Whoa

View of the Davis Mountains from the catwalk on one of the observatories on our private tour. Most tourists don't get to see this view. Thanks John for being a great tour guide, and giving us such a unique experience.

Stephanie and Chelsea watching the sun rise

Day break on the hills

At lunch we put our bikes in the van and drove to the Guadalupe Mountain (which has the highest peak in Texas) visitor center to have a bean and corn salsa picnic. After lunch we drove about 50 miles, jumped out of the van, and geared up to face the winds heading straight west into El Paso. Longest 35 miles of my life. The dust and sand was blowing so hard we had to cover our faces with bandanas to avoid breathing in the particles.  Not my favorite afternoon of riding, but at least there was a down hill decent into the city. You know the wind is powerful when you have to pedal hard on a downhill. Yikes!
RASR cowgirls turned outlaws. Eww look at all that dust in the background

When we finally got through the god forsaken desert coming into El Paso we were met by Cindy Harrington at her home on the edge of town. We were instantly relieved by their  garden oasis home where we were treated to a cold beer and homemade chips and salsa. Not only did we meet Cindy but we also got to meet her array of animals on the 2 acre property right in the city. That night we went to Taco Cabana (our favorite second breakfast stop in Texas) to hear a Mariachi band performing. When we walked in it felt a little like a family reunion, but we got a warm welcome and even had a song sung in our honor in English. Such a fun cultural experience for our last night in Texas.

Mmmm Magic Looooooves Carrots
Ah yes, there were goats too

Open Mic Mariachi night. Everyone is dressed in their Sunday Best with boots, hats, big belt buckles, and pressed jeans.Very Fancy.

In the morning we gave two separate presentations for Safe Routes to School at Bonham Elementary to the second graders, and again in Guerrero Elementary to the 5th graders. They were both very attentive audiences with lots of great questions. Giving presentations to the elementary level students, and getting them excited about biking is my favorite activity on this trip. The kids we've met have been so cute and excited.  It's so much fun meeting and talking to them all.  Thanks ya'll for making my day.

After the school visits we made a pit stop at the western wear store so Stephanie and Chelsea could splurge on new pair of boots before heading back to the Harrington's for lunch and heading out for the day. It was only a 40 mile ride to Las Cruses from El Paso and another grueling trip into strong headwinds. But, being the professionals we are we made it in good time with little complaint. It felt good to be entering a new state after being in Texas for 3 weeks. Texas...it was fun, but it is time to move on to mountain Time Zone.  Adios

Stephanie engaging the students at Bonham

Safe Routes to School Coordinators and faculty at Guerrero

Crossing the raging Rio Grande River. Oh wait...its bone dry

10th state. New Mexico!!!

 Boring and dusty ride into Las Cruses through the dry pecan orchards
Posted by Stephanie


  1. Character building headwinds. So glad you have such an upbeat attitude toward one of my least favorite things! Next up, the Continental Divide! Ride, you wonderful RASR cyclists, ride.

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