Saturday, January 30, 2010

How green was my cactus

Total distance: 4906.0 km

By Sundance:

Okay, I know we're supposed to eat lamb on Australia Day, but instead we wound up baking bread and eating pizza. At least, I wound up baking bread. After the yummy sourdough rye we got in Austin, I've become a little obsessed with getting the hang of making bread, and on my third attempt I finally got a loaf that rose pretty well (and could be cut with a bread knife rather than requiring a bandsaw).

Anyway, Tuesday disappeared in a relative flurry of packing, and watching episodes from the first season of Heroes, which kinda sucked us in while we were in Del Rio. And that evening we went out for "all you care to eat" pizza with Niki, had a nice chat about home (Oz and Adelaide), and retired for an early start.

We tumbled out of bed the following morning to clear our stuff from the house so Niki could go to work and leave us to our own devices. After saying our farewells and making breakfast we got on our bikes for the pleasant experience of a downhill run with a tailwind, though it didn't last. Yana's bike was making a mysterious ticking noise which led us to pull into the local bike shop. As usual, these things never take a short time to fix, and after getting a new bottom bracket installed, and a seemingly interminable fiddle to readjust the gears, the whole day was shot. In fact, more gear fiddling was still required the next morning so Tim, the guy from the bike store, allowed us to stay at his place overnight (since getting back to Niki's and then back to the bike shop without Yana's bike would have been a bummer). Tim and his wife were fun people to chat with, and the following day - thursday - a little after lunchtime we finally got to leave Del Rio. The wind was fortunately with us again, and the weather was warm, We rode past the Amistad Reservoir which looked beautiful in the sunlight, and made it into the town of Comstock where the one and only restaurant/bar offered us a place to shelter from the impending thunderstorm. One of the nice folks there helped us locate a place to put up our tent inside a storage shed which kept the rain and hail off quite effectively.

The weather had cleared on Friday morning but the wind was awful. 16 - 32 km/h straight in our faces. It took us over five hours to get the 50 km from Comstock to Langtry, arriving a bit after dark. After some hunting around we found the actual town center and were directed to the community center to put up put tent, where the two cyclists we met in Bracketville (Dani and Greg) had also camped.

This morning we awoke to clear skies and gentle winds. After some tyre maintenance, we wandered up to the Judge Roy Bean museum. JRB was "the law west of the Pecos" and would dispense his own verdicts rather than consulting his (only) law book. Since he didn't have a jail, everything was punishable by a fine, and he also ran a bar and staged at least one boxing match. Quite a character. The museum also has a great cactus garden , which is extremely interesting and nicely laid-out. Well worth the visit. We've really entered cactus territory now, which makes an change from the deciduous forest that we travelled through all the way south from the start of our journey. The change of vegetation really makes us feel like we're getting somewhere. Now we shall hit the road and set out for Dryden, and possibly Sanderson if we can push on that far before nighttime.

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