Remember yesterday when I related the 40 degree temperature swings in the desert? Not so today. It never got over 55 degrees. Not complaining though. It was cloudy but the sun peeked out a few times.☀️
Well it’s kind of a buzz kill but we have no idea when we entered Texas. Having focused on staying safe in El Paso traffic and finding our way to the hotel, we missed the state line, soooo, friends, we have some work to do.
Most bike travelers look for hot coffee and bandwidth in the morning, not to mention bathroom facilities. We were good to go on the bathroom but really needed hot coffee and to do some weather and route checking on the Internet. However, Columbus is small and doesn’t open early. As we walked around the small town we peeked in Irma’s cafe thinking how lucky we would be if they were open for breakfast.
Sure enough Irma was making her shopping list for her restaurant, which is closed on Tuesday. However she insisted on making us toast and a carafe of hot coffee. After chatting it up with Irma we ambled down to the restaurant we visited the night before. Standing outside their building, we were able to connect to their wifi and get our online tasks finished. Luck, resourceful and blessings like Irma don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Friends, Texas is a big state – so big it takes up three of the Southern Tier map collection of seven. It will be about 1,000 miles until we reach Louisiana. We are as of today, back on the official Southern Tier route.
We cycled east almost all day on NM-9. We started on that two lane road all the way back in Rodeo (when it started at the border of New Mexico) and cycled the heck out of it through Hachita, Animas all the way to El Paso.
NM-9 skirts the wall that separates the border between Mexico and the United States. At times NM-9 steered us quite close to the wall and we noticed an increase in Border Patrol policing the dirt road between NM-9 and the border. The landscape is also peppered with surveillance equipment to help Border Patrol in their efforts to secure our southern border.
We noticed an increase in discarded clothing and shoes and as we got closer to El Paso many, many full water bottles and a couple backpacks by the side of the road.
A week or so ago (before NM-9), a face peeked up and over a ditch, looked at us, and then quickly hid. Our guess is he didn’t hear the quiet bicycles approaching. Before we realized what we’d seen we were well past him. We have no idea what his story is, but just something to ponder and pray about.
Whether it’s the homeless communities we saw in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson or our southern neighbors entering our country through the back door, I have no answers to these complex issues, only questions. I’m grateful for our Border Patrol who are doing their best to neutralize the border traffic, yet know there are neighbors in need just to the south.
Let’s just say all of our neighbors in need have been in my prayers. Every. Single. Day – That the under resourced have access to nutritious food, clean water, shelter, clothing, health care, education, transportation and employment.
My trail boss is waiting. Time to giddy up!
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