October 7, 2015
McDonald Observatory -> Van Horn, TX: 74 miles
Time on bikes: 5:28hrs 

Unfortunately we didn't get to go to the Star Party last night. There were some really bad thunderstorms in the area and headed our way...not to mention HAIL the same day! People were showing us pictures of hail that was in the town we had just biked through! Crazy! So we were still at the Observatory and they just made the announcement of the bad weather and we had to decide what we were going to do about camping. The plan was to bike about 7 miles (after the star party) to a campsite just up the hill. BUT the storm was really close and we didn't want to get stuck in that...not to mention its like pitch black up at the Observatory. They keep lights to a minimum for the astronomers. The people working at the Observatory were very nice and found us a spot to camp about a mile away. We booked it! Joe and I did not want to set up our tent in the pouring rain. Thankfully we made it and got everything in the tent just minutes before it started raining :) Let's just say I didn't get the best sleep, the storms lasted all night & I even heard about 4 coyotes in the middle of the night! In the morning we were slow to wake up to our alarm & gooood thing we were lazy because it started raining again about 10 minutes after our alarm went off. YAY more sleep :) The rain didn't last too long. (side note: we camped on the side of the road just outside of someone's fence/driveway) While we were packing every thing up a truck with a couple guys in cowboy hats pull into the driveway. As they were driving down they turned on sirens and started honking and making loud noises. I was so confused haha I had no idea what they were doing! Then I heard a bunch of cows making noises and saw cows from miles away starting to walk over towards the men. That was the first time I had witnessed that haha but I'm assuming their goal was to wake the cows up. Anyways I had my first fall! Nothing to worry about, it was pretty hilarious. My foot got stuck in the clip and I basically fell over in slow motion :P  So including the Charleston, SC -> Key West trip from last year, I've gone about 3,000 miles on my bike without falling...that's pretty good right?! I don't know the statistics on that one. About an hour later and halfway to Van Horn, we passed a group of 15 cyclists that were on their way to St. Augustine! We were the first cyclists going East that they've seen since leaving San Diego. We were about 37 miles from town when we saw everyone. Once we made it to town we stopped at the first RV park & it was the best! Only $10 to camp with water, electric & coffee in the morning! That's a good deal...Once again we got bad thunderstorms & it was COLD at night! We didn't bring the right gear for this! I think we're going to get some warm weather gear in Phoenix. 

Our bikes in the morning

happy campers! No...literally 

 Kent Public School

October 8, 2015
Van Horn -> Fort Hancock, TX: 71miles
Time on bikes: 5:11hrs

When it's cold outside it is very hard to get up in the morning! Joe and I ended up getting on the road at about 10 am, but we knew we were going through another time zone today so it wasn't too bad. We were on our way after a couple cups of coffee and our hot cereal/grits breakfast of course. The weather was basically crappy all day. Overcast, chilly and somehow we didn't get rained on even though we were surrounded by black clouds. It wasn't too bad though, at least I wasn't dying of heat. Earlier in the day Joe had mentioned that he thought it was ironic the one time we are both carrying 3 extra tubes each, neither of us has had a flat in weeks. Well, what do you think happened today? Only 3 flats haha All of this was less than 10 miles from Fort Hancock. As we were getting closer to town we could see the wall for the Mexican border! Apparently this is the only town that actually has a wall for the border haha and we talked to border patrol and they said people just go to the next town and walk around it. Sounds kind of pointless to me. Fort Hancock looked like we were biking through Mexico...sand, dirt, and cinderblock houses. Anyways, once we got to town Joe and I were looking for Linda. Cyclists we had met a week earlier told us that Linda has a church in town and would be more than happy to let us stay in it for the night. Fort Hancock is a very, very small town and we found her at the only restaurant there :) She took us to the church, let us in, and told us there were snacks, sodas, coffee and to make ourselves at home. She was not kidding! We walked in and there was a note for us next to a box of snacks! Linda lets a lot of cyclists stay in her church and I think that is the sweetest! It's nice sleeping inside after a couple rainy nights of camping. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In the past few days we’ve gone from Marathon -> McDonald Observatory, TX: 77 miles

We’ve kind of been all over the place since we stayed in Marathon. We planned on waking up on Sunday and biking 30 miles to Alpine to rent a car until we realized that the rental place was closed on Sunday. So Sunday we hung out in Marathon...which worked out very well since it was the first rainy day since Louisiana. After hanging out for half of the day we biked 30 miles to Alpine and stayed there for the night. It was a chilly 30 miles!! Monday morning we woke up and headed straight to the rental place to get there when they opened. The guy working there was not helpful at all and there were no cars for rent…just 1 Uhaul. We were pretty bummed, because we were stoked to see Big Bend AND we waited around for a day to rent a car. 

We're in a cloud! 

Once we got over that we headed towards Marfa. Marfa isn’t on our route, but we were told that we needed to see Marfa…that it was an interesting, minimalist art town. Of course, I wanted to go check out all of the art. Marfa was definitely an interesting town! And since our timing has been so great for the past couple days…that didn’t change when we got to Marfa. Almost everything was closed, because apparently nothing is really open on Monday’s. Joe and I found a grocery store that was open and stocked up on rice, snacks, grits, etc. 

Of course we had to get some donuts before heading to Marfa! 

There were buildings like this everywhere in Marfa

Coffee shop we sat at for a bit

After hanging out in Marfa we headed towards Fort Davis and then on to the McDonalds Observatory just 10 miles past town. Fort Davis was a beautiful, cute little town! Our plan was to hit the McDonald Observatory that day…Joe has been stoked to check it out! They have Star Parties at night and we couldn’t pass that up! Once again, we found out that the star parties are only on Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday. So…………again we wait. It’s Monday and we know that to go to a Star Party we would have to take another break day. When are we going to get another chance to go to a star party at an observatory 7,000 ft up?!?! Probably not anytime soon…so we decided to camp just down the hill of the Observatory at Davis Mountains State Park. One of the ladies working at the park, Karen, ended up paying for our camping! She was the nicest! We were even debating wether to camp there because it was kind of expensive. After a cold night of camping we got our stuff together and headed up the steep mountain towards the Observatory. They have a cafe and day time tours so we went to check that out. So we just finished the day tour where we went to see the giant telescopes that they have here…so cool! & we are waiting in the cafe for the Star Party! It starts around 8:30. Hopefully the weather clears up a little…its been pretty rainy. 

Market in Fort Davis

Almost there, almost there! Only 10 more climbs :P 

This is one of many telescopes on the mountain

Another VERY large telescope!

Dryden -> Marathon, TX: 76 miles
Time on bikes: 6:29hrs 

We had an awesome day…it was just easy constant riding. We had another tail wind and that seems like its going to be the trend for the next week of so. Even though we were heading up hill sightly all day the riding seems to fly by. The scenery was incredibly mountainous. Not what we expected Texas to look like. I was expecting FLAT, nothing for miles, dirt, and tumbleweeds. However, the more we head towards western Texas, the more we are seeing the dirt and cactus terrain. 

So at the moment I’m sitting at La Loma Del Chivo, this very interesting place in Marathon, TX. The place is super cool! Reminds me of the pictures I’ve seen of the Burning Man festival. We pulled up after a long day and another cyclist, Bill, had just arrived! Not too long after that 2 more girls pulled up, Thea & Alicia. It was awesome & we just talked all night & told stories of our travels. Once again, hearing of the awesome people we had to stay with and places we had to see. 

Its morning time now and we were planning on biking 30 miles to Alpine, renting a car, & driving south to Big Bend National Park. We’ve seen awesome pictures and we definitely want to go check it out! BUT it is Sunday and Joe found out that the car place isn’t open today. Since we definitely want to see Big Bend we’re going to take a break day and bike 30 miles to Alpine to hangout for the day. We just said bye to Thea & Alicia…they are off to Dryden & Del Rio! At the moment its sprinkling and cloudy. Its our first rainy day since Louisiana. With that being said we are taking our time…we are in no rush to get to Alpine. 


Just getting into town - we stopped at The White Buffalo Bar to have a beer

I love outdoor kitchens!

the roof top

 Bill, Alicia, Thea, Joe, Devon

October 1, 2015
Bracketville -> Just past Del Rio: 45.5 miles

Last night we stayed in Bracketville, TX. Come to find out that we ended up camping in a pretty cool spot. Fort Clark Springs, a military fort that still has original buildings from the 1800's! It's kinda like a little neighborhood now with its own natural spring pool. Anyways breakfast was oatmeal + honey and instant Starbucks coffee that Christina (the cyclist we met in Baton Rouge) gave us! Not too long after leaving Bracketville we met a sweet couple who are also touring cyclists!! The first ones we've seen doing the Southern Tier route that Joe and I are doing. Except they are going from California to Florida. It's great seeing people that are coming from all of the places that we are headed to...they know where the cool spots are, where we won't have water or anything in sight for miles, etc. And we get to tell them of the awesome people that we've stayed with and places to see :) 

After we ran into Robert & his wife we were about 12 miles outside of Del Rio. For lunch we decided to get some Texas BBQ! 'Twas delicious. Then we went to Walmart to stock up on toiletries & dinner and what do ya know, we saw Todd & Judy...another couple touring! They are also going from California to St. Augustine. Coincidentally their home is in the Florida Keys & we have mutual friends there through Otherside Boardsports! 

"shower" time

After an hour and a half of a break at Walmart we headed to our camping spot that ended up being super sweet. Of course, since we're basically on the Mexican border, I made tacos! Grilled queso, avocado, diced tomatoes, and cilantro! Very easy and delicious :) it was a short day so we are relaxing and hanging out by the reservoir. Enjoying the beautiful sunset! An awesome thing about this trip is that we don't miss a single sunrise or sunset 

(Border patrol has gone past our campsite 3 times already haha I've never been this close to Mexico!)

October 2, 2015
Del Rio -> Dryden, TX: 85miles
Time on bikes: 6:48hrs

The wind basically woke us up this morning. Luckily it ended up being a tailwind! After eating peanut butter roll ups for breakfast we headed towards the middle of nowhere. Literally...we were just going to pick a spot on the side of the road at the end of the day to set up camp. Anyways just about an hour into our ride we saw ANOTHER cyclist! Cheryl has 2 friends following her in an RV & she is biking from San Diego to St. Augustine to raise money for International Sports Federation! You can check it out at Sportsmissions.com. While we were talking to Cheryl, another cyclists rolls up! Matt, who is also on the Southern Tier route. He's riding solo & staying in hotels along the way. It was awesome seeing all of them! We were stoked to hear about the places we HAD to see and of course the nothing-ness that we were about to go through today.

(because we didn't feel like biking the same road again to leave the campsite)

Joe and I made sure to stock up on food and water just in case! Dryden was the next town and we weren't planning on going that far today. The winds helped us out a lot and we decided to just go for it. We were told that there was a convenient store in Dryden, but it may or may not be open. The next town with water is 20 miles further. We made it to Dryden and YAY the store was open! I was dreaming of an ice cold coke and I actually got one (maybe 2). On top of the store being open, the nice lady running the store let us camp right next to it! She also let us keep our water in the ice cooler and use wifi. We have wifi in the middle of no where...where our phones have no service :) Check out where we are sleeping. We were told to be careful of the electric fence haha as for tomorrow, we have another long day in the middle of nowhere