18/Mar. Day 26. Van Horn - Marfa TX
74 Miles. A 2 day route deviation. 
It was a long 74 mile day to reach Marfa and we really were in the wilds of Texas! The terrain was flat, the headwind strong and the road was rough and never-ending. Other than a tiny beat up settlement of Valentine, home to a small library and a friendly lady who stood outside waving as we passed one of about three timber houses, there wasn’t anything else along the way. Actually that’s not true, there was a small Prada store sat all alone by the side of the road. Some sort of crazily random artwork instillation.
Our long day was made longer because we picked up two punctures. Mid repair on the first, was when we realised that the teeth from our canine attack the other day had also made handful of little holes in our spare inner tubes! These had been located in the outside pocket of our savaged pannier. Talk about unlucky. A million patch repairs later, we were back on our way. As the sun began to set we were thankful that we’d pre organised to pitch our tent in the garden of our Warm Showers host No.6. A couple of American tourers travelling in the opposite direction on the Southern Tier, had already set up their own tents in his garden by the time we rocked up. I guess we’d become part of a little cycling community which had taken over the small back garden of a single house in Marfa.

19/ Mar. Day 27. Marfa - Fort Davis TX
21 Miles. Reunited with my glasses!
We packed up late, looked around Marfa and found a coffee shop. A local lady, inquisitive about our trip had asked excitedly where we’d come from this particular morning. We laughed, knowing there was no big adventure story to share from the mornings ride. In response, I’d pointed in a vaguely correct direction and told her that we’d pedalled here from approximately… 3 blocks away. 
Time: 11:45am. We began our short, leisurely ride to the historic town of Fort Davis. Twenty minutes into the ride and about half way up a hill, I realised I’d put on too many layers. The cloud cover had gone leaving bright sun and dazzling blue skies. After a quick strip down and wardrobe change by the side of the road we continued on. 

The lady at the Fort Davis US postal office seemed just as enthusiastic to be personally reuniting me with my glasses, as I was to finally have them back. We checked in super early to a RV site in town which felt great, until I realised that the only womens bathroom was out of action leaving only the mens single toilet/shower room which was, by anyones standards, absolutely disgusting. A small sign read “We are not able to clean these facilities after every use, so please help keep them clean”. I later went back with a pen and blanked out a chunk of the text so it more accurately reflected the situation “We are not able to clean these facilities.”
At least the grassy tent camping area was nice because neither L or myself could face taking down the tent, repacking the bike or look for alternative lodgings. Instead I devised a way to shower without touching a single surface inside the mouldy porter cabin style mens room. This involved precariously kneeling on a stool whilst inside the shower. All this wouldn’t have been necessary if I’d been travelling with more than a single pair of footwear. 

20/Mar. Day 28. Fort Davis - Alpine TX
24 Miles. Back on the official Southern Tier route.
At some point during the time it had taken us to prop up and secure The Flying Fox behind a heavy bench outside the front of the wooden fronted store, breakfast service had finished. Luckily lunch service commenced only ten minutes later. Today would be another short mile day, this time to the town of Alpine and like yesterday, we’d had a slow start to the morning. After stocking up on various chocolate flavour pecans from Davis Mountains Nut Co, we headed out of town but not before being hollered at by the sheriff from across the road. I’ll point out that in the past, L has been known to make rash tandem steering decisions often resulting in illegal road manoeuvres but in his defence, this morning he’d made none. Neither of us expected what followed: “She’s not pedalling on the back!” If only we could receive a dollar for every time we heard this. L was beginning to wonder if there was some truth behind these frequent comments.

The friendly chap behind the gun counter in a sports and outdoor goods store in Alpine, recommend a taser would be more effective, opposed to pepper spray, for diffusing any future dog attack. After politely disagreeing we left the store with a small canister of  pepper spray, hoping we wouldn’t need to use it.

Our motel room in Alpine smelt of bleach which got us wondering if there’d been a big clean up after the demise of a previous guest? I guess we’d never know. We did the usual ritual of washing clothes and hung them over the heater to dry. Only on this occasion it added to the rooms strange aroma. The next morning we woke up.

21/Mar. Day 29. Alpine - Marathon TX
30 Miles.  Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers.
It was between Alpine and Marathon that we first encountered a lively mass of hi vis cyclists also doing the coast to coast. The 50 strong group of Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers (who are a supported cycle tour) invited us to fuel up at their en route, roadside snack stop and to later join them at a campsite in Marathon for dinner and breakfast the next day. The only stipulation was that we would need to ‘sing for our supper’. This was an offer too good to refuse, so L and I spent the remaining twenty miles to Marathon perfecting our travel story for our speech later that evening. 
Whilst the pampered pedalers arrived to an already assembled tent with their luggage waiting inside, L and I began to set up our own amongst the sea of uniformed tents which dwarfed our little Vango. Whilst we didn’t have a booking with their touring masseur, we did get to sample the delights made by the group’s touring caterer and after an introduction from Bubba himself (the man behind the whole operation), the group got to hear our story. Thank you Bubba.

(Quirky photos above: Bubba (yellow coat) taking a handful of us to see a tucked away part of Marathon)


A little extra note: L and myself are raising money for two great charities as we cycle home to the UK from Australia, across the landmass in the middle... AMERICA. If you'd like to sponsor us, that would be amazing, here is the link to our just giving page where you can also find out more about the charities: CALM and Alzheimer's Society. Thank you to all who have donated, it keeps us pedalling! https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/foxonalead


Julian said…
I am loving re-living the ST. I did it a year ago and also bumped into the amazing Bubba and also had a night with them at a ranch in Richards, TX.

Keep the postings coming!

Thanks Julian! Glad you're enjoying the reliving your ST adventure through us!
Hi Y'all,
I was on Staff for Bubba and had the pleasure of meeting you. Your blog captures the essence of the ST adventure, both good and bad. Safe travels. May you always have tailwinds and smooth pavement.

Huntsville, AL, USA