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Les is more

Leslie and Marty's Third Day

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Les is more

I am convinced that Texas has more turkey vultures per square mile than any other state in the union. On the morning we were leaving Eric's I was convinced that they were lurking, waiting, licking their chops in anticipation of my demise.


Eric and his dad, Charles, joined us for the first part of our ride. Eric felt it was his duty to prove to us that West Texas is not all flat. Shortly after our departure for the first twisties of the trip, the rains came, accompanied by brisk breezes. Now, Noah could rest easy. Not a single cubit of new Ark would be required any time soon. However, you wet country types must understand that, living in San Diego, I am a denizen of a geographical desert. Riding in the rain is not something I have had to do other than a little bit on the Interstate. I could sense the vultures rubbing their little wing tips together and grinning demonically.


Off we went and as is the usual case with my fears, they were groundless. I rode out behind Eric who immediately put me at ease with his smooth, confident riding style. I carefully watched his rear wheel for any signs of slippage and despite my best efforts, could see none. Totally relaxed now, I began to really immerse myself in the beauty of the ride and the joy of sharing this with other riders.


The roads Eric chose (I am far too right-brained to have noticed names or numbers) were anything but flat and straight. They gently dipped and twisted like a kite in a fresh wind. There were paloverdes at the roadsides so heavy with blossoms as to resemble yellow clouds. There were stream bottoms and washes that twisted away out of sight and beckoned to be followed.

Around some turns, we were teased with glimpses of water and huge alders.


Eventually, I found what the vultures were really after. I saw armadillos. Well, actually, I mostly saw armas on one side of the road and dillos on the other. The vultures were busy fulfilling their role in the ecosystem.


The road rose gently in front of us and the view opened up as we topped the valley. Eric pulled over and we dismounted. The view around us was so lovely! To me it was one of those teary eyed moments when a rush of blissful realization of how beautiful the world can be simply takes your breath away.


We were at one end of a tall bridge. Far below the Pecos River transected our path and stretched off to vanish into the distance in both directions. The river was a blue ribbon dropped carelessly on a spread of green; and wind, water and time had carved arch topped caves into the rock walls that edged the river gorge. I could picture sun-browned natives gathering the fruits from the prickly pear cactus that bloomed brilliant yellow in the foreground and returning with them to the natural shelter of the caves to add them to the evening's meal.






Here, we had to part ways with Eric's dad, Charles. Although he said he had to head back, we spied his mandarin GS at an overlook high above us. I believe his ride back included some quiet contemplation of times past.


Eric, Marty and I continued on to the town of Marathon after a brief stop at the Judge Roy Bean Museum and the first bathroom west of the Pecos. In Marathon we stopped at the historic Gage Hotel where we had some chile and Frito pie (does it get any more Texas?) in the tin-countered cafe and soda fountain. Marty and I bid our very fond farewells to Eric (isn't it incredible how quickly you bond with the people in this community) and headed for Big Bend National Park to add yet more to the scenic aspect of this trip.








Big Bend counts desert, mountains and the Rio Grande River and its various branches among its treasures. It is well known to me as a birder's paradise in the spring and although I haven't figured out how to rig a monocular to my helmet, I did manage to spot some feruginous hawks and scissor-tailed flycatchers along with a host of more common birds. As we whizzed past the visitor's center, I began to realize that perhaps extra stops were not on the itinerary. I was, after all, traveling with the "Energizer Bunny". wink.gif


The last leg of the day was a wonderful roller coaster of a road that climbed and swerved and twisted and dropped and looped along the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The river here was ensconced in the middle of a green belt running through the desert and was bordered by basalt colored cliffs. The road was phenomenal I dropped way back so that I could lay on the throttle and let Arianrhod stretch her legs and dive down some of the swooping hills. The roller coaster effect was surreal. We had to slow way down at the top of each hill because we could not see what lay beyond the crest. Very often a sharp curve whipped out just over the top. We would ratchet our way to a view of the road and then we could sail down the other side until the next blind spot ground us almost to a halt again.


This was an exciting but tiring form of riding and by the time we reached our motel in Alpine, Texas we had put in 600 miles on back roads and were pretty well used up. We found a hitching post for the ponies and moseyed with a bowlegged gait up the stairs for a well deserved rest.


Don't touch that dial! Tomorrow - Day Four

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Marty Hill



Your story telling makes it even better the second time around. I do need to learn how to stop more!! Really odd, I'm waiting for each installment just like all the others. You really tell one heck of a story.


Edited by Marty Hill

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Really odd, I'm waiting for each installment just like all the others.


LOL!! Get in line, buddy! wink.gifgrin.gif

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Yeeha! Stephen

I love it when people get to see great things in Texas and come away with a view other than heavy traffic and unbearable humidity. grin.gif

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