Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day 11 - Las Cruces, NM to El Paso, TX 58.84 miles/14.5 mph average 3 hrs 45 min.

Small mileage, big day. Any time you cross the boarder into Texas, you better have your Texas passport ready, with your wits dialed up to 11. We got up late and decided to use the breakfast coupons we received at the hotel in Las Cruces. Pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns may not be the best power food, but it tasted good and we got a discount. But, taking a nap is the best response to such a breakfast, rather than a bike ride. We lazily gathered our stuff together for the day, and headed out around 7:30 or 8 am. I was punch drunk from the food and can hardly remember much at this point. We planned on an easy ride, but it turned into quite a bit more than we expected.

Don't Cry for me El Paso

Even with huge SUVs speeding through El Paso, most all the drivers were very careful and even slowed down when going around us. Although there are bike lanes everywhere, there is a strong feeling that bikes don't really belong in this town. We saw one other person on a bike, and she looked like a student at the University of Texas at El Paso. We miss the river of bikes typical of Portland, Oregon. Strength in numbers is a reality, and the chance of the driver behind you owning and using a bike improves your odds.

The shallow canals between the rows are flooded for watering the groves

Highway 28 travels straight through miles and miles of pecan tree groves. The road was good with long sections shaded by the trees. Once we got close to El Paso the real ride began. The city is shaped like the nose of an airplane, with the west side split from the east by the Franklin mountain range and state park. Parts of the city creep up the mountain side, but to get from one side to the other entails either going up and over the mountain or running the perimeter. It took nearly two hours to get around the hill and out to our motel. Once there, we realized many of the rooms functioned as home base for people working in El Paso but not living there full time. The place was extremely quiet the night we spent there, so it worked out well.

over and out

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