Friday, March 27, 2009

Marathon Madness

This morning we had to regretfully leave Indian Lodge and Davis State Park and continue our journey. After a great buffet breakfast, we pedaled down through Fort Davis and on to Alpine. It seemed like we hit the rush hour for the traffic from Fort Davis to Alpine! In Alpine we invaded a lovely bakery. 21 women in a small cafe/bakery creates quite a scene. While we were there Dave and Dan joined us. They and Dan's wife Beth are also bicycling the Southern Tier -- one of them drives a small RV while the other two ride. Dave and Dan sat down with Ted Gray, a local rancher of repute. Mr. Gray walked into the bakery and absolutely commanded attention. He is 85, but ramrod straight and over six feet tall. He came to Alpine, Texas at age 15 and became a successful rancher. If you're interested in more about him, click on and scroll down to his interview.

After Alpine, we headed more easterly than southerly. There was a high wind warning in effect through this afternoon, and we noticed it right away! It was sometimes a quartering wind from the north, sometimes a side wind, and was a fantastic tailwind for a while. According to Patty, the wind was 20 mph, gusting to 35 or more. At times I felt like my bike was leaned over 45 degrees to stay upright! And we lost our warm weather today. When we left Fort Davis it was 39, and was still 39 in Alpine. After we got here and were eating lunch we were told it was 44 degrees (at 2:30 p.m.). My southern climate sisters were very unhappy with the cold. I thought it felt great!! Rode most of the day with just tights, a long-sleeve top, rain jacket, and mittens. Those training rides in my unheated garage were colder than this!!

We're at the Gage Hotel in Marathon. It is an historic hotel, furnished with neat, western decor, like cowhides for carpets. Also has neat Mexican-style tiles on the walls. Its lobby is fantastic too with lots of dead animal heads and a stuffed cougar. Real Texan. Most of us are in a section of the hotel where the rooms open onto a lovely flowered courtyard. It the weather were warmer it would be wonderful to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful blossoms.

Animal sightings: Mule deer, antelope, buzzards snacking on a coyote carcass.

Bike stats: 62.4 miles; 4 hrs. 45 minutes riding time; 879 total trip miles. Food stats: egg biscuit, hashbrowns, and half a grapefruit for breakfast, some assorted nuts along the route, a small donut and chai tea latte in Alpine, a grilled cheese sandwich and bag of chips upon arrival in Marathon.

It's amazing that we were all commenting this morning that today would be a short ride! People are definitely in good shape by now!


Mikey said...

Hey Nancy, I'm loving the pics and each mile gets you closer to our neck of the woods. Keep up the good work. The scenery must be breath-taking. The digs sounded awesome. Can't wait to see you.

Thom Kelley said...

Cletus, Ruthie and Phyllis are anxiously awaiting your arrival as well. I've heard that the area you just rode through is really beautiful.
Can't wait to see you!

Horseshoe#1 said...

"...Ted Gray, a local rancher... walked into the bakery and absolutely commanded attention. He is 85, but ramrod straight..."

Isn't he supposed to call a physician if it lasts over 4 hours?