There’s no one else here at the Law West of The Pecos Trading Co. It’s just Jo and I holding down this five acre parcel on the southeast corner of Highway 90 and Loop 25, a road that detours a few curious travelers through what appears to be a ghost-town.
I was drinking coffee at the Budget Inn, watching from my window as the entire group of Adventure Cyclists went stampeding out of the parking lot, a parade of neon. I took a quick glance at the weather, then wrote my last blog, and snagged a quick shower. The owner, Danny, came walking up to my room moments later with a tray of what he said were, “Indian snacks”.
The sun was getting hotter with each minute passing, the online weather-person predicting a high of ninety three with a level of humidity that would remind me of the steam room at the gym. I had anticipated leaving earlier to ride in the cool morning hours, but that didn’t happen. After stuffing everything back into my panniers that was exploded all over the room, I poured the Indian snacks down my throat, slammed the hot tea he made me and then hopped on my bike headed out east.
A few of the first descents were fantastic, rolling along at twenty five miles per hour, Jo’s ears flopping in the wind, a smile on my face, sweeping through a beautiful canyon.
Somewhere around there I met Jill and her father, Dan. The bikes they’re riding look really lite. They’re not carrying camping equipment; eating at restaurants and staying in hotels, swiping plastic along the way. In a a short minute I share the Operation Elf Box dream, ‘free toy stores’ everywhere. Dan seems to think he can connect me with a group in his city, Salt Lake. We exchange info, snap a selfie on the side of the road and I watch them pedal away. I think about how cool it is that they’re doing this cross-country ride together; father and daughter.
Miles up the hot asphalt, over dozens of rolling hills, Jo spots a rest area. These heavenly turnouts are the only place anyone can find a square of shade out here. There’s no bathroom services available, and no water, but there’s shade. It was here that I took a nap on the concrete wall under the metal awning. The wind was blowing in from the east and it felt incredible. I knew I only had about ten more miles to go, so I laid there for awhile during the peak heat and saved our brains from being scrambled.
After arriving in the town of Langtry, I first discovered, that no else is here. There’s a small store that has a few provisions. And they close at five. It was seven.
Frenchie, a cyclist friend, had told me about a travel trailer located nearby that we’re welcome to stay in. It’s owned by a man named Keith who anyone can find on Warm Showers. He doesn’t actually live here on the historic trading post property, but makes it available to bikers who wish to stay over. What an extremely kind thing of he and his wife Marcia to do for others.
As I came rolling up, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was beautiful. Here nestled on a rocky ledge overlooking the Osman Canyon, was our home for the night. I stepped inside and cranked the air conditioning unit to full blast and then stepped right back out and rinsed off under the hose. While Jo lapped up a bowl of water and had a quick snooze, I pedaled up the hill just in time to catch the sun setting, noticing at the same time that the moon was nearly full.
Back at our hillbilly estate, it’s supper time and we’re starving to death. I’m sure Jo thought his dinner was just as delicious as mine; alfredo noodles, chunk lite tuna, a can of bean dip with crackers, a small bag of pretzels, six miniature chocolate donuts, and only one moon pie.
Afterwards, I stepped out on to the dimly lit front stoop. I sat there for awhile on the bench listening as a trained rolled slowly by on the tracks opposite of the highway. It was creaking and screeching and eventually it came to a stop.