Day 13: Hatch NM to El Paso TX

Started: Sep 30, 2010 7:39:11
Ride Time: 5:44:22
Stopped Time: 1:51:16
Distance: 79.54 miles
Average: 13.86 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 472.67 miles/h
Climb: 24219 feet
Calories: 4831

Not a lot to report today. I slept little last night, with the sounds of yapping dogs and traffic, and concern over my sketchy camping arrangement keeping me up. When it started getting light, I admitted defeat and started to break camp. Got rolling early. In my haste to exit Hatch, I forgot to put sunblock on, only remembering after I had been rolling for 40 minutes. The exposure shows on me.

Passed through a lot of fields growing cotton and peppers, as well as some enormous pecan orchards. An orchard would be divided into sections by berms, and some of the sections would be flooded a few inches deep. One of these orchards extended for a couple miles.

Passed through Las Cruces and its cute little sister Mesilla, where I stopped for a late breakfast.

Gwen had arranged for me to stop at the home of old family friends, Jim and Marylou, in El Paso. I had to fight headwinds all the way from Mesilla on, but made good time getting to El Paso. Then I had to ride through El Paso—from what I’ve seen of it, it is a uniquely ugly city. Anyhow, I am at Jim and Marylou’s now, and they’re providing another one of those very valuable home stops where I can do laundry, be around people, and generally feel a little more human.

The route I’m riding, the Southen Tier, is broken into 7 sections. Each section is printed on one foldout sheet, subdivided into about 15 highly detailed maps, each of which covers about 30 miles, showing what services are available in each town as well as detailed route directions. El Paso is the dividing point between sections 2 and 3. It’ll take me 3 sections just to cross Texas. I’ve got the hardest climbing behind me, although there are still some considerable ascents in West Texas. That’s one thing about riding this route west-to-east: the difficulty is all front-loaded.

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