170 miles from Del Rio to Marathon, TX into the Chihuahuan desert, our first desert experience. Our route followed the ACA Southern Tier on US-90 passing through the expanse of shrub brush, yucca, & prickly pear on our way from railroad town to railroad town. Crossing the Pecos we entered the land of the Texas Rangers where each town boasts its legacy and law as rougher and tougher than the last. The roads continued endlessly but were studded with cacti in bloom and other subtleties creating for a beautiful ride.
At Lake Amistad we reunited with Chris Ayers to ride west together. Following the black ribbon as far as the eye could see we left the comfort of Del Rio and civilization to enter the nearly unpopulated Chihuahuan Desert.
Off bike exploration of Seminole Canyon State Park. Down into the canyon we didn’t find petroglyphs, but were amazed by nature’s perseverance growing in seemingly impossible places.
Crossing the Pecos River was once a formidable task made easy with the help of our Texas spirit animal (and a bridge). Once across however you enter the Land West of the Pecos…
Yucca in bloom, rivers without water, intense sunlight. West Texas.
Langtry a lawless settlement where we laid our heads for the night.
The Law West of the Pecos
Enter Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of The Pecos”, breaker and keeper of the his own brand of law. Bringing order and serving the good stuff at his saloon, during court. Law books newer than 1879 were used as kindling.
Cacti in bloom. No trees. Pedaling endlessly. Still West Texas!
The Town Too Mean For Bean
“Before relocating to Langtry, Judge Roy Bean disembarked at Sanderson’s still standing 1881 depot and attempted to start a saloon. Sensing competition, an established saloon owner poisoned Bean’s whiskey barrels with kerosene, forever branding Sanderson as “THE TOWN TO MEAN FOR BEAN””
Texas is known to be a large state, but travelling at the speed of a bicycle we were able to cover the expanses in impressive time. The endlessly long ribbon of black asphalt and lack of shade did not make the mental aspect any easier. Seemingly lifeless the desert is teeming with life both plant and animal if you slow the pace to observe it.
Into the Marathon Basin we competed with a ferocious headwind slowing our pace to a near crawl. Days like these make us question our sanity, yet there seems to always be a silver lining…