We were up again, pre-dawn at Seminole Canyon State Park. Disappointingly, there were no tours of the rock paintings and carvings on Tuesday when we arrived. As a consolation, the park headquarter’s exhibits provided reproductions of most of what is seen on the tours.
The wind was powerfully in our favor so we cycled off to Langtry to get a good dose of Law & Order and not the television kind. On the way to Langtry we crossed a spectacular canyon followed by the Pecos River. Langtry was the home of Judge Roy Bean, “The Law west of the Pecos.”
The best way to describe this colorful character out of Texas history is by his actions. He ran a bar, billiard room, and gambling den out of the same establishment that he held court. He mostly made up the law on the fly (he owned one law book which I doubt had a creased spine), lined his pockets at every chance he could, was unafraid to give the bird to any government that stood in his way of making money.
He promoted the Maher-Fitzsimon prize fight in 1896 defying the U.S., Mexico and Texas Ranger authority by hosting it in on a sandbar in the middle of the Rio Grande River (the Rio Grande is the border between the U.S. and Mexico).
One of my favorite quotes from the exhibit is:
“He searched the body of the victim and found a revolver and forty-one dollars cash. It is the duty of this court to confiscate this here concealed weapon, which is a dam’ good gun, because it’s legally ag’inst the law to carry a gun, especially a dead man. And in view of the evidence, I find it the court’s duty to fine the offender forty-one simoleons for carryin’ concealed weapons.’ ” —Ruel McDaniel, Vinegarroon: The Saga of Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of the Pecos”
At the exhibit we met Barney. He noted our Surly LHT and mentioned he had one also. An interesting guy, he’s been on the road with his Arctic Fox trailer for years. He asked if we needed anything and coincidentally my rear bearings needed repacked (a strange, occasional grinding sound had developed). A quick search later and Barney produced just what I needed, heavy duty grease. Thanks Barney! Later he even gave Sarah some snacks. Our second gifted snack, the first being from Mimi who we met at the Hog Pen in Leakey, Texas. A belated thanks to you Mimi!
The day was brutally hot and we were riding heavy, each carrying in excess of 10 liters of water each. It was about sixty miles before we could refill.
By early afternoon the heat was unbearable and we stopped at a picnic area along the highway for a siesta. We watched the boarder patrol rake the dirt again surely to be followed by another “bloodhound” truck looking for my tracks.
A few hours later we awoke and started out again only to find that that I had a flat.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our first recipient of a road surprise from the Flat Fund. My sister-in-law, Laura, the first to make a prediction, and she requested
“If I win, I want something random/small from a cool bar you visit…like a beer coaster or maybe a funny bumper sticker, or a nice piece of road kill with some nice fur for a purse”
Laura, I’m sure we can accommodate you. The roadkill has been as numerous as it is aromatic. Do you prefer rabbit, coyote, deer, hog, raccoon, skunk, armadillo, or a variety of avian family?
Toward the end of the day we blew into Dryden. Another dusty, past its heyday town in west Texas. We found a small general store with a spectacular surprise, real Coca Cola. Not the post Michael Jackson, hair on fire, Pepsi episode that prompted the New Coke debacle with a prompt return to “real” Coke. We found Coke made with real sugar, not corn syrup! This happened to be Mexican Coke, and not the kind that is measured in kilos.
If you think that there is no difference, grab a Coke from anywhere else in the world and you will taste the difference. Seems that the sugar cartel in the US has lobbied so successfully that the US pays a higher price for sugar than the rest of the world. This caused manufactures to turn to corn syrup as a sweetener, which the corn producers love and, in turn, support the corn lobby that is only too happy to roll their donations into ethanol lobbying rather than import cheap sugarcane from Brazil to make ethanol as fuel additive. Judge Bean, where are you now?
Hopped up on Mexican Coke, we drifted out of town to find a camping spot. Less than a mile out of town we found an old, abandoned livestock yard that not only produced a great camping spot but also some great photo opportunities.