The original plan had been to leave Alpine, Texas late to catch the Marfa Lights – a phenomenon I had always wanted to see but in all my years of visiting the area, I’d only been there in the daytime. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating.
We left Alpine pre-sunrise to avoid the horrendous headwinds.
The ride out of Alpine, over a pass, was spectacular. This is truly a beautiful area of the country.
After making a climb to over 5074 feet (1550 meters) to Paisano Pass, we began a decent into Marfa, Texas. A peloton of unencumbered riders met up with us and and invited us to lunch for a burger. We waved off a free draft into town to stop at the Marfa Lights observation platform.
Regrettably, we arrived with over ten hours until sunset. Faced with waiting around for until nightfall, in a moderately hot desert, prompted the following inner dialogue:
If I really want to see dancing lights on the horizon, I can have Sarah kick me in the balls.
So, in the interest of preserving the family jewels, I decided to move on.
After piquant pulled pork taco followed by a Dairy Queen Reece’s blizzard, we bid Marfa, adios, and headed out into west Texas. We were warned, shortly after passing the dusty graveyard, of the lack of services.
Appropriately, we were laden with water. The WW of our Wander Wheels logo has been transmuted to Water and Wind based subjugation to the elements currently overriding our lives.
After a long day paralleling the railroad tracks, into a headwind, we arrived in Valentine, Texas close to sunset.
It was town in a string of towns we have rolled through either dead or dying based on two factors: the decline of the importance of the railroad in the US and the improvements in engineering and reliability that allows motor vehicles to surpass the 1930’s fuel efficiency of 15 – 20 miles per gallon (an not the imperial kind) to the current day 20+ mpg, fuel injection, spark plugs rated to 100k miles, etc.
We stealth camped behind the library and promptly fell into a sound sleep. Up shortly after 5am, we enjoyed a spectacular show of stars and a milky way so bright it cast shadows. West Tejas is unforgiving but great.