And so I have reached the border. In front of me lays Mexico while I’m in a small border town of Presidio, Texas. I have decided to treat myself here with a day off. But when my couchsurfing host Jieve offered me to stay another day, I gladly accepted the offer.
The route to here took me through more and more dry and barren land. Towns became further and further apart and dealing with the question of water access became and everyday occurrence. But that is just how it is when you decide to cycle in the desert. The relatively high elevation (up to 1.500 meters above sea level) helped make the days less hot. Actually it has happened to me twice that in the morning when it was still pitch black when I got up and started to prepare for departure I had to put on my woollen sweater which normally serves me as a pillow.
While on the eastern sky there is a play of colours going on and from black through to more and more orange the morning starts to wake up I’m preparing myself for departure. I pull down the tent, make and eat my breakfast and drink my coffee (oh, such a well-known ritual). The sun has already risen above the horizon when I set off on a long, asphalt snake that winds somewhere towards the horizon. The only company is the wind and music that I often listen to. Landscape around me seems barren and empty though I know it’s not (if nothing else, I do see road kill on the road). Shrubs, rocks and hills around me. Above me circles a vulture from time to time as if it is waiting for me to drop down. Altogether seems as if taken from a western. Only the Indians are missing or when I reach a town that there would be Clint Eastwood waiting for me and in the background you could hear the music from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.
The few places I ride through seem to be empty, desolated. Some of them are actually more of a ghost towns. One of those is Langtry. At the peak of its glory (early 20th century) it had 800 inhabitants. Then they first move the highway and later on also the railroad and today the town has 14 people living there. It also has a Visitor centre/museum dedicated to “Judge” Roy Bean. The man had, let’s just say, a very unique approach to justice. But then again those were the days of Wild West and it was not that unusual to use owns saloon as a courthouse or that the fine was paid in a form of buying drinks for the whole saloon (and Bean, being the owner made some money out of it).
And here in this Visitor centre is where I have met Brian who is currently in a role of a guide for a group of three cyclists that are traversing the States on the Southern Tier. From Florida to California. He accompanies them driving their support vehicle while they cycle. Empty bicycles and approximately 80 km a day. After that he picks them up and in a nicely cooled down RV takes them to the hotel where they will be spending the night. In the morning he picks them up and takes them back to the point where they left off the previous day. Just to make it clear, this kind of touring is not cheap thou. Just the RV rental will cost them somewhere in the range of 15.000 to 18.000 USD for 90 days. And in these 90 days there will also be some costs associated with accommodation in a 150 – 200 USD/night hotels. And this kind of sleeping arrangements are more of a rule than exception. Yes, it is one way of traveling on a bicycle. It’s just not my way. I feel more comfortable on a full loaded Lou and sleeping wherever the night catches up with you. I’m sure Brian would also rather do it this way.
As I have mentioned at the beginning of this post, ahead of me lays Mexico. Mexico that I’m very much looking forward to and with some level of impatience anticipate. I’m aware that there a culture shock is awaiting me and this gives me joy. I’m getting a bit tired of the US and the easiness of travel here where there are all the “advantages” of civilization on every step. All you have to do is to make it to the first gas station and within easy reach there will be cold drinks, air condition, shelves full of goods and a clean toilet. I imagine Mexico to be somewhat different and this fills me with anticipation.
And the same Mexico I’m also scared of. No, I’m not scared of the narco cartels and all the negative publicity it’s receiving in our media. I firmly believe Mexico (same as a vast majority of places on this planet) is full of good, kind people with whom I will be able to share moments of Life.
What I’m scared of are the roads and the drivers. From several experienced touring cyclists I have heard or read that they tend to be aggressive and completely ignorant of cyclists. Here by the border I have read a news about a young Swedish couple cycling the World and were hit by a reckless driver in Brazil. She died and he is in a hospital seriously injured. It’s the kind of sad news that do not help to build up my courage.
Nevertheless, tomorrow I’ll go to Mexico and will follow my Dreams!
With a Smile on my face, until next time!