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Eric Mitchell's Cycling Blog-Monday, April 18

Hot showers, border patrols and the next great diet craze

4/20/2005 10:29:34 AM


Monday, April 8

We’ve been through El Paso, TX. A disgusting hostel and bad food in a restaurant), Ft Hancock, TX (stayed in a church with no showers, but a kitchen. We did convince the local high school to let us use their showers, so half of us stopped smelling. The pastor of church just left it open for us and did not charge us for the evening. There are some very nice people out there still. We’ve been through Sierra Blanca (no showers, no hot water, thunder, downpours (a scary night) and we also had trains going by every 15 minutes or so with at least six horns per train. We are now in Van Horn (Dorn?), TX. It is getting hard to keep track as all the towns past El Paso are small and virtually identical. We had torrential rains the last two days and nights with frightening lightning. I was worried about tornadoes, but we had none.

One member of troupe had sun stroke the other day, and fell off his bike and got seriously sick...and the Ft. Hancock postmistress WOULD NOT GIVE HIM WATER OR ANY AID for over one hour. Please write the Postmaster General and complain. Thanks.

Other than a hill in El Paso and a 16-mile climb on the interstate the other day, the terrain and road have been unbelievably flat, and yes, very boring.

The only excitement was on Texas Rte 34, where several members were offered a ride from the sheriff as he said it was one of the worst drug smuggling points in the southwest. It sure gives one a warm feeling to know one might inadvertently stumble into a drug/sheriff/border patrol gun fight.

I did have my first flat tire (in El Paso) and I got partially soaked last night during the downpour. Luckily, the temps were in high 50’s so it was not as horrible as that snowy, frosty night in Gila Hot Springs.

We are now over 1/3 of the way to Florida. If you are charting, when we get to Del Rio, TX, we will be just under 50% done. We expect to be in Del Rio in 4-5 days.

We ran into a twosome going east to west the other day. One was doing Florida to California and the other Montreal to Florida to California to Seattle back to Montreal. We had excellent chats with these folks as both sides/groups were so impressed that the other one was riding so far.

Just wanted to let anyone out there know that if you are interested in a diet, then this trip may be for you; we’ve been on the road 24 days now, and I have lost 18 pounds (and my bike shorts are slipping!!)

We figure that a 6-hour ride on the bike is worth 6-8,000 burned calories.

I do hope all is well.

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