U.S. 360 Tour – Day 13 from Fort Hancock TX to El Paso TX (Pecan Orchards and Patriotism)

Latest update on my purpose-driven cycling journey around the American perimeter.

54 miles (87 km) – Total so far: 701 miles (1,128 km)

Some days I ride to get from Point A to Point B. Today was not one of those days. In fact, I admit that there were times riding in this serene Upper Rio Grande Valley I simply did not want to get off the bike, as I was completely lost in the experience.

The journey started early coming out of Fort Hancock, and not exactly on the best footing. For the first couple of miles, swarms of tiny nats invaded my personal space. I have nothing against nats mind you, but consuming them for breakfast is not something I typically pursue. The negative quickly dissipated, leaving me with a completely flat ride for the rest of the morning. Most of the ride was dominated by pecan orchards, as far as one’s eyes could see. Occassionally, bright green fields of alfalfa and gigantic onions would break the chain of pecan orchards. The green valley was a stark contrast to most of the arid landscape in the region, made fertile by a significant network of irrigation canals brought to life by the nearby Rio Grande.

The small towns along highway 20 included Tornillo and the very quaint border town of Fabens. The drivers on the two-lane highway were extremely courteous, with only an occasional car or truck breaking the silence. The other interesting theme for the day was the number of American flags I saw flying. Almost every farm, many residences and many businesses along the route were proudly exhibiting the stars and stripes. The folks here are so very accommodating, friendly, and hardworking, it makes me proud to call them fellow Texans.

Knowing the bustle of the city of El Paso awaited, I elected to catch a lift into town once the traffic began to increase. Given that this was to be the last chance to go to a bike shop over the next few weeks, I took advantage of the option and dropped my bike off at Crazy Cat Cyclery, right next to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) campus. After some quick adjustments and cleaning, Surly Pearl was back in business.

I didn’t see any other traveling cyclists today. Wildlife sightings included jackrabbits, dove, and one junkyard dog that chased me for a block until I implemented my brand of tough love.

Onward to New Mexico manana!

It’s all good.

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The site of the original Fort Hancock, a fort built by the U.S. Army in 1882 to protect the route from El Paso to San Antonio.

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Sunrise over Fort Hancock
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Pecan Orchards and the Rio Grande in the background.

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A relatively young Pecan Orchard in the Upper Rio Grande region.

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Alfalfa in the foreground, then Pecan trees, and mountain range in the background.
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A local grocer in Fabens TX.
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Sun shining on a pecan orchard just after being irrigated.
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Patriotism abounds!
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My new friend Holt, a bicycle mechanic at Crazy Cat Cyclery who (hopefully) will ensure my travels continue unabated!
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Yours truly, happy to have my trusty Surly Pearl back in my possession.

Click Here to read my daily tour journal entry on crazyguyonabike.com

 

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