U.S. 360 Tour – Day 9 from Marathon TX to Davis Mountains State Park TX (Is this Heaven……No, it’s the Davis Mountains)

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

61 miles (98 km) – Total so far: 479 miles (771 km)

As I was spinning about halfway between Alpine and Ft. Davis today, temperatures in the 40’s, light winds, beautiful canyons, and the sweet smell of wild Mountain Laurel, I wondered if I was in Heaven. I half expected to see Shoeless Joe Jackson rounding third base and hear James Earl Jones saying “they will come for reasons they can’t even fathom”. I came back to the moment and realized I was in the midst of one of my favorite places on the planet, the Davis Mountains.

I left Marathon at 6:30am, to a crisp 24 degrees. Luckily, there was little wind, which was a welcome break from yesterday. The first ten miles were gradual climbing, and the remaining 20 miles into Alpine were flat and wide open. After a quick jaunt around Sul Ross State University, I settled in for a hot breakfast to prepare for the second half of the trip to Ft. Davis.

I’ve ridden the route between Alpine and Ft. Davis a number of times over the years, but never as a travelling cyclist. The scenery, the weather, in fact the entire “scene” was amazing. Although there were a couple of notable climbs on this leg, my anticipation for getting into Ft. Davis gave me the strength I needed to complete the ride. I stopped off at the famous Ft. Davis Drugstore for an obligatory chocolate malt, and then rode the additional six miles to the Davis Mountains State Park, where I’m relaxing in the famous Indian Lodge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the Depression.

Since Del Rio, the elevation has increased from 1000 ft above sea level to 5000 ft above sea level here in Ft. Davis. I will peak tomorrow at around 6200 ft tomorrow as I summit Mt. Locke, home of the McDonald Observatory. Not at all looking forward to the climb, but I’m sure I’ll be treated to spectacular views and maybe even a sense of accomplishment if I can make it to the top.

Anyway, it’s probably apparent that I love this area. My parents introduced me to the beauty of far West Texas many years ago. I have made many life decisions here over the years, and in fact introduced it to my bride on our honeymoon 28 years ago this month! I’ve also introduced it to my family and my sons, so I’m confident it will be a family legacy for many generations.

Came upon an Eastbound couple travelling on the Southern Tier today outside of Alpine. Dan and Thea, Dutch cyclists, are heading across the country and hope to make it to Florida. I saw positively no wildlife today, probably because I was so focused on the magnificence and beauty that is the Davis Mountains.

It’s all good.

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Frigid sunrise over Marathon
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Cold, Cold, Cold!!
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Coming in to Alpine
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Alpine city limits
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Sul Ross State University
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Dan and Thea from the Netherlands
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Heading for Ft. Davis
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Still cold, and a little hilly
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Surly Pearl at an oasis
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Warming up at a beautiful rest area
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Jackpot
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At home
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The sign says it all
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Surly Pearl could get used to this place
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Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park

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

 

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