Section 11: Langtry to Del Rio
Our last morning with Sarah. After she drops us off, she has to drive 8 hours to Houston, hop on a plane to São Paulo, Brazil, switch flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, and then board a final flight to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania where she lives. Literally halfway across the world from borderlands Texas! We feel extraordinarily loved and grateful that she came so far just to support us on our own journey. When she offered to help way back when she had no idea she would be wrangled into a harrowing river trip, handed a paddle and shoved down the river. Man did she show up though! She is 100% committed to being involved in the world and her energy and purpose lift up the rest of us with her. She’s also a lot of fun. Hiking the highway will not be the same without her. We love you Sarah!
Down the road from us today was the Amistad Reservoir. It's a huge body of water along the Rio Grande - 64,900 acres - that is co-managed by US and Mexico governments. Fittingly Amistad means friendship in Spanish. The mile-long narrow bridge across was not designed with pedestrians in mind but luckily Sarah was there to help. We squeezed into her car one last time and enjoyed the ride. The windows were rolled down and the wind was in our hair as the placid waters below flew by at 70mph. It was quite the view from high above - rugged, rocky shoreline and a ripple of topography moving up and away from water. We climbed out of the car on the other side of the bridge and hugged Sarah goodbye. She will be missed.
Only 10 miles or so lie between us and the many zero days we’ve been fantasizing about for weeks. Del Rio here we come! We spend most of the day talking about our break and trying to one up each other over the best, most indulgent way to treat ourselves.
Sleeping in? Check. Endless food fantasies? Check. Sitting in a dark movie theater with an enormous popcorn? Check. Using conditioner and not just hotel shampoo? CHECK!
Roadkill and more roadkill. A veritable cemetery of decomposed animal bodies lined our path for miles. We did our best to dodge the carcasses, sometimes in several pieces and places, guided by the overpowering smell of rotting flesh. Deer made up the majority of the victims and could be reliably found every mile. We also saw dead dogs, coyotes, birds, cats, the tails of cats, squirrels, unidentifiable animals, body parts, and bones. The sights and smells were disgusting but riveting and we couldn’t look away from the constant mess of insides on the outside. To be honest, there wasn’t much else to see on this bland stretch of highway.
We met a couple of friendly faces. One man pulled over and waited for us tp approach to see if we needed a ride. He was concerned about the heat and our disheveled appearances. Apparently Claire was walking with a limp and he was worried for us. Thank you sir! We are trying to walk but we appreciate the compassion. Later on Desiree pulled over, a woman (!) just a bit older than us who told us that after hiking the Appalachian Trail she tries to help out hikers whenever she can. Another AT hiker! We talked trail on the side of the highway for a stretch before reluctantly parting ways. See you on the trail sometime Sabre Chick!
As usual the outskirts of town began with endless auto shops and car dealerships. The line of shiny, new vehicles were tantalizing but the price tags were less appealing.
$30,000 or more for an average car with no special allure?
Maybe we’re glad to be traveling by foot.
Time moved progressively slower the closer we moved towards the end of the day. Our break is so close we can taste it! We stopped a mile early to taste a celebratory dinner and drinks at one of the restaurants lining the highway. We definitely overstayed our welcome with our sweaty clothes and rabid eating habits but eventually amassed the energy to complete that final mile. The anticipation had us giddy and laughing. TGIF - or in this case - TGI time for a break!