The US/Mexico Border Daily
SECTION Eleven: LANGTRY to Del Rio
Keith was already awake and putzing about his front yard when we got up. He willingly gave us a tour of the most important zone in the vicinity, his plant nursery. There were Langtry Rainbow cacti, Texas Rainbow cacti, Dalea, Claretcup and Pitaya cacti, and Living Rock succulent.
We continued the botany lesson across the street at the Visitor Center, where there was a walk-thru garden with all the native plants on display. Each had their own carefully marked space with a plaque identifying their genus and common name. It all felt a little contrived in contrast to the wilderness of the last couple weeks. Everything out there exists in a chaotic tangle of thorns, stems, and leaves with no beginning or end. We were curious to learn what the heck we had been pushing through for days and enjoyed comparing our memories with this organized display.
We get Sarah, Fred, and Kim a little longer. They have to drive back to the Dryden take-out (where Nikki left and Sarah, Zak and Corey joined) to pick up Sarah’s rental car. The last step of our ridiculously complicated logistical nightmare!
Can we please say thanks again? ...and again?
We are in the final stretch to the Gulf. Unfortunately, this also means we’re looking at weeks of brutal road walking. We’re not looking forward to it and dragged our feet leaving Langtry. We were helped in our procrastination by the extremely well-funded Visitors Center, which in addition to the cacti garden also commemorates Judge Roy Bean, a famous saloon owner/Justice of the Peace from the 1800s. There are better people to celebrate, in our opinion, but we’ll take the entertainment. The parking lot was full the entire time we were there so apparently this is a well known spot. If you’re ever near Langtry, TX, check it out!
When the last bit of sunscreen had been applied and the final pee taken we waved goodbye to the parents and got walking. Or not quite. We weren’t too upset to be waylaid by a handful of people setting up tables and food by the road. Always a reliable way to lure us in. The group was a part of the Adventurist Cyclers Association, which organizes a cycling event that traverses the country from San Diego to St. Augustine. It takes about 52 days and Langtry is over halfway into their trip. Our path would align with theirs today. We remembered hearing about the cyclists back in Fort Hancock before the Forgotten Reach and sure enough their route passed through that same spot. They had been there only a couple days ago. Man, maybe we should have done this on a bike!
Back to the road. The cyclists passed us all day, most of them staggered far apart. One cyclist had it in him to shout, while laboring up a steep hill, “just goes to show every time you think you're doing something big, you meet someone else doing something big!” Right on! More and more passed with friendly gestures and encouraging words. It was nice to be caught in a line of people on a similar route.
Thankfully Border Patrol maintained a side road along the highway that we could mostly follow throughout the day. These state highways may be small and remote but the traffic on them is crazy. Everyone drives at 80 mph and there are a shocking number of semi trucks. We take a break inside a giant culvert under the road, to escape the sun and the curious stares of everyone passing.
Shortly after lunch, we see a familiar white car pull over up ahead. Keith! He had mentioned he was going to try and find us today and he didn’t disappoint. We had been sitting in the culvert when he drove by originally and he’d spent the last hour driving back and forth looking for us. Keith! So nice!
And what's that you brought us?
He had prepared the perfect treat: an ice-cold mix of water and orange Gatorade. Perfection. We chatted a bit then he was off. What a guy.
Just after Keith, another car stopped and a large man with a tie dyed shirt waved us over. He introduced himself as Bubba and handed us a card for “Pampered Pedalers”, a bike support company that he runs. He had heard about us from the other cyclists and wanted to introduce himself and share snacks. He opened up the trailer he was lugging to reveal a treasure chest of portable snacks and cold beverages and wouldn’t take our bashful refusals for an answer. Well alright, if you insist! We helped ourselves to some treats and talked adventure. Thanks Bubba! Good luck on your adventures too!
We were more than happy to see Fred and Kim’s car, and Sarah’s, approach at the end of the day. The shuttle worked out ok! Our caravan headed east to Del Rio, our home base for the next several days and also the place where we’d be able to take our first showers since Presidio. Hallelujah! After we’ve all scrubbed off weeks of sweat, river, sand and cane (and scrubbed again) we treat ourselves to dinner and margaritas. Life is good!