Cenizo Journal Summer 2022 - Page 5

A Traveller s Tale :

Stranded in West Texas

by Alexander Devers
I left Scotland in early March 2022 to cycle across the United States on the Adventure Cycling Association ’ s Southern Tier route , which begins at San Diego , CA and ends at St . Augustine , FL . It had been an ambition for years and plans had been in place for some time , but Covid-19 meant the trip was delayed for eighteen months .
I had been granted a three-month sabbatical from work , and this is the maximum stay allowed under the US visa waiver scheme , so in theory , I had plenty of time to complete the trip and even spend two weeks in Phoenix , playing music around St . Patrick ’ s Day .
After negotiating the Emory Pass in New Mexico , the highest point of the route with an elevation of 8,168 feet , I enjoyed thrilling downhills towards Las Cruces and then into Texas , stopping at El Paso . A couple of days later , I was riding long , empty stretches of road , with very few services along the way . Welcome to West Texas !
I set out one morning from Van Horn , heading towards Marfa . I was aware of a niggling problem with my bike , but a visit to the wonderfully named Higginbotham Brothers Hardware Store helped to assuage my growing anxieties around being stuck in the desert , at least for the moment .
The journey thus far had taught me a lot about bike touring . Most days are filled with the rhythmic pounding of foot on pedal . I had developed a useful routine : an early start and being on the road around seven a . m . made all the difference . Easing myself in , then building up momentum as the morning progressed . On this particular day , I was blessed with an incredible tailwind and the 75 miles to Marfa flew by , with the highlight being bumping into a mariachi band in Valentine , who were returning home from a tour of Texas .
There is a cycling website called ‘ Warm Showers .’ This is an incredible fraternity of people who are passionate about bike touring . The aim of the site is to connect cyclists and promote accommodation-sharing . A host may offer a place for a touring cyclist to camp , or offer a spare room , a couch or a bed and , of course , a warm shower .
Continued on page 8
Cenizo Spring 2022