Day 32: Seminole State Park, Texas

Elevation gained: 1,384 ft/Miles: 74/Total Miles: 1,483/Total Fast Food: 14

I had a lousy night’s sleep. Rather than stay in bed, I threw myself together and at daybreak rode off into the dark mist. The thirty miles to Del Rio were the fastest ride of this trip. I had a nice tailwind and, for a portion of the ride, a roadway like a Brunswick pool table – just smooth and flat. Along the way I saw a scissor-tailed flycatcher with its long trailing split tail. It’s the first I’ve seen. I also saw a number of summer tanagers. A few weeks ago bright red cardinals were everywhere. They have now been replaced by the tanagers. Their flashing red wings are wonderful to watch against the backdrop of the green hues of the desert

Parallel to the length of Hwy 90 heading west is a manicured dirt road. It runs between the highway and the fences of the ranches. In the gray dawn, I saw headlights creeping along it toward me. As I approached, I saw a Border Patrol officer driving slowly with his head out the window looking for tracks in the dirt. This scene repeated itself throughout the day as I saw more than a dozen officers walking or driving the road.

I arrived in Del Rio at about 9:30am. Like most southern border towns, Del Rio is a bit run down, chaotic, with a mélange of cultures expressed in the billboards, storefronts and sounds you hear as you ride by. The only place advertising WiFi was the IHOP. I stopped for breakfast, but it turns out their network was not operating. I suspect that for the next week I will have little or no connectivity, as there are few towns in the next 200 miles. My map advises: “Services are limited between Marathon and Comstock. Carry extra food and water. Be prepared to camp by the road if necessary.” Isn’t that nice.

The remainder of the ride was quick. With a 30mph tailwind, my panniers acted like a spinnaker and I flew down the road and past Amistad Reservoir and toward Comstock. Twenty miles west of Del Rio, traffic slowed for an immigration checkpoint. It was a very extensive operation with five border patrol officers, several sniffer dogs and an array of cameras. After they searched the truck ahead of me, I pulled up, gave them a smile and said: “Just me”. They took a few moments to ask about my route and then gave me the wave ahead.

A couple of hours later, I pulled into Seminole State Park. My campsite is located atop a small hill that provides an expansive view. I unpacked my gear, got the stove ready and then took a shower with my clothes on. It’s called multitasking; a shower and laundry at the same time. A bit later, while enjoying my dinner and the view, this little guy decided to visit. My initial reaction was to go into full “Three Stooges” mode; you know, where they wave their hands over the faces and run in place in panic. Instead, I restrained myself and sat still as my guest took a sniff of my shoes and bike and then moved on.

There are black-throated sparrows all around me in the cactus. Their call is a wonderful auditory backdrop to the vista surrounding me.

5 Comments

Filed under Biking U.S.

5 responses to “Day 32: Seminole State Park, Texas

  1. Fred Yu

    Mike, We went through Marathon last week on the way back from visiting Big Bend NP. Bleak desert country, but keep your eye out for javelinas; you are crossing “no country for old men.” Great blog.

  2. Doug Dillon

    M,
    Stay hydrated!I got worried when I woke up yesterday from a great nights sleep with my freshly ground cup of coffee and did not see your blog. I await your blog every morning! Over half way there!

  3. Polish Super Hero

    Mike,
    I think that was a cousin of mine sniffing your shoes. Glad to see the border patrol at work…how’d you get by them? Is your Spanish improving?
    You Keep Pedaling and I’ll keep rolling along,
    Peace
    PSH

  4. Ruby Z

    You big goober. I guess I know why you didn’t get back to me on lunch! I had to hear from Damien over a giant Cuban sandwich! I drove your southern route out to Tampa and back by myself when I was still young and fresh, that was enough of an adventure! I’m a menace on a bike just like a car, but my bike pretty much fell apart on me last week, no kidding. Stuff just literally fell off. Stay safe!
    ~Raz

  5. U. Dick

    Mike,
    I do not wish to cast dispersions on your showering/laundering skills but maybe your furry friend thought you were a long lost cousin.

    Keep alert for the snakes.

    Big hug,
    U. Dick

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