Day 37: Van Horn, Texas

Elevation gained: 1,957 ft/Miles: 86/Total Miles: 1,772/Total Fast Food: 14

This will be a short one. I’m exhausted and my legs were so stressed today that they are vibrating like a tuning fork as I lay here writing this.

Today’s ride was, in short – a major grind. It took me 10 hours in the saddle to get to Van Horn. The ride was 85 miles through the high desert with no services or stores. All of it was against a wall of wind at times gusting with such velocity that the phone lines would sing.

To make things even more challenging, I had little sleep last night. After I climbed into my sleeping bag I noticed a skunk wandering nearby. He raised his tail each time I tried to coax him away. Then the javelinas arrived. At first they stuck to the brush surrounding our campsite. I tried to sleep, but their croup like snorts and grunts made this impossible. So, I decided to leave the ground for the skunks and javelinas and sleep on top of the picnic table. This proved unworkable because I kept rolling off. In the end, I sat atop the table and watched dozens of javelinas march through our campsite. At around 3am the parade ended and I was able to move back to the ground and bag a few hours of sleep before starting today’s ride

While fighting into the wind up a deserted stretch of Hwy 90, I saw a Prada shop. My first thought was that I was overly dehydrated and hallucinating. Instead, it turns out that this is the work of an artist out of Marfa, a town 25 miles to the south. Prada in the desert and Stonehenge II – Texas is full of surprises.

Some photos from the day.


Filed under Biking U.S.

9 responses to “Day 37: Van Horn, Texas

  1. Cheryl Fackler Hug

    Too bad you didn’t get any pictures of the Javelinas! You should look for the children’s book, The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell. It is a really cute book and would be a great gift for anyone you know with younger kids. You probably can find it in Arizona too.

  2. Fred Krebs

    Enjoying the photos as well as the travelog!

  3. U. Dick

    We will put this one in the not so fun day column, your in our thoughts.

    Big hug,
    U. Dick & A. Pat

  4. Tim

    Mike, very interesting and entertaining blog. Enjoy you writing style and sense of humor! I found this blog thru a mention on an Amateur Radio blog- your noteriety is growing!!

  5. Gary Kissiah

    Van Horn is one of the most wretched places I have seen in West Texas. It is a long grind from Austin to El Paso in the car, and I always accelerate as I get close to Van Horn! So just keep pushing and things will get a lot better when you get to New Mexico- the Land of Enchantment!
    keep em rollin,

    P.S. Definitely check out Hueco Tanks, just outside of El Paso.

  6. Virginia W

    Boy, those “wall of wind” days can really be humbling! There was one day when I was riding across the Rockies in CO when we were riding uphill into the wind, and we finally got to the top of the pass after what seemed like weeks. My nose kept bleeding because the altitude was so high (12k+). I thought, ok, this has to get better now that we’re going downhill, right? Wrong! I was in my granny gear, riding downhill into the wind, going no more than 5 mph, passing those “Truckers Beware! Steep Grade!” signs. I had Kleenex plugs jammed up my nose to stop the bleeding. I was completely out of snacks because we had miscalculated how long that day’s ride would take due to the wind. I had just asked myself, “Jeez, could this be any worse?” when it started raining – horizontally right into my face. Then hailing – horizontally right into my face. I couldn’t see a thing. Lucky for me, I wasn’t going very fast.

    The moral of the story: Never ask “Jeez, could this be any worse.” Because it always could – and you will find out how. ;o)

    Hope you find the wind at your back and no javelinas (as much as I like pigs) for the rest of your trip.

  7. David Stabler

    Good days and bad days and going half mad days…


    O the stories you can tell! Catching up since Day 31…great reading on all posts.

    Best of:

    Day 31
    1. First photo and first line of post–nice gotcha!
    2. Offensive Laundry Party
    3. Texas landmass expansion to 3 continents
    4. Jammin’ with Miles Davis to the rhythm of pedal shadows…in the middle of the road

    Words of the Day
    Terminal Velocity
    Geococcyx Californianus

    Day 32
    Collective Nouns
    Ornithology Observations

    Words of the Day

    Day 33
    Other Ornithology Observations
    Our tax dollars at work
    Pepe Le Pew
    Stooges’ moves

    Word of the Day
    Melange–like the mixed bag of Mike’s Blogs followers

    Day 34
    Avian Alarm clock Awakening
    Pecos People’s Past
    Rattlesnake Roadkill

    Word of the Day

    Day 35
    Langtry Four Seasons
    Rooster/Turkey Throw down
    Outback Oasis Hotel

    Word of the Day
    Ya’ll in the singular

    Day 36
    Singing to Turkey Vultures
    Turkey Vulture Fun Facts (possibly a Letterman exclusive)
    Holland Hotel–Nice Venue!


    Day 37
    Hibernation at the Holland Hotel
    Molly Ivins
    U. Dick’s suggestion for book title
    Last picture (Is there a collective noun for that group of “Rough Riders”?)

    Mescalero Apaches

    Day 38
    Texas Zephyr
    All photos suitable for framing! These should pass muster for The Abandoned.
    Also, I can picture this artist in each.

  8. Polish Super Hero

    Javelinas!!! You never had a pulled pork sandwich…You’re a Dillon for Christ’s Sake!!!!

  9. Bill MacGowan

    Hey Mike: Bill MacG here. I finally had some free time and got caught up on all your blog entries. What a great trip! You and I had a discussion about a road kill count before you left, but I certainly didn’t expect you to be repeatedly chased by mad dogs. I really love your writing, and had long out loud laughing (which is weird, because I’m alone in my house in Los Gatos wrapping up some final sale items) at: 1) the surprised family at street level; 2) special restaurant seating for desitin wearers; 3) sleeping bag described as large trash bad; 4) “Cujo”; and 5) Carrion my wayward son.

    Lots of stories to tell you about the mining industry, including my first visit underground to the Leeville gold mine near Elko Nevada.


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