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Ocean to Ocean on Two Wheels

West Texas Vignettes

  1. The many small phone companies that serve the outlying areas charge 25-cents in a pay phone just to call the operator or an 800 number. In Del Rio I found a situation where the pay phone in the gas station on my side of the highway required a quarter, but the phone in the station right across the street did not, being a different company.

  2. One warm day on the way to Sanderson, we planned a lunch break at a picnic area listed on the map and arrived there to find it full of campers and trailers. Pooey, we thought (euphemistically). It turned out to be seven people in four vehicles from Michigan, travelling together, who made room for us AND fed us royally from their well-stocked galleys in return for our stories of the road.

  3. Our longest day to date - and hopefully the whole trip - was an 89.88 mile haul through the desert, a wide-open-spaces necessity since there was nothing in between.

  4. About ten miles before Uvalde, on a COLD, wet day, I found a tootsie roll in the bottom of my handlebar bag, and suddenly knew I wouldn't make it to town unless I ate it. It was frozen solid. In the softening and gnawing stage I pulled out a gold inlay in the tootsie goo, and stashed it carefully. Once dry and reclothed, I looked up dentists in the Uvalde Yellow Pages and found five - three within a mile of the motel, and two further afield. That narrowed the choice. The three had offices right next to each other. Being totally objective, I called the one whose name I liked best. The receptionist said, "Sure, y'all come on over at 5 o'clock and we'll put that thing back in for you." It was 4:30. I did ("Turn right at Church's Chicken"). They did. For a pittance. Wow.

  5. In Van Horn we connected with another cyclist whom we'd initially met on our second day out. He's from Prince George, British Columbia. For the next eight days we played leap-frog. He'd get ahead and then take a rest day or some such. We shared several meals. Since may of the towns have only one or two motels, the odds were good that we'd keep connecting. Our paths have finally diverged, however, as we head north to Austin. We saw him last in Bandera.

  6. The "convenience store" stuff that we're sometimes stuck with is more than offset by the good country-cookin' cafe fare. In Bracketville I scarfed down a bowl of oatmeal, a side of hash browns, a donut, and two cups of cocoa. $3.24 total.

  7. At one point along the road, a small dog - maybe twice the size of a Chihuahua at most - came charging and yapping across the depth of his yard toward me. I wasn't concerned because there was a full cattle grate across his driveway and he was - well - so small. But, believe it or not, he cleared the cattle grate in two - yes two - leaps, landing and pushing off again from one of the middle bars with what must be VERY well-practiced agility. I mean, he was so small he probably would fall between the grate bars if he were parallel to them. So yes, he came after me. No threat.


© 1996 BFZ

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Last Modified: April 4, 1996