On Mark’s suggestion, we got back on the Southern Tier route by having Beth drive us to Fort Davis, from which we biked first to Alpine using TX 118, and then east to Marathon, using US90 again. It was only 55 miles and our total elevation change for the day was minus 800 feet, but the wind was in our face the entire day! And it wasn’t a mild breeze either!
After not seeing any bikers at all for the first 3 days, our day began by making the acquaintance of two brothers also biking the Southern Tier route while we were at breakfast at the Gage Hotel. Bruce and Dick are doing it all at once and except for three days that Bruce’s wife drove sag for them, they’re carrying all of their stuff with them on panniers. They were both really nice! Bruce is a retired PE teacher from Oregon and Dick is retired military currently living in Nevada. close to his children and grandchildren. They’re about a day ahead of us though, so chances are we won’t run into them again.
Then after a really big and tasty breakfast at Larita’s Cafe in Fort Davis, we started our day’s ride along TX 118 South towards Alpine, TX. We almost immediately ran into John, a bicyclist from Fort Davis out for his daily workout. John rode with us for about 11-12 miles and we learned that he is a Park Ranger currently working at the Fort Davis Historical Center, right on the site of the old Fort Davis. John is a Federal employee currently furloughed due to the budget stalemate back in Washington, DC. We were all interested to learn that up to four years ago, John was a fire fighter working for the Federal Government at Big Bend National Park. But the forest service requires that all fire fighter employees retire at age 57, to keep the workforce young. Hence John’s current position as a Park Ranger at For Davis.
After making it to Alpine, we ate a quick lunch at McDonald’s and then headed to Marathon. We made it there, despite the wind’s best efforts, by 3pm. Here are today’s better pictures. No videos again today – our internet connect at the Gage Hotel is just too slow to get them uploaded.