Fort Davis, TX to Sanderson, TX
1720 ft of climbing
We had a great day from the beginning today. We got up and out early and headed for breakfast.
We had such a good lunch at the Fort Davis Drugstore Monday we thought we'd head back for breakfast. We rolled down the road and were curious at how quiet things were at just after 8:00 in the morning. Fortunately the Drugstore was open. We parked the bikes and walked in. The process is a little like parking two wheeled trucks on the sidewalk. We found ourselves alone in the restaurant. It smelled really good inside.
Our waitress, Mary, was not long in coming with coffee and taking our order. I had an omelet and pancakes. It was hands down the best omelet I'd had in 1200 miles. Very good pancakes too. I don't generally eat pancakes but on a high output trip like this they are my regular morning fuel. I think some cooks mix the batter with dishwater. You wouldn't think it would be so hard to make decent pancakes but evidently it is.
As we were finishing breakfast Mary came to the table and asked us about our trip. We talked for awhile about what we were doing and how she used to ride her bike. A lot of people tell us about their bike riding days when we start talking. Michael, the chef and the man running the place, came and stood next to Mary and listened to our story. I told him how much I enjoyed the breakfast he had prepared and boy did I mean it. It was all around fantastic.
When we asked for the check, Mary told us Michael had bought us our meal. Wow! Not only the best meal of the trip but we got a big portion of love that wasn't on the menu.
Thank you Michael Beach (I hope I got that right and it wasn't spelled Beech) and the Fort Davis Drugstore and Texas Inn. I recommend both highly.
Next it was down the road to Alpine, TX. We read of a bike shop and wanted to get some inner tubes and a few small items and navigated our way to Bikeman. Navigation isn't too complex in these small towns.
At Bikeman we met and were helped by the owner, John who expressed his desire to ride the Southern Tier route one day.
We are firmly on the tracks of an often traveled line. Many people we met today are familiar with the fact that a published route runs through their towns.
We stayed and talked with John for awhile and he commented on how well outfitted we appeared to be. It makes me wonder if we've got too much. I think I'll be sending some items home with Ashleigh when we see her in Austin.
After leaving Alpine, it was a thirty mile ride to Marathon, TX. We rolled into Marathon hungry. We rode down the main drag and every place serving food seemed to be closed. We came across a fellow who had parked his truck and was getting out as we rode past. It was obvious we were looking for something and he asked what we needed. "Food", was the simple answer. He said, "the Shell station at the end of town makes a mighty good burger". We thanked him for the tip and rolled on down.
As we saw the Shell on our Left, I noticed a sign in front of a building across the street that said, "Big Hair Shop" and a smaller sign promising the best cup of coffee around. As I doubted the delectability of a Shell station burger I wondered if the coffee place served food. Just as I thought about this a woman ran out of the Big Hair Shop and said she had seen us on the road to Fort Davis Sunday and asked if we'd like a cup of coffee.
Linda Spears, the proprietress, is recently moved to Marathon after eleven years on Maui. She said she would like to put a pot of Maui coffee on for us. We gratefully accepted her offer. She did not however have food at the shop so we said we'd go to the Shell and get a couple of burgers to bring back over and eat with her.
We walked across the street and into the Shell. In the back, on one side, was a grill. I asked if we could get a couple of burgers and the lady who seemed to be running the place pointed to another woman and said, "she'll make you something".
The woman working the grill was Rosa Linda from Austin. She asked about our ride and when we told her about the LAF connection she said she had lost her sister, Esmeralda to Breast Cancer. Esmeralda had survived five years and died Thanksgiving night 2005. A running event, Ralda's Run, has been organized, in her honor, to benefit Lance Armstrong Foundation and is held annually in Austin. There is a wonderful letter written by her son on the event website http://www.raldasrun.org/brentsletter.asp . It makes me want to hug him and shed some tears. The story is very familiar to me.
Brent, your mother Esmeralda Werbeck will NOT be forgotten.
Rosa Linda said she had retired and moved to Marathon when Esmeralda was in the last days of her life and she had spent time there with Rosa Linda.
Rosa Linda was a very on the ball lady a bit out of place flipping burgers in Marathon. I got the strong feeling she is an educated woman and certainly is a lady that exhibits great dignity. I'm only sorry I couldn't have met her sister.
We took our burgers back to Linda's place and had a really nice lunch spent chatting and drinking the best coffee I've had since Peet's before we left. I'm sure Jonathon (my son who works at Peet's) will forgive me when I say Linda's Maui might have even been a little better.
Apparently, Linda was out cruising on motorcycles with a friend when they passed us as we rode up that difficult shallow grade, before the climb to the observatory, with the 25-30 MPH wind in our face. She said she commented to her friend about those crazy guys on bicycles and wondered if she'd see us ride past her place in Marathon in the following days. You can order her beans by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We finished our coffee and off we went to Sanderson. 53 miles of nothing but asphalt and wind. It didn't feel that hot but we could hear the tar bubbles in the pavement popping as we rolled along. We worked together in the wind and had a pretty good rhythm going for the last 35 miles.
We got to Sanderson late and very hungry. Luckily we saw Murphy's Pub on the way to the motel and stopped for four excellent dinners. Food is now the top priority when we arrive at our destination.
On to Del Rio today.
More to come.