I knew by the time night rolled in today that the cold mountain air of the morning would feel like eons past. I rolled out of pretty Davis Mountains State Park with everything on to keep me warm, and rolled down hill through the very pretty little town of Fort Davis. I stopped to snap of photo of the stately Jeff Davis County Courthouse, named after the president of the Confederacy.
I then passed through Alpine, another tidy west Texas town. The water and the fish are lacking in these parts, but the wildlife is really amazing. This morning's best sighting was a flock of wild turkeys right along the side of the road. Roll by and they are happy. Stop and they are gone.
By midday I find myself in Marathon, another quaint town in Texas mountain country that is the gateway to Big Bend National Park. Over lunch a couple cowboys instructed me on how to find all heads of cattle on ranches thousands of acres in size. I felt the contrasting lifestyles, perhaps they did too: cowboy hats and boot spurs vs. sun burned legs and biking tights. This really is a diverse land of ours.
The afternoon featured the wide open southwest spaces that have dominated my life for the past couple of weeks. From Marathon, I actually had a double marathon on the almost deserted US Highway 90 in order to make it to my destination, Sanderson. If one is claustrophobic out here, don't live back east. All afternoon I could see 50-plus miles in every direction, including all the way down to the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend Park. In a strange turn of weather, I was actually glad it was not any warmer for a long ride. What a change from just a few days earlier.
The desert wildlife continued to impress me: javelinas, white tailed deer, numerous hawks, and my first pronghorn antelope of the trip were all spotted over the last 50 miles of the day.
Sanderson is a small town that is 75% vacated. One of the locals informed me that this area is in the midst of a severe decade-long drought. The feel of the town kind of fit the feel of this windy, dry and barren land deep in the heart of Texas.