David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
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Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
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Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
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Kayak Trip 2012
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
04/18  Release the Cows!
04/19  Need A List
04/20  Million Dollar Water
04/23  Peoria IL
04/24  Navigating the Grid
04/25  I'm in a flat land
04/26  Ghetto in the Fields
04/27  The Katy Trail
04/30  Hermann MO
05/01  Hermann to Jefferson City
05/02  The Mushroom Hunters
05/03  Enter the Ozarks
05/04  Ha Ha Tonka
05/09  Bennett Springs State Park
05/10  Barbed Wire and Mansions
05/11  Hello Arkansas
05/16  Up the Mountain
05/17  Muddy Roads
05/21  The Ouachita Trail...
05/22  whip-a-ree
05/23  Mena
05/24  Oklahoma
05/25  Farm to Market to Paris
05/29  Caddo National Grasslands
05/30  Salt Palace and Alligators
05/31  Highways
06/01  Waco
06/06  Waco Mammoth Site
06/07  10 Liters
06/08  Mayonnaise or Mustard
06/10  Llano
06/11  Enchanted Rock and Old Tunnel
06/12  High Fences
06/13  Kickapoo Cavern
06/14  Del Rio
06/19  Into the Desert
06/20  Cold and Wet
06/21  Bicycler Bottleneck
06/22  Chisos Mountains
06/23  Chisos Mountain Lodge
06/24  Terlingua
06/25  Alpine
06/27  Friday Night Light
06/28  Dust Devils
07/02  Crops in the Desert
07/03  Armpit of America
07/04  City of Rocks
07/10  Gila National Forest
07/11  Peanut Butter
07/12  Last of the Washboards
07/13  Quemado
07/17  El Malpais
07/18  Last Desert Stretch
07/19  Farmington
07/24  Colorful Colorado
07/25  Between a Rock and a High Place
07/26  Cinnamon Pass
07/27  3250 Miles
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Dust Devils

2014-06-28

tl;dr: I crossed a long, hot stretch of desert surrounded by dust devils and not much else. It was rough.

I left the Marfa Lights Viewing Center as soon as there was enough daylight to see. This part of the country is at a pretty high elevation (4000 feet or more), but so far that hadn't affected temperature. This morning it was cold enough that I donned extra layers. That wouldn't last.

Once in Marfa, I found a guy sitting on a bench and asked where I could find some breakfast. He waved his arms, "ah english I don't know." Then I found some cowboys huddled around a truck. They eyed me up and down and directed me to Mondoos, on the edge of town. I passed quite a few closed restaurants, so I'm pretty sure I got the best food in town, by process of elimination, but the coffee was pretty bad.

From Marfa I followed Highway 90 across thirty-some miles of not-even-interesting desert to the town of Valentine, a speed bump. This town must have once been lively, but it is now almost a ghost town. I was able to find a water hose at the only existing business I saw, a Family Dentistry. Valentine sits half way between Marfa and Van Horn. After a brief rest and lunch I hit the road again.

The second half was pretty rough. That one hour of sleep last night started to catch up with me. It was hot, dry, with a headwind. Dust devils sprung up almost continuously in the distance, and sometimes one would blow across the road near me. Whenever a large dust devil came within a few hundred yards, the winds got choppy and pushed me all over the road.

Eventually I could see Van Horn, even though it was over ten miles away. That's my biggest problem with this area. Things that are far away should look far away, but they don't. I can see a curve in the road or the next town over an hour before I get to it. When tired and thirsty, it's very disheartening. It's hard to believe folks used to do this jaunt on horses.

Though Van Horn was so close, I found myself stopping more and more for breaks as I found slivers of shade. Then my extra-thick rear tube ripped its valve stem. Why did I let that guy talk me into buying these tubes!? I have never not ripped the valve stem on one of these thick tubes. So I stopped in a not-at-all shaded patch of dirt to swap tubes.

The last mile into Van Horn was the worst. I was utterly exhausted. I had water left, but it was hot like tea. I was feeling chills and was probably on the verge of heat stroke. I am such a wimp. Van Horn is on the interstate, so I pulled into a truck stop and ordered myself a high-sugar, high-sodium meal. It was nearly twenty minutes before I had the strength to eat it.

I still had a few hours of daylight, and had originally planed on heading west from here. Obviously, that was no longer happening. If Van Horn has anything it has cheap motels. A lot of them. A whole lot. I picked one, and before long I was passed out.

pronghorn antelope


no services


horses


seventy miles of this


tethered aerostat radar site


Valentine


HiWay Cafe










tourists at Prada Marfa


Prada Marfa


power meter behind Prada Marfa


dust devil crossing road


multiple dust devils


watch for blowing dust


this dust devil almost hit me


Van Horn is almost ten miles away

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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