Day 33 - Eldorado, Texas

The farther west I go, the smaller the towns get. Last night's town, Menard, didn't really have a central square. There was also no place that serves breakfast. The pharmacy was open, and I went in to ask about breakfast. The nice old lady said "The restaraunt burned down last year. They're probably serving coffee at the Branding Iron". The Branding Iron is the BBQ place where I had dinner last night. It seems that in Texas, BBQ places are not restaraunts. The campground, while it was quite a deal and suited me perfectly, didn't have any other campers. Here is what the campground office looks like.

MenardCampgroundOffice (245K)

I think the campground manager lives in that trailer. Those are real ducks next to it. This campground is barely functional.

Tonight I am 50 miles down the road in Eldorado. There is no campground here. I am in a motel. There are no more towns for over 60 miles, which is why I only went 50 today. I have two choices for the next town, Iraan (79 miles) and Big Lake (67 miles).

The food choices are two Mexican restaraunts, and a gas station convenience store. Mexican place #1 was lunch, and Mexican place #2 was dinner. There is no central square, just a couple blocks of single-story storefronts. One storefront was the county public library, and the librarian let me plug my laptop in, so I could update the web site.

The librarian also had helpful advice for bicycle tourists. She said most bike riders go to Iraan, and then ride on the frontage road along the interstate to El Paso. I did not realize there was a frontage road the whole way, and so I checked my Adventure Cycling maps, and they say you ride on the interstate, which I hate.

My plan is to go through Kermit, Texas, and then ride the next three days on this road that goes through the towns of Mentone (pop. 30), Orla (pop. 135), Pine Springs (pop. 35), and Salt Flat (pop 30). There are also some ghost towns. I have lots of food. The librarian warned me that there are no trees or water on this route, and she described the area between here and Kermit as "the armpit of Texas". She said it's all abandoned oil fields, and it smells really bad. I told her about riding through the chicken farms of Delaware. We shall see.

Today started out grim and overcast, but it cleared up around noon and ended really nice. The road was mostly flat, but I gained 500 feet. The scenery was like the last two days, mesquite scrub and prickly pears, but the trees are getting smaller and more spread out. It's still all ranch land, but the ranches seem less prosperous. I saw my first oilfield service businesses here in Eldorado.

I'm watching the weather channel, and it's a horror show. A cold front comes through tonight, and tomorrow's high is only going to be in the mid 40s. There is a chance of rain for the next couple days, but not a big chance. The upside is there will be tailwinds.

Here is today's route.

Actual33 (121K)