Day 36 - Beside Ranch Road 2185, Texas

I am rough camped in the middle of nowhere. The nearest motel or campground is 78 miles away, where I spent the night last night in Kermit. Ranch Road 2185 is a side road off Ranch Road 652, which is a back road that leads to El Paso. I rode up 2185 for a half mile or so, over a rise, so nobody can see me from 652. You can see me from 2185, but there have only been four vehicles in two hours, and only one since nightfall. I figure they are people coming home from work in the oil fields, and there will be no traffic until morning.

Today had a big highlight of the bike trip. I rode through Loving County, Texas.

LovingCounty (173K)

Loving County is the least populous county in the United States. It has a population of 41. The county seat, Mentone, has a population of 30.

I saw one person in Mentone. He came out on his front porch to yell at his dog.

This is downtown Mentone.

DowntownMentone (154K)

It has a post office and a courthouse.

MentonePostOffice (134K) LovingCourthouse (209K)

A block behind the courthouse is another two story brick building which I suspect is a school.

There is also a gas station, which was closed, although it looks like it is still in business, because there is beer in the fridge.

MentoneGasStation (231K)

There is also a cafe, which does not appear to be in business, although they have adopted the highway out of town.

MentoneCafe (183K)

After Mentone, it gets less populated. The next town is Orla, which had no signs of life whatsoever, but there was this sign.

OrlaSign (199K)

I am 20 miles past Orla now. In two days, I will be in El Paso. I hope. Around noon, the headwinds started and they were really brutal. The wind is still blowning outside. I tried to position the tent behind some bushes, but there aren't a lot of bushes to hide behind. It's probably going to go down in the 40s tonight, and I will be fine.

But riding in the headwinds was tough, although part of it was that I'm also going uphill on an easy grade. I took down the windsock, since there no traffic at all, and it adds significant wind resistance.

I am out of the flatlands. About 10 miles outside of Kermit, I could see mountains on the horizon. Six miles past Mentone, I crossed the Pecos River, which is only about 29 feet wide. West of the Pecos, it's drier, and hills start. Here is where 2185 crosses a creek about 5 miles west of Orla, which is about 20 miles northwest of where I crossed the Pecos.

NotFlat (215K)

Fifteen miles later, I'm climbing, and there is cool scenery. This is right by where I'm camped.

CoolHills (209K)

Tomorrow, in about 40 miles, I go over the Guadalupe Mountains. The pass is at 5700 feet, which is only 2000 feet higher than I am now.

There is not much at all out here. There are some cows, and a few oil wells. There are not nearly as many oil wells as back in the "Permian Basin", which is what the call the region around Midland and Odessa that I've been riding through the last two days. It no longer smells bad. Kermit smelled bad in a different way that the big fart towns. Kermit kind of smelled like burned beans with a bit of coal soot. I hope all those oil towns are behind me.

I ate breakfast at the same restaraunt in Kermit where I had dinner the night before. There have been no restaraunts since, so I've been eating freeze-dried backpacker meals I cook myself.

Here is today's route travelled.

Actual36 (73K)