Day 40 - Hatch, New Mexico

Woo Hoo! Another new state! Texas was great fun. I realized back in Austin that I entered Texas at the easternmost possible spot. I vowed to leave Texas at the westernmost possible spot. After studying the Delorme road map software, I determined that that spot was on Gardiner Road, in El Paso County. Gardiner Road is barely two lanes, and does not warrant a stripe in the center. The state line was unmarked. I thought I would cross the Rio Grande, but it appears to have been diverted into an irrigation ditch somewhere upstream.

New Mexico is a lot different than Texas. Texas is industrial petrochemical strip mall wasteland used car lot. New Mexico is farms, small towns and cool adobe houses. Up until Las Cruces, it's all farms that are irrigated from the Rio Grande and nice small towns.

There is a lot of cotton. This scene is very typical.

Cotton (248K)

A little while later, I found myself riding under a canopy of trees. After a week of desert, this was a bit disconcerting.

Pecan (348K)

This is a pecan orchard. It is irrigated. There are tons of them in southeast New Mexico. It's the biggest crop, even bigger than chili peppers, and there are a lot of chili pepper fields.

A little while later I crossed the Rio Grande, the mighty river which forms the border between Texas and Mexico. It turns north into New Mexico, which is on both sides here.

RioGrande (167K)

Bone dry. I understand they are in the middle of a drought. I guess nobody is going to go fishing any time soon.

Today was one of those days where bike touring is about being a predator. I originally planned to camp at a state park in the town of Radium Springs. When I got there, it was only 1:30, and the miles were flying by really easily, and it was a perfect day, so I decided to push on. (There was a little water in the Rio Grande at Radium Springs. It was not glowing, though. I was disappointed.)

I made it 20 miles farther to the village of Hatch, and I am camped at an RV park in the middle of town. The RV Park is mostly empty, and I am the only person in a tent, of course. It's getting down in the 30's at night. I am cozy. This RV park is a very nice place. I chatted with the lady who runs it for awhile, and played with her dog, an Australian shepard. We walked over to the guy next door to see how cold it was going to get. This place also has unbelievably nice bathrooms. You'd think you were in the Senator Theater, I'm not kidding.

I ate very well today. Breakfast in El Paso was at a local chain called The Village Inn, which had a location across from my motel. Every dish on the menu is illustrated. Their food is fabulous, and they have great pie.

Lunch was at a place in La Masilla called the Way Out West Brewery and Restaraunt. I was so excited, a brewpub at last! But it's not actually a brewpub. They do serve microbrews, though. I had an excellent nut brown ale, but I forget the brand. Sierra something, but not Sierra Nevada. The food was great New Mexican style, which means smothered in green chilis. Totally awesome.

I'm eating dinner from the snack bag, since I had a sundae at Dairy Queen when I got into town and I'm not that hungry.

New Mexico is pretty great, I'm liking it even more than Texas, and I like Texas a lot when it didn't smell bad. In New Mexico, people fly around town in ultralights.

Ultralight (103K)

Here is the route actually travelled for today.

Actual40 (151K)