Monday, May 12, 2014

May 11 (Day 131) - El Paso arrival, Texas traverse complete!

Barring catastrophe in my first 12 miles tomorrow, my first 900-mile crossing of Texas will be complete. It has taken just over 2 weeks of solid riding, and it feels incredibly good to have finally made it to El Paso. This stretch has been very challenging; The terrain, geography, and weather have all been very unforgiving. My legs are certainly tired, but am I in otherwise excellent physical and mental health. Tomorrow I will head north just 40 miles to Las Cruces, NM. From there, it's west to Arizona in the following 2-3 days. I should arrive in the Chiricahuas on May 15. The birding will really heat up at that time! I should clear 400 species after a few days in Arizona.

Today's leg took me 61 miles from Fort Hancock to El Paso. I actually cruised right through the center of town and continued to the Sunland Best Western on the north edge of town. The winds were 35-40 MPH this afternoon, so it was a good time to hunker down at the hotel with Sonia. She has been incredibly supportive during this final Texas push. It will be hard to see her leave tomorrow morning, but I am sure we will have a another rendezvous in the near future. After this visit, I guess I'll have to stay on my toes as I never know when she might show up again! Miraculously, there was a mini-golf course right across the street from our Best Western. Our 3rd match of the year ended up in a draw so everyone was happy.

El Paso Arrival after 61 miles today

 Texas traverse complete!!!

Sunrise - those mountains are actually in Mexico

Round 3 ends tied, smiles all around

This is far from a final goodbye to Texas as I will be returning to the state in November. I will again traverse the western part of the state to reach San Antonio. From there I plan to turn south and ride to the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) where I will close out 2014. I expect my second traverse to be easier than the first for three reasons. First, it will be much cooler in November than it has been in May. Second, the west winds will be behind me as I move east. Third, I have learned much on this first traverse that will help me plan and navigate the second trip. The many specialty birds of the LRGV will provide additional motivation for traverse two. Hopefully, I'll be well over 550 species at that stage. Who knows, maybe I'll be in sight of 600?!?!?

I am actually hoping to do some real birding tomorrow afternoon in Las Cruces, so please check back in tomorrow to see how that goes. I'll leave you with one last shot that Sonia took while I was blogging. I look nice and comfortable in my Best Western room!

Blogging away


  1. It has been a massive thrill to find this blog and see the BFB! Go for it.....
    The incredible distances you cover and the amount of bird species seen already are beyond my dreams and I had always thought they were big when it comes to biking birding. Absolutely fabulous. This must be inspiring so many US birders to do a BIGBY. Well done.
    All the very best,
    Gary Prescott
    Biking Birder 2010

  2. Congrats on getting through Texas!