Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2 (Day 122) - Westward ho!

Today's ride from Austin to Fredericksburg was really nice. I got started at 6:30am and arrived around 2pm. The first 70% of the ride was through open, rolling hills. The were many stretches of long, gradual, uphill stretches, but nothing that really strained my legs. The last bit of the ride was over flatter terrain at the top of the plateau. The wind picked up a bit in this last stretch, but since it was flat it did not cause major problems. The entire ride was 74 miles and I gained a total of 1200' of elevation. There was no birding today, but I may have time to bird South Llano River Park if I get into Junction in time tomorrow. I have allocated all of Sunday to bird that area. I should add quite a few ( > 10) birds, including Black-capped vireo, to the year list at that location. Maybe I'll get lucky and hear a vireo from the road tomorrow (fingers crossed).

74 miles today

Up and down I go

Roadside fields

Below I have mapped out the likely riding days from Austin, TX to Portal, AZ.  However, the challenges that these distances and elevation changes will pose will depend almost entirely on the winds on the particular days I tackle them. I fully anticipate not being able to ride at all on some days. If there is a 20 MPH SW wind on the day I am to ride from Ft. Stockton to Alpine, then that ride won't happen on that day. Also, the elevation change can be a bit deceiving since there could be lots of ups and downs with no net change. The big problem I face is that there are no places of refuge between the listed town. Each annotated stretch must be done in its entirety; there are no bailout options.

Leg                                            Distance      Approx. net elevation change
Austin to Fredericksburg          74 miles       1200'

Fredericksburg to Junction       63 miles             0'

Junction to Sonora                    60 miles         430'

Sonora to Ozona                       38 miles         220'

Ozona to Iraan                          50 miles        -130'

Iraan to Ft Stockton                  71 miles         750'

Ft Stockton to Alpine               65 miles       1500' - this day will be very tough regardless of wind

Alpine to Fort Davis                40 miles        400'

Ft Davis to Van Horn               80 miles       -850'

Van Horn to Ft Hancock          68 miles       -460'

Ft Hancock to El Paso             55 miles        160'

El Paso to Las Cruces NM      45 miles        260'

Las Cruces to Deming             61 miles        330'

Deming to Lordsburg              60 miles         -90'

Lordsburg to Portal AZ           53 miles        510'

As annotated, there are 15 legs to this journey. I will spend at least 1 full day birding in Junction and another in the Davis Mountains. This means, best case scenario, is that I am looking at 17 days until I could potentially reach Arizona. This would put me in around May 20 which would be ideal. I fully anticipate losing some days to weather/wind, so maybe an arrival date of May 25 is more realistic. Some of these days could be combined (Sonora to Iraan 88 miles, for example), but that will be completely dependent on the weather conditions. An east wind here or there would really help! We can all dream.....

The town where I have holed up for the night, Fredericksburg, seems to be a really nice place. My Best Western is perfectly positioned just off the main drag, so I decided to take a walk to find dinner. Granted it is a Friday night, but the heavily German-influenced town was really hopping. There were bars with live music, art galleries, restaurants, and other fun shops. Every storefront on the main street was occupied. This is certainly a sign of a very healthy town. There were lots of wineries and such along Route 290 as I pedaled into town, so I can imagine this is a popular destination for couples. There is also a huge motor cycle rally going on in town this weekend, so I guess the town appeals to all types! 

Packed bar on Main Street

Main street near sundown

This would put me in Fredericksburg

Haircut and shave needed (so say Sonia, Mom)

Leftover Green heron shot from yesterday


  1. Come on back anytime. Sorry I missed you ..
    Jane Crone

  2. Yep, I've sat at that German bar/restaurant a few times while passing through that town. Hope you're taking advantage of it. Good luck on finding the Vireo. They're tricky.