Friday, November 14, 2014

Nov 14 (Day 318) - The wind subsides, other route options

After two days of challenging headwinds, the weather finally cooperated today. I had scheduled a 68-mile segment from Fort Hancock, TX to Van Horn, TX. Cool morning air eventually gave way temperatures in the mid 60's, and what little south wind there was hardly bothered me on my perpendicular ride to the east. There was one moderate length, but appropriately graded climb that lifted me 1,300' above my Fort Hancock starting point. Otherwise the ride was mainly slow rolling hills and flat stretches. After 62 miles though, the 6-mile final descent into Van Horn was very welcome! I did get a flat along the road today for those that are counting

68 miles to Van Horn, TX

Climbing out of Fort Hancock

Midday topography

Roadside bikeshop! I shoulda taken it when I 
had the bike turned over and the wheel was off.

Tomorrow should be fun as winds are expect to shift to blow from the west. This should make the ~68 mile ride to Balmorhea fairly easy. If the winds are strong enough, there is an outside possibility that I could make it to Fort Stockton - an additional 50 miles beyond Balmorhea. 

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the upcoming route tonight. Here is the original plan to reach Laredo. 

10)     Fort Stockton, TX  >  Sanderson, TX        65 miles             Local motel

11)     Sanderson, TX  >  Comstock, TX              89 miles        Local motel

12)     Comstock, TX  >  Del Rio, TX                  32 miles          Best Western

13)     Del Rio, TX  >  Eagle Pass, TX                 55 miles            Local motel

14)     Eagle Pass, TX,  >  Carrizo Springs, TX    43 miles            Best Western

15)     Carrizo Springs, TX  >  Laredo, TX           75 miles            Host or Best Western

Day 10 is fine, but problems surface on day 11 as there is no restaurant or gas station (i.e. water) in that 90 miles between Sanderson and Comstock. I also do not think I can do 90 miles if the wind decides to blow from the SE (which it usually does at this time of year).  It also not clear what, if anything, remains open in Comstock. Day 12 could be combined with Day 13 if conditions were absolutely perfect, but otherwise I'd be too wiped from the 90 miles the day before.

Rather than messing around with what appears to be an essentially desolate 120-mile stretch from Sanderson to Del Rio, I am thinking about staying on I-10 for a few more days. I know this ground well as I rode over it heading westward in May (days 10-12, below). I could potentially combine days 11 and 12, depending on conditions. 

10) Fort Stockton, TX  >  Iraan, TX                        62 miles            Local motel

11) Iraan, TX  >  Ozona, TX                                    54 miles            Best Western

12) Ozona, TX  >  Sonora, TX                                 36 miles            Best Western

13) Sonora, TX  >  Rocksprings, TX                       55 miles            Local motel

14) Rocksprings, TX  >  Uvalde, TX                       69 miles            Local motel

15) Uvalde, TX  >  Carrizo Springs, TX                  50 miles            Local motel

16) Carrizo Springs, TX  >  Laredo, TX                  75 miles

As written, this route would take an extra day to reach Laredo, but I am starting to think it is worth it. It is safe, and I can easily find food and water on all days. I have shown I can ride 60 miles in a big headwind, but if I get a big headwind on Day 11 of the original plan, I would be completely screwed. If I got a couple of days of headwind I would get pinned for a while. I have to KNOW I can make it the whole way in one hit since there's NOWHERE to stop in between the designated towns. I'm a bit like a passerine trying to decide how and when to migrate across the Gulf of Mexico!


  1. I like option 2! You should be able to double-up on one of those days if you get good winds.

    It's been a while (months?) since you've posted anything about local conservation/local environmental scene like you often did towards the beginning of the year. Has your blog focus changed, or have you just been too busy? I used to enjoy that stuff, and would be curious if you find anything about about what's going on in West Texas. -Dave

  2. When I lived in Texas, we drove that stretch from Del Rio to Sanderson. My advice, based on personal experience: Stay on I-10, and not only for the reasons you've mentioned.