Bicycling West Texas

We’ve cut back a little on our running as of lately. Mostly because we just need to do other things for our health besides running. Too much of anything can end up being not so good. The scenery here in our current location isn’t exactly our favorite. Especially this time of year when everyday seems to windy or hot, or both. We normally try to be in higher altitudes among the trees by this time of year. But, projects here will keep us stationary for another couple of months so we might as well make the best of it.

Biking has always been enjoyable for us. Even before we started traveling and living fulltime in our RV, we frequently rode our road bikes and mountain bikes both. We haven’t done much of either since we left the campground where we hosted in Washington state last summer. Some of the reason is, like I said, the scenery. The other reason is we’re in oil field country here and the traffic is horrific. It’s not just that there is a lot of traffic. It’s that many of the drivers we see are so bad. That seems to be even more the case since this latest West Texas oil boom. Never before have we seen so many speeding vehicles and fatal accidents due to driver distractions in this area. I don’t even like to drive anywhere from here in Gail unless necessary anymore, unless its to leave the oil country. One has to wonder if all the money that comes with a boom is worth it.

Anyway, let me carefully climb back down off this giant soap box and get back to the subject at hand. There are some county roads around here that are usually pretty desolate and we can feel somewhat comfortable riding some of them without the fear of emanate death. The other problem with being in a small country town is number of loose dogs that hate bicycles… or people running… or cars… or anything that moves within 100 yards of them. That’s why I carry pepper spray. It seems every time we head out to get some exercise we must fend off some sort of attack. Well hell, I crawled back up there didn’t I?

We aired up our tires, dusted off our seats, dug out our shoes and helmets, and filled our water bottles. It was actually pretty nice out when we left for our 33 mile ride. But by the time we returned, it was getting close to 100 degrees.

My beautiful wife riding in front of me.

My beautiful wife riding in front of me.

If you don’t like mesquite scrub and cactus, you probably wouldn’t enjoy this area. But, it does have rugged beauty that’s unique to the area if you pay attention. And, we got a great workout. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the road is actually quite hilly. We’ll mostly stick to bike rides for our cardio for a while to give our bodies a much-needed break from the impact of running. For me, biking is very relaxing when I’m not concerned about being run over every couple of minutes. I think we saw a total of 4 or 5 vehicles on our 2 1/2 hour ride.

Sorry. Sharon made me include a pic of myself.

Sorry. Sharon made me include a pic of myself.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before, but we like old stuff. Almost any kind of old stuff will do. We enjoy almost any history, antiques, ruins… whatever. We always notice old forgotten roads and bridges and remnants that many people probably don’t see. We’ve hiked on old closed highways, discovered old bridges that no longer go anywhere, and hiked many old railroad grades(these are our favorites). Sometimes, only bridge columns or less are left buried in the landscape. It’s interesting to us to stop and think back to when now old vehicles and trains traversed these long gone paths, moving along at a much slower pace than people do today. I think that’s one of the things we love so much about hiking and biking. You’re forced to travel at a slower rate than when you’re trying to just get somewhere by modern transportation. You can’t help but take in your surroundings and sometimes we’re amazed at what we see and what has been left behind so long ago. To me, these structures and remnants still have value, even if they can no longer be utilized the way they were originally intended. At least to us, there is much value in history. And so much of it can still be seen first hand all over this country.

This is what is left of an old one lane bridge on a county road in Borden County, Texas.

This is what is left of an old one lane bridge on a county road in Borden County, Texas.

Thanks for spending a few minutes with us.







One thought on “Bicycling West Texas

  1. I’m up in New England, but I had a friend who grew up in West Texas. His description was accurate, but I had never considered cycling there until now. I think I could deal with almost all of it, except maybe for the 100 degrees. I try to get out early in the summer here, so I’m home before it’s in the upper 80’s

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