Las Cruces, New Mexico
I have finally made it through Texas!
It’s a big state…
I’m feeling a lot better and have more or less managed to get rid of my cold. It makes a huge difference to how it feels when I’m walking, especially in the heat. Since leaving Sanderson I have been doing some serious walking and covering a fair bit of milage. In fact, this is my first rest day since then. Although I have had a few shorter days, most of them have been between 45 – 50 km and I am going to enjoy a day of rest.
Rather than give you my usual day by day rundown, I’m just going to give you a few high lights .
A lot has happened, I’ve met some great people and my already optimistic view of humankind has gotten even rosier. I almost hate to write that as I am afraid to jinx myself for the future. 15 months on the road and I have had only positive experiences!
In the last 2 weeks I have slept on picnic tables several times, in the dirt on the side of the road, behind bushes, at great couchsurfing hosts, in a shed and even in a few hotels, all the while trying to get some milage done during the days.
One of the best parts of the last couple of weeks was visiting Marfa. As is nearly always the case, a big reason is the great people that I met there.
About 13 km outside of Marfa there is an observation building where you can sometimes see the “Marfa lights”. They are a light phenomenon that appears at night and nobody seems to be able to explain what causes them. There has even been talk of UFOs….
As I pulled the Mule into the observation center, a guy jumped out of a truck and came over to talk. It turned out to be Josh and his wife Lynn who had seen me walking along the road earlier and were waiting for me. Josh had done his own walk, across Texas and wanted to hear what I was doing. We talked for a while and they invited me to stay with them in Marfa.
When I finally made it into Marfa, Josh had organized an interview for me at Marfa Public Radio. I even got to do a couple of station intros. I’ll try to post a link when the interview becomes available in archives.
Then Josh and Lynn took me to dinner at an incredible restaurant that would easily make a name for itself in any major city in the world. We talked a lot and it turns out that Marfa is a very special little town and has apparently been featured a lot in the news lately.
Check this out:
Josh made a book about his walk, taking pictures every hour as he walked:
Leaving Marfa, I was faced with a 120 km section without any services at all. 3 days of walking without being able to stock up on water or food. There is a small town, Valentine, on the way but everything there is closed down.
Valentine might not even have a functioning service station, but they do have a Prada store! But like all the other stores in Valentine it is never open..
It is actually an art installation called Prada Marfa.
Then followed a few days walking in cooler weather to El Paso where Josh had put me in contact with the wonderful Howell family and organized for me to stay with them.
On the way to the Howells, I stopped for a coffee at a Starbucks and while I was there a gentleman called Charles started talking to me. He was fascinated by the-walk and promptly sat down to write a press release for the local media. Turns out he runs a marketing company, Frontera. Not only that, one of his customers markets compression socks and he made sure I got a couple to try. Have not really used compression socks before and it is going to be very interesting to try them and let you know what I think.
I continued on my way and it did not take long before I got a call from a local reporter, Luis from the El Paso Times. He caught up to me and walked with me the last bit as he interviewed me for his piece. Check it out here:
I arrived at Nancey and John’s house, a warm and welcoming house full of children, grandchildren, neices, neighbours and friends. A lot always seemed to be happening with people coming and going all the time.
They had planned to go the baseball game that evening and had an extra ticket for me! So I got to go to a real american baseball game, drink a beer and cheer the El Paso Chihuahuas to a win.
Next morning I set of again and was met on the road by Chrisdyann from KFOX14 and her cameraman. They did a short story on me that ran on the evening news and must have been seen by a fair few people as a lot of cars have started honking their horns at me and waving.
Later that evening, I finally reached the end of Texas and could cross the border into New Mexico. Texas has taken a lot of time to cross but I now only have 3 states left and am busy trying to plan my continued route westward.
Whatever else, I guess it’s just a matter of keep walking!