Dec 16

Day 10 – Mathis, TX to McAllen, TX – 201 miles

by in Uncategorized

I think the biggest rule of adventuring is that things won’t go according to plan. Today was a good example of that. We took showers last night and washed our underwear, which we (being the urban sophisticates that we are) left drying on our bikes along with the towels. We we work up the entire park was in a deep fog and everything was covered with a thick layer of dew.

I (Kay) tried rearranging the tires on my bike because of how ridiculously top-heavy it is with them on it, but that ended up going nowhere.

Top-Heavy Bike

So, we packed up our tent with its wet fly-sheet, our damp towels and underwear, and set off, agreeing to stop at the first interesting place we saw for food, which turned out to be Michael and Mom’s. A woman on the phone in there told the person on the other end that she was at “The Restaurant” because it literally was *the* restaurant. This was a one light town. But the food was great. Between us we had excellent home made biscuits, sausage, gravy, and delicious pancakes the size of your head. Neither of us could finish our plates, although we definitely tried.

I’m carrying around far more stickers than we need and the plan has been to drop them off at a post office, but the one we passed this morning we weren’t ready for, and the ones we told the GPS to find for us either didn’t exist, or had their employees out to lunch (literally).

During this search, we found ourselves on Route 666… incidentally, this plays an important part in the rest of the day.

Route 666

We made our way to some Bentsen-Rio Grande State park, and were thoroughly disheartened when we got there. It was RVs as far as the eye could see. So, with sunset on our heels we turned around to grab food at the nearest place (a Jack-In-the-box… bleh) then came back, only to find out that the entryway beside the endless RVs wasn’t actually the entrance to the park even though the GPS said it was right there, and there was a sign for some butterfly place on that road. No. it was the road at that intersection that had the large “Road Closed” signs across it.

Under normal circumstances we’d have turned around and taken one of the nearby dirt roads and found some little hideaway place to stick the tent, but the Border Patrol isn’t just vigilant here, they’re fucking omnipresent. Every back road we went down or passed seemed to have a Border Patrol SUV on it, and they’re specifically out looking for people being a lot sneakier than we could be with a 3 person tent, so there was no way we’d be able to hideycamp without getting hassled. (Did I mention this park is just a few miles from the border? No wonder border patrol is everywhere.)

The next nearest state park was 50 miles away, and searching for “campground” would have yielded 500 RV parks and probably no tent campgrounds. It was time for an alternate plan.

But, I’ve left out one important detail. Not long after our failed Post Office hunt Dachary had me pull over to tweak my tires. (On the infamous Route 666, I must point out.) After tweaking I got back on the bike and realized I didn’t have my gloves, so I leaned the bike over onto the kickstand only to discover that I’d already lifted the kick stand, and down it went.

“Hmm.” I thought. “It’s not all the way down since it’s leaning on that little hill. I can probably lift it myself without issue.” At which point I proceeded to lift with my back, and not with my knees. I got it up, but the right sight of my back paid a pretty hefty price. It hurt a bit initially, but it wasn’t too bad, and there wasn’t much I could do anyway, so off we rode and I mostly forgot about it until we got to the Jack-In-The-Box. When I got off the bike there I started walking around tilted to the right like I had scoliosis and in a bunch of pain. Apparently the only position that doesn’t hurt my back, besides laying down, is hunched over like I’m riding a motorcycle.

And that, plus the Road Closed sign, and the sun that had already set, is how we find ourself in a Quality Inn tonight. Dachary’s threatening to stay another day if my back is still hurting but I really want to get out of this city. The room is nice but it’s another $50+ a night and McAllen Texas just depresses me. I hate this massive urban sprawl.

Unloading in Style

(Dachary’s Note: What Kay doesn’t mention is that he’s seriously in a lot of pain. Every little thing, from rolling over to sneezing, elicits an “ouch.” Short of a miraculous recovery overnight, I don’t even see how he’ll get out of bed tomorrow – let alone ride. Add to that the stress of our first border crossing, and having a top-heavy bike since we didn’t get to mount my new tires tonight – and I’m leaning toward it probably not happening. But we’ll see in the AM.)

2 Responses to “Day 10 – Mathis, TX to McAllen, TX – 201 miles”

  1. From Corey (Roxy's "mom"):

    Congrats on successfully making it across border #1! I’m looking forward to following the rest of your adventure. I haven’t run in to Ben and Dido since you left but will have plenty of pets and treats for them when I do. Safe travels!

    Posted on December 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm #
    • From dachary:

      Hey Corey! Glad you’re following along! I’ve spoken with the dog sitter a couple of times and it sounds like Ben and ‘dido are settling in with her well. Hopefully you’ll see them soon, though, and can confirm! In the meantime, hope you enjoy this winter-time reading ;) (It’s currently around 70 here in Mexico).

      Posted on December 18, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

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