Yucca trees were right along the road today, but we could tell we were transitioning from desert to grassland.
Alpine to Marathon
We knew we had a short day ahead of us today so we just took it easy. We spent the morning working on the blog, eating breakfast and doing some needed work on the bikes. After nearly 3,000 miles of riding, my (Greg's) bike finally needs a new tube on the rear. This tube has been with us from the get go and it has five patches on it. It was slowly leaking and when I took it off I found out why. One of the first patches I put on it developed a crack after being inflated and deflated so many times, and the hole it was sealing was able to leak air out of the crack. The new tube I got is a thorn resistant tube and this thing is amazingly thick. It was a bit more difficult to install, but not a big deal.
After we spent some more time cleaning the bikes and lubricating the chains, we packed up our gear and headed out of the Pecan Grove RV Park. We had been told about a nice place to eat and have coffee in Alpine called La Trattoria. It was on the way out of town, so we decided to stop in and see what they had to offer. We found a nice little cafe with a decent menu. We ordered some coffee and tea, and a bagel sandwich with a cup of soup. The food here was absolutely great. Probably some of the best food we have had on the trip, especially for the price. We are so surprised by West Texas. We thought it was just a bunch of crusty, gun toting, George W. Bush loving ranchers that would love to run us over with their pickups, but we have found much the opposite. This little town had multiple art galleries and people have been so welcoming and friendly. The cafe we ate lunch at was no exception. They had a nice selection of eclectic music playing and some very nice art on the walls to add a nice atmosphere to our dining experience. Normally we would probably not go out of our way to write about that, but we just didn't expect this in West Texas at all, and it has been a very welcome surprise.
We left Alpine and headed East South East toward the tiny town of Marathon. We were told to ask for Guilford, and that he would have a place for us to stay. We asked the first person, and they pointed us in the right direction. Before we sought out Guil, we stopped at the French Grocer (Something French... in Texas? Another crazy surprise) and bought a few food items for supper. We went out to Guil's place and found a collection of unique and odd shaped, colorful buildings. The first person we met, Norbert, told us that Guil, was not around, but we were welcome to stay for free, as all long distance cyclists are at Guil's compound. Guil has some land out here named, “La Loma del Chivo” that he allows people to live on. All he asks in return is that people put 4 hours of work per day into helping make the place into a Hostel, and into development of an organic garden. (A hostel and an Organic garden in Texas? Seriously are we in Texas?) It is part of the Working on Organic Farms organization, but also is trying to become a recognized hostel. Norbert, from Australia, showed us in all of the buildings and then showed us what he has been working on in the newly developed garden. Unfortunately, while we were here, Norbert's crops were not fairing well due to the recent cold snap that has plagued most of the country. Many of the crops were either killed or stunned by the cold weather. Hopefully as it warms up, some of the plants will come back from the cold. We are staying here at La Loma del Chivo tonight in the building they refer to as the goat barn. It will be nice not having to set up the tent tonight.
Texas, oh Texas, your land might not be free, but your roads are so less traveled, and your stores have local goat brie. The people are kind, and the sky is so bright, am I writing poetry about Texas? Here at La Loma del Chivo tonight?