La Loma Del Chivo, Marathon, Texas
Seb sleeps in the Beehive...
I repose in the 1940 house trailer, about the same weight and dimensions as Barc's Chair (sigh)...
We've entered the alternative reality of an Haight-Ashbury influenced hostel, where cyclists stay the first night free and pay $10 for each additional night, unless they don't feel like it. Weird, mescaline-inspired papercrete structures whose purpose and intent, like the inner chambers of the Great Pyramids, are sources of speculation and conjecture without resolution. There are no right answers.
Gil and Ingrid own and oversee the operation, as much as anybody does, from the vantage point of their conventional-appearing home a few hundred yards away. Gil, creator of many of the structures, travels the world collecting and restoring old cars, planes, and motorcycles. We haven't met him yet, as he was flying his experimental plane around Los Angeles yesterday and the wind was too violent around here for him to fly back; balsa wood and rubber bands can only do so much. Ingrid, who we did meet, is a former Slovakian pop star who escaped the Iron Curtain during one of her tours. We had to sign a waiver upon arrival, indemnifying Gil and Ingrid, in case one of the creations collapsed on our heads. Yup, it's an interesting place.
Curiouser and curiouser...
We're staying on the other side of the looking glass for two days (will I pay the $10???) as another freezing, stormy cold front moves in. At this rate, with another ten days of headwinds forecast, June's probably going to have to pick us up in Louisiana. Seb, age 25, is content with the prospect of tarrying. Last night we sat up til the ungodly hour of ten pm chatting with three other longtime residents: Laura, age 25; Emilie, age 25; and Lizzie, age 24. My son will cope as best he can.
Best story from last night's jabbering: Laura worked as a wrangler at a dude ranch in Wyoming (close to where they filmed the Modern Family episode), and was required to carry bear repellent spray with her. Apparently, unbelievably, and on more than one occasion, some of the more urban, less outdoorsy, and way less perceptive dude parents bought bear repellent, lined up their poor, genetically-disadvantaged children, and sprayed them thoroughly, thinking that, like mosquito repellent, the spray would keep the bears away.
Mom: "Johnny!! Quitcha yowling!! It's fah ya own good!! Do ya wanna get eaten by bears??"
Johnny: "Aiieeee!! Aiieee!! Aiieee!! I can't seeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!
Dad: "Shaddap ya little whinah and quit foolin' around. Mom missed a spot."
Johnny: [between convulsions] I'm bliiiiiiiiiiiind!!!!!!!!!!
Little Debbie: "Mooooommmm!! Johnny spit on me!!!"
A SUDDEN CHANGE OF PLACE...
All is not as it was. But we'll let the narrative continue...
Shortly after typing the above dialogue, nature called, and on the return to the tin-can, non-cult trailer, the following sequence of events took place:
1) I espied the large Toyota Sequoia SUV, owned by Emilie's mom Sandy, that I thought had already left for Atlanta early this morning.
2) I replayed the arguments in my head, pro and con, arguments stemming from a line-of-thought that I thought was moot since Sandy had presumably left.
3) Spock-like, I made my decision, ultimately swayed by the primo "pro" argument: the repellent 10-day forecast coupled with a creeping apprehension of being blown off schedule following a long string of repellent forecasts.
4) I approached Sandy who, though unmentioned earlier (Sandy, age 63 - it was her birthday in fact, featuring a belated but gratifying cake, keeping a lifelong blown-candle streak alive) was part of last night's socializing, and asked her straight out if we could hitch a ride 180 miles down the road to Del Rio.
5) Sandy agreed, with pleasing alacrity.
6) 3 hours later (Sandy drives fast), we found ourselves at a Starbucks in Del Rio, having in one fell swoop eliminated an expanse of nothingness unparalleled in our trip so far, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a moor without atmosphere, a desert devoid of stimuli, a sensory-deprivation chamber nearly 200 miles long, a... ummm... like... really boring. Had we remained steadfast and fought a 20 mph headwind for 3-4 days through the nothingness, we probably would have emerged better men, bursting with character, so gained by pain that it hurt. Instead, we've lopped off 180 miles, technically forfeited true "coast to coast" status, and face the same damn cold and headwind in the coming days BUT, and it's a big BUT, we're now entering Texas Hill Country, stuffed with deer and deer eaters, and the potential to make up lost character looms large.
The Pecos River, looking north, mysteriously drying up about about a mile south of this bridge and, coincidentally, about a mile north of the Mexican border... Blue Gold, Texas Tea.