10/3/17 – El Paso to Fort Hancock

It seems like every day has a new challenge for either me or someone in our group of cyclists. Today, everyone planned for a late departure from the hotel where we stayed last night, as we only had a 45 mile ride to Fort Hancock, and per Ken, there is nothing to do there.  

So we ate a late breakfast, had a morning map meeting, instead of an evening one, and just took our time getting ready to go. While using the toilet adjacent to the hotel lobby, I was working at getting a chunk of food from my breakfast out of my teeth, which I know is probably not the type of thing you should be doing while using the toilet, but I was doing it anyhow. Suddenly, one of my crowns fell out and landed in the toilet. What the heck! Do things like this only happen to me?

Luckily, I had a couple of extra baggies with me, so was able to cover my hand while I felt around for the crown and was fortunately able to recover it.  I washed it off in the sink, being careful not to drop it down the drain, then went to work finding a dentist who would put it back on for me. After today, it would be several days before we would be in a town big enough to have a dentist, so this had to be taken care of today in El Paso.

The only dentist who could get me in and would reseat a crown they did not put in originally was at Kool Smiles Dentistry for Kids, just a short distance off the route to Fort Hancock.    

 I cycled about 9 miles to get there, then waited for a break in the dentist’s schedule, that did not occur until 1:40 PM.  

Most of the guys had already completed the ride to Fort Hancock when I started the medical history review with Dr. Le, prior to his actually starting to work on my crown. I was really irritated with how long they drug out the process, but in the end, I was happy with how detailed they were in resetting the crown.  

When I hit the road, I was under the gun to get the miles behind me before the afternoon headwinds picked up. The problem was, they already had.  It was a tough slog to get to our evening resting place–Community Church in Fort Hancock.  That is not to say that I did not enjoy the scenery along the way.  

The land around the Rio Grande is fertile farmland, and I passed more cotton, peppers and pecan groves throughout the day.  Ed and I bumped into a local fellow who was out cycling, a couple of days ago, and he circled back to talk to us while we rode along.  When we commented on how nice the gentle downhill was, he told us that the Rio  Grande drops 5 feet per mile, which explained it.  Our route has been following the Rio Grande for 4 days. Tomorrow will be the last day of that treat.    
View of the mountains across the border

My speed averaged about 7 mph over the last 10 miles, for you cyclists who know what that means in terms of suffering.  i just barely made it to the church before the sun started setting.  The guys were all waiting for me so we could all go to dinner together.  They apparently had all been napping all afternoon while I fought the wind.

Ed and I had cooking duty, so we were pretty pleased that Ken had decided on a restaurant meal at Angies, the one and only restaurant in town. 

 

The pickings for breakfast and lunch were so slim in the local market, that we fear an uprising in the morning. I’ll let you know how that goes. 

Did I mention that we slept in a church?  As one who has dozed off in church a time or two, sleeping in this church gave a whole new meaning to sleeping in church. 

Rich packing up his bedding and gear in the AM
 
My sleeping spot. The left bench is my gear and the right bench is Eric’s

We were bedded down all the over the place: in front and  behind the pulpit and communion table; and on and under the pews.  And I must say, we all slept very well. 

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