Charley’s ride across America 24. Like Texans, deep thoughts, wide open country


Day 47 March 15.    28 miles 3:30. Some headwind, cool, half uphill, half downhill, end Marfa, TX

Day 48. March 16.  0 miles, forecast for gusts of 40mph, stay in tent in Marfa, TX

Total miles 1948

Dear friends and family,

My first camping was in Marathon. No motels available because of spring break, so the Wheelman and I took tent spots at an RV camp. Nice accommodations, and love my new Big Agnes tent. I was plenty cozy, fired up my stove for coffees in the morning, then into town for the coffee shop breakfast. More angels bought us breakfast after we shared our adventure story. Seems to be some kind of trend going on here.

“Like Texans” said the young man (angel) who was visiting Big Bend with his young family.

Stayed in a motel in Marathon, and enjoyed a hole in the wall Tex-Mex restaurant. Cash only of course.

Saw a t-shirt that said “Proud to be an American-till Texas secedes”. 

My little bit of Spanish helps a lot here along the border.

Today’s ride over the Paisano Pass at 5074 feet, was cool, half uphill with some headwind. I felt that the wind had an ominous feeling to it today: building in force, sky clouding over, snow forecast…

Then I realized that the wind wasn’t ominous at all. The wind was 10-15 knots of cool wind from the west. Period.

My filter of all the information I was processing made it seem ominous to me.

What info was in my filters?

  1. Weather forecast of windstorm tomorrow 
  2. Snow coming by Saturday 
  3. Tent living for these days
  4. Vulnerable on a bicycle
  5. Wearing my fear of being tested in cold, wind, tent, snow.

Mix it up and I got the “Ominous” determination.

The remainder of the ride was filterless. Cool wind brushing my face. Legs cranking up the gradual climb. Arms steering along the road. Noticing the dry grasses, mesas, occasional car or semi roaring by. Beautiful wide open Texas views.

Does it take 2000 miles of riding for several hours per day to enjoy a filterless experience?

Maybe I can both separate and notice the gap between my experience and my filter. Actually expand that space between.

In Stoicism it’s best to anticipate all the things that can go wrong and what is in place to mitigate. 

Then, let it go. If/when anything goes wrong there won’t be a surprise, just perform the preset action as per the plan. In the meantime just enjoy the present. Simple.

In sailing offshore I’ve read and studied all the things that can go wrong. In planning, take steps to be ready for any of those options. Have a plan, tools, training and parts. Then enjoy whatever conditions are thrown at me. 

All the fear is in the anticipation. Is it actually worse now with modern technology like satellite weather reports? More opportunities for anxiety of anticipation?

In sailing across the Pacific, I had a barometer to forecast weather. If it started falling rapidly, I would rehearse in my mind all the scenarios for any conditions or catastrophes. There’s a limited amount of things to do. When ready, then enjoy and appreciate the forces of nature, the spume coming off tops of waves, the movement of the boat. The being there.

Don’t let the anticipation ruin the experience. Find a gap between. End the anticipation and anxiety before the experience. 

Enjoy the experience. What if you never get the chance to experience that again?

I’m talking to myself here, of course.

You can see from the satellite picture how desolate the landscape here is. Wide open country, wide enough shoulder, and gradual ascents and descents makes for great riding. 

Lovely downhill ride from the pass into Marfa. Now camping at El Cosmico, a combination of tent camping, fixed tents, yurts, and old fashioned trailers for nightly rental. We heard that this complex is soon being moved to a new space northeast of town and the owner is planning affordable housing on this site for employees of Marfa businesses. I’m always interested in housing solutions since it seems to be a National problem.

Marfa is a bit like Port Townsend, a hippy dippy small place. You can dine here with an $120 price fix, or ( like we did) an $11.00 fabulous Tex- Mex meal, although I suppose if I spent more I’d have less to carry on the bike.

It will be interesting to spend 3-4 days here waiting out the wind and snowstorms in succession. Should be more comfortable than our planned next stop- camping behind the library in Valentine, Texas.

Thanks for comments,

Sending love,


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