January 25, 2016 – Overcast, 50 degrees
Miles Today: 52
Miles to Date: 10,823
States to Date: 28
My couchsurfing host Miguel cooked me a remarkable Columbian breakfast and pedaled with me downhill to his lab at Texas Tech Medical Center, which is right next to my turn east on Alameda.
Alameda, also Texas Route 20, is twenty miles of dated motels turned rent by the week apartments, tortilla factories, nail salons, check-cashing outfits, pawn shops, empty storefronts, used car lots, muffler shops, transmission shops, body shops, and auto parts stores interrupted every mile by Dollar General or Dollar Tree or Family Dollar. The strip cleans up by the Wal-Mart near the Loop Road, where $1.51 per gallon gas was the cheapest I’ve seen to date on my trip. But it turns shabby again after the interchange with miles of scrap yards.
I was surprised to pass beautiful high schools in Ysleta, Socorro, and Clink among the assembly of stuff reaching the limits of human consideration. I also stopped to visit the stunning Mission at Ysleta, which is older than its California cousins.
Finally, the detritus of urban life gave out and I cycled through miles of pecan groves.
Still, I came upon more fascinating storefronts in Fabens. They reminded me how wonderfully idiosyncratic Texas can be. I hope to find more as I travel east over the next month.
Unfortunately, there was nothing notable in Fort Hancock, where even the Historical Marker describing the town’s namesake has been worn beyond legibility. I was the first, and perhaps only, guest at the I-10 roadside motel that doesn’t even have a name in front Fortunately, the chicken fired steak at Angie’s across the road lived up to its reputation as the best in West Texas.