Day 23: Motoring

Marathon, TX to Langtry, TX
Date: 01/24/2013
Distance traveled: 116.52 miles (1368.25 miles total)
GPS tracks: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/266363341

There have been some long, empty stretches where there has been nothing around for miles and miles and miles. This section of road takes the cake. It was the absolute longest stretch on the trip without services of any sort. In the 115 mile span between Marathon and Langtry there is only one town worth speaking of – Sanderson. That meant that I had to pack food and water to last me for two 50+ mile stretches of desert. Now that the temperature has warmed up, that means I’m drinking a lot more. I believe I was carrying around 7 liters of water for each 50 mile leg, and I used every drop of it.


Shirley’s Burnt Biscuit Bakery

The first half of the ride between Marathon & Sanderson went really quickly – I had the wind at my back and was going downhill. I was also powered by fried pies from Shirley’s Burnt Biscuit. I was told I wasn’t allowed to leave Marathon without trying them, so I picked up 4 for the road. I was averaging 14 mph for the first 50 miles – it felt like I was flying!

So, naturally, when I got to Sanderson I made the call to keep going. The only trouble is that I got away late in the morning since I had to do laundry – the biking clothes needed a serious wash and I wasn’t able to get to it the night before. I didn’t roll out until 11am. That meant that I was making the call to do another 60+ miles at around 4pm in the afternoon. I knew I’d be riding in the dark and I was okay with that… after all, at 14 mph I’ll be there in no time, right?

Wrong. As soon as I left Sanderson the road went from fun & fast downhill to rollers. And the wind somehow had changed directions. But that’s okay… I was still having fun.

In fact, I had a really great 3 hour ride in the dark. It was a cloudless night with a nearly full moon. It was just me, a few truckers, and border patrol out there on the road. Most of the ride was incredibly peaceful and relaxing.


A picture of the campsite taken in the morning.

I got into Langtry (population 17) around 10pm. The best option for the night was to camp on the community center’s grounds. It was peaceful and out of the way – it turned out to be one of the better campsites of the trip so far because it was so quite!

3 comments to Day 23: Motoring

  • Tim

    Just looked at the satellite view of this leg. Man oh man, I can see the nothing. I've spent some time a bit north of where you were, and I have a sense of it. At the time I could never have imagined riding a bike there. I did notice on the satellite view a slight amount of green on the last half, but I guess it was dark by then. BTW, lots of the randos swear by night riding. They describe it just as you did.

  • David

    Kevin, I think this trip should be a movie or a miniseries or something. It is just incredible. I've been to many rough places around the globe and had some rough experiences (eg jail in colombia..) but I've never done anything half (10% more probably) as tough as this
    aces in my book

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