Friday, 19 September 2014

Day 29: Carlsbad, NM - Del Rio, TX

Good choice by DJ Random: Somewhere In Texas ~ The Raveonettes
Bad choice by DJ Random: Feel Good Hit Of The Summer ~ Queens Of The Stone Age

It rained last night, y'see.  Apparently the area is on the receiving end of the remnants of a tropical storm which has wandered further inland than is seemly.  Or maybe it was a Pacific hurricane.  No matter, it started doing Big Rains at about 19:00 last night and was still doing so when I left Carlsbad at 07:30 this morning.  A rain almost as long as that of Queen Victoria ha ha.  In spite of this dousing, the driving through the stuff, the periodic negotiation of flooded roads and the jet-wash from passing trucks, the Mudstang remains resolutely filthy.  I can read the rear bumper from here and that's with my reading glasses on.  I may have to visit a car wash next week chiz.

US-285 south of Carlsbad is vile - narrow, bumpy and blessed with a high number of idiots driving in the foulest weather imaginable without lights on.  Overtaking is therefore impossible.  US-285 immediately after the Texas state line is similar, but with one important difference.

It is closed.

Either the news hadn't percolated into New Mexico or it had and the latter had decided that what happens in Texas is Someone Else's Problem.  At any rate, a large man in waterproofs designed to make him resemble a psychedelic fridge-freezer informed me that I needed to go east first to get to I-20.  I didn't much want to get to I-20 save that I had to cross it to get further south, but told Emily where to take me.

Even an Emily fully-educated in current road locations wouldn't be able to tell me where the rivers ran, but in spite of hopping around the local equivalent of "B" roads there was only one stretch which caused any concern.  Rule of thumb: if you can still see the centre line through the water you will not have any problems provided you slow down.  If you do not slow down you will go sideways, and crash.  This is a Bad Thing.

When I got back into Texas it was much the same only with higher speed limits. The towns are susceptible to standing water.  I had to refill the Mudstang in Monahans; the water around the "gas" station was deep enow to cause concern even to yahoos in duallies1, who normally drive over anything in their path.

It finally got better after Fort Stockton, which is inhabited by some of the worst drivers in USAnia.  The sun came out and the Stockton Plateau provided Scenery.  Not brilliant - on a par with some of the less interesting parts of Utah - but scenery nevertheless.  There were even corners of a sort, though I haven't actually had to brake for one since leaving the wiggly bits at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass.  Including the 90-right in the Alamosa one-way system.
Hills.  And a corner.  Wowsa!
I put the roof down when the above was taken too! Once you hit US-90 in Sanderson things get a little less interesting, but there is some Top Bridge Action to be had.
US-90 over Pecos River, near Comstock, TX
Also of interest is the well-graded dirt track running parallel to the road on its southern side.  It puzzled me for a bit, but it's there to allow the Border Patrol to trundle along at low speeds looking for Norty Mexicans without inconveniencing other traffic.  Mexico is only a couple of miles away across the Rio Grande (aka the Rio Bravo del Norte to those who speak Spaignish) but the nearest border crossing is about fifteen miles back up US-90.

So I'm in Del Rio as it was the nearest spot on the map "near" Big Bend National Park that looked likely to support civilisation.  The detour added a hundred miles and crossing into the Central time zone has cost an hour, so it is already dinner-time.  In retrospect it would have been far more sensible to spend two nights in Alpine but I didn't know whether my reservation for Del Rio had gone through due to the wonky Intarwebs in Carlsbad.

As an aside, I have had more issues with teh Intarwebs on this trip than any other two combined.  Last night it was fine up until shortly after I'd posted the Automatic Diary entry, after which it was up and down like a bipolar jack-in-the-box.  That in the Super 8 in Battle Mountain may have been a bit slow, possibly due to a preponderance of techno-weenies all uploading photos and blogging away like Trojans, but at least the thing stayed up.  I can only conclude that water got into the pipes yesterday and washed the Magic Smoke away, as Mine Host couldn't give me a receipt this morning, as it was still down.  Now watch him charge me for three extra nights while I'm three hundred miles away.

On liking X with that: You may, Constant Reader, be aware of the old piece of wisdom poetry concerning tomato sauce viz. When you shake the ketchup bottle / None'll come and then the lot'll.  You can therefore probably guess what happened when I was spicing up my dinner with a little extra ground chili tonight.

  1. A "dually" is a GBFO pickup truck fitted with two wheels at each end of the rear axle and, usually, with the noisiest V8 local arms limitation treaties will allow.

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