We have enjoyed the time with our hosts in Santa Fe a lot and even though we like advancing on our journey we could have happily spent more time with them.
Our plan for now was to cycle more or less straight to the border to Mexico. The vast area in between seemed to be mostly emtpy no man’s land. A last restday would be in Carlsbad to visit the Caverns since Sami is a huge fan of caves.
Since we had to cycle through the aforementioned no man’s land we had to adapt to this environment because a few times we didn’t come across a town for more than a day. This meant that we had to carry enough food and even more importantly enough water. Our usage depended a lot on the weather and ranged from 9 liters per day and person on a hot day to 6 liters when it was cloudy and cooler.
In the desert areas of New Mexico and Texas there was little change in the flora around us. Mostly there were small bushes and a variety of cacti. We were happy that most of the time we could cycle without having to climb much. There were few hills and no mountains we had to cross over and even the wind blew often in our favour.
Furthermore we encountered only few animals. A few times rabbits hopped around and even fewer times deer desparately tried to get away from us but were trapped on our side of the endless fence along the road. Closer to the Mexican border in Texas we saw many vultures that took advantage of the warm air in the evening sun to circle endlessly above the ground. The only troublesome animal we encountered was a little spider which we first noticed when it crawled into the cone of light of our torches one evening. The spider had long legs and a peculiar black backside and soon we realized that it must be the famous Black Widow. From this moment onwards we kept on spotting this spider everywhere when we were camping. Often there were nets in bushes or fences nearby but twice a more adventurous exemplar ventured out and hid in the closing folds of our panniers which both times was a very scary surprise. When we got the chance we did a little bit of research online and found out that Black Widows are a bit less poisonous than we had assumed. Usually their bite won’t be deadly for a healthy adult but it can lead to very serious side effects. Until now though we have managed to escape any (too) close encounters.
In the South of New Mexico and parts of Texas the landscape around us was changing less because of flora or fauna but more through the presence of the oil industry. All around us were refineries and pumps to get out oil and gas which made it sometimes difficult for us to find a place to camp since most areas were either occupied by this industry or otherwise fenced in. Once we spotted a pump that didn’t seem to operate anymore and another time we slept next to a water reservoir. Especially that second time we were fully expecting to be chased off by an angry employee or owner but luckily we could sleep in peace.
Funnily enough we had quite some rain even though the area we were in seemed to be a very dry one. On a few evenings we had some violent thunder storms passing through and were always thankful that our tent withstood the floods of rain and the strong wind blows. When we were visiting the Carlsbad Caverns one of the rangers explained to us that we were right in the middle of the monsoon season…
The Carlsbad Caverns were the last highlight for us before we arrived in Del Rio at the border to Mexico. Slowly we are saying goodbye to the United States of America and are looking forward to adventures in Latin America. After a ‘little’ detour of cycling through Asia Sami is now back on track of the formerly planned journey from Alaska to the South, but this time fortunately we get to do it together.
The United States were a fascinating country with many contrasts, weird politics and as a result often lifes that seemed strange to us with many peculiarities and even more wonderful people.