We left El Paso a little later than usual because of traffic in the city. But, it didn't take long to get on the Old Mission Trail (Rte 258). I rode by myself for a while, but then saw some folks at the San Elizario Mission. The mission was originally a Spanish presidio, built in 1789 and used to defend settlers from Apache and Comanche raids. It was eventually abandoned. It is said that the Spanish explorer Juan de Onata celebrated a Thanksgiving here in 1598, 23 years before Plymouth. Today, it is a beautiful mission church built from the ruins of the original presidio. My friend Maggie from Hawaii is sitting on the wall just in front of the church.
From the Mission, we rode on to Tornillo, with our main focus on a local restaurant, La Calesa. While the new owner (only 20 days on the job) was excited to see us, she had to call in her extended family and order more groceries to feed 28 hungry women. The food was outstanding. We also had an interesting experience at the school across the street, which will be in a special post.
From there, it was an easy 20 miles into Ft. Hancock. But, there are always flat tires to change. We do this whenever the need arises. It is heartwarming that these women support each other and never ride on if they can lend a hand or moral support.
Our destination for the evening was the Ft. Hancock Motel, only a small step up from Sheffield's. The good news is that I had my own room for the night. It seemed like a luxury, but I found that it was a bit lonely. There was no one to talk to and no one to look around in the morning and tell me what I had left behind.
Despite its questionable appearance, it is a favorite stopping place for cross country cyclists on the Adventure Cycling southern route, perhaps because it is the only one from many miles. We met two men who are doing the same route we are. Since one of them had a shirt that said Georgia Tech, I asked if he had attended there. Irv Hoffman graduated in 1960. Of course he had dated some women from Agnes Scott! When I told him I was from Metter, he replied that Robert Hulsey was a fraternity brother. What a small world. I called Bill later in the evening and he called Robert to tell him. So this picture is for you, Robert.
One unfortunate event occurred today. Ellee, one of our guides, fell in El Paso and broke her arm. She will be out for a few days, but will join us again soon. We are so glad nothing worse happened.