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Start: Outside of El Paso, elevation 3800 ft, across Sierra Blanca 4,800 ft. End: Van Horn, TX elevation 4,000 ft (total ride aprox 100 miles) Because of the unusual snow conditions in El Paso, Brandon drove Frank to the freeway outside of El Paso to avoid hazards of navigating the on and off ramps among the Thankgiving travelers rushing home Sunday. At the start the roads were not good and the weather was still very cold (probably not above the 40's today) as Frank headed up the hill to the Sierra Blanca summit the road was much better but it was still very cold. Finally he made it down to Van Horn. This was a long ride which almost ended before before reaching Sierra Blanca under a bridge Frank was considering using for shelter tonight. After trying to set up camp he realized he would not be able to warm up here, so motivated to avoid a night in sub freezing temperatures outside, he got back onto the bike and rode another 25 miles to Van Horn. The last part of the ride before the summit was in the second to lowest gear, still not as bad as Day 3 coming out of Las Cruces but tough enough in the cold. Basically today was two bike trips in one day. Once in Van Horn Frank found the motel he was looking for ($29 motel he was referred to by the Super 8 operator after Frank asked if there was a really cheap place to stay overnight). When I spoke to Frank around 6 pm he had just arrived and was hoping that standing in front of the heater would thaw him out - eventually.
I asked him how his shopping for cold weather gear had gone the day before, he told me about a pair of boots (army boots I think) that Brandon had bought for him on base (Ft.Bliss). Naturally I asked "Frank, are you riding your bike in army boots?" he responded "oh yeah, I have to in this weather, I had to get rid of my sandals, I am from the desert - this place is really cold"
If you had not noticed before, Frank was riding most of the time in a really comfortable pair of sandals which I believe are now safely in the bottom of his panier bags - cold storage.