Texas: part 2

Odessa was the next stop, but not an exciting one. My throat was scratchy and no matter how much vitamin C, zinc or umcka I swallowed, the crud was coming for me. Thankfully my hotel room would be comfortable and I could write another post.

This is oil country. Midland, the next town over, posted signs boasting it as the home of George W. Bush. The route I had chosen to get to El Paso would avoid interstate highways and took me through miles upon miles of oil fields. Pumps bobbed up and down, drawing crude oil from the earth. I was surprised to see a wind farm in the midst of all of this. The juxtaposition delighted me. The possibility of being hit by a truck did not, so I did not stop to take pictures. There was an ironic absence of gas stations along this route.

At 150 miles into my day, my gas gauge was flashing a warning at me. My bike is fuel injected and doesn’t have a reserve switch. I’ve run out of fuel once in Portland at 222 miles with half as much luggage and after some spirited riding. Mental math: 222miles/3.7 gallon tank =60 mpg + 50 lbs more luggage and steady 80 mph riding.. guestimating conservatively at 50 mpg I should get at least 185 miles out of a tank.

I pulled into a rest stop on US-62, looked for gas stations on Google maps. There was a gas station about 50 miles in the direction I was going and another 20 miles in the opposite direction, but it was a Sunday, and out here businesses are closed.

Another motorcyclist on a Yamaha cruiser pulled in ahead of me, so I asked him about this gas situation. It sounded bleak. He recommended I ask the rest stop attendant for help. That fellow only spoke Spanish. I was getting nowhere until the other motorcyclist explained my situation. “He says he can fill your tank for $20.” $5.40 a gallon sounded like a better plan than running out of gas, so I handed over the cash, the attendant shuffled over with a 5 gallon gas can and poured at least 2/3 of it into my tank. It occurred to me to offer some fuel to the other motorcyclist, but he had already taken off.

US-62 brought me past the Guadeloupe Mountains, into a canyon with high winds, and out to what could have been a mirage, but was actually a body of water.

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I had more than enough gas to get to El Paso, so didn’t bother filling up again when I saw the turn off for the town where a gas station might be open. 40 miles later, my compadre on the Yamaha was standing on the side of the road next to his bike. “I ran out of gas!”

He’s driven this road numerous times, but this was the first time he had this issue. The NC700X doesn’t make it easy to find the fuel line, so we couldn’t just pop off a hose and fill a bottle. A man driving an SUV came over attempting to help, but really had nothing. Part of me wondered if this was some kind of scam until the Yamaha rider pulled a hose off his bike, dipped it into my tank, and desperately started sucking gas into his mouth and spitting it into a water bottle. Then the SUV driver mentioned there was a border patrol checkpoint about 10 miles ahead and they could provide a can and maybe some gas.

I couldn’t let this guy continue to slurp and spit gas knowing that. 20 minutes later, I was back with a gallon of gas and my compadre was on the road again. I had promised the border control guard I would return with the can, so I kept my word, and left for El Paso.

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