Welcome to carbonstories.org. On this site you can learn about Michael Johnson-Chase and follow my blogs. With some exceptions, this site follows "theme based" cycling tours focusing on social and climate related issues. Slowed down observations of the world over days, weeks and months at 10 to 15 miles an hour can reveal a depth and quality of understanding about our environment often missed by faster modes of travel.

Southern Tier, Post 17

Day 19, Post 17: A day off from cycling in Marfa, TX. It's a good thing too - I was bushed and needed some down time. There's a US post office in Marfa but no UPS or Fed Ex. I haven't used my laptop in this trip at all, so I took a plunge and decided to send it back via the USPS. One thing about Marfa during the Marfa Myth festival (I got the festival name wrong in yesterday's post) and Spring Break and the annual retreat of locals from Austin to somewhere further away during South by Southwest is that there are way too many people needing stuff and too few around provide it. I've never seen somewhere so far from anywhere be so full of people from everywhere. So it took me 90 minutes to pack my computer and mail it at the post office. If I needed bubble wrap - wait in line. If I needed strapping tape - another wait in line. I have no reason why so many people from Marfa needed passports today, but the one clerk working at the USPS had to process 7 of them during my waits. And then entrusting my computer to the US mail? Well, I was queazy about it, but off went my laptop. It'll be interesting to see if it arrives. Why my uneasiness? Well, twice last year I sent a check from Manhattan to Brooklyn and each time the letter took 60 days to arrive. I sent the computer priority mail though, so I'll know if my beloved computer arrived home safely in a week or so. Or not.

I didn't mention that I, and the 3 fellow cyclists I am currently traveling with, got ourselves a suite at the local hotel that featured a bedroom, walk in closet, walk in shower and bath, 2 toilets, 3 sinks, a dining room, a kitchenette and a living room. And because we talked the establishment down we only paid about $85 each. Beyond my budget, but it was fun. Tonight, to round off our stay, we'll stay at El Cosmico, a local RV park, for $16. Now, that's more like it! Seriously though, experiencing a range of accommodations are one of the many things that make an adventure like this so much fun.

Tomorrow we'll ride through Alpine and on to Marathon, TX. In theory, cyclists sometimes rent a car for the day in Alpine to see Big Bend but because of spring break, no cars are available. A cycling detour to Big Ben would be - at minimum- a rushed 4 day trip. So instead I am promising myself a return trip. Southwest Texas is quite remarkable, and deserves more time....

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Pic 1, County Seat on the main drag in Marfa.

More to come,

Michael

Southern Tier, Post 18

Southern Tier, Post 16