Percha Dam, New Mexico

Gene picked a route out of El Paso. Instead of skirting the Franklin Mountains to the south as our maps would suggest, we were to plow right over the top of them. Exciting. We drank coffee and prepared our things.

The ride began early, so traffic was minimal. We escaped the dense tangle of freeways and headed for the hills. Gene and I rode at a quick pace. Steve dropped back a little. We climbed the mountains and reached the top to find a fantastic view of the city. Gene decided to continue with us for a bit. We descended quickly; my speedometer registered forty eight miles per hour.

Before long, we had reached the New Mexico border. It almost didn’t register in my mind. We were finally out of Texas. My God, I thought we were trapped there forever. We were moving through a new state. Texas was behind us. Wow.

Gene continued riding with us for a bit more, then finally peeled off to return to the RV park. He would end up riding about sixty miles that day. We figured we might do about the same, but as the miles flew by, we opted for a further stopping point. We were paced to make it to Percha Dam just before dark, a little over a hundred miles from El Paso.

Our pace changed when Steve got a flat tire. I was ahead of him and I received a phone call. Steve had borrowed the cell phone of a Mexican family whose driveway he had pulled into. I backtracked and helped change the tube. Now we would finiah in the dark. We covered ourselves with lights and continued in the dusk. Our last turn was onto a two mile dirt road, which was very difficult to navigate in complete darkness. At long last, we found the grassy campground where we could set up our tents and sleep. A tremendous rush of water was crashing over an unseen dam. The sound was soothing. We had ridden one hundred ten miles.