Author Topic: Southern tier Texas portion?  (Read 448 times)

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Offline filip

Southern tier Texas portion?
« on: December 28, 2021, 05:04:11 pm »
Hi, thanks everyone for all the advice on my last posts! I'm currently on the Southern Tier in Las Cruces. Our end point is San Antonio (not directly on the route). We heard that much of the route through Texas is the same and the roads aren't great. Is that true? We are a little behind schedule and are considering skipping a section by taking the Amtrak. Is there a section between El Paso and San Antonio you guys recommend skipping/ has rough roads/ is boring? Thanks!!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Southern tier Texas portion?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2021, 05:23:59 pm »
Hi, thanks everyone for all the advice on my last posts! I'm currently on the Southern Tier in Las Cruces. Our end point is San Antonio (not directly on the route). We heard that much of the route through Texas is the same and the roads aren't great. Is that true? We are a little behind schedule and are considering skipping a section by taking the Amtrak. Is there a section between El Paso and San Antonio you guys recommend skipping/ has rough roads/ is boring? Thanks!!
I generally found Texas scenery uninspiring, but the roads while not the best weren't terrible.  In general it was a good place for knocking out long miles, meeting the local folks (actually mostly transplants from somewhere else), and sampling the local food.  Overall it was kind of all the same to me until Del Rio where it "greened up".   It looks like The Texas Eagle is pretty accessible all along the ST.  It is almost too much temptation to bail.  Probably better for most folks to not know it is so available so much of the way.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Southern tier Texas portion?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2021, 06:26:54 pm »
Our end point is San Antonio (not directly on the route). .... We are a little behind schedule and are considering skipping a section by taking the Amtrak.
I sort of enjoy PARTS of deep south Texas, i.e. from Marfa, head south to Presidio, then east along the Rio Grande to Big Bend NP (spend a day or two there) before heading north to Marathon where you can rejoin the route.  But that would actually add days to the route, not shorten it.

That said, you may be bored with the scenery on the official route as you will have already experienced it for the past couple of weeks. Plus the winds start to come out of the SE (partial headwind) once you get to Del Rio potentially slowing you down further or making it a slog.

Whatever you decide, be sure the station you are looking to board Amtrak at actually accepts bikes at that station as many stations do not along that route.

Tailwinds, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Southern tier Texas portion?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2021, 08:31:12 pm »
From Van Horn to Brackettville, US 90 is . . . . . long.

There are scattered services along the way, but most people have to rough camp.
One option that doesn't add significant mileage is to detour via Fort Davis and the Davis Mtns.
Left onto FM 505 7 miles east of Valentine, then Hwy 166 to Hwy 17 to Fort Davis & nearby state park.
Take Hwy 118 south to reconnect to the ST at Alpine. (My RWGPS maps are E-to-W)

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35663364

Another national park option with not quite as many miles is Guadalupe Mountains N.P.
A benefit of this option is you skip riding on Interstate 10. (I hate Interstate riding)
From El Paso head east on US 62/180 - traffic thins out quickly and it gets REALLY empty.
Cornudas Cafe is the ONLY service between eastern El Paso and the park.
(The park website mentions the Salt Flat Cafe - it is long closed.)
The park has camping and water (verify in winter) but only a little gift shop.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35672264
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35663575

You have to backtrack a few miles to get onto Hwy 54 south to Van Horn.
It really is a beautiful, empty road with distant mountain views. Zero services.
Van Horn is a tourist trap, however.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35663432

Clearly, the Guadalupe Mountains option is for folks comfortable and experienced with remote riding.

PS - There's very little public land in Texas.
So it is best to ask to remote camp if you can - like at Cornudas.
"Rest Areas" on US 90 are, at most, a pull-out and maybe a picnic table.
Still they are options for camping in a pinch - usually Texas Rangers understand.

PPS - Did I mention how long and empty US 90 was??

Pic - Scenic US 90





Offline bandaid-bob

Re: Southern tier Texas portion?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2022, 10:38:23 pm »
Hi,
I just rode a detour from Southern Tier into San Antonio early December 2021. Still in SA writing this actually. I followed 90 all the way from DelRio into SA.  Camping is available at Fort Williams RV park. I used hotel/air B&B also.
Traffic picked up a lot getting closer to SA, but the shoulders were almost always wide and OK.
Approaching Loop 1604 in SA is sketchy. I exited 90 then, got on the frontage road, and relied on Gmaps. Eventually the Leon Creek Greenway gave miles of safe, twisting riding to get where I needed. There is another Greenway, but you can search for its name.
Surface street riding in the parts of SA I witnessed is, um, sketchy.
Best of luck !