El Paso, Texas is not a particularly wealthy or attractive town. However the El Paso region boasts the oldest, continually habitated, European settlement in North America. Coupled with Cuidad Jaurez, it constitutes the largest bilingual city on the world. Conversations fluidly and continually bounce from English to Spanish and back again. The University of Texas at El Paso is the place where NCAA basketball became integrated. El Paso is a Hispanic city, where Anglos constitute a minority. The city feels safe and racially removed. While enjoying an evening ride and meal with the local bike group, I was oblivious to the fact that Anglos were an oddity. What a friendly and lovely place! America could learn a lot from El Paso.
Today I enjoyed the beautiful missions of the Rio Grande with their rich traditions stretching back almost 400 years. Here adobe is still sometimes used as a building material. The sense of history is deep. The California missions are late comers by comparison. Thereafter, I left the comforts of community with a 72 mile segement into open and empty expanses. Services are few and far between with long pedal following long pedal. Time to see if my equipment is reliable, and if my fitness is adequate.