Cars used to be relatively simple – the VW bug is a great example, you can take the entire engine out with three bolts. As we stared into the guts of Germ’s Subaru in Junction, Texas looking at the smoking viscous mass that had spewed onto one of the catalytic converters (yes there’s two – twice pipes, dude), I realize that things are a bit more complicated these days.
Driving in West Texas is always an adventure. I-10 starts to look like a deserted (albeit big) county road, and the distances between towns get bigger the farther out you go. You have to do fun things like the cracker game to keep from passing out. So events like running out of gas, or breakdowns get a little nerve-racking, especially after you make that left turn down into the Big Bend. Hence our little Ft. Stockton layover. Ft. Stockton pretty much defines the pimple on ass end of no where. The mechanics at the shop we rolled up to were cool – turns out our viscous mass was just grease from a blown out CV boot – nothing to worry about. They’d have us out of here in no time, cause holy shit you wouldn’t want to get stuck in this town. “Come on, there’s got to be something fun to do,” I said. You’re looking at it they told me, as they rolled the car into the bay.
Man, that is bleak.
The purpose for our little jaunt west, was of course the Mas o Menos Marathon mountain bike race in Terlingua – 30 miles (or 60 depending on your stupidity level) of serious suffering through the Chihuahuan desert. Sand pits, Gravel pits, and a small hill at the end. It’s kind of like a bike tour of Tatooine. By about mile 20, it’s common to puncture your own tires, just so you can catch a breath. Really it’s quite fun.
Actually, what makes it fun is the crowd and festival atmosphere of the thing, what makes it worth 8 hours each way in the car. You can tell folks are hurting because attendance was down, and the vibe was much more subdued. Hopefully it picked up on Saturday night – it’d be a shame if an event that cool went the way of the the McRib.
At the end of the day, we actually had good races, Germ shaved 30 minutes of his time, I shaved 20, placing just above the halfway marker. Respectable and well worth the drive. And nothing can really compare to topping out that last hill, and staring out across the desert for fifty miles into mexcio.