Leaving Texas and entering New Mexico, from Van Horn to Fort Stockton, from Fort Stockton to El Paso, and from El Paso to Las Cruces, has included some of the most pleasant–dare I say, easy–parts of the tour. These three days have had some of the shortest distances but we have also had our fastest speeds and a lot of interesting roadside views to keep us entertained. We spent the better part of the previous week riding through what’s called “hill country” in Texas (and we know why), so I suppose the past few days have been the payoff of those 2,000-4,000 foot daily climbs. From Van Horn to Fort Stockton we went downhill (1,000 feet) most of the way, the shoulder of I-10 was beautifully paved, and our average speed was 14.3 MPH. The next day we rode almost the whole way, 56 miles, along the Mexico border, passing through towns that felt more American than Mexican and then others that felt more Mexican than American. We rode with views of the Rio Grande, mountains, ranches, and the way we went, route 20, was empty for a few hours so we had the whole lovely flat paved road to ourselves. El Paso was sprawling and made up the last 12 or so miles of the ride. We went from two towns of less than 500 to the behemoth 500K+ El Paso in just 2 days. We saw old El Paso, with a pueblo feel, and then so much sprawl it felt like we’d never see a downtown. Leaving El Paso was the first time we had hills in a few days, but after the first few miles of hills, we had a bike path along the Rio Grande for 8 miles, it was a strange zone, that was not technically under the US or Mexico’s domain, so we were technically not in any country, or under any country’s protection that is, for those miles. Then we had a few miles of shade as, for the first time since Louisiana, the trees were tall and wide enough to give late morning shade. The whole way was also nicely paved and once we left El Paso we also had almost no traffic. Just before entering Las Cruces, we went through a pueblo called Mesilla, very beautiful with interesting old buildings. A mile before reaching our hotel we stopped at a drive-thru with frozen custard and root beer floats, which everyone on Yelp said is a must-visit in Las Cruces. They were delicious, but they put pineapple in their cole slaw–I don’t understand!