All I did today was get the Blog up to date, which wasn’t an easy task. Sorry for getting so far behind but with all the long days I was too tired or too lazy or both.
I will be ready to ride tomorrow especially sine Kye will be following me one more day to La Grange.
(Brandon’s Note) Today, we watched UT beat OU and the Astros win game two against the Cleveland Indians.
Today I repeated the training ride I made back in August. It wasn’t any easier, but I did know what to look for. The difference today was the water crossing in the Pedernales State Park was wet this time. It was slick so I took off my shoes and socks and walked my bike across. I couldn’t see any need in taking a chance of slipping and going down with so much left to do.
The hill after the crossing was just as hard as I remembered in August, but the traffic along W Fitzhugh road was a lot heavier. The steep climb after crossing Barton Creek was just as hard if not harder than I remembered from August. This heavy traffic continued all the way to the St Austin Catholic Church.
We did have a great stroke of luck when we reached the bike trail on the south side of City Lake. One of our riders made friends with a local rider who lead us thru the maze of people due to the Austin City Limit festival He made it look easy and he parted the pedestrians that were on the bike and hike trails and got us through the busy Austin streets. It was a blessing.
When I arrived at the church Kye and my son Brandon were waiting for me. This gave me great joy.
First thing on the list was getting lunch then on to the Full Todo list:
Get all my gear including my bike.
Go to Brandon’s house to get cleaned up.
Get a new replacement phone.
Go to REI to get a new air pad and rain coat (it looks like we could get some rain in the coming days)
Do Laundry ( Kye is spoiling me on this one)
and the list continues but after 14 days of straight riding REST is one of the top priorities.
Back on schedule, McDonalds for breakfast. Kerrville is the first town in a number of days big enough to have one.
My bike computer’s battery died so I didn’t have any idea for the last two days how far we had ridden or how fast (or slow) we were riding. It is amazing how much I depend on this information.
Although this was what I classify a longer day, it wasn’t as difficult as many others. The weather and wind were mild and the scenery was nice. We stopped in the lovely city of Fredericksburg, where we had our first meal at Subway. This is noteworthy because last year we had many lunch meals at Subway. The reason we stopped here is so Ed could get his glasses adjusted at the adjacent optical shop.
We then visited the local bike shop ( we have not missed many of the local bike shops) where I bought and new pair of bike gloves and some bike socks to go along with my Texas Bike Jersey.
The ride today was fairly easy, which made us happy since it was another longer day. Tonight we spent the night at the Methodist Church. They had a great shower. I haven’t mentioned showers lately but when we run across a nice one in a church, it is worth noting.
We also ventured down town, 3 blocks away, for a dinner of Chicken Fried Steak.
You might remember, this is the home town of a former President.
One thing of note. For the last 4 days I have not had an air mattress. My developed a leak so I have been sleeping on the floor or ground. One thing about sleeping inside, as we were in the church, the floors are very hard. I can’t wait to get to Austin so I can buy a replacement pad. I know, I am just soft.
Rain? Well at midnight it started to rain and I had not put the rain fly on my tent. By the time I had got out of my tent and located the rain fly, the rain had stopped but I installed it anyway because there was heavy cloud cover. All this for nothing since it never rained a drop after that. I guess mother nature was just pulling a trick on me and a number of other team members.
We stopped at the Camp Wood convenience store for a few snacks to carry us over until we reached Leakey, a must advertised breakfast stop.
Just a few miles outside of Camp Wood, we saw a helicopter flying over a ranch. We expected he was doing a deer count to verify the deer population on the ranch to see if they could extend their hunting season. While the helicopter was hovering on various parts of the ranch we saw a couple of what looked like water buffalo. I am not any expert on exotic animals, so they could have been almost anything. But they came walking down a path toward us until they spotted us and went back into the trees.
The ride to Leakey had one major steep climb and a couple of smaller climbs just to get our attention and increase our appetites. Once in Leakey we took an off the route trip down highway 83 to the Mill Creek Café for a great breakfast. The food lived up to its hype and the server was very pleasant and interested in our journey. Little did we know how much we were going to need all the energy this meal would provide.
Right after leaving Leakey we began our first of 5 fairly long and steep climbs. It definitely got our attention. Along this stretch of road we passed one of the major milestones of the ride. 19 miles outside of Kerrville was past the HALF WAY MARK of the ride! Our lead group surprised us at this point with grilled cheese sandwiches and either a Coke or Root Beer Float. It was great.
I didn’t stay long at this rest stop because I was expecting my first visitors of the trip. My friend Irena Gadek-Linn and her husband Tom came over from Junction to have dinner with me. Irena and I had worked together on the Keystone Pipeline project before she and Tom retired to a place just outside of Junction. We had a pleasant dinner catching up with each other on the banks of the Guadalupe River.
The church provided us with breakfast so we got a late start. Leaving at 8 a.m. on a 80+ mile day is always a concern, but all went well. The start of the day was cloudy and looked like a good chance for rain. My group got a little split up and it was to the detriment of some. The ones in the lead found the rain and got wet, but the group I rode with stayed dry. We could see the rain coming in but we were fortunate enough to find a road side picnic area that had a shelter. We just waited out the rain which again made for a longer ride in the afternoon but I’ll take staying dry over a early arrival any day.
Once on the road again, we made it to our first rest stop in Brackettville. There we were surrounded by butterflies. We had seen a lot of butterflies while riding the last couple of days but not like what we saw at the rest stop. One of the members researched this and found the butterflies were on their yearly migration to Mexico. Nature is amazing!
We also rode across the water crossing. We were able to navigate the crossing without any incidents. Some of the riders took this opportunity to get into the water to cool off.
We made it to Camp Wood and started looking for a place to eat. As we were riding into town we went by one place but we wanted to explore the rest of the town only to find that the one we past was the only one open, so back down the road we went. We had a great meal and asked where we could get breakfast in the morning. We were told the best place would be in Leakey about 20 miles down the road.
When we got to camp and got our tents setup we were told there were 2 washers and dryer, and they were free. We could pass up the chance to do laundry and the price was definitely right. Although this meant we would have to stay up past our normal bed time, it was worth it.
We started the day with a snack from our food cubbies so we could make it about 11 miles to Comstock. I had called the local hotel in Comstock last night to see if they had a café or convenience store. The gentleman told me the only café didn’t open until 11:00 a.m. but that there was a small store/gas station right across the street from his hotel.
There we met a very friendly lady that owned and ran the store. She said she was open everyday except for Christmas and New Years day. She had a fair selection of items which would hold us until reached our scheduled rest stops and later into Del Rio.
We had a beautiful ride as we approached and crossed the Amistad National Recreation Area. We crossed a long bridge which gave us a great view of the area.
We stayed at the St James Episcopal Church, which was very nice. We went to one of the members house for dinner where we were treated to a great meal. Their house was on the edge of Del Rio and while eating we were entertained by Wild Deer that also found a meal of grass.
This was a short day’s ride which we needed to get ready for two more days of 80 plus miles.