At the start of today’s ride we cross a bridge and I saw a small castle where a person could get lost. I don’t remember all the specs Ed quoted but it was massive.
This was a day of rain, rain and then rain, but to top it off I had another flat tire. This time it was the back tire and once again the rain had me load the bike up for the day.
Once at the hotel I replace the tube with a new tube. All was going great until I tried to put the wheel back on the bike. It turned out two pieces came apart and I couldn’t get it back together. Thanks to cell phones Kye found a bike shop in Abilene TX some 59 miles from Breckenridge.
The bike shop was called Biketown and had a mechanic set to repairing my bike. He looked at the bike and the parts and asked me for a missing cap which I had. He put it together with another part. With everything accounted for he had my bike back together in short order.
The owner Jim MacDonald would not hear about taking any money for the service. He wanted to know about the ride and about my other rides with Bike the US for MS.
I would recommend this shop beyond another one. Not only are they very skilled but they are also a very well stocked shop. You couldn’t go wrong doing business with this bike shop.
Ed and I were Boy Scout Adult Leaders for many years. I think we may have had more fun than our sons did.
They live on Lake Brownwood which is a great area with a lot of wild flowers. One pasture was covered with purple flowers.
Ed and Kay also had a lot of wild flowers in their yard also
Of course we had to do the typical rest day chores, laundry, trip to the local bike shop for a new back light and bike flag, but never leave out the much needed nap.
We had great food and it was fun going down memory lane(s).
We had a Mother Nature wake-up call. The geese, ducks, doves and turtle doves were competing to see who could make the most noise a little after 5:00 a.m. This was not was we had expected since were had set our alarms for 6:15.
We stopped at another donut shop in Llano. It seemed to be the hot shop in town. Then after filling the Navigator with gas we were off.
We continued North on Highway 16 for 32 miles to San Saba Texas. The shoulder was again narrow at best. Once we hit San Saba’s county line the shoulder improved greatly from almost nonexistent to 10′ wide. What a difference a county line makes.
We grabbed a quick snack at San Saba and headed toward Richland Hills on Highway 190. It was a good road and again with a good shoulder. The only concern was at the bridges where the shoulder disappeared. I would watch my mirror closely so I could time the oncoming traffic from my rear and cross the bridges safely.
Once we reached Richland Springs we turned north on highway 45. With a good south wind pushing me I made good time but there was some construction to tend with and the day was warm. When I would peddle the same speed as the south wind, it would blow and I really felt the heat. This highway had a lot of rolling hills to climb and this 33 miles stretch seemed to take forever.
Once we hit the Brownwood, Kye used her phone’s GPS and guided us right into Brownwood on the route my friend Ed Tally explained the night before.
We loaded up my bike and headed to Lake Brownwood where we will be staying with Ed and Kay Talley for our first official rest day. It is great opportunity to catch up with good friends.
The day started off with a stop at the Hometown Donut Shop in Johnson City. Since it is Sunday we were glad to find anything open.
Yesterday’s route review paid big dividends. Kye knew every corner and had rest stops ready when I got there. It was a beautiful ride in the back country Farm to Market and Ranch Roads. This section was 37 miles and we completed it before lunch. We grabbed a quick lunch at HEB because all the cafes along main street and immediate side streets had long waiting lines.
Then the ride along highway 16 began. There wasn’t much any shoulder and in most places there wasn’t any. There were some climbs but the wind out of the south helped out a lot since this route was mainly north.
The total ride was 80 miles.
We got checked into the camp grounds around 4:00 p.m. It is a nice campground but a good bit is under renovation. One happy finding is the showers that were supposed to be cold turned out to be lukewarm. The lake is also being upgraded and will be real nice once all the work is completed.
We called it a night about 8:30. We beat the ducks and geese to bed.
Day off. No riding.
We had navigation issues today. The address I had for the major rest area was correct but the GPS in my car took us completely to the other side of Austin. Once we got turned around we had wasted the whole morning.
We needed to get into Johnson City by early afternoon so we could drive the route of tomorrow’s ride. It will be taking us along a number of back country Farm to Market (FM)roads with a lot of twist and turns and a lot of intersections with other small FM roads. This route would have been very difficult for Kye to travel and it would have been difficult for me even though I had ridden the route from west to east when I did the Southern Tier in 2018.
With these precautions in place we should have a successful ride to Llano tomorrow.
We had breakfast at the Whataburger in La Grange. While we were getting the bike ready for the day the young manager came out and talked to us about the ride and gave me donation. That was very generous.
I felt a lot better today. The weather started out warm with a light rain and a light wind. The day started out by riding on the wide shoulder along the 4 lane highway # 71 from La Grande to Smithville. There was a lot of traffic but since the shoulder was wide and a great rumble strip I felt safe.
Then I moved to back highways with no shoulders or rumble strips. Again I felt good because the traffic was very light.
All was going well until about 25 miles outside of Austin when the ride ended for the day. My front tire went flat very fast. On top of that the clouds opened up with a heavy rain. I knew I had hit something big, which I later found out was a piece of metal.
I gave the greatest sag wagon driver around ( Kye Sook) a call to come get me. We loaded my bike on my car and headed to the bike shop in downtown Austin. There I got a new tire and tube so I hope that will allow me to make another full day of riding tomorrow.
I paid for yesterday’s ride. I was extremely tired and sour. Even though this was to be a short day at 47 miles I ended up only make 30 miles. Part of the reason was being tired and the second was the route I had chosen was not safe and or that very heavy traffic.
I hate to say I might be getting old but I would rather like to blame it on the poor training plan.
The day started out cold. It was 48 degrees when I rolled out to start the ride. We were surprised how many people were shocked that we were starting the adventure from our own drive way.
I took off at 7:30 a.m. with a full sleeved shirt under my jersey and full leg warming leggings. I also had on my rain jacket and not because it was raining but for warmth. I kept all these clothes on all day.
Not only was the day cold but there was a strong wind out of the north and of course most of the day was either into the north or northwest.
It didn’t take me long to determine I had not trained enough. Oh well I will just have to ride myself into shape. I has one major pass to climb but it wasn’t a mountain pass just an overpass and it was not major.
Kye was amazing right off the start. She passed me about 8 miles out of the first rest stop. Then she basically led me all day. She would stop and wait for me at each major corner and had plenty of supplies to feed me and keep me hydrated. I am truly blessed to have Kye there all the way.
Once we got to camp at the Stephen F Austin State Park the wind died down and it started to warm up. As I am writing this the temperature is 68 degrees and wind has completely died, I hope this holds.
The park is under major repair so there wasn’t a shower and only port-a-potties for our use. At least these were fairly close to our campsite, but not to close.
During the night we heard a lot of coyotes signing and that woke us up.
Tomorrow starts a 1000+ mile bike ride to my home town of Logan, Kansas. This is where my father and I were born and raise. Then on to Kenesaw, Nebraska where my mother was born and raised. It is always great going home but on a bicycle is another thing altogether especially at 69 years of age.
The theme of this ride is:
YOU CAN ALWAYS GO HOME AGAIN –
ON A BICYCLE ITS ONLY 1000+ MILES
The money from the donation tab goes to Bike the US for MS. All their organized rides have been canceled again this year but people with Multiple Sclerosis continue to suffer and need any help we can give them.