Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Today's pictures will be mostly trees and hills, since that's mostly all we saw today, with a few exceptions. I hope the pictures do the scenery justice, because it was breath-taking. Despite the route's difficulty today, with a rough road surface (Texas seems to use this surface for all its secondary roads) and more strenous hill-climbing, it was a spectacular day. It started out very cool; we had to use our jackets for the first time in a while. Although, it was bright and sunny all day, it never got scorchingly hot, mostly because there was a cool breeze all day, sometimes pretty gusty. For the most part, it was a tail or side wind so it wasn't too bad, but there were some hills where it met us head-on.
The hills were more frequent and more serious than yesterday and we had a longer day with fewer places to stop for food and rest. There was only one town, Blanco, at which we were able to find food to purchase so we had breakfast (actually, just a scone and muffin) and bought some sandwiches for lunch that we ate on the road later. We passed through two other towns, Sisterdale and Waring, both of which had interesting, historic features, but neither had restaurants. We supplemented our meager fare with trail mix during the day. Bathrooms are also a problem with so few towns to stop in and even though we were surrounded by trees along the road, they were almost always fenced off. It seemed that all the land along the route was privately owned, mostly cattle or horse ranches, and lined with no-nonsense fencing.
The land was different today, too, it looked like limestone - very white and crumbly. The trees, like yesterday were short, scruffy oaks, as far as we could tell. It was nice to get to the top of a hill and see over the tops of the trees nearby. As we progessed westward, the trees were spaced farther apart in many places, not densely packed as they were earlier. The hillsides and the vistas were beautiful. We didn't see many wildflowers. When we were in an RV park in La Grange, a fellow camper was complaining that there hadn't been any wildflowers in the hills because it had been so dry this spring. We found that hard to believe because of the blankets of wildflowers we had seen all along the roads in the low-lying areas (thanks to Lady Bird Johnson's efforts, we hear). Apparently, the flowers in the hill country is a major local attraction in the spring. But it was true, the flowers were sparse and the land was very dry. We passed by several dry creek beds, all at the bottom of hills and all preceeded by a road sign saying 'Watch for water on road'. Many of them had flood gauges by the road, with markers up to 5 or 6 feet. There were ditches at the side of the road almost continuously, many of them with major water drainage systems at all the road and driveway crossings.
Among the friendly people we met and talked with today were two fellow touring bicyclists. We met Joe halfway on route today. He was following the Adventure Cycling route the correct way (eastward) and was traveling extremely light (see picture below). He said he was doing 100 miles a day! Didn't sound like much fun, especially in these hills. When we reached our campground tonight, we saw another bicyclist pull in. His name was Mark and he was from Germany, doing his first cross-country trip in the States (also traveling eastward). He was going at a much slower pace than Joe. We had dinner together and heard lots of interesting stories of his trip so far. We finished the day at 63.9 miles in a little over 6-1/2 hours of bike time, starting at 7:45 this morning and arriving at 5:40.