Friday, April 2, 2010

Camp Wood, TX to Fox Fire Cabins in Vanderpool, TX (39 miles) 3/31/10

As of yesterday, I was not sure I really wanted to attack these hills with the problems I was having with the blisters on my toes and especially my knee.  After icing my knee on and off for hours the night before, and taking a prescription dose of Advil, by the morning I decided to take it one mile at a time.  As you can see by this elevation map above, the zig-zagging elevation profile looks like an electrocardiogram gone haywire!  The circled towns are where we stay, so this map shows two days' worth of climbs.  Even through between 54 and 55 looks downhill, it is a series of roads that reminds me of big roller coasters!

There is only one town we will pass through today, Leaky (pronounced "Lay' Key").  We passed by "The Hog Pen" Cafe (that is SO Texas!) in favor of a small coffee/latte shop.  About the only thing they sold was coffee and some knick knacks.  Amy, of course, could not pass of an opportunity to try on an Easter bonnet to match her jersey!

This part of Texas is call, "Hill Country," and our first short steeps were awaiting us.  Carol Wilder, our ride leader, makes the distinction between "short steeps" and "long pulls," but those 1.3 mile long short steeps make it both when you are only moving at 4 mph!  It is hard to tell the distance in a photo, but all of those hills are not our Iowa rollers!

Of course, with the uphills, come the downhills, and our downhills were great except for the chip/seal road surface of Texas.  Our hands got another workout on our brakes, especially when the roads were winding, and we couldn't see what was coming!  It was still fun!

Near our destination town of Vanderpool, the views were spectacular.  Up near the top, there was a bump-out with a covered picnic table overlooking the valley.  There was a very large motorcycle parked at the top, and a very large motorcycle rider sitting at the picnic table...reading his bible.  That is a lesson in "Don't judge a book by its cover!"  Where else would be such a wonderful inspiration for that! 

I took a photo looking down into the Vanderpool valley, but I was not bold enough to take one of the solitary biker.

I stopped to take pictures, so I became separated from my group.  However, it was not far from the Foxfire Cabins on the Sabinal River where we were to spend the night.  There were several cabins throughout the camp, and we were assigned in small groups to each of the little cabins.

Everything is green and peaceful here.  Each of the homey long cabins under the grove of trees housed three of us in two bedrooms with home made quilts, and a living room with a kitchen.  There was no television, no phone or cell service, no Internet.

One of the cabins invited everyone over for a nice afternoon of sitting in the warm sunshine with some wine, cheese and crackers, and some good bonding time.  I even found one of the resident kittys to curl up in my lap for a kitty fix. 

That night Linda Baldwin was able to cook in a regular kitchen, so in addition to a great stew, she was able to make some home made bread that we all inhaled!

We were all tired after a long pull up those hills, and we had a second day coming up of even more short-steeps and more miles, so we went to bed early.  I left the window open, and fell asleep to the sounds of the frogs and the doves.