Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Navasota, TX Rest Day April 7, 2010

This morning Carol packed up five bikes that needed repair in the next town.  She and Linda took them in on our day off today.  Those five people are really grateful to get their bikes back into shape for tomorrow's ride!

 Today it rained most of the day.  Good day to clean and lube gears, cogs and chains!

I had been looking forward to this rest day, not only because it was nice to have time to catch up on my blog, but because I am going to be visited by Kori Hardy.  We met Kori back when we shared a deck at our condo in Eagle-Vail, Colorado.  Over the years, we have spent time having dinners, drinking wine and relaxing in the evenings with her and her family while we are out there, ski season and summers.  She lives in Pearland, TX, which is 90 minutes away from Navasota.  She brought her 6 month old daughter, Ellie, who was born since we last saw her.

We drove over to College Village, the next city over, home of Texas A&M.  We had a nice lunch in one of Kori's favorite places.

It was great fun to see Kori and Ellie.  Kori has a great sense of humor as evidenced by the sticker on the back of her mini-van!

I am hoping that Kori and her family will decide to come up to Vail over our annual 4th of July trip to Colorado for hiking and fireworks.

We went out to dinner tonight, and the sky looked pretty ominous! Prediction, however,  is for a high of 72 tomorrow and sunny for our 73 mile jaunt to Cleveland, TX.

Tomorrow will be 75 miles to Cleveland, Texas.

La Grange to Navasota, TX (69 miles) Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today started with a treat...literally.  Our group met a woman, Arza Funk, who is originally from Isreal.  She and her husband enjoy biking, and Amy talked to her about  joining WomanTours for the cross country ride some day.  Arza had such a wonderful time with us, she promised to provide coffee and Kolaches early on our route today!  She set up outside the gate to their ranch, and we all stopped.  She had some beautiful Long Horns, too.

Sabra is also the name of the prickly pear that grows on the cactus plants here.  That is also why they have the Sabra pear on the gate.

We stopped in the town of Independence at the Lueckemeyer-Bentke Store.  Its 1939 facade is built to look like the Alamo.  It is a small grocery store, and in the back is a large room with tables and a very large flat screen TV!  We purchased the pre-packaged sandwiches and took them outside to eat on the benches.  We were joined by two local dogs.  It was hard to tell if they wanted food or just some friendly attention.


We were seven miles from Navasota and Mike had a flat!  It took three changes of tubes to get one that worked.  While this was going on, Barbara McNary rode up all by herself!

Before getting to Navasota, we had two long and narrow bridges to cross, the first on the Brazos River, the second the Navasota River. We tried to get across in between traffic breaks, but they always caught up to us. Mike, Alayne and I went across these two-lane bridges (with no shoulder) with our left arms waving, effectively stopping the traffic behind us!  The Texas drivers were patient with us, and we waved with a "thumbs up," thanking them for their consideration.

As we rolled in, we caught up to Sue and Pam, and there in front was Barbara!  She lead the pack into the Navasota Best Western!!  Go Barbara!! 
We will stay two nights in Navasota, TX, for our rest day.

Bastrop to La Grange, TX (41 miles) Monday, April 5

We started out the day entering the Balstrop Park only a few miles from our motel.  It was like stepping into another dimension.  We went from the town of Balstrop, to a dedicated state park.  There was no traffic, beautiful woods, and (at first) gently rolling hills.


Well, we needed a good workout for the morning, right?  lol!  It was really beautiful.

As soon as we exited the park, we were back to reality.  The roadsm,  we were on were pastures and fields of flowers.  The flowers only blossom in the spring, so the Texans are just about as happy about them as we are!

Although it seemed that we missed Easter, we had reminders of the season along the way!

This cow was just too cute!

We rolled toward La Grange, and we started to see oil wells and interesting signs.

I think the ride was tiring today because we were still worn out from the 93 miles yesterday!  But I thought it was nice of La Grange to put out such a nice welcome sign for us on their water tower!

Tomorrow will be 69 miles to Navasota.  'Hope we will outrun the rain that is predicted for late afternoon!

Blanco to Bastrop (93 miles) Sunday, April 4th

The weather for Blanco was predicted that there was a 20% chance of rain.  As it turned out, they did not account for the constant mist and drizzle that followed us for most of the day.  Fortunately, it was not cold, but it was an element we had not had to deal with much on this trip,  We have been very fortunate that way.  The worst part of riding a bicycle in the wet is the mess it makes of the bikes!

It is difficult to take pictures when it is so wet, so there were not any taken in the morning.

The other element is mental.  Looking forward to 93 miles, including hills, can be daunting.  There were few shoulders, but there was little heavy duty truck traffic to deal with.

At one of our Sag stops, two riders rolled in and introduced themselves as Barbara McNary's son and daughter-in-law!  They were riding twenty miles out and then turned back to Blanco where they parked their car.

At our 62 mile mark we rode through the town of Lockhart.  It reminded me of many of the Iowa towns of Ragbrai.  The court house is in the middle of the square with the shops around it.  The architecture was amazing.  The memorial in front was a reminder that we were, indeed, in the South!

We had 30 miles to go, and although the mist/drizzle/rain had ended, but there was some road surfacing we had to deal with.  The sign stated, "Caution  Textured pavement ahead."

They weren't kidding.  It lasted only a few miles, on and off, but it was very difficult to ride on!  Later, we learned later that Pam had fallen on this surface, and got a terrible road rash on her left arm, fingers and shoulder!  She rode in to Bastrop those last 15 miles anyway.  Since it was Easter Sunday, of course there were no clinics open, so Carol had to drive her to the nearest E.R. to get the rocks and sand cleaned out of it.  (e-e-e-w-w!)  Pam has been a trooper through all this, never missing a mile (or a smile) yet!  Looks like Pam will be our only E.F.I. (every fricken inch) rider!

A sister of a friend of Mike Sandifur came by with champagne to make a celebration for us that evening.  She thought the 93 miles was pretty amazing!  And who are we to turn down champaign!  Lynn Kalifeiz helped by popping the corks high across the parking lot!

Tomorrow we head out from Bastrop to La Grange, TX.  It is only 41 miles, but by now we become suspicious of those short days...they are usually challenging!  We shall see!

Kerrville to Blanco, TX (65 miles) Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dave rode with us from Kerrville to Blanco.  (above)  The first twenty miles were great.  The road was smooth, the scenery was wooded, and the hills were few.  On the way we saw many fields of Blue Bonnets, the Texas state flower, as well as Long Horn cattle, Cypress trees in a river, and creative ranch gates. 

Then Dave experienced the combination of hills and chip/seal road surface!  He also discovered the meaning of Texas Hill Country!
 It wasn't long before he had a mirror that shook off, and developed some interesting rattles in his frame! Then the handle of his front brake shook loose!

We stopped in Waring, a tiny town with an old convenience store.  The gas pumps had not been used in years because the prices read 22 cents for a gallon!   We also saw Mike, Alayne, Sue, and her visiting boyfriend, Bob.

The entry below is from Dave's point of view.  He wrote it himself!

The day came with a little apprehension. I am about to ride a bicycle with my wife for a day. This has been done many times before so what is the big deal? It is only a 64 mile day so, not a problem. We have done much longer rides and Rita already has 1500 miles over the past month on this journey so it should be a walk in the park. So off we go!!

During a short climb on fresh legs the road seams a "little bumpy". Soon I look down at my mirror to see what I hear behind us and the mirror has all but fallen off from the vibration! So I spin it around a few times and get it tightened up only to have it loose again in a half mile. Welcome to "chip seal" road resurfacing. I stop, remove the mirror, then push hard up the remainder of this hill to catch up to "the girls".

As we settle into a nice rhythm with Mike leading the way, the weather is 45 degrees with light clouds and sunny. After a fast 20 miles I am wondering what all the fuss about how bad the road surfaces are and how steep grades make the hills difficult? True my fingers are a little numb from vibration at times, but as it turned out this was the nicest road surfaces we would have and the best the gals have had since entering Texas.

The rest of the ride became more demanding with long up-grade climbs that did not look daunting but were very taxing your stamina. Some of the road was fairly smooth, but a lot of it was very coarse and the vibration was not pleasant.

We stopped at an old gas station that is now just a refreshment stop, and then a Winery for a break. At this point I was definitely feeling my out of shape winter legs. The next stage of the trip was a lot of long up-grade climbs again. I began grinding these slower and slower as the wind had also picked up a bit. The temperature was now pushing closer to 80 but did not seem to be a factor in my fatigue. In my head things were ok but my legs had other ideas.

Rita had backed off Mike's pace to "stay with me", and the rest had also slowly disappeared over a hill at some point. At about 52 miles in the middle of another up-grade my legs said "no mas" and I called out to Rita I was stopping. It was frustrating because my quads did not hurt, they just had no energy left! It was about now I was wishing I had the extra set of tiny gears for hill climbs.

My Sweetheart walked with me to the top of the hill then we rode to a spot of shade and took a break. That was the "last worst" climb, and I managed to ride the rest without major incident.

Thank you Dear, for slacking back with me the last 15 miles :) Boy what a reality check! Anyone who thinks there is any exaggeration as to the reported riding conditions I am telling you first hand that is NOT the case! My hat is off to all the riders on this trip. And I must take a humble position as the Second Best Rider in my family to the Love of My Life, Rita.


Along the way we also stopped in Sisterdale, where there is a winery.  We went in, had a sip or two, and bought some wine (the Sag was there to carry them).  These were birthday presents for our daughter-in-law, Jen.

 Along the route, we rode under this old bridge.  Later, the van came through with the riders who were sagging and their bikes.  You can see below the problems they had getting through with all the bikes on top!

We arrived in Blanco, TX around 3:30.  We were able to go to "Bungalo on 9th", a part of the motel across a side street from where the rest of the group was staying. 

After showers, we joined the group for one of Linda's delicious dinners.  Alayne Evens' sister, Karen, came to visit her, and Carol Wilder had her friend, Lang, from their Navy days stop by, too.
Amy Derwinski was visited by her aunt and uncle, too.  The Kerrville/Blanco stops were our half-way stops in the entire trip.


Tomorrow will be a 93 mile ride to Bastrop, TX.