March 24 - April 12: Texas

3/31 - Lake Amistad (58 miles 1178 total)
58 miles from the historic outback hotel & bunkhouse in marathon ... but not quite to the lakeview inn near lake amistad, TX
this was to be a 110-mi day. i knew i wouldn't be riding 110 mi unless winds were favorable....which they weren't.
to top it off, the day started rather badly. michelle had done a great job at getting all the breakfast & snack items out on the tables very early so people could leave as soon as it was light. sari, roma, & i were all bundled up & wheeling our bikes out of the room shortly after 6:30 when sari noticed that her back tire was flat....or close to it.
she's never fixed a flat on her bike friday. catherine had never changed a flat on a bike friday either, & the back wheel is always trickier. plus bike friday's back wheel doesn't have a quick-release mechanism, so catherine had to dig under all the duffels that had been piled into the luggage trailer by then to retrieve the tool box.
michelle was all ready to take off riding her bike on today's route when she checked in to see how things were going, then she stayed to help. thanks to michelle's & catherine's skills & determination, the flat was fixed & the bike put back together in about an hour. this photo was taken near the end of the process; catherine is pointing to the 7-gear tatoo she earned with all her hard work.
so sari & i took off riding at around 8. it was nice biking for quite a while. here's a photo of the landscape, which changed very little all day. talk about wide open spaces!
sari had put on a pair of padded biking underwear....underneath her padded biking shorts. after a while, the first layer of padding was starting to chafe, so she decided to take it off. she found a spot down a slope somewhat hidden from the highway. since the ground was covered with burrs, she didn't want to lay anything down, so after she took off her padded underwear, she put it on her bike helmet.
here's a photo of sari in her underwear turban.
we had more traffic today than yesterday. & we had lots more hills than we expected; some were good-sized climbs. you can see both traffic & hills in this photo, taken at about 40 mi into the ride.
by early afternoon, the winds marilyn dehaan mentioned early this morning were blowing full-tilt.....i'd guess 25 mph or so into our faces. & they just never quit. sari & i decided we'd ride as far as langtry (60 mi into the day's ride); we knew the van would be there. (langtry has a judge roy bean visitors' center, which we didn't visit.) we knew we couldn't finish the remaining 50 mi before dark. we were saved 2 mi before langtry when catherine drove up in the van. we helped put our bikes on top & jumped on board, joining several others already in the van. mary (from boston) quoted a remark bryn made a few days ago when she congratulated a rider for "having an attack of common sense."
we drove along...feeling the winds buffeting the van somewhat...stopping whenever we came upon a rider to see if she wanted to sag. some did, some didn't. some rode for a while longer, but later sagged when the van or subaru came back for them.
catherine stopped near the end of the long, high bridge spanning the pecos river. several riders were resting there. as you can see in this photo, it's a striking scene...of the deep gorge, the cliffs of rocks stained various colors, & the soft green banks of the river way way down below.
you can't see them, but there were half a dozen of what appeared to be goats grazing on the other bank of the river; i have no idea how they got down there....unless they're mountain goats.
actually, only on this east side of the bridge was there any water in the river; it dissipated down to nothing under the bridge & downstream. there really didn't seem to be any reason for the "no diving from bridge" sign that was posted at the bridge's edge.
our vanful got to the lakeview inn around 4:15. we quickly unloaded the bikes from the van's top & the luggage from the trailer, then catherine went back on the route to pick up more people.
riders were coming into the motel 'til dark. there was a long bridge to cross just a short way from here; it spans the amistad reservoir. with the strong winds & very little space for biking on the bridge, many who crossed it said it was very scary.
supper wasn't served 'til after dark. here are karen & marilyn dehaan, 2 who pedalled every mile today, serving themselves the delicious salad & spaghetti we enjoyed.
later, after the map meeting, mary (from boston) passed the BITCH socks on to bryn. she explained that she (mary) had come on this trip thinking all you had to do was put a bike in "drive" & you would easily pedal down any road. bryn, early on, took the time to explain quite a few additional important aspects of biking to mary. mary, therefore, awarded bryn the socks with the new acronym label being "Bryn Is Teaching, Caring, Helping."
(in this photo, bryn is not really resting her chin on the top of a beer bottle, even tho' she did ride every one of those 110 miles today.)
tomorrow we're ecstatic to have a 41.5-mile day....all the way on US 90 to fort clark springs. we hear we'll have winds again, but at least not as many miles of them. & since the winds tend to go into high gear midday, we'll try to be quite a long way into our ride before they get too ferocious.
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me with your request, and I'll save your note and get back to you after the ride. Stay tuned....

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