March 24 - April 12: Texas

4/1 - Brackettville (43 miles 1221 total)
43 miles from the lakeview inn near amistad reservoir to ft. clark springs motel at the edge of brackettville, TX
when we looked out early this morning as light was coming into the was still windy. the winds never subsided much last evening & they were still at it. a local fellow who stopped by this evening said march is notorious for strong winds in w. texas.
this morning it was coolish, but not as cold as it's been mornings recently. we wended our way over thru del rios. some stopped at walmart to buy postcards. there were some loose dogs near the road on the east outskirts of town. i did my meanest NO yell & a big black dog that had chased marilyn boger ahead of me backed off.
a bit further along we noticed that there was steady traffic of planes overhead. shortly we came upon a roadside marker indicating we were biking alongside laughlin air force base. since the early 1900's, the flat terrain & mild climate here has drawn aeronautical activities. we saw many types of planes today, including sleek, needle-nosed ones that reminded me of the photos i've seen of stealth aircraft (perhaps that's what they were).
here's a photo of sari taking a photo of one of the planes that were continually flying overhead.
border patrol vehicles were very much in evidence again today. it's no wonder, as we're riding very near the mexican border.
about 10 miles on east we came upon the subaru; we filled our water containers & enjoyed some snacks. all along we'd noticed expanses of trees covered with golden blossoms; their heavy, sweet smell filled the air. frances says they're mesquite trees.
here's a photo of the group at the subaru in front of one of these trees. from left are roma, CJ, frances, marilyn boger, & sari. in the background you can see hwy 90, where we again spent all day. it has a wide shoulder (even tho' the surface is often rough "texas chipseal"), & traffic isn't too bad.
we noticed large clumps of mistletoe hanging in the tops of many trees along the roadside. sari tells me they have that in california, too. evidently mistletoe is a parasite that can take over a healthy tree & kill it. here i thot mistletoe had only a good connotation.
in this photo of some of the flowers we enjoyed all along the roadside, you can tell how drastically different today's landscape is from yesterday's. everything's so green today. we understand that the flowers will be more & more numerous as we ride on into the texas hill country the next couple of days.
what a unique place ft. clark springs is! the area was used as a military post since its establishment in 1852 until 1944, when full mechanization of he cavalry caused the government to close fort clark, one of the last horse-cavalry posts in the country.
in 1971 the area was developed into a private recreation & retirement community, today encompassing about 2,700 acres. a large spring still feeds Las Moras Creek, as well as the adjacent large swimming pool, with 68-degree year-round temps. 3 bikers went swimming there after riding today.
when we left hwy 90 & turned into the ft. clark area, we had to ride through a manned (actually, womanned) checkpoint station. we then rode across the bridge that crossed Las Moras Creek. a sign at the bridge said that all our sins would be washed away when we crossed the creek. my, that was easy.
there are beautiful areas for campers, picnickers, fishermen, hikers, RVers, & birdwatchers (the area is designated a bird sanctuary). fort clark was entered on the national register of historic places in 1979.
in the background of this photo of me talking on the phone this afternoon, you can see one of the beautiful limestone buildings that are everywhere here. our motel is a former barracks, tho' the rooms are updated & very comfortable.
in fact, you get a glimpse of the front of our "barracks" in this photo of rita i took near suppertime. rita had the misfortune of getting bitten by a dog this morning near del rios. she was very upset, especially since one of her main fears about coming on a bike ride like this was getting bitten by a dog. as you can see by her thumbs-up sign, however, she's feeling fine, & the teeth marks on her right ankle are almost imperceptible.
sheriff's officers were quickly on the scene this morning after the incident, & the dog has been quarantined. officials will contact rita via michelle in 10 days with info on the dog's rabies status. in the meantime, rita will be biking.
dinner was fabulous. michelle sauteed tilapia fillets & made a delicious potato salad with a non-mayo dressing. catherine put together a scrumptious kidney bean/broccoli/onion/garbanzo bean salad. we had small slices of bought pecan pie for leftover chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, & vanilla wafers.
sari was reminding me later that tilapia is one of the "best" fish to eat---both healthwise & environment-wise. as are salmon & red snapper (plus others she can't remember). fish like chilean sea bass, orange roughy, & atlantic cod are so overfished that they're becoming endangered.
at the map meeting michelle warned that we'll have to be alert tomorrow because we finally turn off hwy 90. she further said that winds are forecast to continue, but if they continue blowing from the south/southeast, they'll give us a push northward to camp wood. oh, we hope so.
after the map meeting, bryn announced that she was passing the BITCH socks on to our most senior & most athletically talented rider, bev (perhaps you remember that we all helped bev celebrate her 70th birthday in san diego the day before this tour started). bev is one of the hardy riders who completed 110 miles into those strong headwinds yesterday. bryn said the acronym signifies a century of Biking In Texas' Continual Headwinds.
sandy made an additional socks presentation this evening. some time ago, she & vicky ordered a pair of socks from a catalog for patty (nicknamed monty--she's from montana), in recognition of the way patty is showing such grace when dealing with a son serving in the marines in iraq right now.
here's a photo of bev (wearing her "grannies from hell" biking t-shirt) & patty, each with their new pair of socks.
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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