March 24 - April 12: Texas

4/2 - Campwood (52 miles 1273 total)
52 miles from ft. clark springs motel to the woodbine inn in campwood, TX
it was probably in the 40's this morning; it was nice not to have to put on so many clothes to start out. we had breakfast at the trailer, which means we got some of michelle's delicious multi-grain hot cereal in addition to all the other things we eat in the morning.
sari & i decided to do a little biking tour of ft. clark before we took off for campwood. it's such an interesting & attractive area. a woman out walking waved us down; we stopped & she came over to chat. she was interested in our bike ride, & she also told us more about ft. clark. she said she'd moved here from california & loves it. she pays something over $300 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment. it's in one of the original limestone structures; she says the walls are so thick that temps inside are pleasant year-round without much heating or cooling. an acquaintance of hers bought a house here recently----a 4-bedroom home for $25,000. quite a few folks who live up north have bought homes here to use for the winter months. what a unique area it is, & so well maintained.
we then headed out on the road, riding thru part of brackettville til we got to road 334. (they call them "ranch roads" around here, not county roads.) soon we were riding along some rollers, & near the dips in many of them, we'd see flood gauge signs, as in this photo. i can just imagine what happens when flash floods rampage thru this area. notice how pretty our road & the surroundings are.
a little further along we came upon anne & jane, who had stopped for a snack. we chatted for a bit, then along came michelle. in the photo are, from left, michelle (with the brand-new bright-red helmet she received in the mail yesterday), sari, anne, & jane. (yes, anne is still doing great. she'll get to st. augustine this time!)
jane told us she'd stopped to chat with a border patrol officer who was parked along a dry river bed. (again today we saw many border patrol vehicles on the road.) the officer said we were about 20 miles from the border. he said that border patrol officers in this area apprehend about 200 illegal aliens in each day's 8-hour shift.
as we biked along, we'd notice a few ranches here & there, & also some pastures of cows. then we came upon this small pasture of sheep. i couldn't resist taking this photo of all the lambs with their moms (& aunts & uncles); notice the black lamb. they almost looked like they were in training for a serta commercial. & surely if you're a sheep, being in a pasture filled with cactus can't be easy on your coat.
at about mi 30, we turned left onto state road 55. then those winds that had been facing us 'til then were mostly at our backs. the rough-surfaced texas chipseal pavement didn't exactly make it smooth sailing, even with the tailwinds, but it was sure an improvement.
about 4 miles before we got to campwood, we crossed the nueces river. we'd crossed it earlier today, but then there was no river, only river rocks. at this later point it was a very pretty waterway, as you can see in this photo. note the sunbathers on the rocks.
michelle & catherine had biked back to this spot after dropping off the van & trailer at the motel in campwood. they work so hard every day; they deserve a break, & this was a beautiful spot to take one.
supper was scrumptious: tortillas filled with chicken or leftover tilapia from last night (that's what i chose), black beans, cheese, slices of various colors of peppers, & salsa. there was a big green salad, & a salad made from canned corn, cilantro, sliced avocado, & a dressing of orange, lime, & lemon juices mixed with a bit of sugar.
in the foreground of this photo you can see the lovely fresh fruit plate we had for dessert....& the pecan pie. digging in, from left, are bryn, marilyn dehaan, sandy (savannah), kathy grubb, CJ, carolyn, anne, & jane. i can't tell beyond that.
at the map meeting, michelle said tomorrow will be steep ascents & steep descents, & only 40 mi long. we'll stay in cabins about 3 mi outside the tiny town of vanderpool. i think it's quite likely that i won't have a connection there, so there may again be a lapse in these web reports, as we're there for 2 nights.
after the map meeting, bev presented the BITCH socks to yours truly (mary p), with the acronym's new label being "Best Internet Tale-teller Cures Homesickness." i'm modelling the socks in this photo.
in closing today's report, i have an exciting opportunity to describe. cynthia walked down the street earlier this afternoon & stopped at "Dolores' Unique Designs--Texas Mohair Coats & Jackets," a very nice shop in the downtown section of this very small town (<1000 pop). cynthia told dolores & others in the shop about our bike ride to raise funds to fight cancer. dolores wanted to help, so donated a beautiful blue mohair shawl.
in this photo, dolores is modeling the shawl.
we riders are going to sponsor a silent auction for the shawl, with all proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund. if you'd like to make a bid (bids start at $80), please email me your bid (with the words "shawl bid" in the subject of your email) at the auction will close at 10 pm our last day in texas...saturday, april 12. (that is, all bids i receive in my email inbox by 10 pm whatever time zone i'm in that night will be considered.) i'll announce the winner on this web site on april 13.
here's more information about dolores & her mohair garments:
dolores vernor, a long-time fashion designer, has worked with mohair exclusively since moving to the United States from Tampico, Mexico, where she hosted her own television show featuring pattern design.
in 1990, she opened her shop in the texas hill country town of camp wood. among her many distinguished clientele are hillary clinton, u.s. senator kay bailey hutchinson, & former texas governor ann richards. each year, one of her creations is the official jacket presented to Miss Rodeo Texas. dolores' mohair coats were presented as incentive gifts for top mary kay sales directors.
mrs. vernor considers mohair to be a "hidden treasure" of texas & feels a strong responsibility to introduce the public to mohair's many attributes, such as its ability to adjust to body temperatures for maximum comfort, yet being very lightweight. mohair is the hair from angora goats. angora is the hair from angora rabbits. & sheep produce wool.
learn more about dolores' mohair products here.
p.s. dolores joined us for supper here in the motel parking lot. afterwards, cynthia walked dolores back to her shop. when cynthia returned, she brought a pair of men's mohair socks, which dolores wants to give to my son mark, who makes possible this web site. i'll give them to mark when i get back to iowa city on may 3..
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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