March 24 - April 12: Texas

4/5 - Kerrville (52 miles 1366 total)
52 miles from the foxfire cabins near vanderpool to the Y.O conference center in kerrville, TX
first of all, back to last night. after our map meeting at 6, loralee passed around 2 large plastic bags full of delectable brownies that her daughter had baked & sent to us. wow, they were good. many thanks for the treat! in this photo, from left, are several of us enjoying the brownies; from left: carolyn, vicky, becky, elaine, & mary (from boston).
as for today, we didn't want to leave our foxfire retreat, but by 7 or so, most of us had saddled up & headed out. today we took a different route to kerrville than the route described on the adventure cycling maps (which we usually follow). we biked back thru vanderpool (there's more to it than i thot---a good half dozen houses/buildings, including a volunteer fire dept/EMS building). we soon turned north on farm road 337 to medina.
at about 7.5 miles into our day, we started up the steepest hill of our route to date. i'm sure the grade reached at least 10%. the hill was about a mile long; sari said she noticed her climbing speed was 2.9 mph.....which can make a mile a pretty long distance. we were sweating buckets as we climbed. i suspect lance armstrong (who used to train in the texas hill country) would've climbed faster.
once up that hill, we had a long stretch of gentle hills rolling through a magnificent landscape. this photo gives you an idea of the beauty all around us. there was a lovely ranch nestled there amongst those lakes. notice the fence; we've really enjoyed looking at them. all sorts of sticks are used....not neatly trimmed, uniform fenceposts. & then there's the ubiquitous prickly pear.
a bit further along we came to a stretch where it appeared some group was creating an historic village. in this photo, notice the piles of boards, which clearly had been taken from a very old building. on the left & right are cabins being constructed from those boards.
we've been on the lookout for days for texas long-horned steers. a few of us have spotted some already, but i hadn't. today we came across a pasture with a few cows in it, including the forboding-looking fellow in this photo. mary (from boston), the long-horned-steer whisperer, sweet-talked this critter into posing for a photo.
as we neared medina, about midway in today's ride, a long stream of cars came toward us as if in a parade. we noticed they were all little BMW convertibles. later, lennis told us she'd counted 34 of them. the beautiful weather on a saturday brought out lots & lots of motorcyclists, too. that's sure popular transportation in this neck of the woods.
we had 2 steep uphills today (the 1st one being that very steep hill near the beginning), & 2 steep downhills. here's the sign posted at the top of the 2nd downhill. the hairpin curves on this descent were very tight. now they're getting down to my descent speed! no doubt bryn broke the speed limit on her way down. she told us yesterday that the day before, she had sailed down the very steep downhill just south of vanderpool at 49 mph. yikes.
today is lennis' last day with us. she'll fly home to california tomorrow. today she wore her ladybug t-shirt & knee socks. here's lennis with frances, our other sag driver. frances was wearing a new pair of socks herself....those orange ones. frances will stay with us as a sag driver when our new sag person, patty fainer, joins us on monday for the rest of the trip. (sari & i know patty from our 2000 transamerica ride, when patty was a rider, not a staff person.)
we could tell when we were nearing kerrville. it's a town of some 20,000 people & seems to be quite spread out. we've been so spoiled in tranquil places like vanderpool. now we're back to reality.
we'd been alerted about a bike shop in town. by the time sari, marilyn boger, rita, & i got there, most others had left. the staff was so helpful. one of them replaced all my brake pads (if there's one thing i really need, it's well-functioning brake pads!) & a brake cable. other riders had various bike problems fixed, too. we really appreciated all the work they did on our bikes, & so quickly. if you're ever in the vicinity, you'll want to look them up: hill country bicycle works.
from the bike shop we made our way thru town to the Y.O conference center, a large motel complex. there are lots of women here for a conference now; i could tell from the name tags these women are wearing that the conference is titled "women with passion & purpose." what a coincidence! sounds like us, doesn't it?
at 5 we had the map meeting out by the pool. tomorrow's ride to blanco is about 65 miles long, but less rigorous (hills-wise) than today's.
i passed on the by-now-famous socks to tomorrow's "BITCH for a day." in my explanation of why i'd chosen her, i mentioned that she is very good at quietly noticing who needs help, then providing it. she found a way to provide the medicine catherine needed to fight some bugs she'd brought home from africa. a different day she helped patch up someone who'd bumped her head on some cement. in my case, because i'm so traumatized by heights, i'd probably have become the 1st permanent resident at the gila cliff dwellings in hundreds of years if she hadn't patiently helped me get down from there. so today's socks acronym is "Bumps, Intestinalbugs, Trauma? Caroline Heals."
here's a photo of caroline with the socks she'll wear tomorrow.
we all had to go find ourselves some supper (poor us)...since womantours had provided our food on our layover day at the foxfire cabins. many went to a nearby "cracker barrel;" a few ordered in pizza. marilyn boger, sari, & i walked to a nearby luby's, a sort of cafeteria. sari & i really enjoyed our baked white fish....& shared some bread pudding for dessert. sari & i have decided that, lacking an adequate sample of pies on this x-country ride, we're going to do some research on bread pudding this time. at least we've now made a start, & we hear there will be some very tasty samples awaiting us in cajun country.
some of us have decided that it would be best to post on each day's report the progress on the bidding for the beautiful mohair shawl. so beginning today, i'll add this info at the end of each day's ride report 'til the bidding ends on sat, the 12th.
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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