March 24 - April 12: Texas

4/9 - Navasota (70 miles 1630 total)
70 miles from the executive inn in la grange to the best western in navasota, TX
wow it was chilly around 6:20 this morning when we sauntered out to find our breakfast. we were so glad to have our hot multi-grain cereal again. to bike in this weather, we dug into our duffels for clothes we didn't expect to be wearing again....leg-warmers, fleece tops, extra gloves, & ear covers.
we biked back across the bridge into la grange, then on eastward. traffic was quite heavy, including lots of big construction trucks. the winds picked up shortly after we started riding today...& they never stopped. roma, who biked both yesterday & today, thot the winds were worse today in some ways.....more strong gusts. & they were hardly ever at your back, but usually in some direction coming into your face or close to it. but the gusts were the worst part; you had to hold tight.
about 18 miles into our ride we came into the town of round top, pop. 77. they have all sorts of cultural events here, including shakespeare festivals. the town is as cute as can be. we saw some bikes in front of klump's restaurant, so parked & went in ourselves. breakfast seemed to be the popular choice, so we ordered some. i had my first grits of the trip...along with a couple of scrambled eggs & wheat toast. all the other bikers who had been breakfasting when we arrived were gone by the time we left.
here are sari & patty fainer in front of klump's as we got ready to ride on.
antiques are a very big deal in the areas where we biked this morning. we saw lots of antique shops, & signs advertising big antique shows. plus there must've been a very big antique function very recently, because we saw workers dismantling dozens & dozens of huge tents.
at about mile 29, we came upon frances in the subaru. we filled up our water bottles & had a snack or 2. while there i took this photo of (from left) frances, patty, & sari. notice sari's bike seat.
in order to ward off seat discomfort, sari switches bike seats 2-3 times during the day....from her plain bike seat to a spenco gel seat cover to this red plush sheepskin cover. when she's using this red seat cover, i call her vehicle the "bike saturday night (red-light-district model)."
a mile or 2 after this sag stop, we merged onto highway 290....a busy 4-lane divided highway. the shoulders were wide, but the traffic was heavy. 4 miles later we were to turn off this road & head north. but that meant we'd be headed even more squarely into those ferocious winds, so patty veered off to a nearby convenience store to get pointers on other ways to get to navasota. a very nice woman at the store took lots of time to describe to use a country route she thot would suit us well. we decided to take it, rather than follow our route sheets.
old mill creek road turned out to be a beautiful, low-traffic route. much of the time we were sheltered from the winds by rows of trees to our left. we saw fields with horses & cows in them....& expanses of wildflowers in all direcctions.
here's a photo of patty & me beside a patch of blue bonnets along the road. those are indian paintbrush interspersed amongst the blue bonnets.
the fellow who lives in that house on the other side of the fence walked over to visit with us when he saw us stopping to take photos. they always want to know where we're biking to....then it takes them a while to recover from the answer.
in this photo you get a good idea of how our lovely little country road looked. this was a relatively wide-open stretch, but much of it was lined with lots of trees. we noticed lots of cow egrets in the pastures with cows; these white birds like to sit on the cows & dine on the bugs the cow attracts.
as i was taking this photo, my bike got pushed over by the wind (even tho' i have a kick stand). we learned this evening that the rest of the bikers, most of whom followed the route outlined on the route sheets, had more hills than we had, & often steeper ones. as you can see in the photo, our hills were minor rollers. plus our route turned out to be about 5 miles shorter overall.
old mill creek road ended in brenham, another cute little historic texas town. we were riding thru downtown when i spotted a restaurant named "li'l bit of heaven." it was an old-fashioned soda parlor. we screeched to a stop & parked our bikes. inside we found an absolutely charming establishment & a menuful of delicious lots of patrons, even at 2:30 in the afternoon. we settled on home-made pie. patty had pecan; sari & i each chose a unique specialty of the place....sawdust pie. it has graham cracker crumbs, coconut, pecans, sugar (i think brown), & bananas in the filling, with whipped cream on top. wow, it was something.
here's a photo of us about to enjoy our pie at li'l bit of heaven. you can see the old coke machine in the background; there was an old wurlitzer juke box nearby.
when sari saw this photo, she was amazed to see that her red iluminite vest turns bright white when hit by a flashbulb...or a car headlight.
on the edge of brenham we turned onto state road 105 for most of the remaining 26 miles to navasota. for most of the way, it's a 4-lane road with a wide shoulder. but we've found that in texas, where "drive friendly" signs are posted, vehicles often coast into the shoulder to let faster vehicles pass them. we bikers are used to considering the shoulders our part of the road, but in texas, we have to watch out for cars & pickups sometimes driving in "our" space.
we 3 didn't get to the best western here in navasota 'til about usual, bringing up the rear. other bikers were lining up for supper. the atmosphere around here is relaxed, since we know we have a layover day tomorrow & don't have to set alarms. some riders went off to the movies this evening. so far, wash is on our agenda for tomorrow...& bike maintenance. plus the real excitement for me will be a visit from 4 biking friends from iowa city, who are on a mini-bike trip here in texas. they'll bike into navasota tomorrow & join some of us for supper. i'm anxious to see them.
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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