Holy jumping Jehovas, the climbing has kicked it up a notch. Or seven. I slept in this morning until 8 (awesome), which gave me a solid 8 hours sleep even with the coughing fit at 4 am. It's. About. Time. Seven hours of sleep in two days was a little brutal.
My camp spot behind the emergency services building last night turned out to be a score. I thought i was just going to find a yard to pitch my tent in. But when I got there, three very friendly EMTs offered me pizza and a shower and played music while I ate. Such a wonderful surprise! I wish I had gone down earlier in the evening. I didn't get there until almost 11 because I was watching UK, sadly, lose. I feel like I missed out on several hours of great company. There was another cyclin couple heading east camping too. But they were already in bed when I arrived.
After stopping for a breakfast croissant this morning I was on the road by about 9:30 and ready to take on the hills. About 15 miles in, I ran across another solo rider heading east. He is covering about 100 miles a day and has already made it halfway in just two weeks. I am jealous. Kind of. We exchanged pleasantries and tales of what is to come and set off on our ways. The only thing I really remember him saying is, "I don't know who graded those roads or how they got away with it, but they did," talking about the hills I am about to climb tomorrow.
Lunch crept up on me quickly. Before I knew it, it was 15 til noon and I had only covered 25 miles. Yikes. These hills are slow. I stopped to further clog my arteries (Texas has been more than willing to help) at the Sunset bar and grill in blanco (pronounced Blank-o), where I ordered the hand battered chicken tenders with fries and Texas toast, and let's not forget the cup of gravy. Everything on that plate was merely a vehicle for that gravy. Yum.
After lunch I ended up on the most ridiculous road surface I have ever seen. Chip seal is the worst idea ever, especially when they use rocks the size of Texas. I may as well have ridden on a gravel road for 10 miles.
On and on, up and down, mostly up. The hours went by but the miles did not. Today was the first day I really used all of my gears. It would be a tragedy if I didn't mention the wind. Most of the time it was a crosswind since it was coming out of the south. But there was a 13 mile stretch where I had to ride directly into it. We are talking about a wind with gusts that I struggled to stand up in while stopped. 6 mph was about the best I could manage unless I was going downhill. BUT....I didn't cry. And that means I am mastering bike touring zen. That's one of the many reasons I just enjoyed the hell out of a Reese's blizzard. Rewards are sweet, no pun intended.
Round about 3:30 I crossed paths with a couple heading east on a tandem, Hob and Deb. They are from Connecticut and are cycling up the Atlantic coast after they get to St. Augustine. Real neat folks. They gave me some very helpful information and even the address of some of their friends in Alpine, TX that I should stay with.
Whew. 25 more miles and I'll tell ya, they were on snail time. But I am learning to be like the tortoise and not the hare. Ok sometimes the hare. Like when I set the new speed record on Ida today! Only, gravity did all the work. But that's just a minor detail and you don't want to hear about that. Noooo, you want to hear how fast I went!! 39.5(ish)! It made all the climbing completely worth it. But climbing is always worth it. Who climbs with toil shall find wings waiting there! Pure joy. I let out the goofiest giggle.
The last 12 miles took FOREVER. So while time was standing still, I took notice of how dramatically the landscape is beginning to change. It's much drier and the trees are stunted and more shrub-like. Prickly pear cactus is showing up. South and east slopes are becoming more sparsely vegetated. Did I mention it's hot? Pushing 90 all day. I drank probably 120 ounces of water today (yay for me!) and was still wanting more.
The gravy had all solidified in my arteries by about 4 so I had to stop and snack in Sisterdale to hold me over until I got to Comfort. I had a chicken salad sandwich and a Gatorade. I was only somewhat disappointed this meal did not contain something deep fried. But I did see this sign:
Comfort, you devil woman, foul temptress. I finally made it! The first thing I did was go to a store and buy the largest can of High Life I believe I have ever seen. I didn't drink it in the parking lot. And I won't tell you how badly I wanted to. Instead, I made my way over to the rv park just north of town and drank my icy cold delicious beverage in the shade. Shower, yesss please and thank you. And that's my story and I'm sticking to it. For now.
Darlings, so sleepy like I am at the beginning of this tour all over again. Can't....type.....more. Peace, love and sprockets.