Life on the road is such an adventure. If only….. I failed to mention that the day we were cycling into Giddings, we were on a 4 lane, state highway. At one point, a carload of teens was coming in my direction, over in their own lane. The speed limit is 60. Suddenly, with numerous cars in the oncoming lanes and few in my own direction, I hear a loud thud. Looking to the source, I see that the hood of the teen’s car has popped up and is completely covering the windshield so the driver can’t see a thing! He begins to head toward oncoming traffic, including me and my life flashes before my eyes, as the very young driver, then carefully slows to a stop in the center lane and averts serious problems. What a good driver he turned out to be.
Ok, back to the past 3 days. We’ve been adding a few miles a day, trying to build up to 50 miles a day. Three days ago, we cycled to Cagle Recreation area. We anticipated getting a place to stay in the hiker/biker site, or primitive site. When I arrived, I was told there was no vacancy. A chat with the gate guard/receptionist, confirmed that this meant bicyclists also. He told me there was a primitive camping area 1.5 miles down the road, but there would be no running water, showers, or other luxuries. I was a bit shocked, but it is spring break, and if they are full, they are full. The kind receptionist couple brought a chair outside for me to sit and wait for Murchie. It was a nice relief from the saddle. By the time Murchie arrived, my new friends, at the ranger hut had found a campsite for us. We were going to be able to stay at Cagle afterall. In the process of our chats, as I waited for Murchie, i had mentioned that a cold drink and a few groceries would be a welcome site, and where was the camp store. None. It would be a 12 mile round trip to catch a “cold one”, but the pizza delivery person would deliver pizza to the campsite. We passed on the pizza, because it was hot, and what I really wanted, though it was “yeast-created” wasn’t a pizza.
As Murchie and I were setting up our tents a lady came to our campsite with a cooler and grocery bag. The dear couple I had chatted with solicited a friend to bring us a couple beers, a couple cokes, pickles, cans of tuna, and much more, including some FRESH fruit! It is a great blessing to be the recipient of such kindness. Thank you to our new friends.
The next night, we finally got our first 50 mile day in. It was a scorcher, too. We discovered that we needed to get up and on the road by first light, in order to be out of the hot sunshine as early as possible. On this fine day, we were out of Cagle by 7:20 am. It had take us almost 2 hours to eat and break camp (this did include a shower and cup of coffee, as well as discovering that the pin that holds my trailer on the skewer had come off and disappeared somewhere in the leaf-strewn campsite the previous night. (I said a quick prayer for guidance and actually found the pin within about 2 minutes! ) We cycled to Shraderville, which is just past Shepherd, Tx. There was supposed to be a campground called Shepherd Sanctuary there. At this point, after 3 days of cycling 5 hours a day under a beautiful, sunny sky, my back was one huge blister!
We arrived at the sanctuary with plenty of time to relax. The ladies that own it offer workshops and retreats there, so groceries are not in short supply. The fridge is well stocked, the cabinets as well. There are several bathrooms, cabins, and an outdoor shower as well as an outdoor tub. You can camp, or rent a cabin. The cabins are themed. My favorite was the cowgirl cabin. I camped out, though. All night, I listened to the frogs and the hoot owl, who called constantly into the night. It was a very comfortable place to stay. Unfortunately, the sanctuary has no website, but the phone # for the camp is listed on the A/C maps.
This morning, after a nice sleep at the sanctuary, we hit the road for Kountze, TX. Kountze is in the Big Thicket Preserve. On the way here, we passed some country dude, sitting on the front stoop of his trailer, with his bare keg-sized belly resting on his bare knees. Beside him in the yard were his dogs; two pit bulls and a small wiry dog. As I cycled past the trailer lot, the dogs alerted to the fact that cyclists were approaching and the “dude” commanded the dogs, “G’won, git ‘em” and the dogs promptly headed out after me. AGain, we were on a somewhat busy road, and I did gloat over the fact that the offensive oaf might just lose one of his dogs through this vicious action. As the dogs approached, I prepared my secret weapon. I reached down in my abundant chest and found my deepest growl and GROWLED AND SNARLED at the two dogs, followed by a seriers of very barrelishly deep barks, and they were absolutely dumbfounded and scared to death of this stupid woman who thought she was a dog! They turned confused toward Murchie, then back across the road and directly under the wheels of a passing truck. One poor dog was terminated, just as I had imagined. Very strange. I kicked it into high gear, knowing that anyone vicious enough to sic his pit bulls on us, might hold us responsible for their very timely demise. We did not see or hear from him, fortunately.
We arrived safely and happily to Kountze, where we are holed up in a comfy motel (which just hosted a pit-bull dog show, yesterday). We will take a day off tomorrow, as we have traveled our 250 miles for this week.
Pictures will follow, but I want to share a remedy with my friends. When my kids were babies, they would occassionally get diaper rash. My mother-in-law told me once that if you scorch flour and then let it cool, it will help get rid of the problem. Well, this works with burning rashes from cycling also. Not saddle sores. It helps with moisture rashes and yeast, apparently. So if you get out on the road and wind up with a bad case of diaper rash, Desitin isn’t your only hope. Flour is something that almost anyone will give you a few tablespoons of, and you just shake it around in your camp pot like popcorn until it turns tan. Let it cool, and apply it to your sore area. It will give you pain relief immediately. Keep the remainder and use it until you are healed. You will need to moisturize eventually, but this is a great remedy for survival situations, or cranky babies, too.
Go make your own breeze and remember: if you’re not having fun; you’re in the wrong gear.