To Guadalupe River Valley 82km
To Camp Wood 96km
To Brackettville 82km
I'm climbing up a hill. I haven't seen many until just the last few days. I'm hurting. I'm soaked in sweat. It's steep, hot and ugly. At the top is a picnic area, and there are a bunch of Harley riders taking in the view. One of the women says to me: "Man. Yous my hero. That was a killer hill." I reply: "No lady. I'm no hero. I'm just a stupid old man, trying to cycle around the globe." Such is the dilemma I'm facing every day, as I attempt to cycle across Texas.
I reluctantly cycled away from the haven that was Robert and Susan's home. Away from AC, good food, wonderful company, and amazing music. James Taylor was fantastic. I cycle away with warnings about the heat, dehydration, and traffic conditions. It's hot, but there is a slight breeze, that takes the worst of the heat away, as long as you keep cycling. My route takes me along reasonably quiet roads, with shade trees, so in fact it's quite pleasant. I'm drinking heaps, mostly all with electrolytes added. I should be okay. But my mistake today, yep I'm still making them after 760 days on the road, was deciding to make it to Fredericksburg. My map told me it was 110km. In fact it was 130km, and I was stuffed by the time I got there. To be fair, there were very few places where I might have camped. The roads are bordered by 8ft fences, and "No Trespassing" signs. To add to my woes, the Fire brigade wouldn't let me camp on their land. No one was prepared to make a decision without the Chiefs okay. I was sent to a campsite, via a supermarket, 5km out of town.
The shopping wasn't too successful. I was too tired, and hungry, to think straight. At the xampsite, I got my tent up, and crashed out, too tired to eat. But that's when the cramps started. I couldn't roll over without another part of my body cramping. Damn. Hadn't I drunk enough? I tossed and turned until midnight, when i had enough energy to eat some cheese and crackers, then I slept until 8am. Hmmmm. Lessons learnt. I hope.
The next day was tough. There was still a slight breeze, but my body was shot. Every 10km, I got off my bike, drink, lie down beside the road, and sleep, wake and drink, and climb back on the bike. Once I woke to see Buzzards circling above me. Hmmmm. By 70km I'm looking for somewhere to camp. By 80km, I've had enough. A shady tree, 5m from the road, exposed for all to see, is the best I can find, but I can't go any further. It's 6pm, and I'm asleep within minutes of crawling inside the tent, and don't hear a thing until I wake at 6am.
Day three and it's overcast, still with a breeze. Now this is better. It even rains slightly once or twice. At one rest stop, a Hummingbird fits around me, examining my GrumGoesGlobal yellow flag. Twice I'm inspected by a huge Red Tailed Eagle. A young deer buck with a beautiful set of velvety antlers bounds across the road in front of me. Later, a doe and fawn cross in front of me. The doe leaps over a fence, but the fawn can't jump it, so runs along it, until it finds an overhanging tree, that it thinks it's hidden behind. I hope it found its mother. Buzzards congregate in groups, as they gorge on deer and other road kill. They are very reluctant to fly away, after all, I'm only a cyclist, and seemingly offer very little threat. I see my first porcupine, (road kill), and a Roadrunner (but no Willie Coyote). I'm almost enjoying the ride today.
Then I hit a junction, and I'm joined by hundreds of motor cyclists. The road is up and down, twisting and turning, and just what the Harley and Goldwing Clubs love for their Saturday ride. It's not so much fun on a bicycle. But the motorcyclists give me lots of encouragement, secret waves, raised fists, thumbs up. Several car clubs are also out cruising. They also give me loud cheers and waves. (A few of my Petrol Head mates would have been drooling just to see them, but I didn't even have a chance to get photos, sorry).
I stop at a General Store. The local policeman, and the storekeeper, have a competition, trying to outdo each other on the ugliness ahead of me. Big hills, hot, dry, ugly critters, prickly plants, grumpy land owners. Im told "sensible cyclists cross Texas in Spring or Fall"....... As if it wasn't tough enough.... Oh well. How stupid am I? Only 700km to El Paso, then another 800km to San Diego.