You can’t dream this stuff up. Yesterday, for 55 miles of cycling, there was no civilization, so we had to carry extra water and and snacks to survive the ride. Today was going to be different. Twenty miles outside of Sanderson, in Dryden, there was going to be a little cafe where we could get breakfast, so our breakfast offerings were pretty meager. Then 40 miles after that, in Langtry, was going to be the only convenience market between Sanderson and Del Rio, which is another 63 miles up the road. Our plan was to all meet up at that convenience store to carry a portion of the groceries for the next 3 meals the remaining 20 miles to the campground at Seminole Canyon State Park & Historical Site, where we planned to bed down for the evening.
Since we were facing our longest riding day yet–81 miles–we got an early start. Ed and I started riding about 20 minutes before sunrise, but some of the others started out in the dark.
Ten miles into our ride, we ran into fog that not only erased our visibility, but was so heavy it felt like a mist.
When we hit Dryden, the town with our planned breakfast stop, we were disappointed to find that it was no longer in business. There were no other open markets or eateries, so we put on our big girl and boy panties and kept cycling down the road.
At the 60 mile point we hit Langtry, where the entire group was rallied in front of the market to each pack a portion of the next day’s food on their bike. The only problem was that the store closed a year ago when the owner died, so there was no food and no water to be had. How was this going to work? We had planned to camp at the state park 20 miles up the road, but with no food available for dinner or breakfast, we needed to move down the route to the next town with something we could eat.
While all those details were being worked out by the people in the group with strong opinions, I walked over to check out the nearby train that was waiting on the tracks for another train to pass–an entire train of military vehicles headed to who knows where.
It of reminded me of when I arrived at Fort Hood during Desert Storm. During my first few weeks there, one or more trains arrived on the railhead that passes thru Fort Hood and were loaded up with CONEX boxes, vehicles, and armored aircraft and vehicle to be moved out to a port for shipment to Iraq. Hopefully today’s load is not headed to Korea.
Meanwhile, back at the former store, the guys called ahead to Comstock, another 10 miles up the road from Seminole Canyon, to verify that there was food in town and that there was a place we could stay. Hallelujah, there was.
With that settled, Ed, Eric and I embarked on a couple of side trips–the first to the one and only available water stop for the entire day–the Judge Roy Bean Museum.
We were pretty focused on that water, but would have been thrilled to find a vending machine with either snacks or soft drinks, but that was not to be. We fell back on looking at the museum exhibits full of stories on the judge, who was quite a character.
Following the museum, Eric and I high tailed it up the road to get to Seminole Canyon, where the last guided tour of ancient pictographs departed the visitor’s center at 3 PM. The 20 mile ride would normally have taken us 90 minutes, but being in Texas hill country, half of the ride was uphill, which slowed me down big time. Eric flew past me, as I chugged up the hills, and I told him I didn’t think I would make the tour, but I would still go to the visitor center to see the exhibits. Even though I was in a major hurry, I had to stop for a couple of photos of spectacular scenery. After all, there was a good chance I would miss the tour anyhow.
I killed myself on those hills, but still didn’t arrive the visitor’s center till 6 minutes past the start of the tour. I was a little disappointed, but it never hurts to ask for an exception, which you can always count on me to do. When I explained to the ranger that I had ridden my bike 80 miles to get to get to that tour, she let me run up the trail to catch up to the tour group. Well actually, the running was down, as the trail dropped 3/4 mile down into a canyon where an Indian tribe once lived. The tour would have been better if the young lady who was our tour guide had facts about the tribe and pictographs, but she didn’t. She instead pointed out things like the prickly pear cactus and other plants I grow in my yard.
When the tour was over, we climbed back out of the canyon to find the visitor’s center was closed. I was out of water, with still another 10 miles to ride, so the rangers let me and Eric back in to get water, and from there we talked them into letting us buy ice cream and soft drinks. They totally made our day. As we sat outside in the shade and snacked, the temperature, which had risen to 97 degrees, dropped a little, making the last 10 miles to Comstock a little more pleasant.
Our motel was nice and clean, and these signs in each room explain why.
Ed had an incident on his bike, today. Hooefully he used one of the old towels to dry the abrasion on his arm.