10/17-10/18/17 – Two Days Off in Austin

Hey, where did two whole days go?  We arrived the Hostels International Austin Hostel Monday afternoon, and now it’s Wednesday night, and we are preparing to leave tomorrow AM.  I’m going to miss the comfortable bunk bed, warm shower, full sized towel and wifi.

I forgot to mention that on arriving here, I had a couple of packages awaiting me, and I’m sure you know how fun it is to get a package in the mail.   One was the Ortlieb handlebar bag I purchased but didn’t bring, because it weighed so much and didn’t seem necessary.  Now that most of the heavy duty climbing is behind me, I am willing to take on the additional weight in exchange for the convenience of having things I use frequently more easily accessible.   Thank you to my ex-husband, Jerry, for being willing to dig through my office to find the bag and hardware needed to install it.  It might sound like a small task, but it’s not when so many other things in my house have been piled into that room while repairs are completed on other parts of the house.

The second package was from my sister Janette, who lives in Dallas.  I left some resupply items with her before I left, like travel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, sun screen, vitamins, chain cleaning patches, rubber gloves, etc., anticipating needing things sent to me every few weeks.  I’ve been using everything so sparingly that I somehow made it to the mid point of the ride without completely running out of anything, but I’m close.  So she gathered up what I needed and a couple of clothing items I had shipped to her and mailed them to the hostel.   It’s nice to know I have what I need to make it to the finish. Thanks Janette!

Tuesday, my new Garmin arrived, and that was another joyous moment.  It was sheer torture riding without distance, heart rate and cadence (the number of revolutions per minute my legs are pedaling) data for 2 days.  The cadence information is, to me, like a tachometer in terms of helping me know when to shift gears to keep from burning my legs and knees out.  I watch it constantly, especially when climbing.  Likewise, I am constantly checking distance and incremental distance to navigate.

So what did I do with two days of free time?  On Tuesday, I slept in till almost 10 AM, and it felt so good to have a long night of rest.  After catching up on the blog, I headed out with Neal to a bike shop to get my chain and brake pads checked.  My brakes were okay, but I needed a new chain, so while the mechanic installed the chain, Neal and I went across the street to a little Mexican food restaurant for lunch, and it was mucho delicious!



From there, we rode up to the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum on the University of Texas, Austin campus.  This was my third Presidential Library visit, and like the others, the exhibits were enlightening and inspiring.  I was pretty young when LBJ was President, so didn’t have awareness of the many programs and laws he influenced during his time in office.  As an adult, and a Human Resources professional, many of them have been integral to what I did for a living.

Austin has a lot of bike trails and paths, so it was easy to get around.  A good part of our ride back to the hostel was like a scenic, quiet joy ride along the Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake.


Today, I spent a good part of the day scrubbing my gear and rounding up things I don’t use to send them home.   I packed them up to mail them out, but didn’t have time to get them to the Post Office.  Instead, I made a run to REI with Ed and Tom R to exchange my air mattress for one that doesn’t leak and have to be blown up during the night.


We passed this bicycle sculpture as we rode on the bike path today  

Then Ed and I went on a Segway tour of downtown Austin. Our tour guide was not the best (deja vu of the guide at Seminole Canyon), but it was fun cruising around and not having to pedal up all the hills. Some of the highlights of the tour were the State Capitol building, the Texas Africa American History Memorial , the Driskill House Hotel,  and sculpture of Willie Nelson, and the Graffiti Park at Castle Hills.

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When the tour ended, I hightailed it back to the hostel to meet up with Ken Flake, a friend who was in the Tempe 7th Ward with me when I was growing up and lived just a block away from my family’s home.  Now living in Harker Heights, a suburb of Fort Hood, he was able to drive down after work, bring me dinner from a nearby barbecue place, and sit out on one of the hostel picnic tables with me to catch up on old times.


And he got to meet and chat with all the guys in our group who are staying at the hostel and get a look at hostel living.  It was so good to see him and hear about his life and family.  Ken has been blessed with a good wife, a great life and a strong testimony of the Gospel.  Thanks for taking the time to drive down to see me, Ken.  And thanks for bringing me dinner.  Much appreciated!!!

After Ken left, I rode to the grocery store to buy a few items I am almost out of.  It may be a week or more before we are in another town with a regular store with regular merchandise and regular prices, and by then, I will be out of sunscreen, lotion, lipstick, and a couple of other items I carry full sized containers of.   I am now fully supplied for the second half of this journey.

Tomorrow, we will be camping in a state park, so most likely will not have wifi.




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