Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In the Texas Hill Country, what a change!

74 Miles
Dave took the day off today to rest his hip. He was quite bored but not anxious about me since I was able to ride with Judy and Dean. 
We got an early start right after breakfast at 7:30. 
The road continued to be Texas chipseal, by which I mean marble sized rocks barely sunk into some tar substrate. It luckily wasn't as bad as just outside of Marfa, but it still is teeth rattling. So, we spend most of the day ducking onto the driving lane and then keeping eyes on our mirror behind us and ducking back onto the shoulder. Then, blessedly, we cross another county line and they resurface roads like they do in Michigan, with pea sized gravel and tar so that the gravel sinks into the tar. Much easier to ride on. We occasionally get a nice smooth shoulder too. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. We just take it as it comes and keep on riding.
Texas drivers are owners of the road, and the shoulder and they resent bicyclists. The Texans drive "Texas friendly" which means if you are driving slower than another vehicle (read that as MOTORIZED vehicle) they will veer right onto the shoulder and ride that until the other faster driver goes by them. So, they resent two things, 1). that you are on their shoulder and 2). that you dare to even think of using their driving lane. (Or should I say laneS, since the shoulder is also used as a lane). So, we get a lot of honks and we get a lot of drivers that won't move one inch over to the left as they pass us. Whoosh, you feel their wind. We just wave politely, and pretend that all the fingers in the hand we wave at them are middle fingers! Dean actually did most of the waving as I don't feel very comfortable driving one handed. Happily, we also get some folks that toot a friendly horn and/or wave so that is nice.
The change from desert to middle Texas was rather dramatic as we left the lunch spot at Ofelia's in Uvalde, TX. We got on a different highway, Hwy. 83 and got away from some of the traffic that has been prevalent on US 90 since Sanderson. Apparently US 90 cuts off some distance for truckers so they leave I10 and come down to 90. 
The hills got started on Hwy. 83 and one was quite long, but not terribly steep. I would call these hills mountains, but apparently Texans don't think they rate as mountains so call it the Hill Country. It is quite pretty, with a lot more trees and greenery. I saw some bluebonnets by the side of the road. We will see more of them as we go east. I'm seeing a lot of Indian Paintbrush too, although it is more pink than the red I'm used to. There are lots of Evening Primrose, white poppies that are Prickly Poppy. There are fields of yellow flowers, Golden Marguerites perhaps? 
In our ride yesterday, some of the hills are such that you can pick up speed on the previous hill and get enough speed to coast up part of the next hill. That's fun for a bicyclist, I'm hoping that type of hill is the norm for the next few days!
We had another great dinner by Ann our chef. Later we gathered around the fire and had some social time with riddles and easy verbal games. Our group has gelled and grown close withcamaraderie, teasing and caring for each other. People over and over ask how I am when they see me icing my calf. They ask Dave how he is and offer support and things that have worked for them. Rose and John offered a massage ball. It was rather comic to see Dave trying to support his hip on a ball a little bigger than a softball, with his legs tanned below the line of his shorts and white above. I'll leave you with that verbal picture!
Two colors of a pink Indian Paintbrush 
Judy, one of my riding partners. She's from Atlanta and Dean is from VA so I'm getting used to a different accent to words. They are different from each other too so that's fun.
The Texas flag is everywhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment