Bastrop to Carmine
A front moved in last night. The temperature has dropped dramatically and things are going to get interesting for me today. I’ll definitely be cycling with warmer clothes today. Today’s goal is 65 miles and there is some climbing involved today. I’m going to just have to see how it goes. I’m not committed to 65 miles, if I need to stop short, I will.
The Camp Host told me a storm was blowing in so I didn’t bother to set up my tent. I slept in the pavilion last night. It was a large building enclosed on three sides so I was well protected - for the most part. It was a bit drafty. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. I slept comfortably and was very happy to have that option last night.
I got a message from Trail Boss last night that two more people have left the tour. That’s unfortunate. I had a feeling in San Diego that it was going to be difficult for me. It never occurred to me that others might feel the same way (probably should not be surprised). I’m glad I lasted as long as I did. I hope everyone is ok. Those that have left and those that are remaining. The group left San Diego 9 strong. As of today, there are 5 remaining of the original group. One individual abandoned altogether shortly after reaching Arizona. Three have abandoned in the last few days. So now there are three solo cyclists out there wandering around. I wonder what the odds are that the three wild cards will band together. Not saying that should happen, just curious about the odds is all.
I cooked last night for the first time on my new camp stove. I made a mock Southwest spaghetti and put the meat sauce into tortillas. It was pretty good. The camp host walked through the pavilion while I was cooking, and told me later when I ran into him that it had smelled pretty good.
The end of the day
It turns out I stopped in Round Top, that is about 10 miles shy of Carmine. That’s ok, because it was a heck of a day. The wind blew all day out of the West. Strong and steady. That was great when I was going East, but all afternoon was spent going North, so the wind was not my friend. In fact, the wind spent most of it’s effort trying to blow me off the shoulder of the road again. I survived without incident. It appears that when the wind comes out of the West in this part of Texas, the temperature can dip unseasonably low. It did today. By 5pm I was chilled to the bone. I had planned to stay in an RV Park tonight, but opted for a motel instead. Turns out to be a very nice place. The end result of the day was a real beating by the wind, happy to have a roof over my head.
The route took me through two state parks, connected to each other. It was a 15 mile bypass of a state highway. About halfway through I discovered the road was flooded from the storm last night. There was no way to cross, that’s how people get into serious trouble in this part of the country. (You see signs everywhere that say “Turn around or drown.” I turned around and it was retrace the 7 miles to the park entrance or take a side road back to the highway. Of course I chose the side road. Five hundred yards down the side road there was a tree blocking the entire road. A windfall from the night before. The road was impassable for cars, but I was able to sneak under the tree and continue on. An exciting morning for sure. (Pictures on Instagram, be sure and check them out.) That put me on a State highway for another 15 miles. About that time I decided that 65 miles for today might be a bit of a reach.
This is day two on the new saddle. I’m sure I will get used to it, but it’s a bit like sitting on a fence rail with a small dry kitchen sponge for padding. Good thing I have a small ass or consequently more of it would hurt.
As I was coming in to Round Top, about 5 miles out, I saw a sign that said “Blue Mule Winery.” It was only one mile off route, so I decided to go do a wine tasting. I pulled in to the barn tasting room and met Ashley and her husband Cooper. They were running the tasting room. They bottle 12 varietals. Six white and six red. Some estate grapes, some North Texas grapes, and some grapes from California. All of their wines were good, and all very distinctive. Ashley’s dad came in to the tasting room and we had a nice conversation. It turns out he is a cycling enthusiast, but doesn’t have time to ride much any more. He was very interested in my bike. When he found out it was Titanium, he went out to take a look. He came back in and told me how much I paid for it. He was exactly right. He knows his bicycles. I sampled 10 of their 12 wines then ordered a glass of my favorite red. It was quite good. Ashley and I talked about the tour and when I told her my destination was St. Augustine, she told me that was her favorite town outside Texas. I got some really good tips from her about where to eat and what to do when I arrive there. We talked about wine, Texas, and travel. She told me she had done the “Blazing 100” in Houston in August (quite some time ago). That’s a Century ride in Houston in mid-August. I asked her how anyone rides in Houston in August. She laughed and told me her Grandfather had a saying that summed that up. He used to say “If the Devil owned Texas, he would rent it out in the summer and stay in Hell.” That is the reason I am here in October.
Every Friday in Round Top the locals get together for a BBQ at the local Black Smith shop (really). There is live music and Texas BBQ. My motel is a mile from the Black Smith, but only 3 blocks from a real Texas Road House, the Stone Cellar. I opted for the shorter destination and it was a good choice. I had a beer and some queso dip and chips, then I had more beer, a ham and cheese sandwich, then more beer, all while watching the Astros/Nationals game. It was a true Texas Road House. The actual population of Round Top is 90, but I counted 100 people in the road house. It was stick framed with a metal roof and the walls were 2 x 12 rough sawn boards. Some boards had been replaced, but most were original. The room was about 30 x 80, no heat and no insulation, but plenty warm. The game was on four monitors and they had live music, it was amazing. The music was great. An acoustic guitar and singer and he was very good. There is nothing quite like watching the Astros in the World Series inside of a Texas Road House! I noticed a sign on the wall that read: “Our town is so small we don’t have a town drunk - we all take turns.” I thought that was pretty funny. As I sat and watched the game, I noticed that I could actually look through the cracks between some of the vertical siding boards and see what was going on outside. I wasn’t the least bit surprised, it just added to the charm of the place. I wish you could have been here with me. There were people there for the music and people there for the food. There was an eighth grade graduation being celebrated. Little kids were running around the bar having a good time and of course, there were people there watching the game. It was a wonderful place. The musician played my favorite song “Give Me Three Steps” by Skynyrd. It was a perfect evening.
Windy and cold but the hills are becoming more civilized.