Monday, April 8, 2013

Antiques Roadshow and Southern Tier Hospitality

We hit the road this morning to temps of 65 and mostly cloudy. It was our warmest morning yet! We had about 50 miles to go today.

It was a pretty uneventful ride from Buescher State Park to Winchester. I did finally see an armadillo. Unfortunately, it was dead. Also saw several dead turtles--no turtle rescues today.

As we rode through Winchester (a blink-and-miss-it town), I saw a guy at a table with one of those orange water containers and snacks. Looked like a supported ride rest stop to me, but we didn't stop to find out.

A ways down the road, a couple of cyclists passed, going the other direction. Then two more went by. At the intersection of 153 and 77 we came to another rest stop. This time I stopped to ask what the ride was. Ed (the rest stop volunteer) said it was a training ride for his team that is doing an MS 150. I thought that was pretty amazing that they had rest stops for a training ride! Another bunch of cyclists were rolling up, so we let Ed get to work.

We came into La Grange at about 11:15. This relatively small town had a Subway! Of course, we ate lunch there! After lunch, Christian wanted to get more Snicker bars (his energy bar of choice). First we went to a drugstore. It was closed (today is Sunday). Then we went across the street to a small foodmart. Just as Christian was going to go in, I looked down the street and saw an HEB. We went there instead. I was able to restock on Clif Bars (my energy bar of choice).

Back on the road, we started passing antique/flea market places. The further down the road we got, the more we saw. The traffic started getting pretty heavy too. When we got to Warrenton, we hit the mother lode! They were on both sides of the road. People everywhere--cars everywhere--stuff everywhere! There are a few photos below. We happened to hit upon the largest antique show in Texas. It has been going on since the 4th. Today was the last day.

We continued to see the tents and stands beyond Round Top. When we got to Round Top, I stopped to wait for Christian. He caught up to me and about that time a guy came across the street and asked us where we were headed tonight. We told him (an RV park in Carmine--about 8 more miles). His name was Steve, and he told us he had two places in Gay Hill that we could stay at if we wanted. It was 20 more miles up the road and it was right on the Southern Tier route. Since it was only 1:45, and we were feeling okay, we decided to go to his place. He gave us the addresses and said he wouldn't be there, but there were outdoor showers at both places and there was a key in the mailbox on the back porch so we could use the toilet in the house. He also said the hot water was turned off at one of them (I think he said the second one). He said we could stay at whichever one we wanted (camping in the backyard). We thanked him, and took off.

The traffic continued to be heavy until Burton. In Burton, we stopped at a grocery store/restaurant (seems to be a common thing in these small Texas towns) for a break. Christian had a coffee and I had a Blue Bell Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich and a bottle of Gatorade. It was in the 80s again by now and fairly humid. The Gatorade was just what I needed!

From Burton we had only about 10 more miles to Gay Hill and Steve's place(s). The wind was mostly a crosswind that, at times, was sort of behind us. I was using my Da Brim to tack my way down the road like a sailboat. It worked pretty good! Along the way we saw beautiful fields of wildflowers--mostly blue bonnets, but some others too.

As we got closer to Gay Hill, I started watching the house numbers. When we got to the first of Steve's places, I knew it was the right place because of the bike sculpture over the front gate. Turns out the second place was right next to the first. Steve had said the second was better but, honestly, they are both great. We did, however, pull into the second place.

Steve's place is amazing! He has thought of everything a cyclist could need! There are picnic tables, nice chairs, the shower, a hose bib, and even outdoor lighting! The yard is really several acres and the grass is green and soft for our tents. As for the shower, well, it was even stocked with body wash and shampoo. And, it wasn't cold! In fact, it was hot...too in no cold water at all! It felt good at first (kind of like a deep scale does at the dentist), but then it was too hot. I rinsed off as fast as I could.

The wind has been really blowing here, so our towels (and my hair) have dried quickly. The wind did make the idea of cooking a little tricky. So, I cooked our dinner in the shower! It was perfect! Hot water, and no wind!

All in all, it was one of those days where I just feel very lucky. Christian even said, "Maybe we come back here tomorrow night!" We hope to experience more of this Southern Tier hospitality along our ride!

Miles for today: 62

No comments: