Friday, April 5, 2013

Bicycle Tourist Ends 3-Year Texas Drought!

And, Texas?...You're welcome!

In yesterday's post, I said it had stopped raining. Well, at about 11:00pm last night the wind started to blow (tents were protected). Then there was lightening (funny thing--the lightening woke me up--I thought someone was shining a flashlight around the bikes and our tents--I even unzipped my tent door to see who it was--oh, it was lightening--hadn't heard any thunder at that point). Next came the rain, then more and more lightening and thunder. At one point, there was a flash of lightening and an immediate boom of thunder. It sounded like someone had set off an M-80 explosive! I kept thinking...Will lightening strike a tent??? I certainly hope not!

The storm must have passed over because I went back to sleep and next thing I knew it was morning. When I woke up, it wasn't raining...yay! My tent was covered in mud specks. In fact, there was mud on everything outside the tent (handlebar bag, shoes, crocs). Christian and I planned to get an earlier start, but it took awhile to attempt (unsuccessfully) to clean everything up. I must have washed mud off my hands 27 times!

Once we got all loaded up, we stopped at the restroom. It was then I noticed it was misting. I put my Rain Legs on. We stopped up at the registration booth because I had purchased a Pedernales Falls sticker the previous day, but hadn't taken it with me. As I came out, I told one of the park rangers that it was my fault it was raining. I had brought the rain with me from Washington State. He said that was good because Texas was on its third year of a drought.

We left the park and headed toward Enchanted Rock. Before long, the "misting" turned into full-fledged rain. We stopped to add rain jackets. I put the helmet cover over my Da Brim (that works well). There was also a pretty decent headwind. Then the thunder and lightening started up again (What's the deal? Can't Texas just have rain? Does it always have to come with thunder and lightening?). We were (well, I was, anyway) a little nervous about being out on the road in the lightening (that can't be good, right?). Fortunately, the storm was moving east. The thunder started coming from behind us. However, it continued to rain. In fact, it rained the entire time today. Several times we saw lightening and heard the thunder. That part stayed more south of us.

We were doing a cross-county ride on Texas Ranch Roads. They don't have any shoulder, but they also have very little traffic. The road surface is good. One thing I noticed is when you come to a sign that says, "Flood Hazard", you can bet there will be a downhill followed by an uphill. We saw a lot of those today.

Sometime after noon, I stopped to wait for Christian (the boy is not used to doing hills like I am) at a spot where I noticed the old Sandy Schoolhouse (Sandy being the nothing-of-a-town we had just passed through). It looked deserted, but had a covered porch. When Christian caught up, I suggested we take a lunch break on the porch. We were able to do even better. The schoolhouse was unlocked. We went in and were able to sit at a table for our lunch. There was even a functional piano! It looks like, as recently as a year ago, it was used as a meeting hall. There were notices posted of events dated 2012. It was nice to be out of the rain.

Back on the road, we continued our ride going up and down many many hills. We had been seeing more Bluebell flowers. There was a couple of especially pretty spots. We stopped and took photos here and there.

When Christian caught up to me at Willow City, I told him we had a change of plans. We had intended to ride the Willow City Loop (supposed to be very pretty), but I knew Christian was spent. Plus it was raining and windy, and altogether unpleasant, so we decided to take the shortest route to Enchanted Rock. Amazingly, the shortest route was not on a main highway. It was on narrow and quiet backroads. Had the weather been nicer, it would have made for a wonderful ride. As it was, it was still better than the highway!

We finally arrived at Enchanted Rock Recreation Area. Here, camping cost us $15.50 each, but the sites are very nice with covered shelter over the picnic tables. We were both freezing cold. Neither of us could open anything with our fingers. We no longer had opposable thumbs! Before I even set up my tent, I went to take a shower. Sadly, the showers were not warm. I did a quick "pits and parts" wash only. Even then, I was shivering so much I hardly had to use the towel to dry off--the water just shook itself off of me!

I cooked us a good dinner. We've decided to climb the rock in the morning since it will be dark soon. Supposedly, tomorrow's forecast is for better weather with temps around 75. I hope so. I mean, I'm all for ending Texas' drought, but can it end in a month or so--after I'm gone?

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