Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bubba, Arlen, and the Pampered Pedalers!

Well, this day sure turned out different! In my last post, Christian and I were planning on staying at the Navasota RV Park. It was basically a field. But, hey...what are ya gonna do?

I'll tell you what you're gonna do! You are going to be leaving the diner where you had lunch when a vehicle pulls in, flags you over, and asks where you are headed. The guy introduces himself as Bubba (his driver is Snowflake). He tells us he is operating a supported cross-country tour of 24 cyclists. His tour company is Bubba's Pampered Pedalers. I tell him I have seen his ad in Adventure Cycling magazine. Their finish point for today is at Mexican Hill Ranch in Richards. It's about 20 more miles down the road. He tells us if we join them, he'll feed us dinner. They are having catfish. He gives me a cue sheet to get to Mexican Hill. Christian and I decide that, yes, we will go to Mexican Hill and join Bubba's Pampered Pedalers (of course we will!). Afterall, I've never had catfish before!

The BPP's checkpoint in Navasota is at the Dairy Queen. We pull in to say we will see them later. Two of the riders, Ross and Roland (aka "Rock" and "Roll") introduce themselves as they pull out on the road. The BPP's are fully supported, so they can just ride. Of course, their "just riding" meant 89 miles today!

Along the way, I pass a rider from The Netherlands and a guy on a recumbent. The guy on the recumbent is Dwayne (see the photo below). He is a lot of fun! Of course, he passes me on the downhill and I don't catch up to him again (until the end where he is waiting to make sure I make the correct turn).

With about a mile or so to go, Bubba drives by going the other direction. He says I'm almost there!

I arrived at the ranch and Dwayne took my picture with the sign welcoming Bubba and his Pampered Pedalers. We waited for Christian and then we rode up to where all the tents are set up (I asked the young guys how long it takes them to set up all the tents--they said it takes about an hour and 20 minutes). We found places to put our tents, dropped all our stuff and headed over for a nice cold beverage. Christian got his beer, and I had a Dr. Pepper. They had homemade hummus, and carrots and crackers too.

After the snack, Christian and I headed for the showers. They were awesome, with even a towel, soap, and shampoo! Pampered is right!

Back at the dining area, I thanked Bubba for inviting us and asked if there was anything I could do to help. He said no, just relax.

At 5:30 dinner was ready. I tried the catfish and found it to be delicious! They also had lemon chicken, potatoes, and salad. It was one of the couple's 35th anniversary, so there was cake for dessert.

Christian and I were sitting at a table with Bubba and a guy named Arlen. I looked at him, and then it clicked. This is Arlen Hall, the Tours Director for Adventure Cycling! I talked to him, telling him I had been a member for a long time. I told him I'd done Sierra Cascades, Washington Parks Loop, the Pacific Coast, and now, Southern Tier (part anyway). I had Christian take a photo of Arlen and I (also of Bubba and I). Arlen is getting ready to do a tour of the Mississippi River Trail from New Orleans to Memphis! I suspect they will be ahead of us as they are starting on Wednesday. I hope I can see him again when I go to Missoula.

After dinner Arlen (this was the first time someone besides Bubba has done the night's reading) read from The Book of Bubba. He read about the towns we had gone through (for them, all today--for Christian and I, yesterday and today). Turns out, the town of La Grange (where we ate lunch yesterday) was the place of "The Chicken Ranch" of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas fame!

This has been another amazing day of unforeseen luck!

1 comment:

Marsha said...

Glad you got to meet Bubba! He is one of a kind. I first met him on a tour a zillion years back when he was just running a small version of his current business. He was riding his bike on the tour route as much as he could while running the pampered campers biz. I remember riding along a hilly stretch with him, laughing at his upbeat patter, interested in a big guy on a nice bike who was gutsy enough to wear a "Bringing Home the Bacon" t-shirt...