Friday, April 5, 2013

FLASH! One Thousand One, One Thousand...BOOM!

Today is the day! We head out for the Hill Country--doing some actual bike touring!

We woke up to rain. Really? First day of actual touring and it's raining? DANG! We took our time getting ready in the hopes that it would stop. Lo and behold, it did! It was still overcast though so I made sure my rain gear was near the top of the pannier.

We left Dillon's at 9:20. I had been kind of dreading working our way out of town. Then I had a closer look at the Austin Bike map and found a way that would pretty much keep us off the busy roads. We followed Bike Route 31 for quite awhile. It was mostly residential streets. The only real stop we made in the first 20 or so miles was so Christian could fix his front pannier that wasn't locking onto the rack (it would come off when he would hit a bump).

We made good progress, and even went on another short bike path, until we came into a neighborhood that was supposed to take us through without having to go on Slaughter Rd (now there's a scary name for a road!). I was following the map just fine until the road we were on turned and looped back to where we had been. There was no way through the neighborhood. We tried another direction, but it was the same thing. We finally gave up and went back the way we had come to a cross street where we turned and rode over to Slaughter Rd. Riding on Slaughter was actually okay.

We still had one more neighborhood to negotiate to get to Circle Dr. Would it also dead end? No, it came out just where the map said it would. At Circle Dr. and Hwy 290, we stopped to take a break and eat some lunch outside a grocery store that was next to a restaurant. The only way you could use the restroom was if you bought something. The receipt had a code on it. Christian bought coffee. The code for the women's restroom is 1234. The men's is 5678. So, if you are ever at the corner of 290 and Circle, and you need to pee, you won't have to buy anything!

After our lunch break, we took Circle Dr. as a way to avoid all but a brief section on 290 to get to Fitz Hugh Rd. Fitz Hugh would take us all the way to Pedernales Falls State Park. When we returned to 290, we only had a quarter of a mile on 290 until Fitz Hugh. Perfect!

Up until now we had been doing a few short rolling hills here and there. Once on Fitz Hugh, the rollers began in earnest. It was up or it was down. Even though it was mostly overcast with a few sun breaks, we were sweating pretty good! Of course, the humidity probably played a part too. I was glad we had refilled our water bottles at lunch.

We continued our up and down route. The map said the road was to switch names from Fitz Hugh to CR 101. That never happened, but I was confident we were still going the right way. We kept going--up and down, up and down. At one point Christian pulled over for a break. I said, "I guess they don't call it the Hill Country for nothing! At least it's not the Mountain Country!"

The weather remained overcast. It was looking darker in the direction we were headed. Finally, we reached the entrance to Pedernales Falls State Park. It was still a bit further, with more ups and downs, of course. We reached the park office at 3:20. Whew! We made it! We got our site (#7). Camping in Texas is pretty expensive for a bike. The site cost $20 PLUS $3 each for the bikes! At least Christian and I will split the $20.

We got to our site. Christian sat down at the picnic table to rest. Then we heard thunder. Uh oh! Better get the tents up...NOW! I got my footprint down and my tent layed out before the first few drops of rain started. Then it was a mad dash to get the tent up and the rainfly on as it began to pour! There was more thunder and lightening. For a moment I just stood in the rain (after my tent was up) at a loss as to what to do next. Everything except the tent was still on Betsy. I grabbed the bag with my sleeping bag, pad, etc. and threw it under the vestibule. I brought Betsy closer to the tent and put the rear panniers under the other vestibule. I had retrieved my helmet and gloves from the picnic table, where they were rapidly getting soaked, and threw them under the vestibule as well. I left the food panniers on Betsy. I crawled in my tent trying not to bring a bunch of dirt and water with me (mildly successful at that). After I got things reasonably organized, I decided I should get out of my wet clothes.

Now it is almost 6:00. For the moment, the rain has decreased. Still there is lots of thunder in the distance. Oops, shouldn't have said the rain was it's not. Oh, and there is more lightening...Hopefully, this storm will pass soon. It would be nice to have some dinner...

Day 1--51 miles
Snake sightings: 0 (yay!)

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