Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Smokey Says...

"Only YOU can prevent forest fires!"---I'll get to that in a moment.

We had a great evening sitting around the fire listening to Ernie tell stories and Bubba tell bad jokes (the Pampered Pedalers are used to it).

This morning, breakfast was ready at 8:00. On the menu was biscuits and gravy, French toast, cranberry orange pancakes, sausage patties, and eggs. There was also a variety of bagels, beverages, and cereal. A person could really get used to this kind of touring (if one could afford this level of pampering).

Alas, we had to leave our new friends, and head down the road. The BPPs were taking a well-deserved day off at the farm. While we were continuing our trek across Texas, they would be going for a hay ride around the farm, swimming in the pool, getting massages, and generally relaxing. Lucky them!

It was, as usual, quite windy as we began today's ride. I've come to think the wind never really stops here. Just after we crossed Lake Conroe, I noticed smoke up ahead on the side of the road. When we got to it, we saw it was a fire burning a dead tree. There was no one around. It didn't look good so we pulled over and I called 911 (FYI--if you want to have phone service in Texas the best provider is AT&T--which I have--Verizon people are out of luck). First dispatcher was from Montgomery County. We were in Walker County. After I finally got that across to her, she transferred me to Walker County. They said they would send someone out. I asked if we were free to continue on our way. The gal said we could, so we headed down the road. Not too much later, we saw the New Waverly Fire Trucks coming. We waved and they stopped. I told them where the fire was. They said there had been a controlled burn in the area, but they would check it out. I don't think they did anything about it, because they passed us going back to New Waverly pretty quickly. Well, we did our duty to prevent forest fires!

Christian wanted to stop in Pumpkin at a gas station in hopes of some lunch. My plan was to eat my bagels before they get moldy. The only gas station in Pumpkin was closed. We went over to the RV park where we had originally planned to stay and ate at a picnic table. On the way, another dog came chasing out after me. I yelled and out-ran/pedaled her.

After lunch, we only had about 12 more miles to go. Because we went 20 extra miles yesterday, this would be a short day--even though we went further today than we had planned. Most of the time I overestimate the distance we can do in a day. For this tour, I seem to have underestimated. That's okay because we don't have any days off planned until Memphis.

We got to Coldspring and found a grocery/minimart where Christian could get coffee. I had Gatorade. It was warm today and very humid.

From the gas station, we had only a couple miles to go to get to Double Lake Recreation Area. This place is part of the Sam Houston National Forest. When we got to the entrance station, no one was there. We looked at the posted fee schedule. It said Primitive Sites--$18, Hook-up (water and electric)--$10. We didn't need a hook-up site, but we would rather pay $10 than $18. We thought maybe the hook-up sites were not as nice, so they were cheaper.

After we got everything set up, and had taken showers (quite surprised there are showers here), the park manager came by. I told him I had put money in the iron ranger. He asked how much I had paid. I told him $10. He said that the base rate is $18 and the hook-up site is an additional $10. Nowhere on the fee schedule does it say that, and I told him so. He agreed it is confusing. I asked if we could just stay here because the park is pretty empty. He said if I paid the $18 he would just list us at a primitive site. I told him I was fine with that and gave him the additional $8. I did use the electrical outlet to charge my Volcano speaker and my phone. I could have just used the outlets in the bathroom too.

Tomorrow is another short day, but we will be back on the planned schedule. It's supposed to rain for the next two days--dang!

Below is a photo of the "fire". There is also a photo of an interesting looking moth I saw at lunch.

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