Kerrville, TX to Driftwood, TX
Distance traveled: 101.51 miles (1699.2 miles total)
GPS tracks: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/267838331
“love is the coal that makes this train roll” – The Black Keys, Everlasting Light
When I set out I did not intend for this to be my last day of riding. I didn’t intend to do over 100 miles. I didn’t intend to be arriving at The Salt Lick BBQ right as they were closing. What can I say? Mistakes were made.
The first mistake was leaving so late – I knew I needed more time but I just couldn’t drag myself out the door before 10am. Well, that’s really not the first mistake. The first mistake was packing so many miles into 3 days – I was so exhausted, my knees had started to complain a bit, but I was bound and determined to stick to my HANG OUT WITH TODD AND EAT BBQ TONIGHT NO MATTER WHAT schedule. I’m glad I did, but it was probably a mistake.
Like the previous few days, it was a blustery windy no fun to ride in the wrong direction sort of day. Overcast & cloudy. Damn that wind. I’m tired of complaining about it, but it was responsible for much of my less-than-joyous attitude at certain moments during the day.
Oh, but the roads in the morning were fun – back country road was the primary path for today and that made it more fun than it would otherwise be. Still, lots of up and down today like the previous days – 5,700 ft of climbing. After all, this is still hill country!
High’s Café in Comfort, TX
If you ever find yourself in Comfort, TX I recommend stopping and staying a while. I had lunch at an adorable little café with great food. I had a woman stop and talk to me about the trip which was super nice. I would love to go back.
Also, I had people stop their cars and ask if needed anything more than once – it’s so nice when that happens. I didn’t need anything, but it is nice to have folks out in there who are kind enough to stop their cars and ask when they see you standing by the side of the road.
Armadillo Farm? Yep. It used to be fashionable to have Armadillo baskets.
It was one hell of a slow slog of a bike ride until I got to Blanco, TX. Almost all the elevation had been packed into the first two-thirds of the trip and I was pretty spent. I stopped to let Todd know that I was running behind but I’d do my best to get to the Salt Lick before they close at 10pm. I was hoping to be there by 8pm, but it was just too slow going to make that time.
And then I went and got myself lost out in the dark on Texas back country roads. Now, “lost” isn’t the right term – with a cell phone and a GPS it’s hard to be truly “lost”. But the path I intended to take certainly was not going to work. This was the biggest mistake of the trip, and really it wasn’t that bad. Just frustrating to be delayed when you’re on a schedule.
The little mile-long blip heading north is where I should have been able to cut directly east toward Driftwood on Stone Ranch Road. Instead I had to do a pretty long loop south to get across that gap to Driftwood. It was a nice ride, just longer than originally planned.
This was the first time I had been off of the ACA’s very well mapped Southern Tier route on the trip (besides my side trip to Prescott, AZ). I was going to take a different way into Austin to get closer to Todd’s house and also go eat some killer BBQ along the way. I had looked at the route online beforehand, but didn’t pay attention to the details of the last 20 miles. I just let the Garmin GPS do the work for me which normally works well. This time, however, it took me out of the way to get to a road that was not passible via bike. It was a private road with an intimidating locked gate. Even if it wasn’t forbidden, you would need an ATV to go along this road… my overloaded beast of burden w/ moderately skinny tires couldn’t have done it! So I had to backtrack and figure out different way – which ended up adding an additional 8-10 miles to the trip!
I called Todd in despair – it just wasn’t going to work to meet up tonight. In talking to him, he convinced me that I should try and that if nothing else he’d get their early and get us take out. Alright – good plan. I’ll go bust out some miles…
And bust them out I did – like a muther frak’n ninja. I biked like I needed barbeque to live. To breath! This bike is powered by the mere thought of BBQ!
Some of the world’s best!
I rolled into the Salt Lick with a smile on my face and with a half-hour to spare! I’m gonna hang out with a great friend, I’m getting some of the world’s best ribs and brisket, and I’ve only got a short 25 mile ride into Austin in the morning. Life is good.
Todd’s ready to chow down!
And it only got better. We got seated and ordered the “all you can eat” meal where they just keep bringing you meat after delicious meat. Piles of it. I changed into some respectable & clean cloths. I down some great beer and BBQ with Todd. I ate more than one person reasonably should be capable of eating. And when the bill comes and the manager has given me my meal for free! “Anyone who’s biked 100 miles to eat here earned a free meal!” Killer! And they gave us free desert. To top it off, since we got their so late, he let us just hang out and eat until well after they were closed… they literally turned off the lights as we were walking out the door. How awesome is that!?
All you can eat!!
During the meal Todd asked if I wanted to just ride back with him in his car. At first I said no – I’m a purist – I want to “ride to Austin”. But as the evening progressed & beer was consumed the weather started to become even fouler. The loud rain on the tin roof convinced me that I didn’t want to camp tonight. And the idea of hanging out with Todd more sounded much more awesome than a night alone in the rain in a tent.
It was a good decision. 1,699.2 miles to the outskirts of Austin is a damn respectable ride. No, I didn’t roll my wheels past the Austin City Limits sign, but I am at peace with that. My body was done. Yah, I could have done it but it would have been another windy gross day. It just wouldn’t have been fun. I decided to optimize for fun. I’ll remember the great evening out with Todd more than I would have remembered those last 30 miles that were not to be.
And so, I’m done. And I am so very happy to be done.