It never ceases to amaze me what a good night's sleep can do for one's physical and mental state! I had so much more energy leaving Vanderpool and the Foxfire Cabins, than I did Camp Wood. Of course, I had planned to ride only 24 of the 51 miles today. Since the 111-mile day, I have been suffering from some sort of nerve problem in my right hand. Michelle, one of the guides, looked at the configuration of my handlebars and determined that I was leaning too far forward on the handlebars, thus putting too much of my body weight on my hands. Now, I have had this bicycle for quite a few years, and never knew why my hands would go numb. As a temporary fix, we raised the stem a bit, but there was not much space to raise it and still be safe. She also turned the handlebars up, thus causing me to sit a bit higher. Since there is a great bike shop in Kerrville, I decided to ride in the van, get to the shop early, and try to get a new stem. Michelle suggested that I might want to ride the first 24 miles to Medina because it is such a beautiful ride. Before the beautiful part, we had to cross another "hill" with a 6-10% grade, a 1.3-mile climb. It seemed straight up to me! After only a few yard of huffing and puffing, it was evident that I would have to resort to some cross-training (aka walk up the hill). The advantage was that I saw some beautiful rock strata where the road was cut.
Even some of the strongest women had to walk part of this hill. Then there was the downhill. All I could do was "feather" my brakes and say to myself…"hold on tight"! My maximum speed was probably about 35 mph!
After the downhill, we were rewarded with some of the most beautiful farm country I have seen on this trip.
The landscape is lush and green. There are farms with cattle, llamas, horses, and even some kangaroos! Yep, my friend Anne saw them and has photographs to prove it. We are told that there are some exotic game farms in the area.
Another highlight of this day was the array of wildflowers, particularly the Texas Bluebonnets. One of our SAG stops was beside a lovely sea of "blue", spotted with some Indian Paintbrush.
Then there was Medina, home of Loves Cree Cidr Mill and Country Store, http://www.lovecreekorchards.com/ They had everything "apple", from cider to pie, to strudel, to apple pie ice cream, and even trees ( a bit hard to carry on bicycle) Anyone who cycles, knows that a place like this is a virtual paradise! Just about everyone stopped here for a rest and some "energy" food.
I walked down the street to an art gallery where I found some gifts for the Porter family. Polly, Melissa, Howard, and Mariann, look for something in the mail! There was even an ACE Hardware store in Medina, Pernal!
In Medina, I loaded my bicycle on the van and rode the rest of the day watching folks struggle up the hills, and enjoy the scenery. We passed the "Thunder in the Hills Church", a church for bikers. While I could not stop for pictures, a friend did manage to visit the church. We might have stopped for a service if it had been Sunday.
Arriving in Kerrville for two days, we went immediately to the Hill Country Bicycle Works. http://www.hillcountrybicycle.com/index.htm Adam, the owner, agreed with Michelle about my stem and handlebars. So I left it there for a "make-over". Of course, just about everyone on the tour ended up stopping there for repairs or new merchandise.
When one is on the road for over a month, there are other necessities that must be addressed. Two goals for my layover day here were to get a haircut and a pedicure (a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do-especially if she wears sandals when cycling). I am not sure it was planned that way, but there just happened to be a nail place next to the bike shop. So I addressed one goal while waiting for the other women at the bike shop.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I asked about places for haircuts. As luck would have it, the first place was booked because of Easter. But, I managed to reach Lisa, who agreed, not only to cut my hair, but to pick me up from the hotel the next morning (and anyone else who needed a cut.) At the arranged time on Friday morning Lisa was here to pick Bobbi and me up. She not only did a great job cutting our hair, but took us to the post office and to Wal-mart before dropping us off downtown for lunch. She was a gem. One of her classic statements about Texas women was, "the bigger the hair, the smaller the town" That quote is a keeper. She offered to pick us up later from the restaurant and take us back to the hotel or anywhere we wanted to go. We thanked her profusely! What if the other hairdresser had not been busy! We never would have met this angel of a woman.
We met our friends at Jefferson Joe's St. Restaurant, reviewed by Kinky Friedman, on NPR. Great home cooking, with black-eyed peas, squash, potatoes, buttermilk pie, and the list goes on and on.
Then it was back to the bike shop on Friday afternoon to pick up all of the bikes. Of course, mine was the real challenge of the day. It was not quite ready. The owner had worked until midnight last night to accommodate all of us. He said h
e would bring it to the hotel later in the evening, which he did.
And, speaking of hotels, we stayed at the YO Ranch Resort, an interesting hotel in Kerrville. This was our home for two days.