Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The March to 2012

Well, it is time to start getting serious again.  I have been  playing around far to long without a plan.

 I just finished my "long" ride of the year and now it is time to get ready for 2012.  I don't have a transcon in site, but I do have a couple epic rides scheduled.

Current 2012 Goals:

1.  300 miles at Sebring 12/24 hour race.
2.  Complete a full randonneuring series in Texas including the Mineral Wells 600k.
3.  Complete 500 miles in less than 48 hours in the Texas Time Trials.

This should keep me pretty busy and hopefully leave me in pretty darn good shape to head into 2013 where I hope to spend 2-3 weeks touring Alaska...

Looking forward to a great year!

The NOLA 600k

I can't believe how good this weekend was! 

I don't remember when I decided to go for the 400 and 600.  I know I was gaining confidence riding at night and that was probably a big factor.  The fact that I was riding stronger and better because of the Lake Michigan trip played a part in it too. 

I drove down to Pat's in New Orleans Friday afternoon and as I was the only one from out of town (only Pat and Steve did the ride with me) I had the cassita to myself.  Got to bed early but was concerned about a very howling wind.  The forecast had the wind dying down by 6am, but at 9 pm Friday night it was whipping up really good.  I woke to a nasty wood against sandpaper sound of a tree limb hitting the cassita rooftop because of the wind.  It was pretty ferocious sounding.  It was also pretty durn cold.  Only 48, but with the wind, I was struggling to figure out how to dress.  I layered up really good. Steve even mentioned that I would be glad once the headwind hit me in the face on top of the levy.  I was still pretty chilly as we left the house heading for the levy.  The wind was strong and throwing us around.  Not as bad as some of the Arizona winds I have ridden in, but in the dark and cold it was not much fun, especially since I knew we had 200k of it.  At mile 3, yes 3, I was burning slap up.  I don't know why I am having so many problems regulating my temp, but I am.  I had to stop to take off my neck buff and I traded my jacket for my wind vest.  This was a little better.  The guys had stopped and waited for me for this layer.  But another mile or two down the road I started trying to take my gloves off.  With the wind, I dropped back and rode one handed while biting the long fingered glove liner and pulling my hand out of it then putting the half fingered glove back on.  This finally got my temp right, but this time the guys did not wait up for me.  I struggled in the headwind to catch back up.  About the time I was going to latch back on something would come up - debris, curvy part of the levy, to slow me down.  I was getting discouraged way too early in the ride.  The guys were waiting for me at the end of the Levy.  Once we got onto River Road, we stayed together for the next 40ish miles.  I am not sure why but the next 100k was a struggle for me.  I don't know if Pat was riding stronger today than the 400 or if I was just slower, but I could not keep up.  I was never so far back that they had to come looking for me, but unlike the 400, I was not on Pats wheel the whole time.  It bothered me that I couldn't hang on, but it did not mess with me mentally.  I was enjoying the beautiful day.  I had on a lightweight long sleeve undershirt and a short sleeve jersey and was absolutely comfortable.  The temps were perfect.  The wind was heavy but not demoralizing.  I was really enjoying myself. Plus with the riding I had been doing, my body is comfortable with 300k - beyond that, not so much.

We got to Baton Rouge, stopped at the control for a quick dinner.  We were behind schedule and concerned about not making it back to one of the stores about 30 miles out before it closed at 8. Just seconds out of the control, Pat hits a really bad pothole - more like a crevasse - I should have noticed it but from my vantage point it did not look as bad as it actually was.  We both hit it hard and I heard the tale-tale hiss of a pinched flat.  Luck was with us and we had it changed in 7 minutes!  For the most part, I was able to stay up with the guys on this stretch - tailwind maybe?  They would pull away, but I was never too far back.  We pulled into the store at  7 - gaining back some time!  However, the next 30 miles would really challenge me.  I got sleepy and was having trouble staying awake.  I was sipping 5 hour energys, but they weren't working.  I got dropped really bad - I could see Pat and Steves taillights but they were just blinking lights.  This was when my mind started conjuring up negative thoughts.  I just don't like riding at night alone.  About that time, I lost the taillights all together.  The night was beautiful, the stars were shining and the moon was a beautiful crescent giving out a lot of light for such a small sliver.  But something jumped out of the ditch just ahead of me - cat, rabbit, coon, I don't know but it scared the bejesus out of me!  At that moment I decided to DNF.  No way was I riding out here in the middle of the night by myself - damn it.  I was just going to get a motel in Sorrento - the next control.  I could easily ride back to Pats alone the next day. Dang warewolves out here in the middle of the night on Halloween weekend.  Only stupid idiots would be caught dead riding a bike at night in the middle of no where!  Right!?  Anyway, I worked up a pretty good lather from the spooking and stomped up to the control.  The guys had not been there very long.  They still had not made it into McDonalds yet.  I blasted that I was tired of this ride, was going to find a motel and ride back in the morning.  I was not going to ride at night alone and I can't keep up so I was going to pack my toys and go home!!!  Well, little did I know that there was no motel in Sorrento, not even a Super 8!  Steve knew this and told me later that he slunk off to the bathroom to let me blow off steam.  He said he knew I would be okay once I ate the magical wonderfully delicious McDonalds oatmeal.  So, I did walk into the Micky Ds and walked up to the counter, ordered the magical wonderfully delicious McDonals oatmeal, asked the young lady to sign my card (I really thought this was funny because I was DNFing so why did I ask her to sign the card?) and then I asked her where the nearest hotel was.  Well, she had to think a minute and answered "Gonzalas".  Well that is in another town.  So I pouted my way to a seat with the magical wonderfully delicious McDonalds oatmeal when I heard Pat tell someone on the phone that I was considering DNFing.  I spat at him that there is no motel in Sorrento so I would have to just keep riding.  I then sat down and relished my magical wonderfully delicious McDonalds oatmeal as pixie fairys sprinkled rando dust on me. 

Alas, all is well in the world and we start the 4th 100k on the way back to Pats. It seemed to have dropped 30 degrees in the 20 minutes or so we were in McDonalds.  I put on everything I had with me donning the jacket instead of the vest.  Steve would later take the vest.  My teeth chattered for sometime but eventually I adjusted to the cold and I think it became warmer as we continued toward New Orleans. The one thing that did bother me on this leg was several times I started to fall asleep on the bike - just close my eyes for a second and then jerk awake.  I was sipping 5 hour energy at the control, slapping myself, pulling my hair.  The only thing that seemed to help was singing childrens songs - Old McDonald, Knick Nac Patty Wack, and at least a dozen more.  I even sang 100 bottles of beer on the wall but started at 32 cause we had 32 miles to go and I sang it all the way to no more bottles of beer on the wall.  The other thing that kept me awake was playing the memory game with Pat and Steve.  Ya know the game - I am going on a bike ride and taking my bike, flat tire, full bladder, Perpetuem, flag, red light, edge bike computer - each person has to recall the list and then add to it.  I just love that game and it really helped to concentrate. Unfortunately we, (I?) slowed down on this leg and we did not get to Pat's until 3:15 a full hour later than the 400k.  It took an hour to get a shower and get everything ready to do all over again and my head hit the pillow at 4:15.  Pat would give me a wake up call 1 hour and 10 min before we were to push off again.

The phone rang 2 hours and 15 minutes later.  It seemed like meer moments.  I asked Pat if I could DNF, he responded with a sharp no, so with that I got up and got ready. We pushed off at 7:48, 1 hour and 45 min later than the original plan.  This is where I really had to pull myself together.  My knees and ankle hurt (ankle?! I did not even know ankles could hurt), my legs were sore and heavy and I was tired (whine, sniff, sniff).  Pat and Steve were really pushing hard - we had a ferry to make and that put us on a pretty strict time schedule, plus we had a terrible headwind (probably wasn't that bad but seemed it at the time). I just could not do it.  I just wasn't capable of keeping up. This was the lowest moment for me and I was ready to give up.  Steve and Pat stopped to wait for me and I told them just to go on without me.  There was no way I could do it.  They put me behind Pat and Steve whispered encouragement to me for the next 15 miles.  He said the wind would be at our backs when we got off the ferry and that this is the hardest part of the day.  Once we left the familiar territory of the levy, he told me what to expect up ahead.  This was the reason I was able to push through and make it to the ferry.  Once on the ferry, I thought I would burst into tears.  400k down 200k to go.

The next 100k was not very eventful.  But it seemed to take FOREVER!!!  I enjoyed riding in new territory.  What amazed me was that I did not fully understand where we were going.  I thought we were headed in the exact opposite direction of day one which would have been east, even though we were going to ride on the "west bank".  I had not seen a map of the route, but after looking at the map on Monday morning we would have ended up in Mississippi had we gone the way I thought we were.  10 miles off of the ferry we come up to my favorite bridge in the world, the Huey P Long.  When Pat told me there's the Heuy P, I was really confused.  I asked what was on the other side and I know I confused him.  It probably took two miles for him to explain that we were riding parallel to our route from yesterday.  This made no sense to my now very addled brain. We were on the "west bank".  So the rest of the trip Pat would point out the west bank side of my very familiar east bank landmarks.  Mind blowing stuff after 250+ miles!

This 100k, the 5th, was the eatingest, stopingest 100k ever.  We stopped for meat pies about 20 miles past the ferry. I walked in to the meat pie store and they had BANANAS!!! Yeah!!! Just what I wanted.  The guys ate meat pies.  10 miles further down the road we stopped for chicken fingers.  Nothing sounded good, but they guys said there would be no food at the turn around so I bought one chicken finger.  It was really good.  We pushed on for the next 30 miles to the turn around only stopping for bio breaks in the pretty corn fields (erh cane fields, they look the same to me until you realize there is no corn on the cane stalks). I was falling behind again.  Pat and Steve were a good bit in front of me.  Pat stopped and fell behind me and started squeeking orders to me in a funny voice.  Sharon Stevens from LSR had been texting us back and forth from her 600k and Vickie Tyer had sent me a message to "pedal, pedal, pedal", so Pat was telling me things like this encouraging me to sprint up to Steve.  I realized that I did have more energy in me than I  thought, so I pushed.  I would try to coast for a minute and Pat would squeak, "Pedal Pedal Pedal", I would try and coast and he would squeak other words of encouragement to me.  I don't know why, but this really helped me mentally and physically.  We finally made it to the control, but were still and hour behind our new schedule with a headwind approaching our last 100k.

The Last #$%^#@ 100k, the 6th, was my favorite 100k.  As we pulled away from the control into a headwind I immediately started to fall back.  I started to get discouraged.  Then remembering Sharon/Vicki/Pats "Pedal Pedal Pedal" and the surge I had earlier, I thought of training for my transcon.  To train for it I had to get angry, had to push myself to do the drills.  I have not pushed myself that hard since getting back from the transcon.  So I gritted my teeth and caught back up with the guys.  There was no way I was going to be out to 10 pm finishing this thing.  I told the guys the only way I was going to be able to do this was to get angry and that I needed to scream some cuss words.  Irreverent as it may seem, it pushed me and pulled me to keep up with the guys.  I yelled at every Parish line sign and every landmark and I rode harder and better than I have in a long time.  No way was I going to loose Pat's wheel this 100k.  I kept up!

We were going to finish!!! We stopped only once at the chicken finger store to get the final supplies to finish this ride off.  I bought Powerball tickets - it is up to 245 million ya know and that would buy a lot of bikes.  We had plans to meet Pat's wife Cindi at Steve's house at 7:30 and we were pretty much on track.  Steve's wife, Candace, was going to order us some pizza and I could not wait.  We slowed down in the dark having to cruise back on the levy path and then the winding streets of Gretna.  The traffic was heavyish and the threat of potholes tremendous.  Just when we thought we were done I heard a weird siren. It was the drawbridge, damn!  I don't know how long we had to wait, probably no more than 10 minutes.  We finally crossed the drawbridge for the final 2 miles to the control!  Yahoo!!!!! We pulled into the Circle K 38 hours and 8 minutes after starting the ride!!
After thoughts:

Riding with Pat and Steve about 90% of the time sure made the time pass.  They would sometimes ride ahead but always waited at turns or controls.  We fought wind for the first 200k and were too tired to take much advantage of little tailwind left for the ride back.  The second day, the wind was not as bad, but it still slowed us down a couple mph.  The guys have done this ride a couple times before and finished 2-3 hours earlier.  It is very flat.  If you have not completed a 400 or 600 New Orleans is the place to get some confidence. 

It is amazing what your body will do.  I did have a good time and did not "hate" the experience.  I am still not comfortable riding alone at night.  I am very pleased with my food on the bike.  No nutritional problems at all.  I made sure I sipped on SE and Heed the entire ride, especially when I felt the least bit hungry. When we stopped to eat I ate meat of some kind but not much of it or some fruit. 

I hate to admit it, but I can't wait to do some more 400s and 600s.  I am going to take the next 3 months and just train for Sebring trying to get faster.  Then in March I am going to head over and work up to a full Texas series. 

I could not have completed this ride without the encouragement of my riding companions Pat and Steve.  They both shepherded me through this ride challenging me, encouraging me and proding me along.  I am very appreciative for their patience especially putting up with my off key singing of childrens songs on Saturday night!  Thank you guys!!!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Effingham, IL

Well here I am - 3/4 of the way to Chicago to start my tour of Lake Michigan.  The drive was uneventful - it did start raining just south of Memphis and rained on and off the rest of the way to Effingham.  What a name for a city.  I wonder who or what the city is named for.

I am listening to John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany" in the car.  6 hours into a 20+ hour book and I am loving it.  Much better than that crappy "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy".

Anyway, I am staying at a Super 8 - after staying at 13 of them  in 30 days, I have become fond of them.  Also, they are pretty inexpensive and have everything I need that a more expensive hotel has.  Sometimes more.  Alot of the nicer hotels don't have the microwave and frig in the room.

One of the more interesting thoughts that went through my head as I drove further north is that I have "ridden here before".  Well not exactly, but I have ridden about an hour north of where I am staying tonight.  It seems so surreal to think that I will either drive under or over the exact spot that I cycled just over a year ago.  I must admit that I had a deja vu moment walking into the Super 8 with my bike.  I almost expected Vikki to be in the parking lot washing her bike when I got here.  Memories I will have forever...

Well let me update the happenings since I have not blogged regularly.  Susan Reed and I have been planning to do this ride for almost a year.  Susan has lived in Chicago most of her life, yet has never ridden all of Lake Michigan.  The goal was for us to ride the first two weeks with her husband, Kirk, as SAG. The third week Kirk had other commitments and so Susan and I would ride self-supported on the Wisconsin side of the lake.  However, about 3 weeks ago, Susan broke her foot and is in a boot.  She won't see the doc until the 22nd so, now, Susan is also riding SAG.  She has been very gracious about continuing with our plans even though she won't be riding herself. 

So, tomorrow, I will meet Susan and Kirk in Wilmette and we will drive to Michigan City, IN.  Bill Mendenhall and his daughters will be joining us there along with my old roomie, Vikki and her husband Craig.  Susan Carlson and her beau will be joining us as well.  It will be nice to reminisce with my old Transcon friends.  Susan's friends, Mark and Jeff, will be joining us on Sunday.

Well, I need to oil my chain...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I realized yesterday that my Transcon started 1 year ago.  I decided I would re-read my blog one entry per day for the next 30 days and just remember the great times I had.  Funny as I said "re-read" - I just read the blog from July 1st to July 10th and realized I had never read them after I posted them.  So this will be a fun journey to remember the greatest experience in my life.  And how I have changed because of it.

I will admit that I have tears running down my cheeks right now.  Why?  I don't really know.  I am afraid it is from regret - something I try not to have in my life.  But it seems so odd that I gave so much of myself to pursue the dream of seeing America and yet I have nothing to show for the year since I got back.

Well this is a lot for me to ingest this morning.  Guess I will pursue how to live a life without regret over the next 30 days...

Monday, June 20, 2011

205 miles

Well, I am home and hopefully rested.  It was a great weekend with my first double century in gosh, who knows how long.

The weekend started Thursday night, of course.  I was getting my stuff ready for my Friday ride and when I went out to air up my tires, I had another flat.  This is the second surprise "flat in the garage" flat in 3 days - one in front one in back.  Since I have had 2 flats in as many weeks on the front tire I decided to change the tire.  I hate putting on new tires and with much gnashing of teeth, got the new tire and tube on the rim.  By the time I had all my stuff together, it was 11:30.  When the alarm went off, I just went back to sleep.  Over sleeping is bad because of the heat.  So I had to cut 25 miles off my planned ride to get home and showered before leaving for Pat's.

Arrived at Pat's in time for dinner and went to the Tacoria with Pat and Cindy.  It is a small local authentic Mexican restaurant with really cheesy enchiladas.  When we got back, Pat and I discussed the merits of taking links out of my chain so I could use my 11/28 wheel instead of my 11/32.  He believed that the chain would be fine.  So I changed the back wheel to the 11/28 and rode it up the block and all seemed to work fine.  Off to bed.

4 am came pretty fast, but I was up and ready to ride by 5.  Pat and I were just going to do a "fast" 100k before the 200k that would start at 2:30.  At 5 am the temperature was in the 70's but the humidity was oppressive.  It felt much hotter already compared to 6 am in Ridgeland.  Getting on to the levy, the overflowing Mississippi was very evident.  I love riding the levy when the Mississippi is high because it brings the most wonderful water fowl - birds you would normally never see.  The ride out to Crab Trap was uneventful as was the ride back.  We finished the ride in 4 hours and 50 min.  I retired to Pat's "cassita" - the apartment in his back yard for a shower and a nap. 61 miles down, 140 to go.

At 1 pm, Pat and I headed out to Audubon Park to meet the others.  We would have 3 new randos on this ride and one person doing his second brevet, Ebon.  Each of the guys had cycling experience of various degrees.  Mark from Lafayette, has completed several double centuries out in California, Jeff T from NOLA is more of a racer or club rider around the NOLA area, and Jeff H "the Juggler" is a commuter who builds his own bikes.  Both Jeffs had never ridden more than about 75 miles at once before this ride.  Also rounding out the crew was Steve and Doug.

At 2 pm it was very hot - road temp was 110 actual was 95.  I was starting the ride a little sluggish, but I knew just to keep my ride at a moderate speed and let the new guys exercise their testosterone.  The guys always try to ride out too fast.  I know Ebon and Jeff H would be slower as their cycling was more of the touring variety and not the "go fast" variety.  It was very hot on the levy and as the bends in the river changed directions, so did the winds.  At times we seemed to have a crosswind and others a head wind.  It seemed heavier than the single digit winds predicted.  I like headwinds in the heat as they keep you cooler than a tailwind.  The heat was taking an early toll on the guys - both Doug and Ebon were out of water in the first 20 miles so we pulled off the levy to stop at a gas station for ice and water.  Not long after this stop, Ebon decided to turn back as he had been sick and was already bonking. Doug came up behind me on this section and asked if I had poured water over my head or was I just sweating heavy.  I was just sweating heavy - my hair was dripping like a leaky faucet.  The group continued to the detour around the spillway on Hwy 61.  I don't like Hwy 61, but it is the only way when the spillway is flooded.  We sprinted the 4-5 miles of that section and I was ready to slow it down back on river road.  The group stayed together loosely to LaPlace.  At this point, I have ridden 50 miles without a bio break.  I drink a V8 an make myself "go".

More later...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Let's try this again

Well, I just have not been able to get it together since coming back from the Transcon.  So, we will try keeping up with the blog, at least a couple times a month, for a while.

I am very fortunate to have realized in 2009 that my window of opportunity was a small one.  I somehow was able to see that if I did not jump at the chance to train and ride for my Transcon, it might not ever happen.  I was blessed to have all aspects of my life line up at the same time and thus enjoyed the trip of a lifetime this past July/August.

After coming home things have not been a bed of roses.  Nothing major mind you, just regular life stuff.  And even my "life stuff" has not been earth shattering, just inconvenient.  Like 24 year old daughter and 3 year old grandson moving home.  (Remember, not earth shattering, just inconvenient and hopefully not permanent!)

So I find myself some 11 months post-Transcon, ready to get my cycling act together again.  I have unfortunately let myself gain 30 lbs and in need of rebuilding my endurance and speed. 

So, what am I going to do about it?  RIDE, of course!

In May, I rode a grand total of 147 miles - something I can do in a day.  So far 12 days into June, I have ridden over 300 - a good start.  I have also signed up to participate in the Texas Time Trials in September.  I have always wanted to compete in the TTT, but something always prevented me from participating.  Assuming the TTT does not kill me, I am also planning on doing Sebring in February.  And to top it off, although I am still waivering on this one, I may even do the Heart of the South 200 in April.  At least I have something to shoot for.

I also plan to attempt Pat's Louisiana fall series.  I have never completed a 400k on my recumbent and have not attempted one at all since 2007.  The only issue I have with the whole series is the 600.  One, I have never tried a 600 and two it falls on the same day as a ride in Canton, TX.  Since I have never ridden a full series, I may just attempt it for the first time.  Who knows?  We will just have to see.

I am also considering offering a full series in Mississippi next year.  I have offered a 200, 300 and 400 in the past.  Although I have not offered the 400 in two years.  Unfortunately, I have to decide to offer the whole series by September.

Well, I am headed to NOLA for the June night brevet on Saturday.  It will be good to practice some night riding and see how my lights do for an extended period of time.

Hopefully I will let you know how that ride turns out!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hey, I am back!

Well it has been a little while since I have posted here in my blog.  I have a lot of catching up to do.
Right now, I am sitting in my pj's at my sister/brother-in-laws, house.  I decided to spend spring break here at Don/Barbara's farm outside of Brenham, Texas.  They finished building their new house out in the country this past year and this is the first chance I have had to visit.  It is beautiful and quite here.  One of the highlights of the day is waiting for the sun to set.  I have seen 3 distinctly different sunsets all equally stunning. They are so stunning because you can see for miles here without interference from buildings. Nothing but horizon.  When we watch the sunset, all the lights in the house are turned off and there are no lights anywhere near the house - no street lights, no headlights from passing cars.  On Sunday we stayed outside long after the sun had set just talking and looking at the stars.  Slowly, the lawn started to brighten as if a car was headed up the long driveway.  However there was no car coming.  The light intensified and yet I still could not determine the source.  I decided Don had a light on the side of the house set on a timer and asked him about it.  He laughed!  I was the moonlight!  Even thought the moon was not full, it was supplying enough light to cause a shadow.  It was amazing!

I have ridden 3 rides so far since I have been here.  Saturday, I rode a 200k in Brookshire, Sunday a 100k in Fulsher, and yesterday (Wednesday) a loop ride out of Chappell Hill.  All three rides were pleasant, each with their own challenges.

Saturdays 200k (135 miles total) - I was riding very well.  The wind was a typical Texas wind, not awful, but stronger than the wind has been in Mississippi.  I had ridden this route in 2006 and remembered most of it.  Kulow road has been paved and the dogs have been fenced.  The temperature increased to the mid 70s and it was a wonderful day.  At the turn around in Fayetteville, there were hundreds of people getting back from an MS150 training ride.  There were about 800 people on the ride - a TRAINING ride!  Our MS150 won't have 300 people on the actual ride and maybe only 40 on any given training ride.  I took two wrong turns on the way back and ended up added 9 bonus miles.  The good thing about it was that I was able to ride the last 40 miles with Ben from Katy TX. He was on a Strata and we had a good time talking on the way back in.  It was nice to have someone else help navigate. 

Sundays 100k - Rando 101 - this was not a very fun ride, but it was miles on a very nicely paved shoulder.  The route itself was very flat with only 773 ft of climbing.  However, the wind was howling!  I started in the dark at 7am.  Daylight Savings started just a few hours earlier so it felt like 6am.  The wind was very calm for the first 15 miles and then started to pick up.  As this was a highway road there was nothing to look at but run down ranch homes, a few cows, horses and goats.  I like goats.  I did get a good tail wind for about 15 miles.  After the turn around, the wind was blowing so hard, I had to don my arm warmers and vest again as the wind made it feel so much cooler.  I was struggling to do 10-12 mph.  I was fortunately able to run into an upright biker and catch his wheel for about 15 miles.  I really enjoyed this part of the ride even though we were slogging into the wind at no more than 13 mph.  He gave me something to concentrate on and helped pass the time better than looking at the boring countryside. 

Wednesdays Chappell Hill Loop - this was a great route.  Potentially one of my favorites.  I drove from D/Bs out to Chappell Hill in the pitch black dark and started in the pitch black dark.  The route had a long 4% grade hill that started at mile 1.9!  Needless to say the whole route was up and down.  I wish I had more energy as this could end up being a very recumbent friendly route.  It followed the Washington County blue bonnet trail, however, the blue bonnets are not blooming en mass yet.  There were a few here and there but just not like the pictures I have seen in the past.  I would consider driving down and doing this route again in a couple weeks just to see the blue bonnets.  Even without the bluebonnets the countryside was beautiful.  Lots of well manicured ranches with interestingly colored cows, goats, and even miniature horses.  Most of this route is minor chip seal although there were piles of gravel on the side of the road every few miles so I would think this route may have fresh chip seal soon.  One mean dog around mile 30 and a pack around mile 60.  After being chased by the pack, I was chased by what looked like a small ram and two more dogs.  The ram/goat could not get through a hole in the fence, but the two dogs could.  The ram/goat looked pretty pissed that he could not continue the chase!

I have more to post, but this is all for now.  Hopefully I will be posting regularly again!  I was going to post pictures, but my new SD card wont fit the card reader.  Ugh!