Well, last night was certainly an adventure. After I updated the site at the Harper library I had a really nice chat with the librarian about the ride out here what to expect through Austin and in Florida. As I was leaving she also told me she ran the local news paper and wanted to take my picture to write a little piece about my journey! I was very flattered although I look like a mountain man right now. I have been living in the wild and have not showered (outside of the shower in a bag!) or shaved in about two weeks. So I may look a little grizzled in the picture! So if anyone grabs a copy of the Harper News, they might see me.
At any rate, I took off and tried to put as many miles down as possible before the sun went down. I wanted to really give my best effort to make it to Austin today so that I could have a nice weekend exploring the city and relaxing. I have not had a rest day in two weeks and my legs are about shot. These hills and the wind have just beaten me up.
So I was jamming down the road trying to eat up those miles before it got too dark to ride. I kept going past 8 pm and then turned up a country road to set up camp. I set up under a tree, out of sight but not on any of the ranch land that is out here. It gets fully dark and I am laying down to sleep when all of a sudden I here some frantic barking coming towards me. I start to get a little nervous as its very dark and I am imagining some big German Shepards' about to maul me. Then, out of the underbrush comes two dogs just barking and growling right for me! After me initial shock, I realize one is a little yappy lap dog and the other is a border collie, neither very ferocious dogs. So i first, felt stupid for being scared, then second made some threatening gestures and shouted at the dogs and luckily they were all bark and no bight and ran away. The fences out here aren't much and dogs can easily get through them, so despite the fact that I wasn't on anyone's property, I must have still been on there turf.
I thought I scarred them off for good so I lay back down, but an hour later here they came again, barking and running around and making a big fuss. So this time i said forget it and packed up in the dark, moved about 30 feet up the road to another tree I was so tired by this point that I just threw down my ground sheet and my sleeping bag and laid out under the stars. The sky had finally cleared up and it had stopped drizzling so i was banking on the fact that it would stay dry.
So, I was getting ready to sleep for the third time when all of a sudden a truck goes zooming by about three feet from where I was sleeping! It was so dark i hadn't noticed that I had moved right next to the road! Argh! So i get up again, move further own the road and make sure I am well away from the road and the dog and finally lay down to sleep.
Then, it starts to rain! For crying out loud! And it was serious with big time lightening and thunder. I have never seen a thunderstorm like this either. The lightening just lit up the sky, turning night to day, and the thunder was incredible. It was so loud and it just came rolling over the hills in these booming peels that you could feel. If I wasn't getting wet, it would have actually been pretty fantastic.
I was so worn out at that point that I just grabbed my rain fly from my tent bag and pulled it over me and slept like that! Between the dogs, the weather and the cars, I think I might have dosed off for maybe an hour. I packed up before the sun rose and just took off. I feel like a zombie today, I am so incredibly tired and my leg are really soar. I am not going to make it to Austin today, which stinks, but oh well. It is out of my hands. I will take it easy today and go to the next town and then roll in to Austin with a short day tomorrow.
One really awesome event this morning though, was as I was riding (into more cold wet wind and hills!) I passed a group of deer. They saw me and bolted but I was going down hill so I was able to keep up with them and I have to say, I have never seen anything so amazing as deer running full blast through wooded terrain. They are amazingly fast and agile! They were flying, bounding over 4 foot fences, gulleys and fallen trees. The entire time just aking it look easy to go so fast over broken ground, it was really cool.
Well, i am in Fredricksburg now and this is a super little Town. It is beautiful, built in German style and it has a very cosmopolitan feel for such a little place. It is the kind of plae that would be super fun to visit with a family or your wife.
Anyway, I need to hit the road. I am tired as can be, but I need to at least put down another 35 miles today.