Day 29: Ingram, Texas

Elevation gained: 2,241 ft/Miles: 68/Total Miles: 1,271/Total Fast Food: 14

Got an early start for a change and headed out of Johnson City by 9am. About 10 miles west of the city, I rode past a neglected home that looked like it had been built more than a century ago. From its porch, I heard the high-pitched yelp of an angry dog. My adrenal glands opened immediately and flooded my body. As I got ready to pump I looked over my shoulder at my pursuer. What I saw was the most pathetic member of the canine family I have ever seen. This dog was an obese mongrel about the size of a cantaloupe. He was missing large patches of fur along his sides and had one ear that appeared to have been chewed off. In addition to these the deficiencies, the poor guy had only three legs. But, he was committed to doing his job.

Sizing up my opponent, I decided to slow down and let this former warrior have one last day in the sun. I rode at a pace that was so slow I had difficulty keeping balanced. Eventually the dog hopped within striking distance of my foot. At that point, I feigned surprised and pedaled away furiously.

It’s a dog karma thing.

From Johnson City, I followed Hwy 290 to Stonewall and past the Johnson Ranch, which is where LBJ and Lady Bird retired after his years in the Oval Office. A few miles later, I saw two backpackers on the opposite site of the road hiking west. I pulled across the highway and walked with them for a while. Matt and Mike are hiking across the U.S. Matt started in New York and Mike joined him in Louisiana. You can read Mike’s blog here. Back on my bike after spending time with them, I determined that I will not complain about my pace anymore. These guys still have another three to four months before they get to Santa Monica.

The ride toward Fredricksburg wove through peach orchards. Signs everywhere advertised fresh peaches, peach pie, peach ice cream and peach jam. Of course, I’m too early in the season to enjoy these and am now craving the fruit.

I crossed over the Pedernales River and stopped briefly at Ft. Martin Scott. This was one of a series of outposts built in the 1840s to protect Texas citizens against Comanche raids. General James Longstreet was one of the Commanders of this small base. Later he rose to fame in the Civil War fighting under Gen. Robert E. Lee at the battle of Gettysburg.

In Fredericksburg I had a great lunch at an outdoor cafe. It’s a large community founded by Germans more than 150 years ago. The town takes pride in its Germanic roots, you see it in the food served at restaurants and at the various celebrations they have throughout the year. The main street on either side of Hwy 290 has many beautiful restored buildings with interesting restaurants, art galleries, antique shops and boutiques. Quite different than the towns I’ve seen to date on this trip.

After lunch I stopped at Hill Country Bikes for some tire irons (I broke mine). The owner suggested an alternative route that avoided the major highways. She said that it was one of the most beautiful road rides in the country. After following it this afternoon, I would have to agree. The route wound through rolling hills with cattle ranches on both sides and the wonderful spring Hill Country landscape everywhere. The best part was that there was almost no traffic. During my three hours on this part of the ride, I saw only one truck.

Around 6:30pm, I rolled into the “By the River RV and Campground” in Ingram. What a find. For $9 it has hot showers, WiFi and washing machines. Best of all, the RVs are all in a parking lot on one side of the river. Tent campers cross a bridge and camp on a large multi-acre island. Tonight I have it all to myself and will be sleeping under the stars. Oh, and in case you’re jealous with the thought that I might be enjoying some wonderful Texan cuisine, this evening’s dinner will be a bowl of Top Ramen and a Lone Star beer.

11 Comments

Filed under Biking U.S.

11 responses to “Day 29: Ingram, Texas

  1. Hot 4 Teacher

    I like reading your updates…but please refrain speaking about your glands!

  2. Connie B

    Oh my God, that is a funny dog story. I’ll share it with the rest of the Humane Society world. They will be proud of you. You are right – very good dog karma.

  3. gary kissiah

    Its really too bad that the peach ice cream is not in season now; it is absolutely amazing! It is the perfect thing to break the heat on a 100 degree summer day. On second thought, I think you are better off without the ice cream but with the cooler temperatures!
    keep em rollin’
    gary

  4. Virginia W

    I am so envious – I would love to be biking this route! I had a similar encounter with a member of the canine species when biking through the Irish countryside where all the dogs just roam wherever they please. This one particularly large dog was extremely grumpy and came running after us growling and snapping at our heels. We got off our bikes and put them between us and Mr. Grumpy. We threw some pieces of Power Bar toward him and it took him so long to chew it up that we had plenty of get-away time on our bikes. He looked stunned, like he wasn’t quite sure why he couldn’t just gulp this stuff down like his usual food. ;o)

  5. Michael Fox

    Mike,
    I’m glad to see that you are still so committed to the journey…..keep it up.

  6. Polish Super Hero

    Mike,
    You roll through a German town and no mention of “Beer, Sauerkraut, and Sausage”? WTF? How could you let me down like that? There is absolutely no better fuel for a long day in the saddle…and it can serve as a great heater at night too! I love your photos but I am beginning to become supsicious of your “accounts” of the day. without photos, I’m wondering “Was there a dog? Eva Longoria?”
    Ride in Peace
    PSH

  7. Smile Doc

    Mike,
    sounds like a great trip ! ! I agree with polish Super Hero, you couldn’t have stashed a brautwurst to go with that Lone Star? Travel safe and “may the dog karma be with you” Luke Bikewalker(rider)

  8. Keith Robinson

    Hey Mike: Looking forward to hearing about the trip in person. Safe travels!

    Keith

  9. U. Dick

    Mike,
    You had my mouth watering till the bowel of Top Ramen, the beer was okay.

    Big hug,
    Love you
    U. Dick

  10. David Stabler

    Mike,

    Glad you have resumed your roving reporter status–bet it was tough to get moving again after several days off in luxurious accommodations with your best girls.

    Best of from:

    Day 27
    1. List Non-mechanical (All) Especially:
    a. You as a victim of circumstance rather than a slave to fashion.
    b. Waving–even PSH waves at folks

    Day 28
    1. List Mechanical (All)
    (Curious about body of water in bike shot background)

    Day 29
    1. “Nice” doggie pic
    2. Mournful cowboy song
    a. for you

    b. possible new theme song for WCC

    3. LBJ stats
    4. Father John weighing in with memories and “high cotton”

    Day 30
    1. Dog story
    2. Matt and Mike
    3. Scenery description
    4. PSH questioning your journalistic integrity
    5. U. Dick’s “bowel” of Top Ramen

    Please remember your PSI to keep that Vertical Deflection at prime.

    Best!

    • Tak Mori

      I just read your first blog today. Your mother gave us the info. Austin has the best Mexican restaurant I ever been to. Mal knows the name of the restaurant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s