October 8, 2001

10/8/01 Wimberley, TX

73 / 9161 miles

Woke up in as foul a mood as the skies were cloudy. Last night, I had called D.G. to see if she had any other alumni friends I could meet as I made my way to Denton. She told me of calling Alumni Relations at TWU and they claimed not to have known about my fundraiser. Funny, I sat in their very office six months ago telling them all about my desire to meet alumni along the way.

It really is impossible to separate the bike trip and the fundraiser at this point. Oh, how I wish I could. I'm afraid it will taint the whole effort. Why did I even try to do this as a fundraiser! It seems that other than a few individuals like D.G. and Claire, hardly anyone associated with the university has paid me anything but lip service. Hell, besides my relatives in Denton, almost all the money raised came from outside of Texas.

Vegetation was the big change today. No more cactus. And I saw a few ponds too. The ranches around here are full of sheep and goats, plus one or two places with quarter horses. The other thing I noticed was the abundance of all sorts of wild flowers along the road edge. Definitely brightened up my day a little.

The sun never did make an appearance. And even though it was humid enough to rain, it didn't. Took quite a few turns in the morning getting to Blanco, so the winds didn't hurt or help me much. And unlike this afternoon, traffic was very light.

I think everyone I talked to in Blanco thought I was nuts. Guess they don't see many cyclists even though this is the Southern Tier route from Florida to California. Had a bite to eat along with some ice cream. Ended up taking a wild detour to get back on my route because of a bridge being out.

I think in Texas, the speed limit sign is the minimum speed, not the maximum. Especially on these Farm-to-Market roads. The thirty miles between Blanco and Wimberley seemed to be non-stop, high-speed traffic, including a few semi's. But as I got closer to town, it got worse.

The sheep sure did think I was going to feed them

With no shoulder and traffic not slowing down in either direction, I found myself jumping off the road repeatedly for safety. A guy could get killed out here. Reminded me a lot like rush-hour traffic in Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. Even when I got into Wimberley, traffic was fast, bumper-to-bumper, and this for a town a little over 2,000. Crazy!

More bad news. The visitor center thought the Blue Hole Campground was closed for the season. I am definitely having problems with the facilities marked on these maps. Not much else I could do but go check it out. Getting back into traffic was like jumping on a fast merry-go-round.

Found the campground easy enough but it did have a sign up saying it was closed. But just then a van drove up, and the smiling lady in front said, "Jim, wouldn't you rather camp somewhere for free?" D.G. had come through again. This wonderful angel was M.F. Johnson, a very dear frond of hers.

Had a little trouble following her because of traffic but it was all worth while. Turns out their place is across the creek from the campground. We wound our way through several pastures to end up by an old log cabin down by the water's edge. What a great place! There's a big water tank, a kitchen sink, a bathroom, with a bedroom/dining room. But the best part is the huge attached screen porch. All very rustic with a tin roof. It wouldn't take much for me to fall in love with this place.

Home Sweet Home

After getting cleaned up, I met M.F. and her husband, Bill, up at the main house for dinner. They have a house on either side, one a bed and breakfast, and the other is where their daughter, Lynn, lives with her teenage son. One of the other houses we passed earlier belongs to the Johnson's son. Beautiful places, each one.

Everything a guy could want

Because M.F. had to go to a city-zoning meeting, I went with Lynn to her church's choral choir practice. A huge turnout and they were working on their Christmas program. M.F. said because the town is only 45-minutes away from Austin, they've had a lot of growing pains as the city gets bigger. They've lived here over fifty years. And by the energy I saw in both of them, probably another fifty.

The whole family said I could stay as long as I wanted but the pull to finish is too great. But I do like it here. I'm sitting at the table, writing this by candlelight. Now, this is the life!