April 19....82.06 miles in 7:43....(1033.73 miles in 14 days....average daily mileage is 73.8/day) ascent....2310 ft....(20,015 ft for entire trip )
After today, it occurred to me that I have to get my hill climbing legs back. All the riding I've done in Phoenix and last summer in the outer banks was flatland riding, with the exception of a few rides over Usery Pass in Mesa. My legs were tired today. The terrain has been all rollers since I descended off of the cap rock in Lamesa, TX three days ago.
I want to mention that I am still on US 180, which I have been since El Paso ( even though US 62 split to the north in Seminole TX) When I woke up this morning the roads were wet, and there was fog, the kind that sticks to you and makes you wet. I wore my shoe covers to keep my feet dry. But it was nice that it was 63 when I left, not 53 like yesterday. I rolled through the town of Breckenridge, which has the town square with the courthouse in the middle, just like all the town's around here, and north of here ( the way I rode last year I noticed the same thing). East of Breckenridge was totally different than west of town. The hills were alive with all kinds of trees, especially cedar trees. The mesquite trees were even full grown. Yesterday there were no trees besides smaller ( struggling???) mesquites. It was beginning to look like eastern states now, not the desert southwest ( except for the prickly pear that were mixed in. Today's trip was pretty much all forest, with only patches of farmland and ranches. I also saw three dead pigs, or wild boars, or whatever they were. There were a different type of buzzard with white patches on the wings munching down on them. I crossed the Brazos River again, and this time it was much higher, almost out of its banks. The closer I get to Dallas, the more rain they've had.
40 miles into the trip, I came to the town of Mineral Wells. It's a town of 16000 that had its heyday in the last century, with the mineral springs drawing the rich and famous. Now there is a deteriorated 400 room hotel in the middle of town that really looks out of place. I stopped there and ate at a Subway, then got back in the road. Another option was the Mineral Wells trail, which would have taken me the 20 miles into Weatherford without the rollers, because it's a rail to trail, but it was closed because the heavy rains probably made it like riding through quicksand.
When I got to Weatherford, I got off the 180, and road some nice trails and back roads to my motel, which was right on I 20, west of Ft. Worth, very near where Pam and I stayed when we came to see TCU play WVU in football last fall. The back road included the historic Bankhead Highway, which was one of the original transcontinental highways, running from Washington DC to San Diego. I had been seeing a lot of it running along 180, but didn't know the significance until I saw the historic signage near town. I saw some real nice horse ranches and barns on that last stretch, reminding me of Lexington Kentucky, even. But remember, Ft Worth is a pretty wealthy animal town itself, even though it's called Cowtown.
|Pam's Cafe on the corner of the main street and Rose Ave in Breckenridge|
|A ghost bike near the Brazos River|
|Mineral Wells is home of an Army helicopter training base|
|The Baker Motel in Mineral Wells|
|Blooming weeds along the road added some color to a gloomy day|
|County courthouse in Weatherford, TX|