La Grange, TX

I had to limit my speed in the 100-degree heat. High humidity, but at least there was a gentle breeze – mostly crosswind from the right.

I woke at 6:50 this morning. Thought it was earlier, because the curtains blacked out the windows so effectively, and because the nearly full dorm room was quiet. I went out into the common room, where breakfast was out. It was a bustle of activity, as many of the guests were already hitting the road on whirlwind tours.

I had coffee and a giant bowl of raisin bran. Ate one more of my peaches, and drank some mango nectar, then moved all my remaining peaches, grapes, and juice to the free bin in the refrigerator.

As I was about to push off, staff member Kaitlyn (might have spelled her name wrong – corrections welcome) was cleaning up after the previous night’s festivities. A former Backroads Bicycle guide in Montana, she was quite familiar with touring. She and two friends had bike toured in Colombia (the country) before. She said that they packed way more than they needed, and lightened their load in the first few days. Also, that it was an exercise in resolving issues quickly and getting along. “When you say ___, it makes me feel ___.” Advanced technique; she would make a good counselor. I left the hostel at 9:15.
early route
After having better luck in previous days with just following main highways, I decided to follow the Google route to the same destination on my ACA map.

The aspirational goal was La Grange at 66 miles, with a safety goal of Bastrop at 31 miles. I wanted to just ride Hwy 71 all the way, but Google put me on smaller roads. At the 20 mile mark, at the junction of country road 110, I came upon a Dollar General store. It was already hot.

As I was drinking a Lipton Iced Tea outside the Dollar General, Leland rode up. He was on a day ride from Austin to Bastrop and back – a 72-mile round trip. He suggested that I try Buc-EE’s in Bastrop.
I also met Deanna at the store. When I mentioned that I was on a long bike ride, she said she would pray for me. A fellow believer!
aluminum cans
Only in Texas have I seen aluminum cans right on the road. In California, someone would have scooped them up for the recycling value.
Billy's BBQ
Upon reaching Bastrop, I couldn’t find Buc-Ee’s, so went to Billy’s BBQ.
chopped beef sandwich
Their chopped beef sandwich was like a sloppy joe. I like sloppy joes.
Day's Inn
Decision point: Last chance to stay at a Bastrop motel. If I didn’t stop, I would have to grind it out until La Grange.

After lunch, I entered the actual Highway 71. Just then, I saw Buc-EE’s on the other side of the highway. Too late.

Highway 71 was absolutely the right choice for the 20+ miles to La Grange. It was open, so there was a slight breeze. There were hills, but gentle enough that the granny gear was not needed. The only poor judgement that Google Maps made was routing me onto Loop 220 just before La Grange. I had to cross the highway, just to ride a rough road. Had I stayed on 71, I would have sailed into town.

My phone battery died at that point, but I was close enough to navigate on my own at that point.

La Grange
As soon as I saw a sign indicating food and motels, I exited into La Grange. This is the Strip.
Weikel's kolaches
Weikel’s bakery was where the convenience store of a gas station should be. Finally, real Kolaces. $1.40 each. Good.

The ACA map listed several motels.  I was wary that they might be too high-end, after the experience at Kerrville.  But the Cottonwood Inn looked reasonable.  It was, at $55 plus tax for cyclists.  Perfect!  I signed up for 2 nights. Trivia: The Cottonwood motel appears in the movie, “Hope Floats.” La Grange was also the site of the infamous Chicken Ranch.

charging shelf
One convenient feature of the bathroom was an outlet in what was probably once the towel closet. Just right for charging.
wild cotton
Outside the motel, there were these dry bushes in a ditch with cottony stuff on them. It actually was cotton. If you lived here, you would never need to buy Q-tips – you could make your own, any time.
Salad bar at La Miranda
I went to dinner at a restaurant next door to the motel. That pepper-looking thing is pickled okra.
Dinner at La Miranda
I had a grueling day, so felt entitled to order the special. 8 oz sirloin, 3 large shrimp, fries, $12.95, plus $1 extra for a 1-trip salad bar

Even though it was a long day, I’m not going to tag it as hard. I just had to keep moving slowly in the heat.

Miles today: 66.4

(Visited 85 times, 1 visit(s) today)
    1. The heat is nothing as long as there is a little breeze. As long as there are no more guys with shotguns using cyclists as target practice, I’ll be fine. Check for the recent news item.

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