Vanderpool to Del Rio, TX and Del Rio to Comstock, TX

Trip # 15 Ė Texas Brothers' Ups and Downs, Closing the Texas Gap, or A Little Bit Off

November 18Ė19, 2006 -- 115 miles; November 21, 2006 - 32 miles one way, 64 miles total

Day One: Starting Out Climbing

Drive in from Kerrville. Stop at the store in Vanderpool. Norbett said I could park my car for a couple of days, just off the parking lot, next to his picnic table.

I get to travel light on this trip. Two days max to Del Rio, and no chance of rain.

I havenít ridden my bike since early October, when Richard and I finished our Dakota trip. My bike traveled to San Anton in the same box it came back from Minot; I never got it unpacked.

First Day's Ride - Ups and Downs

This first day requires that I cross over two sets of ridges, first into Leakey, and then into Camp Wood. The road is a typically excellent Texas road, well engineered and built. The scenery is excellent Texas Hill Country at its fall best.

Note: Texas roads are in excellent condition. There arenít any potholes, achieved in part from regular tar and gravel coatings. That means the roads are noisy and rough. When you hit a stretch of ďregular, new, smooth asphalt, you pick up your travel speed 20%.

Live Oak near Montell Texas

Tired by the time I get to Camp Wood. Stop at the town grocery/convenience store to rest and get some dinner. A slice of pizza, microwaved canned corn, a can of pineapple sections. By the end of my dinner and rest, I have met the entire family that owns the store. Tony and Lisa, and their daughter, Angelina. We have had a very pleasant visit together. They say itís flat as far as the Rte 55/334 junction, about 20 miles away. I head out about 5:30pm for Rte 55/334, but call it quits after 10 miles at Montell.

I find an Episcopal Church, with a nice Texas Ranch style porch fronting its meeting hall, where I lay my sleeping pad and sleeping bag. I wash up behind the church using the hose. Iím deep asleep by 7:30pm.

It's dark. A car, headlights shining, pulls up and parks. A lady bringing flowers for the Sunday morning service asks if Iím homeless. ďNo, just biking to Del Rio. Itís OK for me to sleep here?Ē Yes, it is.

46 miles.

Starry, starry night. The next morning, I leave a $10 contribution, held down with a small can of spinach, at the church door.

Day Two: A Little Bit Off

Countryside East of Bracketville

Iím up at 5:00 am. I might as well get started. Riding by star light. There is no moon. Flat road down the river valley. Turn west/right at 334. Some slow low broad rises as I climb out of the watershed. Sunrise at 8:20am (Wow, I must be at the far end of the time zone.)

This is a picture of the countryside east of Bracketville.

Breakfast at the Valero Gas and Go in Bracketville. Flat and long 30 miles to Del Rio. Dry mesquite country west of Bracketville. Arrive at 2:00PM.

Do a little clean up around my brotherís house and shower. Wish he was there. He is still not back yet. Run to catch the 5:30pm bus back to San Anton, thinking I may miss it. Turns out itís only 4:25pm when I buy my ticket. I must have done something to change the time zone on my watch and have been running an hour ahead all day. (So I actually started at 4:00am and the sun really came up at 7:20am.!).

69 miles today. 115 miles total. Bus back to San Anton, downtown Hotel 6 for the night.

Day Three: No Biking

Bus from San Anton to Kerrville leaves at 6am. Xavier, my seatmate, is headed to El Paso, to spend some time with his family. Canít figure out how to get to Vanderpool from the Kerrville bus station Ė just 51 miles and too lazy to thumb. The owner at Ritaís Tacoís will drive me for $60 bucks, as soon as another employee shows up. She calls in sick. No $60 ride. Taxi is $100. Limo is $80. Bob drives me to Vanderpool in a white limousine!

Last Day: Closing the Texas Gap

Yesterday I spent traveling from San Anton to Kerrville by bus, to Vanderpool by limo, and then to Del Rio in my rental car. I also work on my brotherís house. Spent the night there. So no biking yesterday: a good rest for today's bike Ė even if I did a lot of yard work and cleaning to do.

Started about 6:15am. Up Veterans Blvd, past the 277/90 split, along the south side of the Devils River Reach of Amistad Reservoir. The reservoir has water in it this year (only 10 feet down) after being 56 feet down two years ago. Cross the bridge over the Devils River Reach and have a tailwind and a few very long but gentle grades to Comstock.

Comstock is where I tuckered out last Thanksgiving Day. I had ridden 106 miles the day before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving day was hot, sunny, and seemed very hilly between Langtry and Comstock. I was VERY TIRED and it was past noon, so I stopped my ride in Comstock last year and thumbed into Del Rio. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my brother.

After a short ride around Comstock and a break at the corrugated metal convenience store, I turned around and rode back to Del Rio, stopping at the Amistad National Recreation Area to get my National Park passport stamped. A fair headwind. Arrive at Berryís house about 1 PM .

32 miles one way, 64 miles total today, 179 miles as a trip total.

El Paso to Houston Ė 1,003 miles - Thanksgiving 2005 to Thanksgiving 2006. OK, itís only 971 miles if you donít add the 32 miles back to Del Rio.

If you are interested in the logistics of this rather complicated trip click here: Hill Country Logistics

Last Update: November 25, 2006