No this is not School House Rock, but whenever I used to drive through the city of Junction, TX, that is what would always pop into my mind. So now on the third leg of my ride I’m starting at a gas station on the outskirts of Junction, TX. I’m going to have to do some backtracking on my riding so that I will meet up with where I left off on my last trip.
Allow me to now explain how I’m marking the miles I’ve ridden on Serenity. From downtown Boerne, TX to Comfort, TX was 15 .1 miles so I took 15 miles from my 65.1 miles I had done a couple of weeks prior and by the time I added up the mileage and plotted in on a map, so my journey was to start 13 miles outside of Mountain Home, TX. In order to get a better idea of the riding the entire way, I went to a gas station/restaurant which is 12 miles away from downtown Junction and rode back to my starting point outside of mountain home.
The ride started out okay at the gas station and I rode on the overpass of I-10 to the access road and was excited as I rode over the highway but that was about where it ended. I made the turn to the right onto the access road and had easy pedaling for about 50 yards and then the fun stopped. That was when I started climbing hills and climbing hills and did I mention that I was climbing hills?!! I pulled over twice to put some Blistex on my lips and to reapply suntan lotion and this was the first time of the year that I was hot (temperature wise) while riding my trike. I missed one turn off to take me to the other side of the freeway but it was only for a mile so I would have 1 mile to make up on my trip.
So I turned around and had to still climb two hills which were kind of intense but then that was when the fun began. I was able to coast down the hills and usually I had enough speed that I almost coasted up to the top of the next hill. I had one last big hill to make it up and then I would go down what I thought was a monster downhill. So I’m going downhill and and I was getting up to 27 mph when I hear the sound of a loud passenger truck engine. Well I’m coming downhill on a curve and the truck sounds as if it is coming uphill and so I started applying the brakes because the road curves up to the right and I’m actually in the lane of travel instead of the shoulder of the road (there was no one behind me and for a smoother ride I went into the lane of traffic). By the time I got around the curve I saw that the truck had pulled into a driveway and I could have probably gone faster but not today.
Finally done with the downhills, I passed the point where I got onto the roadway and then started following a side road that would take me in a round about way to Junction. I came across some interesting landmarks and the view was rather nice as well as me learning a little bit of Texas history about this particular area around Junction called Cloud Point and it was a very nice view. But I didn’t want to waste too much time because I did sort of get a late start on my riding.
I then entered into Junction city limits and rode back across the overpass for the freeway and then started the climb up the hill into the main city of Junction. The nice part was that I was able to pretty much coast down along the side of a man-made lake which was in Junction and it was nice to see people getting out and enjoying the weather just like I was doing on my trike. I rode across a pedestrian bridge which I normally wouldn’t do because I don’t want to push a pedestrian off the bridge but the roadway was busy and it was only a 2 lane road over the bridge with no shoulder to ride on. This would not be the last time that I would come across this type of situation.
It was nice riding on the walkway of the bridge and allowed me to look out over the water that I was crossing which gave me a chance to relax. I continued through town and seeing how small the town is, it instilled images of a peaceful place to live; but not for me but it was nice to see the main street was a very wide 2 lane road with head-in parking right in front of the businesses and being Saturday most of the downtown businesses were closed. I ended up liking the ride so I went past my cut off point and rode to where the road met up with I-10 again. I stopped off at a gas station and pulled off to the side and in the shade. Of course I was a bit nervous because I wanted to go inside and get a sports drink to go with my protein bar but I had forgotten to bring my lock. I decided it was time to show a little of trust and hope that I didn’t regret it. When I came out someone was walking in to pay for their gas and the commented on what a cool bike I had and smiled at me. I was so glad that my trike was still there and that people thought it was cool.
So I relaxed for at least 30 minutes and ate my protein bar and had my sports drink and some more water and just relaxed. Yes it was a busy area since there were gas stations and it was right next to the Interstate but still it was relaxing. Well the sun was getting a big lower from the mid day sky and I knew it was time to start my way back to where I had parked my truck, so thankfully I was feeling good as I started my journey back.
I had a wonderful view of Cloud Point from downtown Junction and that was probably the last enjoyable part of the ride. I went back across the pedestrian bridge and then I had to pedal my way up the road that ran parallel to the man-made lake. I was really huffing and puffing by the time I reached the Motel 6 which was right at I-10 on the other side of Junction. I had forgotten that I was coming down a slight incline on my ride into Junction so guess what I was doing leaving Junction, yep I was riding up the incline.
It wasn’t too bad and I still like some of the sights around there but I got real nervous when these passenger trucks were packed up high with tree limbs, you know the main base of thick part of the limbs, no leaves, just branches and limbs and trunks split into smaller pieces. The tall loads were heaving leaning to one side of the truck and I could swear that the load on several of the trucks were going to tip the trucks over. At the time I had no idea where they were heading, all I cared about was that they didn’t dump their load on the road or on me. The winds then picked up and I was going into a headwind which wasn’t too bad at about 18 mph and it kind of slowed down my pace.
I was just coming around a curve when I smelled the heavy odor of burning cedar and as I looked ahead, I could see that what earlier had appeared to be a closed mill was now active and they were burning all of the cedar that I had seen pass by me in those trucks. The smell was so intense that it made my eyes water and made it difficult to breathe. So I pulled my T-shirt over my nose, wiped my eyes with my towel and struggled to pedal as fast as possible through the area. Well it wasn’t a very fast pace going back up a slow steady incline and facing 18 mph wind but when I finally got even with the mill the burning smell was not as intense and I only had 5 more miles to ride. Normally I would have had it done in 30 minutes but the headwinds were really zapping my energy and my eyes wouldn’t stop crying.
With less than a mile to go I finally got into some fresh air and because of the curving road, I now had a tailwind which really helped me along. I rode to the gas station/restaurant where I had parked my truck and loaded it up and that was when I noticed that I had lost my holographic steamers. I was pretty sure I knew the general area where I had lost them but I really didn’t want to go back into the burning wood smell so I decided that I would just order another streamer on Amazon which was where I got the first one.
I only rode 36.5 miles on this ride but I think the burning wood smell which made it difficult to breathe as well as making my eyes water was not a really good ride. I saw lots of nice things along the way but the burning sensation in my lungs and eyes seemed to be the more dominant part of my memory of the ride…well that and losing my streamers.
So I grabbed a cold bottle of water and some jerky and headed back home. It wasn’t a great ride just a ride and it made me realize that I needed to do a better job of being prepared for the unexpected or maybe anticipate more of what is going on around the area I will be riding.
One important thing I learned was that I had to do a lot of riding on side roads that really took me out-of-the-way and away from I-10. I had originally thought that by staying close to the Interstate, I would come across more businesses, gas stations and other businesses, I was wrong. The roads that I had to travel took me more into residential areas with little if any businesses.
Now came the hard part, I needed to plot my next destination which was going to be Sonora, TX, a 59 mile ride. Hey I had just done 65 miles the ride before this so I shouldn’t be worried about my ride to Sonora, right? Well I would need to do some research before taking this on because it really looked to be out there and the roads didn’t exactly look that friendly and I would again be on roads where there was nothing but residential ranches with No Trespassing signs almost everywhere. Time to do some reflecting.
Oh I just remembered to take a look at some of the few pictures that I took and this is a shot taken on the access road along I-10 en route to Junction, TX; yes I rode up this hill. I had a huge smile when I got to the top and breathe a sigh of relief because of what I had accomplished.
Yes it was a hard ride that day.