I know it should be like the song, ‘Take the last train to Clarksville’ but it isn’t so we’ll just go from there. So you’re probably thinking…Brackettville? Wait a minute I thought you said that you were riding to a certain city in California? Well I am but in doing some checking, I found that I was riding about 15 extra miles more and so I decided to change the initial route on which I would travel for a couple of reasons.
One main reason is that this is a more traveled highway by motorists and by bicyclist and it is considered a part of USBR 90, which stands for US Bicycle Route 90, which is basically Highway 90 through Texas. Now just in case you forgot, you probably didn’t but I’ll remind you of the fact that since I’m doing this ride I will not sleep out in a tent or under the open sky, this is a spoiled fat girl who likes a good mattress and box springs under her body when she lays down. So theoretically if I were to ride straight through, I would need to stop overnight in cities where I could have a place to sleep and a place to grab something to eat if not for breakfast then at the end of the day.
I can talk about this part of the trip because it has long since passed, as a matter of fact I did the riding on May 2nd which as of this posting is over two months ago. Why am I waiting so late to post this, well it is for my own safety, you see I am doing this trip on my own, no one is crazy enough to try and do this ride with me, not even one day out of the week. So for all practical reasons I purposely post my rides later than they occur for my own safety. Heck you may not like the way I’m writing and decide to make me a big blood splatter on your bumper which I really wouldn’t like. So please understand that this is one of my safety nets. Now with that being said, let me take you on my Brackettville ride.
For those who are not that familiar with exactly where Brackettville is then let’s just say that I observed a lot of white with green trucks that said US Immigration Services all along the road as I rode my trike, and no I’m not referring to the Canadian border, I’m talking about the Texas border. So as I was saying this was where I was going to start my ride and needless to say I caught a lot of flack from my co-workers. All of them were trying to talk me out of the ride, saying how dangerous it was for a female to be going down that way by herself and no less on a trike which would leave me exposed to lots of crime and risk being killed. Well I understand that they all were concerned for me, well because they are my brothers and sisters in Blue and they told me that getting hurt on the road while riding was not going to get me out of work. They would send an ambulance haul my tush up to the desk to work because they didn’t want to do my job. No seriously they were a bit concerned for me which I thought was very nice.
But my mother didn’t raise that big of a fool…I’m only a few inches taller than her. Getting back to the fool part, I decided that I would call the local sheriff’s office and the US Border Patrol who had offices in Brackettville. I got the OK from the Border Patrol guys who said that I would probably see a lot of their guys around and that if I needed anything to call or flag one of them down. I parked in front of the Sheriff’s office and advised them of how long I would be gone and asked if it was okay for me to park there since I wasn’t familiar with where it was safe to park my vehicle. I thought I would only be gone for a maximum of 6 hours because I only planned on riding to Del Rio and then turning around and heading back. At least that was what I was planning on doing.
It wasn’t a bad start although I got a later start on things than I had hoped. I don’t know where in the hell Google got their estimates for how long it takes for a driver/bicyclist to get to the locations because they said it should only take about 3 hours to drive there, it took about 4 hours and I was following the speed limits which got rather slow when going through the cities. Any way, I started out and was feeling just a touch sick. Something I ate wasn’t working with my system and I thought that maybe I was going to have to bring a roll of toilet paper with me, but as luck would have it, my second trip to the nice convenience store was all that I needed for the time being.
Within the first ten miles I came across a couple who were obviously bicycling across the state and I could tell by how they had their bikes packed to the gills with all sorts of camping equipment. I would learn later that night why the woman was grimacing as she was coming down a slight incline…psst, here’s a hint in case I forget, not comfortable ride. Anyway it was nice to see them and we waved at each other as they continued their ride and I continued mine.
Now just prior to this ride I had stopped by REI and came across a century rider who worked there but was there shopping on his day off. Well he gave me some helpful hints about what to do and how to prepare myself for rides. He also asked what made me chose a trike and I said CTS and he said his was because he had a bad back. So he showed me some things and I bought them, eager as I was to make my rides more comfortable. Less than a mile away from my starting point my phone fell out of the pocket bag which fits on a normal bicycle bar but I’m riding a trike and my boom was so large around that the pouch was sliding left then right and it got in the way of my legs. Now it might be fine for him but I’ve got thunder thighs, heck I’ve always had big thighs even when I was skinny. Then right away my phone fell out of the pouch and I ran over my phone. Luckily I had a good protective cover, thank you Life Proof phone case, so although I rolled over it, it just got a little dirty. Then the damn pouch popped open and all my stuff spilled all over the side of the road. So I had to stop and pick up everything and then figure out how to store them in my pannier bag. Good thing the bag had drop down bags so I could secure some of my gear in my bags on the side.
So I got back on the road and it wasn’t that bad but I would later learn that the reason it was such an easy ride was the fact that it was slightly downhill and coming back later that day would prove to be a pain in my legs. There wasn’t too much to look at as I rode but I did my best to keep a smile on my face and wave at the motorcyclists who drove by me. It was nice to wave to some of them and even some people in the cars made a point of waving at me which always perks me up. Then about 10 miles out from Laughlin AFB something made my trike come to a stop, the chain no longer moved. I thought that I was sunk, until I got off my trike and spotted that apparently I hadn’t missed all of the broken pieces of tire tread on the road. one of the wires from the radial tires got caught up in my chain. Thankfully I was able to untangle it without any damage being done to any part of my bike except for me getting angry at myself for not missing every piece of tire debris.
I did enjoy the view that I was getting of the touch and goes being down by the pilots in training at Laughlin AFB, and it was so distracting that almost ran off the road as I watched the planes. It was a great sight to see and it reminded me of my younger days when people used to go to the airport and watch the planes take off and land and no one would have considered doing anything wrong to the planes or people inside the plane. Oh well. So I reached Del Rio in great time and I decided that since I was ahead of schedule that Maybe I should go ahead and go out to Lake Amistad.
I took the outer loop around Del Rio thinking that it would be easier on me than riding through town, boy was I wrong. The hills were doing a number on my knees and it seemed that no matter how many hills I climbed, I could never come down any of the hills enough to just coast, it seemed that they kept leading to another hill that was just a little bit higher each time. Finally I got to where the loop would meet with the other side of Del Rio when I read that the roadway was closed. Well my heart was sinking low because I thought that I was going to have to turn around and ride a part of the way back, but nope, I was good and the freeway/loop ended and took me right in the direction of Lake Amistad.
It looked like it was only a couple of miles away from Del Rio based on my map but that too was wrong, it was more like 12 miles away. But I kept a smile on my face and kept on pedaling. Then I came to the lake crossing and it was a small two lane bridge with maybe 8 inches on the side and the worse thing was there was a lot of debris on the side of the road which meant that I would be riding through some of it and trying to dodge the other parts. Going over it wasn’t too bad and there was a huge smile on my face when I got to the end and then pulled off on the side of the road and rested.
I had pushed so hard on the loop that my knees were shaking and I found that I was having a very hard time trying to stand up, so I sat back down and had my energy block which tasted horrible and had my Gu which also tasted horrible. The only thing that didn’t taste bad was my Powerade and my water. I was very glad that I packed a protein bar because right now the protein bar that normally tastes like cardboard was tasting a tad bit better than cardboard. No matter, it was giving me more energy. So I took a good look at the small amount of the lake that I could see from the side of the road and I liked it but I noticed that it was now after 2 in the afternoon and it had taken me four hours to ride 42 miles. So I figured I would be back around 6pm, boy was I wrong.
It seemed to take forever until I reached the city limits of Del Rio. It also didn’t help that I decided to play shutter bug and take pics at the lake and some of the things going into Del Rio. I knew that I would not be back before dark or too close to dark and I had forgotten my headlight, which meant I was hoping to find a store open where I could find a flashlight and tape it to my bike. I found a Walmart and one of the guys was very helpful and since I had left my lock back in San Antonio, I got lucky and he let me park my trike in the garden center so I wouldn’t have to worry about it being stolen. We found me some lights that were batter operated and luckily they had the batteries included. We got the front light on with no problem but the kid was determined to put on the rear light. I finally had to tell him that I would secure it on my pannier bag and convinced him that I needed to leave.
When I took a look at my watch, I had lost an hour so now I probably wouldn’t be back until 7pm or just a bit later. WRONG!! So I hit the road and had a smile on my face as I rode through the city, the drivers there were nice and considerate of me and I did a lot of waving at them. It perked me up which I needed after spending way to long at Walmart getting ready for the night.
Best thing to happen to me happened on the ride out of Del Rio. I had just used my marine horn to chase off a deer that was headed my way on the road, so I was happy. Then I heard a horse whinny and I looked over to my left and across the road two horses were running in their pasture to keep up with me. Now I was on a divided 4 lane roadway but they could hear me with my speaker blasting and they could see me with my light. As the horses were running the sun was setting behind them, making it a beautiful picture. One horse was a chestnut color and stopped after a short distance but the white horse with the light gray spots continued running until it came to the end of the pasture. It then whinnied again at me as if to wish me good luck on my ride. Okay so that is stretching it a bit but hey I can imagine the horse saying that and besides it made me feel better.
So I get out of Del Rio and by the time I read Laughlin AFB the sun is almost completely gone and it made me glad that I had my flashlight on my trike. The main problem I experienced in riding in the dark was not being able to see the road ahead of me very far in advance so I had little time to react to debris in the roadway. Which meant that I had to ride slower than I had hoped and then my knees started rearing their head and demanding that I give them a break. The car headlights were shinning right in my eyes and some of the people didn’t believe in switching from high beams to low beams at any time as they came from the opposite direction. I had to put back on my sunglasses just to keep the bugs out of my eyes and to help with the brightness of the light.
Then I realized that I had forgotten to turn my phone into airplane mode and my family kept on calling and calling and calling. I finally stopped and texted my brother and told him I was fine and said I was still riding and would text him later. I got a phone call from my mother asking where I was and if I was still riding. I had to tell her not to call that I was riding but in order to call her I had to stop my trike to answer the phone. I told her to tell my brother to stop messaging me. After three more times of my phone going off from text messaging I told my brother to stop because I had to stop my ride every time to respond. It was now approaching 10 pm. Yeah I was that late getting back. Well not really, it was about 10:40 PM by the time I got back to my truck and let me tell you it was hard getting my trike in the back of the truck and hard to get myself into the truck.
Finally after getting my act together and letting my legs rest a bit, I was exhausted, I had exerted so much energy trying to focus on riding at night on an unfamiliar road and avoid deer, bugs and bright headlights. I will never forget my headlight again…I promise.
So I end up coming to an inspection station and I’m starting to sweat bullets because my brother’s truck inspection sticker just went out in April and this was May. So I’m exhausted and I pull up only to realize that I must have taken longer to load my trike because the guys tell me that it is 5 minutes until midnight and they leave at midnight. They ask what I was doing out at this time and I gave them my tale of woe and they smiled and said that at least it was over until I told them I still had to drive to San Antonio which was over 3 hours away.
But wait there is more. I really wanted them to say that I looked too tired and I needed to pull over and sleep and then I could tell my family to go jump in a lake because an officer told me to pack it up for the night, but no they just told me to be careful. Rats, so close. Finally I pulled into Uvalde and stop at Whataburger and get a meal to include a shake. Well I situate things in the truck and since the drink rack doesn’t work, I lift up the middle seat and position my drink so it won’t fall, only the top hinged part slams down and little did I know it shoved my straw through the exterior of the cup until the next light when I went to take a drink of the soda and found it empty.
Now I have to pull over and wipe up the mess because I don’t want to do it when I get home. On the plus side, it at least woke me up. I finish the burger and only eat a few fries then drink the shake. I ended up stopping and chugging water from my water bladder. I get home with only enough energy left to unload my trike, and then filled a tub and soaked in it with lots of epsom salts. It worked because when I finally got up the next morning I wasn’t in screaming pain.
So when I finished I realized that I had ridden the furthest yet, just over 88 miles. That was huge for me but it would have been better if I hadn’t made so many stops. It took me just over 10 hours of riding time but longer than that because of the stops and have to go slow on the road back.
Oh wait I forgot to tell you why the lady was grimacing so much when I saw her on the road, remember at the beginning of my ride. It was because that side of the roadway was very rough and had lots of little pot holes that you could not avoid unless you were riding on the highway which was not a safe thing to do. It really bother me and I was on a trike which absorbed some of the bumps but she was on a DF and she could feel each and every bump and chug hole and it looked like it should have been a downhill but looks were deceiving, it was really an uphill climb which made things even worse.
I’m so happy that part of the riding is behind me and I can relax for a bit and know that I have a massage appointment on Monday and it was Sunday when I finally woke up.
So it was a great ride, that almost busted me. Would I do it again, yes. Only I would avoid the loop around Del Rio and just ride through town and since that time I have never forgotten my flashlight. Don’t think I want to experience that scenario again.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again!!!!