Day 21 on the Southern Tier Route

Off route some more. Today I again opted to ride north on US Hwy 83 rather than take the back roads with steep ups and downs. I left Garner State Park about 8:00 A.M. For some reason, my left heel kept hitting my left pannier. Several adjustments didn't produce satisfactory results. After 8 miles, I bought a quart of chocolate milk in Leakey and got my tires pumped up. Guys in tire stores have been extra helpful getting that essential chore done. I gained elevation north of Leakey and eventually reached a long ridge with scattered oak trees. Clouds obscured distant views of the countryside. Twenty miles north of Leakey, I turned east on TX Hwy 39. The road was bumpy with no shoulder but with minimal traffic. Almost all of the highway right-of-way had a 10-ft high fence demarcating trophy ranches or hunting preserves. Ranch entrances had elaborate stone and iron gateways. On one bumpy descent, my left pannier got stuck in my spokes. I made a fix but the same thing happened. Happily, I found a piece of line along Hwy 83 this morning and used it to secure the pannier. After 10 miles of modest ups and downs, I started to descend along the Guadeloupe River, at first dry then with water. River crossings flood up to 5 feet after storms (see photo). As I descended toward Hunt, I saw second homes along the river. I could imagine kids playing in the river. At length, I reached Hunt and had a much-needed cold drink in the shade of a convenience store. The clouds had departed and the sun shone brightly. I followed the clear river, often shaded by adjacent trees through Ingram, past more vacation homes then into Kerrville. I stopped at Hill Country Bicycles to get my bike shoe cleats adjusted and to buy a tube. Then off to the Lone Star Motel, a shower, and dinner. 68 miles today.

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