We were had an eventful ride today in the Austin hinterland. We’d planned to do an Austin Cycling Association ride – 48 miles starting in Pflugerville. The start was about 12 miles from home so we were planning to get about 70 miles in. We downloaded the map into our Garmin and left.

Here’s an interesting fact about Austin. They’ve got bike lanes and routes everywhere. They are nicely striped and signed. But often they just disappear only to reappear several blocks away. Pretty much as soon as you really need one, it’s gone.

Texas flag in windEven so, the ride to Pflugerville was pleasant. When we got there we tried to display the route on the Garmin, but it failed. We used every bit of technology at our disposal to retrieve the map, cellphone with internet, saved courses, emailed messages. Nada. The best we could get was a marked route without street names.

So we decided to just head out east to get in our miles. The roads were empty, the terrain was pancake flat, but the winds were strong and steady from the north. We saw a tree full of black vultures and a great looking scissor-tailed flycatcher with a tiny body and a long scissor tail. We went through New Sweden and saw this great church in the middle of nowhere.

New Sweden ChurchWe were about 30 miles into it when Sheila realized the pollens were affecting her. Both her eyes were really red and her right one was so puffy it was almost closed. She took some Benadryl and headed home.

We had to rely on the Garmin since we didn’t know where we were. It looped us around strangely, but then seemed to be taking us in the  right direction to Pflugerville. All was well until we started hearing a pinging sound. We stopped twice to try to diagnose it and finally discovered we’d lost a mounting bolt from our front brake. I jerry-rigged something to keep the brake from being damaged and we limped slowly to town.

Sheila's allergiesTurns out the bike store we headed for doesn’t exist. Thanks, Google maps. A friendly local with a truck gave us a lift to a hardware store where we got a bolt to reattach the brake. After that the 12 miles home with a tailwind, was lovely. Notice that state flag at the top…STRONG winds all day.

Mockingbird at Elevation BurgerWe had a nice outdoor dinner at Elevation Burgers and had this bird staking out our table for falling french fires. Mockingbird is the Texas state bird but we looked this one up and think he was a Great Tailed Grackle. Blissfully back in our room, we settled in for a relaxing evening. Sheila’s eyes are STILL puffy. What will tomorrow hold?

Finding our Way in Austin
Long ride, short entry