“I wish a rancher would pull up and invite us to camp on his land,” John mused as we sat at a rest stop on the side of the highway.
We had ridden ten miles from Dryden and hadn’t seen a single place to pitch a tent. Fences lined both sides of the road, with no break in sight. It was 5:00 in the afternoon and we figured we had thirty minutes, at best, to find a spot for our tent.
Not more than five seconds after John’s wish for a rancher, a black car pulled into the rest area. The window rolled down and a friendly face appeared.
“Where are you headed?” she asked. “Where will you sleep tonight?”
And so it was that we found ourselves bouncing along a rough dirt road after Greg, Marthalynn, and their four kids to their small ranch house a mile off the road.
“Welcome!” Greg greeted as we leaned our bikes against their fence. “We’re glad you’re here.”
“So are we!” John quipped.
“My grandfather bought these 20,000 acres back in 1962 and it’s been in the family ever since,” Greg continued. “This is my favorite place in the whole world! Unfortunately, we only get out here three or four times a year – the rest of the time we live in Austin.”
John and I spent a delightful evening swapping stories with Greg, Marthalynn, and Greg’s father Charles, while the boys had a blast playing with the kids. We stuffed ourselves with chicken and spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad, then headed out by the campfire where all the kids collaborated together to light fireworks.
Now we’re camped behind the house in a dry pond basin. The ground is flat and soft and we’re protected from the wind. I’m sure we’ll all sleep well after a full day of climbing hills and fighting headwinds.
Kilometers today: 58
Kilometers to date: 8947