Claim It! (Dryden, Texas, USA)

“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

We finally reached Dryden after a tough journey climbing hills against a headwind

Daryl - all bundled up against the cold

When we were fruitlessly looking for a place to camp, Greg and Martha-Lynn drove by, felt sorry for us stranded out in the cold, and invited us to their ranch house a mile or so away. As soon we got there they lit a campfire.

After a long, cold day on the road the delicious hot meal of spagetti, salad, and cheese bread they treated us to was like manna sent by Heaven!

Evening entertainment included watching the kids light fireworks while we sat around a huge fire. Watching the kids lighting off the fireworks was the most entertaining part of the night!

Enjoying the campfire

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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3 Responses to Claim It! (Dryden, Texas, USA)

  1. kyle December 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm #

    hey its kyle from dryden tx! saw your great pics and i told all of my friends about your great journey.bummer of a wind the day you left.i’ll watch your journey south to mexico. happy new year!!!

  2. nancy December 26, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    Hey Kyle!! I’m so glad you’re here! (But I’m glad you happened to be in Dryden when we were stuck on the side of the road!!)


  3. Mike Millican November 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Dryden now has primitave camping ! It’s the Dryden Escondita. It’s on the top of the hill on the same side of the road as the store. Soon ,there will be some new ammenaties, includin a solar shower. contact Mike @ 432-345 2191 Thanks

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