I rode from Brady, TX to Llano, TX today passing through the point which is the mid-point of the full ride. The ride was mainly on Texas Hwy 71 and was 78 miles with about 1,100 ft of climbing and was 52 miles long. The weather is definitely getting warmer – in the 60s right away in the morning and into the low 70s in the afternoon – and was a bit humid, cloudy and windy (15-20 mph from the south). I broke my streak of days riding without getting rained on. It ends at 19 days – pretty good! Just a light rain today, for the last hour of the ride.
This is definitely Texas Hill Country and is quite majestic – rolling hills and a lot more trees than even yesterday. Lot’s of ranches and a few farms. Deer hunting is big around here and there are a lot of ranches set up catering to sponsored hunting in the area.
Llano, TX has an interesting history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llano,_Texas. Iron ore was discovered near here in the 1880s and there was a build up shortly thereafter to make the area the “Pittsburgh of the West” – never played out though! The primary commercial activities in the area appear to be ranching, farming, and granite mining.
I had a unique opportunity to ride about 10 miles today with 2 other riders that are part of a group of 8 doing a 350-mile tour of the area. Their names are John and Dave – we had a great conversation about the rides we’re each doing, the local area that we’ve seen and a cross-country trip that John took last year.
On to the pictures!
Cool small windmill and old wagon - could you imagine going cross country in that like those who did in the 1800s!?
A Llama guarding the goats!
Another river with water - the latest trend continues! Good news for the local folks.
I've seen a number of these over the past few days and finally had a chance to get a picture. It looks like ranchers use windmills to power a pump to bring water up through a well for their livestock.
Mid point of the ride - about 1,400 miles accomplished so far!
We'll call this the "Mid Point Oak Tree" (the one behind me above). Alright!
A huge sand mine I rode past about halfway through the ride today. Doing some research on the company that owns the mine, it looks like a lot of the sand is used for making glass and ceramics. This explains a lot of the trucks I've seen on the roads over the past two days.
This gate gets my top prize (thus far) for the best entrance to a ranch. It was flanked on either side by about 1/2 mile of a huge granite wall on either side. I did a bit of research on the ranch (its for sale if anyone is interested...) and there is an old granite mine on the property that was used for commercial sales of granite but also to build this great wall and entrance - the Great Wall of Llano, perhaps.
Local countryside just outside of Llano. Lot's of oak and live oak trees (the ones that are green all year round) and rolling hills - very nice.
Entering Llano. Deer hunting is big here - supposedly the density of deer in the area is greater than anywhere else in Texas.