Made it to the capitol of Texas today!
I rode from Llano, TX to Austin, TX. 76 miles and about 2,500 ft of climbing – nice, starting to get into some hills – Texas Hill Country is quite beautiful. The ride was mainly on Texas Hwy 29 and then the last 20 miles was on Ronald Reagan Rd/Parmer Lane into my hotel. I lucked out on weather today in multiple ways. First, there was supposed to be severe thunderstorms during the day on Sunday but luckily they came through Saturday night. Second, I had a tail wind of about 20 mph today for nearly the entire ride. Great ride! The temps were in the 60s and it was completely sunny – very enjoyable for a longer ride.
I had a bit of drama today with my bike. The freewheel (set of gears/cogs on the back wheel) loosened up and locked up my drivetrain – happened as I was stomping on the pedals on a big hill. I checked it out, made a call to my bike shop and was able to tighten it up enough to make it the last 50 miles of the ride. This is a highly unusual problem that’s not really supposed to ever happen (plenty of other issues do though!). I’ve been lucky so far – my bike has held up very well. I think the issue is that I’ve been riding on some very rough roads over the past 400 miles or so, I like to use small/high pressure tires that don’t absorb much of the rattle from the roads and my bike finally put me in the penalty box today. I’ll get this fixed up tomorrow at a local bike shop.
For cyclists who might follow the route I’m using in the future: Hwy 29 into Austin worked well for me today, but I’d highly recommend riding on this only on a weekend. It is a 2-lane highway each way but with almost no shoulder to ride on for 50 miles. That was fine with little traffic today, but would not be good on a weekday with commuters going into work and likely a lot more truck traffic than I saw today.
For those of you who are not cyclists, I’d definitely recommend visiting this area at some point if you get the chance. Lot’s of hills, lakes, rivers, rolling countryside around Austin (and plenty to do in the city – more on that tomorrow – I’ll be touring around the area on Monday).
On to the pictures!
Bridge on Hwy 71 in Llano, TX over the Llano River, not long after sunrise this morning. The dam that you can see was part of the plan 100+ years ago to build up a capability of generating lots of electricity and building a steel mill (see yesterday's post) - the grand vision unfortunately never happened.
Old railroad station and caboose in Llano.
Neat covered wagon - hard to tell for sure, but it looks authentic.
Railroad bridge over the Llano river about 15 miles outside of Llano.
If you can open and zoom in on this picture you should be able to see the dam in the background. It is either one very long dam or 3 good sized ones. This was pretty impressive to see. This is on the south end of Lake Buchanan.
Just south of Lake Buchanan - the picture shows the older/retired bridge going over the "Colorado River". Yep, we have at least 2 rivers with that name in the US. I didn't know that. This is not the one that most people know of. I double checked and some people refer to this one as the Colorado River of Texas - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River_(Texas).
For Sale! Now that would be a cool SUV to drive around downtown Boston!
Another theme I'm starting - food that cities brag about - quite an interesting assortment. In this case the Oatmeal Festival in Bertram TX.
Old Rusty Theme! Tractor that seems rusted in place - I bet he earned the right to retire in this nice field (it would probably would appreciate being under one of those trees though in the summer!).
This is Ronald Reagan Rd/Parmer Lane. The last 20 miles of the ride were on this road. It is a cyclist dream drag racing strip! Smooth road the full 20 miles, wide riding lane and nice hills (about 2 miles peak to peak) the entire way. I saw many local cyclists. The best part (see below)...
...was that I had a huge tailwind (20 mph+) for that entire 20 miles. I'm riding in the direction of that flag. Awesome fun!
Interstate 35 near my hotel. I'm not riding on this (it runs north/south) but I took the picture as I was thinking about my son this afternoon. He attends the University of Minnesota which is about 1,000 miles north of me, but is right off of I-35 in Minneapolis, MN.
Updated map. I'm planning to tour around Austin tomorrow - hope to have some good pictures to post tomorrow night.