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That ominous telltale sign that I am getting tired started biting me first thing this morning. I was getting a little too emotional about little things. Burnet really bugged me and I couldn't wait to get out of there. As I got packed up it seemed to be unusually cold outside. The wind was really strong and then it started hailing. The hail lasted long enough that I worried about being able to leave town today. Even though it was raining and terribly cold I started riding as soon as the hail stopped. Nothing was going to stop me from getting to Austin today. I started out on Highway 29 which didn't have a shoulder. It also didn't have much traffic. A few days ago I noticed that the back half of both my fenders had rattled away and with the rain this made for a messy ride. The water was coming straight up off the back of the front tires. Something else to take care of in Austin. There was a beautiful rainbow and rain lasted another hour. There was also a booming tailwind. The wind was so cold I don't think I could have ridden if it had been a headwind. Then I started seeing patches of blue. My first pull off was a convenience store in Bertram to warm up with a cup of coffee. Even though I had on a pair of wool socks under sealzskins my feet were frozen. The woman at the counter wondered why I would ride in this cold. I told her about my experience in Burnet and she chimed in how awful the town in. Then other customers started bad-mouthing the town too. That was kinda fun.
Eventually, I had to get back out to the cold and continued on to Liberty Hill where I stopped at a Subway for lunch. I tried their veggie patty sandwich which I don't think I'll have again. They let me plug in while I ate and an hour later I was back on the road taking the turnoff for Highway 281. The temperature had warmed up considerably and the skies had cleared. What a relief. And I still had a big tailwind. This road was busier than I was hoping for but since it was Saturday there was little truck traffic. The traffic increased the closer to Austin I got. My warm showers host, Walt, called to find out where I was and gave me a better way to get into town.
There is a recumbent bike shop on the way in and I stopped at Easy Street to say hi. I need a few things and wanted to find out when they would have time to do the work. Mike was fantastic. He gave me his cell phone number and offered me a place to stay if the Warm Showers host didn't work out. That was very thoughtful. I said I would be back to get new fenders installed. Mike measured my rear chain for stretch and said I could go further on it. I also talked to a few customers handing out my card. Then I called Walt to let him know I was on my way. He met me on the road, riding his bike, escorting me a couple of miles to his place.
This Warm Showers host is exactly what I needed. His house is centrally located and very comfortable. I was shown to my room with its own bathroom. He had no problem with me spending a few days here. Then he invited me to one of his sons sports bars - Third Base for dinner. It was really fun. Walt is a gem.
I am so exhausted it feels great to be somewhere I can relax. I've got a long list of things to take care of as well. Austin seems to be a terrific city and I'm looking forward to exploring it.
Burnet to Austin, TX
Sign of spring.
First stop of the day.
I love oatmeal.