Grasslands S24O

1

My expectations didn’t change as fast as the weather forecast. A week and a half ago, it was to be the perfect fall weekend. But as the days went by the forecast trended warmer and warmer. I should have adjusted my expectations, but somehow couldn’t let my hope for cooler weather go. So it was hotter than I expected on my first attempt at a more rugged S24O.

IMG_2640

Within 15 minutes of rolling out, I was on the first bit of gravel. This route is dominated by gravel and dirt roads, and it about 50% longer than my typical S24O ride to the lake. Going west from my house, it also includes more elevation changes.  I was able to take the afternoon off from work and take my time hauling my gear, including more water than usual.

IMG_2641 IMG_2643 IMG_2647 IMG_2648

I was eager to stop and cool off in Greenwood. It was rather warm, and most of the route so far included no shade. Besides this is the last opportunity to top off bottles. There is no water source where I’m headed.

IMG_2652

I found me a pleasant spot on the top of a small knob in the Caddo-LBJ National Grasslands. I wondered if guards would tell me that this public land was closed and turn me away. But it looked like business as usual, during the government shutdown, for me and a host of horse enthusiasts.

IMG_2653 IMG_2655 IMG_2656 IMG_2659

Feeling lazy, I decided to relax in the shade before dinner. Since I didn’t wait until after my normal workday before departing, I had a lot more time to enjoy my surroundings before the darkness. Eventually, I was ready to explore the area, take a few photos, and have some dinner.

IMG_2663 IMG_2668 IMG_2670 IMG_2674 IMG_2678 IMG_2684 IMG_2686 IMG_2688 IMG_2691 IMG_2693 IMG_2695

There’s more than grass in the Grasslands. There are a few wide open prairies, and a variety of beautiful grasses swaying in the breeze. But there is also plenty of rock, flowers, trees, lakes, and wildlife to entertain the naturalist.

IMG_2697 IMG_2699 IMG_2703 IMG_2709

When dinner was done, I could see the sun was nearing the horizon. I had found this step just down the knob from my campsite. It was a fine, shady place to enjoy a meal. Peaceful. But what of that sunset? Would I be able to see it from the hammock?

IMG_2714 IMG_2719 IMG_2729 IMG_2731 IMG_2738 IMG_2742

There were too many clouds to bother attempting sunrise photos. Besides, I was in no hurry to climb out of my bed. This is completely different from tent camping for me where I couldn’t stay comfortable for long, and never really slept well on the ground. When hunger overcame comfort and laziness, I attended to breakfast. Then, I took my time packing my gear, and headed home.

IMG_2745 IMG_2746 IMG_2748 IMG_2752

When I returned to Greenwood, it didn’t look like its normal sleepy self. I rolled into town just seconds before the parade began. Dripping with sweat, and low on water, this seemed the perfect spot for a cool-down. The parade didn’t have marching bands, drill teams, or giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters, but it did have vintage tractors. Works for me!

IMG_2753 IMG_2754 IMG_2756 IMG_2757 IMG_2760 IMG_2761 IMG_2765 IMG_2767 IMG_2768 IMG_2769 IMG_2770 IMG_2771 IMG_2772 IMG_2773 IMG_2774 IMG_2775 IMG_2776 IMG_2777

When this one came by, the announcer indicated it was a John Deere manure spreader. Then he paused for effect and quipped, “That’s one tractor John Deere won’t stand behind!”  Har, har.

IMG_2780 IMG_2781

Once entertained and refreshed, it was time to pedal home. There were still miles of gravel to cover…and it wasn’t getting any cooler out there.

IMG_2785 IMG_2786

Pedal to the horizon, and turn right. Then it’s 30 minutes to lunch…well…maybe 45 minutes with a camping load.

IMG_2787

 

All that wonderfulness in 23 hours, and 40 minutes. Another successful S24O in the books.

13 thoughts on “Grasslands S24O

  1. Cool. You never see real tractors around Ocean Shores. There are a few around NE Tarrant County. I know of one kept in a two-car garage at a suburban Bedford house.

  2. Fun seeing gravel I recognize. Looks and sounds like it was a great overnighter, except for the unwanted warmth. I am hoping we stop at the GreenWood Store in December this year, I’m still hankering for one of those burgers.

    • I’ll probably do the same route plan as last year. The plan was the Greenwood loop if the prevailing wind is from the south, and the Gainesville loop if out of the north. I’ll admit, however, the Greenwood store has a lot more charm than the Gainesville Starbucks. Is there any place more “Ramble-like” in Gainesville?

  3. There’s just something about a lazy ray of sunlight peeking through tree limbs. It seems to make me feel a bit drowsy! As Eric, I enjoyed seeming some familiar scenes. Greenwood is a pretty nice place for a cooling off. It looks like those kids fared pretty well, also! What a nice photo documentary of your bike overnight!

  4. We must have been standing close to each other at The Greenwood Fall Festival Parade, since our photos look very similar. I ran across your site today while looking for other images of Greenwood on Google. Living close to the Grasslands, I like to keep up with sites that include sights and stories of our area. Keep up the good work, we will be watching for you to ride by our house.
    David
    Grasslands Gazette

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s