This is part of a six-part series documenting my spring 2016 mini-tour from my house outside of Sanger, Texas to Wichita Falls, Texas. My route consisted mainly of gravel and dirt roads, and I covered about 130 miles over 2.5 days. Although this was a “credit card tour” which included meals and lodging purchased along the way, I did bring my coffee gear and had a roadside lunch on the second day. There were two reasons for this. Firstly, there were no towns or services along my route on the second day, and secondly, I’m a coffee snob. Documentation will be mainly in the form of photographs with a few captions or comments to relay something that might have caught my interest.
The series will be presented in six themes; (1) Flora and Fauna, (2) Roads and Rambles, (3) Little Texas Towns, (4) Classic Cars, (5) Lunch Outside, and (6) A Dog Agility Trial.
WARNING – This is an extremely photo-heavy post. Do you really have time for this? Do you have a snack and a refreshing beverage in hand?
PART TWO OF SIX – ROADS AND RAMBLES
The purpose of this post (mainly) is to document the kinds of roads I traveled, and the kinds of terrain I saw. I’d estimate that 3/4 of my roads were gravel or dirt, and the remaining 1/4 was split evenly between chipseal and asphalt or concrete paved roads. There were a few flat areas, but it was mostly mildly rolling terrain. There were a few spots that were steep enough to make me stand and rear traction was a challenge, but those hills were short.
Miles of gravel ribbon, lined with barbed wire and contented cows.
This post also includes plenty of photos of my Ocean Air Cycles Rambler. I have been extremely pleased with this bike. This trip included a heavier load that what I normally carry on my #coffeeoutside outings, and I was delighted how well it worked. It was even better than I had hoped. Finally, the bike shows up often because I just like images that say, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I actually DID ride my bike here.”
The long, straight wide open roads are plenty fine for a meditative mind, but I like me a winding road with a few ups and downs to keep me constantly curious.
The photos in this section were from the segment between Saint Jo and Nocona. What a lovely stretch that was! More hills, more turns, more trees, and I can’t remember a single car (only a few dogs).
This is the view my handlebars see. No wonder I have a happy bicycle.
Well…the masonry appeared to be in good shape.
Thursday was cloudy almost all day. It threatened rain early, but never delivered. Friday, however, was all bright sunshine and I was wishing I had my straw hat.
Right before this photo, I had learned that a bridge was out. At first, I was a bit flustered because I was relying exclusively on my pre-programmed route in my Garmin device. But it didn’t take long to find me a 5-mile detour. Just think, if the bridge-out detour hadn’t forced a re-route, I wouldn’t have this photo. Roll with it.
Apparently independent and self-reliant country folk don’t need giant, shoulder high solid concrete railing on their bridges.
Here’s that patch of Bluebonnets from yesterday’s post.
Where did those shiny black cows go?
What’s bicycle tour without a little two-track, and a sprinkling of washboard?
I was without shade for a good while on the second day. This image is a little disappointing in that it doesn’t seem to show how much I was sweating. I was longing for a little lunch and a reasonable shade in which to partake right about this time.
Judging from the returned cloud cover, this must start the photos from Saturday morning. There was a severe weather forecast for Wichita Falls, and I was wondering when it would swallow me. But, other than a few sprinkles, it never did.
Occasionally, I’d be out in the middle of some vast wide open country, with no house in sight, and I’d see pens, corrals, and even bleachers. It is good to be prepared. You never know when a rodeo might spontaneously erupt.
When I came over this rise, I told myself, “Just ride out there to the horizon, and turn left.”
As it turned out, that is exactly what happened. There was a “T” intersection pretty much at the visual limit of that photo. Yep, left turn.
There was a lot of green at this time of year, but that tall reddish grass was good for some variety out on the open plains.
I like these kinds of roads because they are slower, longer, quieter, and free from billboards, fast moving automobiles, and other distractions from the landscape. And the sounds. Oh my, the sounds of the continuous rolling crunch, the bird chirps, the grass stalks rustling, and the wind whistling through barbed wire.
Next post – “Little Texas Towns”…
Chris, whenever you preface a post as being “photo heavy”, I get pretty excited. Your stuff is inspiring.
Looks like a very scenic route with limited places to restock supplies.
But, you are a pro and I know you know how/what to pack.
Someday soon, I hope to do at least a 10 mile ride with you 🙂
Take care and have fun!
This was great! Lots of good pictures is just my speed.
Oh my goodness!
I really like following your blog. Don’t mind all of pictures,actually I look forward to them. Who knew that Texas had that kind of landscape.
Very much enjoying the ride report and photography. Kinda making me homesick, too, left North Texas a long time ago for New England, which has its own attractions.
How are you liking the Albas for longer rides?
Love ’em. I rarely ride more than about 6 hours in any one day. But I have used them for many rides of that length, and several back-to-back days.
What other’s said, I enjoy the photograph’s. Looks like you’re using the large Wald basket and large shop sack? That combo is great! Love the Rambler and how you built it up.
It’s the medium basket and sack. Maybe it looks large because it’s a small bike, and the sack is sitting up higher on top of the fold-up mat.