Monday, August 4, 2008


Saturday morning it was a good thing I had set my alarm since I stayed up past my bedtime bullshitting with Jimmy over at Bigley's after we had dinner at the Texican. There wound up being a pretty good turn out for the ride, especially considering the 100+ forecast, 9 bikes and 12 people. We got off a little bit late, since we waited a little bit in case anybody was stuck in the accident-related traffic on the interstate. The ride went fairly smoothly most of the way down, the only issue I saw being that the bike immediately behind me, who I'd never ridden with before, left more of a gap than I would have liked, it made me feel like I was going too fast for him. When we were a mile from the cavern, a couple went down in a left-hand 90-degree turn. He said he was going too fast and went off the road to keep from hitting the pavement, and fell in some gravel. They were both okay, just scraped elbows and the engine guard was bent, but no other damage. I didn't really see the accident, but I thought I saw something, and pretty soon knew something had happened when everybody behind stopped and turned around. The road we were on was very narrow with no shoulder, so I went on and stopped at an intersection. I had the two bikes that were still following me go on the short distance to the cavern and turned around. By the time I got most of the way to the accident site, all the bikes were already on their way, so I turned around and followed them the rest of the way to the cavern. I don't know if anyone in our party requested it, but we had a tour all to ourselves. The kid taking ticket money, in addition to being pretty slow with the transactions, had a hard time understanding how he was supposed to track who was on which tour. Our tour started about noon and the guide seemed reasonably well informed, but I didn't quite believe everything he said. The cave itself was pretty nice, but for the most part not all that spectacular. It is supposed to be one of the wettest caves in the world, flooding regularly, so it did have lots of formations, but until the end, it was narrow. Also because of the regular flooding the lighting was pretty makeshift and poor. One of the good things is that they have made almost no attempt to accommodate people by blasting out the floors, leaving several sections where we had to hunch down. At the end of the tour, the cave opens up and leads to the waterfall for which the cave is named. It was pretty neat, but not lit very well, it was kind of hard to see. Also with the rushing water it was hard to hear the guide. I tried a few different ways to get a picture of the falls, but for some reason my light meter wasn't working correctly, it seemed like it was reading the ambient light instead of the light in the frame, so all the pictures I took are incredibly dark. By the time we were all back on the surface it was just past 1 o'clock and everyone was pretty hungry. We decided that after getting gas, we would go to Po-po's in Welfare, and I would lead again. Everyone stayed together for lunch, which was kind of unusual and kind of nice, but in order to get seated we broke into three tables. The service was slower at our table, one table left while we were eating and the other table waited for us to finish. I absolutely gorged myself, all of it fried- chicken fried steak with onion rings and fried okra. When we left there and headed home a little after 2, it was hot but not brutally so. It was probably about 95 in that area, but it got hotter the closer we got to Austin, getting noticeably hotter east of 281. I wasn't quite dripping with sweat, but I was pretty hot by the time I got home. I cooled off and vegetated for a while, then went over to Jimmy's for dinner with some other friends. Once again we stayed up too late bullshitting.
Sunday I slept until 8 then putzed until about 11:30, then got on the bicycle and rode to a sandwich shop about 4 miles away for lunch. I went from there to the Wildflower Center and read the paper on a bench in the shade for a little while. I went for a lap on the Veloway before starting home. When I stopped at a drug store for a drink and an ice cream bar, my phone said it was 100 degrees out at 2pm. Fortunately I was already home in the AC before it topped out at 105. I didn't do a whole lot for the rest of the day other than read the paper and watch TV, except to do some gathering and packing for my crazy road trip.

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