Monday, April 6, 2009

Hiking the Rock

Saturday I did a pre-ride for a chapter ride later this month to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. I had to find a new sweep road captain during the week, after the original one had to drop out. He and I met about 9 am and went for a really pleasant ride. It was a nice and sunny day, it started off cool but I was getting warm under my jacket as the day warmed up. I wasn't particularly surprised at the lack of wildflowers in the Hill Country, considering how dry it's been the last several months, but I was hoping it would be better than it was. I don't think I saw any bluebonnets along the Willow City Loop, and it was probably the only time I've ridden it without going through any low water crossings. When we got to the park, Bruce went back home and I parked to go for a hike. There were a lot of people there already and still streaming in by the carload. I bought a Dr Pepper from a concession stand and sat down at a picnic table and ate the PBJs I'd brought with me. After lunch I started hiking up the rock, initially at much too quick of a pace. After 10 minutes I was panting and sweating and had to stop and take a drink of water. I continued up to the summit pretty quickly again and had to stop a couple more times before I got to the top. I finally slowed down near the top and enjoyed the view, even though it was full of people. I wandered toward the back side, being careful not to fall off the more sheer side popular with rock climbers. I found a hard-to-get-to shaded spot and sat down for a little while and read the paper. From there I made my way down the side of the rock, having to deviate from the direct route to avoid potentially bone-snapping boulder fields. I got down to the valley and headed further back into the park, pretty much wandering among the many trails attempting to circumnavigate Enchanted Rock. It got pretty hot in the afternoon, especially since I was still wearing jeans. I dunked my head in a stream I came across for some relief. When I got back near the road, I cooled off again from a faucet that had water colder than my water bottle. When I got moving again on the bike, I cooled off pretty quickly and had a pleasant ride back into town. Back home, I watched some TV before going over to hang out with Jimmy around 7. We went over to his son's place for some BBQ and to see his various project vehicles. A bunch of his friends were over so of course there was a lot of beer drinking and lie telling.

I had ambitions of actually doing something Sunday morning, but wound up lazing about until about 10:30 when I went into the garage to try to adjust the shifter rod on my Night Train and found that it was already as short as it gets. I rode over to the Harley shop to stage up for the Peace, Love and Happiness ride. It was a lot cooler than Saturday and very windy, which probably limited the turnout. There were over 100 bikes nonetheless, and it made for a pretty impressive stretch of motorcycles going down the road once we got started. Police escorted rides like that are fun to do mainly for being able to blow through intersections, though they tend to go on the slow side. I barely got above third gear for the first half and only got into fifth for a few short stretches on the second half. When we got parked at the Backyard, most people went in to see the concert, but I went with a couple of road captains to lunch elsewhere. I finally managed to do something productive after loafing a bit after getting home from lunch, and mowed my front lawn. Since I don't have much of any real grass at the moment, I just used my weed whacker to knock down the crabgrass and other weedy crap. I watched TV and started packing for my trip back east in the evening.

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