Monday, February 19, 2007

Bike Trip Update - Day 4 - Kingsville to Port Aransas, TX

Stiff headwinds, tar and gravel pavement, flat featureless landscape. It's Texas!

It was another grueling day today, with a bad headwind most of the day, and very rough pavement. It wasn't as bad as yesterday, since about half the route was across the wind. We did 71 miles, and got in right at sunset.

We started the day with breakfast at a Mexican place in Bishop. There's not much in Bishop, except a big factory that looked like a refinery. Except the railroad cars out front were half tankers and half covered hoppers. Maybe it was making ethanol?

The Mexican place had a long table full of bikers (Harley style). Bikers means good food.

This is what the scenery looked like most of the day.

You might ask "What could possibly improve on such a scene of unchanging beauty?". I would answer "A stiff headwind and pavement consisting of gravel the size of marbles."

We skirted the south edge of Corpus Christi, where the pavement improved somewhat. We ate lunch at a strip mall diner with an adjoining butcher shop that also sold seafood. It was not Mexican food!!! I was so overwhelmed that there was a restaurant that was not Mexican that I forgot to take a picture. I had a tasty fried seafood platter with corn and okra on the side.

The last part of the ride was up the barrier island to Port Aransas. Here's the scene approaching the bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway.

And here is looking back. That is the biggest hill of the trip so far, by a long shot.

I shot some video going down the hill, which I will post when I have a good enough Internet connection to get it on YouTube.

The first half of Mustang Island is a park, and the last half is creeping condo development and RV parks until you get to the town of Port Aransas. The pavement is very rough, but we had a tailwind. Here is your basic condo.

Here is looking the other way from the condo, which is still undeveloped.

We got to Port Aransas and checked in to the Travelodge ($70) right at sunset.

Here's the scene from the campsite.

We went out for dinner at this high-class seafood and barbeque establishment. It's called the Island Grill or some such. Jim liked it, I thought they needed a real non-smoking area.

After dinner, we went next door to a bar. It had very high quality crapola, but it was a very smoky geezer fest. I was 15 years younger than anyone else in the bar. There were old folks playing cards, old folks playing shuffleboard...

... and old folks watching other old folks play music, typically romantical Derek and the Dominos songs. The guitar player with the long long beard had the hairiest ears I've ever seen on a human being. They were furry, I swear.

One interesting observation today. We were mostly riding through agricultural fields, which were fallow this time of year. There was very little wildlife. Very few birds. The contrast with the King Ranch yesterday was dramatic. The King Ranch is in a natural state, and there are birds everywhere and a hawk on every other phone pole.

Here's the map for today. The wind was 10 mph, from the ESE.

Here's the MotionBased link.

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