So, we went bike camping in December. You’d think camping in December is not possible, but Texas has a mild winter. I will say though that three days prior to the ride, it snowed. It was the most snowfall we had since 2004. It was a gosh darn miracle. It didn’t happen again. Thank god.
We left from my house December 9th around 11:00am. The temperature was mid 50s with sunny sun shine. We, meaning, Emily, Johanna, and myself. It was a smaller group than the previous camping trip, but it was awesome to have a ladies only ride. The route pictured above was developed by yours truly. I came up with it spur of the moment, with a bottle of wine and the strong dislike of biking FM 969. Sure, it would be about an hour quicker and 10 miles shorter, but dangerous. Cars swish by on farmer market roads like speed limits don’t exist. I also always seem to do everything the hard way. I drove the route alone the night before we left to make sure it was all good. It was and I convinced the other ladies that this route would be best.
The route is a million times better than FM 969. I am not biased in saying that. We hardly had any hot wheel vehicle action near us while taking these rural roads. Also, it was flat with occasional hills. A lot of the time we were able to ride side by side and actually talk to each other while en-route. A rare thing cycling. The fall color was super beautiful too and we saw some leftover snow sloshed on the sides of the road. We made frequent stops, probably about three where we ate each others snacks and talked about snacks. After Sayersville, we started to get onto some gravel via FM 157. My bike, a Fairdale Weekender with 29ers, was able to handle the gravel really well. I didn’t have any issues with it. We went through cow pastures and actually went straight through a herd of cows. they were crowded in the dirt road looking at us like we were a bunch a freaks. Emily and I were up front and a little skeptical of how to approach them.
They completely mooved out of our way. Once we got close enough to them, they scattered, but not without a lot of judgmental looks and some bucking. Fortunately, we got through the gravel and cow pastures level. Power up. Arriving in Bastrop, we went through a road dedicated for free roaming chickens, up a crazy hill, and then arrived at Bastrop State Park Headquarters. I got a flat somewhere in between there. It was interesting though, because I could I still ride with the flat. All of the weight from my bags were overloading on the back tire so much that the front tire being flat didn’t have much effect. Never the less, I still patched it for the ride home the next day.
Emily and I both went for hammock camping on this trip. It got down to about 33 degrees at night though and made it very difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep. I did not have an insulation pad between the hammock and my sleeping bag. My feet were cold and my back was super cold even with all the layers of clothing I applied. I woke up several times in the night with an insufferable impulse to sleep in the heated bathroom. I eventually flailed out of my hammock and opened up an emergency blanket which crinkled and crunched SO loudly. Afraid to wake up Emily, I sprinted to the bathroom to warm up before proceeding with my sleeping arrangement. It was frigid and eventually opted for the emergency tent that Johanna and Clarence set up in case one of us would begin hypothermia. Basically, Emily and I played chicken in our hammocks and I lost.
I read up on what to do next time to stay warmer when I got home. An insulation pad is crucial if you don’t have another human’s body heat to warm you up in a hammock. Also, more socks and possibly another bag to sleep in. I would do all of these things before sharing a hammock. No one wants to share their hammock. Yet, in all seriousness, if two people are freezing in hammocks, they should probably cuddle each other. As long as you aren’t a crinkly nuisance. < me.