Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, 10-17-10, it took us 8 1/2 hours to ride 45 miles. Was it the increased number of hills we are now encountering? That is a factor, but not totally. Was it the headwind that kicked up in the afternoon? It may have slowed us a little but not that much. Was it the friendly people in Southeast Texas? YES! That is what did it. It started at breakfast when we met 3 nice people who were "costumed up" for a nearby Renaissance Festival. We so enjoyed talking to Tim, Amy, and Nikko that we started a little later than planned. Tim & Amy offered future assistance, if needed, and we are hoping we might have a chance to cross paths again. We left Navasota on 105 and crossed the Brazos River. The terrain then became hilly, one climb following another. This will be the case for the next 280+ miles as we climb toward the convoluted Texas Hill Country. Gone are the days of the lovely flatlands. As we topped the hills, we enjoyed panoramic views to faint ridgelines on the horizon. This is vast, open country. There are both huge ranch homes peeking over clusters of trees from behind elaborate gates as well as abandoned little homes tucked away in the weeds & wildflowers. The latter make you wonder about the people who lived there and what became of their hopes, dreams, & aspirations. We came upon the beautiful Hatfield Plantation Home that was built by slave labor in 1853. As we were photographing the place from the road, Ben Beauchamp (pronounced Beecham) pulled up and invited us on the property. Ben is a retired attorney from Houston who has a nice retreat in the woods nearby. He checks on the plantation for the owners. We toured the magnificent home where one of the unique features was plaster casts of the hands of the slave that supervised the construction. heard about the other structures on the property, and met Waylon & Willie, the 20 year old Percheron draft horses who ate out of our hands. When we left, Ben gave us an alternate route on Gaskamp Road that would take us by his place. When we arrived there, he had cold orange juice for us and an invite to come sit on his deck. Ben was very likely a good litigator since he held our attention with his wonderful stories. He invited us to stay for spaghetti, but there are only so many hours of daylight! Our next stop was at the Weiss Store. It was a store at one time, but now serves as the monthly meeting place for the oldest rifle club in the State of Texas. What a great group of people. They offered food, beverage, and enjoyable information about the area. Hit bullseyes y'all! The free beer was not enough to numb our butts for the remaining hills to Burton. However, we were refreshed as soon as we arrived at Knittle Inn and were greeted by Carmen & Steve. They served us salad & pizza for dinner and promised breakfast the next morning. Before bed, we listened to Elvis sing Plantation Rock. Sweet Dreams!