This weekend Monty and I loaded up my Weekender + BOB trailer and hit the road. I had found a bike route out to Palmetto State Park and thought it looked like a good adventure. 67 miles seemed doable at a leisurely pace since I had a whole day to it.
I printed out some map instructions which were pretty complicated. Thankfully I had maps on my phone so occasionally I stopped to make sure I was on the right path.
With all adventures I was not without a few hiccups. Amongst them being that I was pretty “over-geared”. Both in that I don’t have any cool light weight camping gear and my bike’s gears were a bit high for the terrain. Although the route was relatively flat a lot of it was on sandy, wash-boarded dirt roads. With all the weight I was carrying I spent a lot of hours in my smallest gear going very slowly. The one downside to the BOB trailer is that it’s difficult to ride out of the saddle with a dog in the back. So I ended up spinning away in my low gear plowing through the sand.
The route out to the park was very calm and peaceful. Almost no traffic and quiet farm land on both sides of the roads. I often went near a hour without so much as a single car going by. Drivers were all very friendly as were the few farmers I ran across working near the road. The packs of dogs that charged off the front porches of houses I passed were another story! Mostly they were just friendly dogs running out to see who was riding through their neighborhood. A few barks and running along side me for a while and they would head back home. One pack of 8 chihuahuas chased Monty and I for a long while and seemed dangerously attracted to my front wheel’s spokes. Luckily, despite a few suicidal leaps, none were hurt. One group of pitbulls was dangerously aggressive. The further they ran along next to me the angrier they got. I’m convinced my calves were starting to look like steaks as they started to snap at me. I suddenly felt very alone way out in the middle of nowhere. On this sandy stretch of road I simply couldn’t out run them, but then I remembered my waterbottle.
A quick squirt across the nose and the dogs peeled off looking comically bewildered and completely dispirited. It was really funny. A slightly hair raising situation turned instantly to comical. The dogs looking as if I had done something far worse then sprayed a bit of water at them.
I rolled into Palmetto State Park around 5PM. Just enough time to get my tent set up and gear organized before night fall. The park is small but very pleasant. I also lucked out as the warm 80 degree day cooled to a comfortable sitting around the fire 60 degree evening.
Below I made a map of the route I took. I don’t know the area well enough to suggest a non-dirt road alternative but really it wouldn’t have been too bad if I hadn’t been dragging around the trailer. Even with the trailer if I had just put a smaller front sprocket on I think I would have been ok. The route is very quiet and peaceful so it’s worth a bit of bumps. And, heck, I Monty and I made it out there!
View Austin to Palmetto State Park in a larger map