The eighties want their decor back from this hotel in La Grange, Texas. Beyond the green and burgundy floral drapes, it’s 87 degrees out. The humidity is up to 87% making it feel like a steam room at the gym. It’s actually warm enough that I could potentially make a pot of oatmeal on my bike while I’m riding it. But here in this room, it’s air conditioned. And the oversized chair that I’m sunk into is softer than a grandma.
Yesterday morning, Jo sat around at the campground, convincing anyone that passed by that he was thirsty and needed a hand with the fountain. The Boy Scout Troop camped beside us were the first responders.
The ranger stopped by our site and said if we had planned on taking the back route through the park, that it’s closed. Somewhere along that stretch, there’s a low water crossing that’s not passable.
Tapping into the wifi and an outlet, I sat beneath the sun on a wooden deck, sipping my coffee black as I crafted my last blog. The packed roadside eatery was a perfect place to lounge and take in the sites. From there I could look out at the highway junction where the traffic was backed up in all directions.
There’s over 14,000 cyclist pedaling in the MS150, a benefit ride that leads those in support it along a country road, on their bikes, from Houston to Austin. It was impressive to see so many people riding by. They must have taken up a fifteen mile span of the highway, lined up, traveling together. Their efforts raised well over fourteen million dollars towards the fight against the disease.
The shoulder was the best I’ve ever seen, a cars’ width wide for most of the thirty miles and as smooth as a roller skating rink. I covered the distance between towns in a little over two hours, the wind on my bike. The Colorado River floats a single boat, a couple out scouting fish in the chocolate waters.
As I approach the hills, Jo is standing in his wagon, listening for the sound of my downshifting gears, a clicking that comes from the rear derailleur. That’s his cue that I’ll be slowing down and soon he’ll have to hop out and run beside me. He waits for exactly the right moment, his eyes fixed on the speed of the asphalt, knowing he can run faster than I’m riding. When he leaps out beside me, Jo immediately bursts into stride, pacing me to the crest of the hill. I put one foot down and give him the command to “load up” before rolling down the backside.
I rode into town making my first stop beneath the Golden Arch’s. I order up a grilled chicken bacon wrap and chase it down with a mocha frappuccino.
Across the street I could see a gas station that doubled as a bakery. I stood under their awning as a thunder storm brought rain of biblical proportion, flooding the streets temporarily.
Sandra owns Weikel’s Bakery. She walks up to me in with a giant smile and two packages of her famous Kolache. What she’s handed me turns out to be heavenly doughy goodness stuffed with ham and cheeses. She tells to me to share them with Jo, but as I look down at him laying there in his wagon, I pretend he didn’t hear the instructions and later on in my room I consume them all myself.
The earliest residents of La Grange were Tonkawa and Comanche Indians who came in pursuit of the herds of buffalo. The barbaric white man began moving into the area in the 1820s, fueled by cheap land grants, bringing with them, their slaves, the cotton trade and eventually a famous brothel that served the community until 1973.
The Chicken Ranch was sung about by ZZ TOP in their popular song, La Grange.
Spreadin’ a-’round, in that Texas town
‘Bout that shack outside La Grange
And you know what I’m talkin’ about.
Just let me know, if you wanna go
To that home out on the range.
They gotta lotta nice girls.
A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw.
A haw, haw, haw.
Well, I hear it’s fine, if you got the time
And the ten to get yourself in.
A hmm, hmm.
And I hear it’s tight most ev’ry night,
But now I might be mistaken.
hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.