Leakey Texas is still proudly displaying their high school football teams 1975 championship. It’s brightly written on the plywood sign visible to all who enter this junction town of minuscule population.
When Jo and I arrive, we roll into the pet friendly Bent Rim Grill. There’s two Fat Boys in the parking lot. The men who ride these hogs had the same idea as I. We are there to dine where folks say, “good roads and good eats meet”.
At about ten o’clock last night it started raining. The drizzle continued throughout the evening and for most of the day. After packing up my soggy tent and tying it to my bike with bungees, Jo and I set out for the next town over.
Alex and Gillian are from Austin. They quit their jobs and hopped on their bikes. They’re navigating the southern tier route, visiting the Grand Canyon and looping north, up around Wyoming, and eventually will end up making a home in Portland.
This is Texas Hill Country. I glide up the Three Sisters slowly, Jo caravanning beside me in his bright red shoes. The rain and the mild temperature are gifts today, providing us with a cool afternoon for the thousand foot assent.
Once we arrive in Leakey, and after having lunch, I had to make a decision; should I stay or should I go.
Laurel sits behind the desk at the Historic Leakey Inn, the only hotel in town. She offers us a comfortable bed, a place to dry out and get a good nights sleep.
There are two other cyclists next door in room three doing the same thing. I put on my cleanest dirty shirt and we followed Pat and Marie down the street on foot and paw. Together we indulged on homemade peach cobbler along with a mountain of vanilla ice cream. Shoeless Jo had none.
Back at the hotel I had strung my tent out to dry under the awning along with the damp clothes I had been wearing. After putting my gear back in order, I walked over to chat with Cindy and Stephen who are seated on the stoop.
On this mellow breezy evening, the two are outside enjoying a glass of wine and their time off of work. She’s a project manager for an oil company. Stephen is an engineer. The two of them are exploring this beautiful hill country. I break out my Outdoor Ukulele and give them a few songs. Cindy takes it from me and after showing her three chords, she’s strumming amazingly well, capable of singing songs of her own.
When I set out on this mission; a long bike ride, sharing the vision for Operation Elf Box, I hadn’t predicted writing a daily blog, but I am. I enjoy the time I’m spending documenting these adventures that unfold one (s)mile at a time. Sharing my thoughts and experiences has been rather therapeutic for me.
There’s a book out that was once on the best sellers list, A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, The Tao of Willie. I read through some of it while I was in Nashville a year or so ago. In that book, Willie Nelson wrote, “I’m not sure if the things I write here will change your life, but they sure have changed mine”, a sentiment I also share.
Here’s a picture I captured of my folk hero at a concert I had the privilege of attending in Lincoln City, Oregon last January. After his performance I was able to reach out and shake his hand and say, “thank you, I love you, and God bless you”. In that moment, Willie mouthed those same words back to me.