The landscape has changed dramatically since our departure from East Texas. The pine trees have given way to cedar scrub with their string cheese-like bark. Our once flatline road is now more like an undulating high frequency sound wave.
We are deep in the Texas Hill Country. It’s beautiful out here. We’ve passed retreats, rehabilitation centers and camps for the kids. People come here to find peace.
Me, not so much. These hills pack a punch. I wish I could report that I blissfully roll through the hills Mary Poppins style. The cycling is very…challenging. (read: it sucks) Yesterday, I was done. Like stick a fork in me, done. Chewed up, spit out. I was what the dog brought in. Crawling up inclines in my granny gear at 3mph while my inner dialogue swears like a sailor, I couldn’t tell if the buzzards were swarming for me or the roadkill. And so it went for the 4hr 55min I was in the saddle.
But then we arrived at our destination, Sister Creek Vineyards, and after a bit of tasting, all was right with the world. I was reminded of why I do this.
We free camped under the bridge down by the Guadeloupe River not too far from the vineyard, enjoyed a bottle of wine while lying on the picnic blanket listening to music and the river. The only other noise was the occasional thump-thump, thump-thump of a car going over the expansion joints in the bridge. Later on we washed the day away in the river. Scott lives in fear that we will one day live under a bridge. This isn’t so bad though.
Today went about the same. Except a cold front blew in during the night so it was freezing when we woke up. Well, maybe it wasn’t technically freezing, but when we got to town, a local told us it was 39 degrees. To add to the discomfort of the temperature drop, there was also a frigid headwind, the kind that makes you pedal downhill.
We rolled into Comfort, Texas hungry for something hot to warm our frozen bodies. We were recommended to Guenther’s Grill where for $6 we ate our weight in BBQ ribs and chicken.
With our bellies full we headed off to our next destination, Bending Branch Winery. After grinding up a number of particularly steep hills, we found they were…closed. I called the number on their sign, because why not? Apparently it’s hard to stay closed when you have three thirsty people on the other side of your gate. After some tasting we all decide on a glass of their award winning Petite Sirah.
The sun has finally burned through the clouds and it’s already feeling considerably warmer. We sit outside on the patio, bundled in blankets, admiring the view. It’s 3:30pm on a Wednesday. The road was so winding to get here I’m not sure I could point this place out on a map. But I’m here, with my love and a good friend, basking in the warmth of the sun, sipping delicious red wine. This is what silences my inner sailor. This is peaceful.