From the moment we left Second Chance Ranch on May 1st until this morning, our travels have revolved around family and friends. Missouri. Arkansas. Texas. Everywhere we’ve been was either a visit, even if we claimed a day for ourselves, or a road day taking us toward a visit.
Now we’re on our own.
For the foreseeable future it’ll be just Ernie, Deb, the dogs and me. We’re rolling in a direction with no personal connections, no commitments and no plans beyond a compass heading.
We’ve had ourselves a great time with the folks we’ve met up with and dropped in on along the way. We wouldn’t trade that for anything. Today, tomorrow and for some weeks to come, though, the journey will belong to us.
That feels right. It’s time.
The road out of Bandera up to Kerrville held no mystery — I’d seen it before, from the passenger seat of our hosts’ truck on a day trip to Fredericksburg. It’s a fairly short stretch, with mild curves and a few hills, and we covered it quickly this morning under overcast skies.
Interstate 10 between Kerrville and Junction, however, surprised me. The freeway running west out of the Texas Hill Country was a lot more dramatic than I’d expected. Grades were long and steep enough to challenge the few loaded trucks traveling it on a Sunday morning.
Spectacular views more than made up for whatever difficulty there was.
After fueling in Junction we rolled north on a two-lane state highway that crossed some pretty damned inhospitable terrain, buffeted by a persistent wind. I ignored the 75mph speed limit and stuck to my familiar pace, between 55mph and 65mph, letting following traffic by us whenever a passing lane presented itself.
Ranches and farms punctuated the landscape. Every now and then we’d slow for small towns, their character adding spice to today’s leg.
An hour or so before reaching our destination we pulled over at a city park in the Colorado River town of Ballinger. We walked the dogs and lingered a bit because we could, enjoying the well-kept common space, before a searing sun drove us back into the relative comfort of the bus.
Tonight we’re parked in a wonderful little commercial campground just off the highway. We have shade. The site is level and the full hookups are perfect and close to the coach. I think we set a new record for pitching camp.
We’ll push a ways north again tomorrow, this time stopping for two nights. For the next couple of weeks, between Texas and South Dakota, we’ll be taking small bites, logging only the miles we want to.
We’re on our own. It’s a good feeling.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.