Leakey, TX to Comfort, TX
3820 ft of climbing
As a bonus, our room in Leakey had a full sized coffee maker with a permanent filter. Usually, if there's a coffee maker in the room it uses prepackaged coffee in a filter envelope. I Jones for my Peet's. If there's a microwave I'll boil water in cups and use my little camp press pot to make real coffee. This time I got to make it in a real coffee maker. We drank all twelve cups. That makes for an open eyed start to our day.
We got ready and rolled out into the street. I asked a man sitting on a bench on the sidewalk if he knew a breakfast spot. He pointed back the way we came and mumbled something that sounded like, "after the third light on the right". We turned around and headed that way. I thought for a minute that Leakey was a bigger town than I thought. Three traffic lights would make it a veritable city.
We rode back through the blinking yellow light at the intersection and I realized there was just this one light. About three doors down, on the right, we saw a little place called Nena's Café. The sign advertised German-American cuisine.
We parked the bikes and went inside. It was a very nice, cozy spot that looked like a house with several small tables in the front room. A gentleman seated us and we ordered various combinations of potato pancakes and eggs. It was delicious.
I noticed the interaction between the man and a woman, of a similar age, cooking in the kitchen. I thought them husband and wife and it was nice to see the love and respect they treated each other with.
At the end of our meal, Chris went outside to put on sunscreen and get ready. The man from the café also stepped out for something. The other diners had finished and gone leaving me alone with the cook. She came into the dining room and asked how everything was. I told her it was great!
She asked about what we were doing and I told her about our ride. I usually build up to the full story bit by bit. I guess I need to know they are interested before I share Deidre's story with them. We talked for awhile. The woman was very nice and was good at conversation. She told me about the couple that had been eating when we arrived. They were her neighbors and the day before they had returned from Houston where the gentleman had been receiving treatment for stomach cancer. The doctors had told him this week that there was no more they could do for him. The woman had called our hostess the day before to give her the news. They had just finished making arrangements at the funeral home for the inevitable.
Death is inevitable for us all. It is more immediate for some than others. I think maybe in the case of a married couple both people are preparing to die.
I asked the woman I was talking with her name and she handed me her card. Her name is Nena Artl and she is the proprietress of the café. I told her it was time for us to ride and asked for the check. She said, "consider breakfast my contribution to your efforts". I was truly touched. I really felt she understood. She said Leakey had hosted the Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society event, the week before. She said that their small town raised over $200,000 in the last year to fund the war against cancer.
I shook her hand and told her what a pleasure it had been talking with her and began to leave. I took her hand one more time and she gave me a hug full of love and wished us safe travels.
Nena was an exceptionally kind and caring person who warmed my heart.
Eat at Nena's Café when in Leakey and say hello for me.
Off we went for some mountain climbing. It would be a day that began with a climb like the one that we rode to get there the night before.
The night before, Walter, at the lodge, told us that the first six miles of our route was under construction and he would help us route around it in the morning if we wanted to avoid it. That whole part of Texas Hill Country is very, very popular with motorcyclists and he said they were all coming to town complaining about the six miles of torn up dirt road. We both grew up in Santa Fe and a little dirt doesn't scare us.
The climbing began shortly after the return of the pavement. The construction wasn't too bad at all. There was hardly any car traffic and no work going on so I think we got lucky.
We rode to Vanderpool and stopped for a brisket sandwich. So far, the brisket I've had has been out of refrigerators and warmed in microwaves. It has been excellent without exception.
We turned North at Vanderpool and started riding along the Guadalupe River. It started pretty wild with more game ranches but as we neared Hunt we began riding past riverside resorts and summer camps. I noticed many places offering cold storage for bagged game in the areas with the game ranches and hunt clubs.
It was very green and lush and was getting more so all the time. We rode past guest houses with mowed front lawns the size of football fields. It was a beautiful ride.
The river got wider and wider. I think we crossed it at least nine times. It was wide enough in some places for jet skis. We rode for fifty miles or more next to the river. What a treat. It seemed like we left the beautiful and wild but sometimes bleak dry plains of West Texas behind.
We got to Comfort and stopped to do a little laundry on our way to the Motel and dinner.
It was a glorious, hot and humid day.
More to come.