We are in San Antonio. Dwight and our host, Steve, are off on a tandem recumbent bike ride around town and I'm staying back, working on some rest and recovery. I find R&R a bit difficult because it requires me to not be doing. The only problem is of all the doing I've done over my life, this bike riding is causing me the most physical pain. Enough that two days ago in Del Rio, TX, I told Dwight I wasn't going to pedal another mile. My feet have gotten quite messed up, more than Iraq, Ranger School, or SF training ever did to me. Maybe I'm just not taking it easy enough on myself without the safety conscious army to worry about me. Or, more likely, I've just worn out my bike shoes and was too stubborn to stop until my toes looked and felt like cocktail weenies that were on fire while still attached to my feet.
Regardless, once we made Del Rio, I was ready to rent a car and drive to Austin, where I knew friends, family and barbeque awaited us. The previous two days of riding from Marathon to Langtry to Del Rio, were some of the worst weather and strongest headwinds we had faced. All I could think of was, this is supposed to be vacation, I don't have to prove my toughness to anyone, and this just isn't fun anymore. Cold, rain and wind don't make for enjoyable riding conditions.
What we did do was ride the Amtrak from Del Rio to San Antonio. Not sure the bikes would get on the train, but they did and we took the easy ride to the home of the Alamo.
I have had many childhood memories come back to me since we've crossed the border into Texas. The strongest memories came flooding into my mind when we found our first bluebonnet, the state flower of Texas. I hadn't seen them in the wild since we left Austin in 1990. All the places my parents took me, McKinney Falls, Pedernales Falls, Enchanted Rock State Parks, the LBJ Ranch, all started crowding my mind and my heart. All my family, especially my Grandparents, were moving through my vision like a slide show.
Now, here in San Antonio, visiting the Alamo, where all my childhood heroes perished defending our future freedom and way of life, I find myself especially reflective. This is one of the main reasons why I embarked on this trip, but it is coming at an unexpected time and place and resulting in unexpected emotions.
After these days of rest, I think we're going to ride the rest of the way into Austin. Swing through New Braunfels, San Marcos, and maybe Lockhart on the way. Then barbeque, TexMex, and Thai for a week.
Next week, I expect we will leave Austin with a load of furniture from my Grandparents, and a truckload of memories and drive the rest of the way back to Raleigh. Not sure that I'm comfortable calling that place home either. Maybe the girl who asked if I was homeless was more correct than she knew. I suppose I will have time to explore that thought when we get to my birthplace, Austin.