1. Fueled by pork…

    After a long day or riding on Saturday, we were a little sore and tired, but we got up anyway. We had made plans to ride out to the Mission Trails and then over to the birding center at Bensten State Park. After guzzling a protein shake and some water, we loaded up and headed out.

    We were meeting our partners in crime at 107 Cafe at 10. It took a lot of will power to not go in and eat something before we rode. We were promised a mind blowing breakfast over at the flea market in Alton. So we waited a few minutes.

    Our riding companions showed up and we were off. We headed west over to Conway. With the wind blowing at our backs, it was easy until we made the turn south. Going south was work, but it wasn’t as bad as the day before. After 12 miles or riding, we reached our destination. We walked our bikes through the flea market and over to a great little taco place called La Malaguena. We locked up the bikes and headed in.

    This is what we put off eating for.

    And boy was it worth it. Nothing like some delicious pork tacos for breakfast to get you through the day. After this, and a Mexican Coke, we continued through the flea market. We met two gentlemen who had also biked there. They were riding custom chopper style bicyles and they were cycling chic. After talking to them for about 15 minutes about all things bicycle, we continued south to the Mission Trails.

    Conway has a shoulder all the way south, except for a little piece in downtown Mission. It wasn’t bad riding on the very right of the lane. There was plenty of room.

    Right before reaching the trails, we saw a winter visitor also biking over to the trails. It’s always great to see people biking instead of committing bicycle torture by hauling their bikes around on the back of car.

    We finally arrived, after some ferocious wind.

    We continued down the paved trail all the way over to Bensten State Park. When we got there, we noticed a lot of bikes. It was probably the most bikes I had ever seen parked anywhere. It was great.

    We grabbed some water and explored the facility a little before heading out again. We biked over to the butterfly center about a mile down the road. It was nice to see that they have a big bike rack there. It’s also a proper bike rack that can actually hold bikes. Not like some others I’ve seen around.

    We wandered around the center for about an hour. We looked at all the great native landscaping they had. There weren’t many butterflies but I’m sure that they have moved on since I last saw them last fall. There were plenty of birds though. We saw a lot of green jays as well as some cardinals.

    There is a great walking trail that they have there that doesn’t look like it belongs in the valley.

    During that walk down the path, it felt as though we had all been transported elsewhere. It’s hard to believe that the valley used to look like this many many years ago.

    We took a break under a great canopy there and had some great discussions about the sprawl that is killing the RGV. Every time somebody bulldozes an orchard or clears brush to make way for development, we lose out on potential eco-tourism dollars. It seems short sighted to build a cookie cutter house that never feels like home in order to make a quick buck. What about the long time earning potential of a great nature preserve? I guess our collective hive mind here in the valley can’t look at things like that. We want to make the same mistakes everyone made 20 or 30 years ago in bigger metro areas. It seems like we really do get everything last here.

    We biked back through the Mission Trails over to Conway. We then cut across on Trinity through the industrial parks and through Cimaron. We got a look from a resident who was driving past us. He just didn’t get it. Neither did we. How could you be trapped in that car on such a great day?

    It was finally time to get some grub, but there were issues. Our first choice ended up being closed when we got there. So was our second choice. Luckily, Russo’s was open, so it was time for some carbs.

    There was pizza on those pans, but I got my camera out a little too late to get the full pizza picture.

    The day was winding down so we headed out.

    We headed home for some much deserved rest. We clocked about 45 miles worth of riding on Sunday. It felt like a lot because of biking close to 40 miles the day before as well. It was worth it though, it was a great adventure.


    Here we are riding down Dove. It doesn’t have a bike lane.