Cedar Hill State Park, TX
Elevation: 526 ft.
Distance: 74.0 mi.
Odometer: 241.6 mi.
Had a hard time waking up this morning. Probably because I had trouble sleeping last night. Hit the snooze button a few times before I managed to will myself up a little after 6:00, with the sun already up. Packing took a while and I finally got moving a little after 8:00, with the sun already high. I need to get better at this.
My Garmin isn't working right. One of the cooler features it has is that you can make your own routes ahead of time, then save them onto your Garmin and follow them as you ride. All of a sudden, my Garmin won't display those saved routes. So today I had to just stare at the map and make it up as I went along. I think I did pretty well, considering the mileage was about the same as I'd expected.
Today was another day filled mostly with tailwind and a few less rolling hills. I'm out of Hill Country. Early in the day I passed through Hillsboro and realized that in a car, I'd be only an hour from Dallas. By the end of the day, I could see the Dallas skyline.
For most of the day, I was climbing slowly. I liked the idea that I was getting ahead in the elevation game. With only a couple miles to go, I was at an elevation 300 ft. greater than where I'd started the day. Pretty respectable day, especially for Texas. Then I lost it all in one big downhill at the end until I ended the day at a lower elevation than where I started, which naturally means I have to climb out of it tomorrow.
I was passing through a town called Maypearl today and pulled over to check on my directions. It was only about a dozen miles since my last rest stop, so I didn't plan on taking one. Then I saw this burger stand called the Panther Den, complete with cheesy panther artwork (the high school mascot is the panthers). I was hungry, it was noon, and there were a lot of blue collar types eating outside, usually an indicator of good food in small towns. I went ahead and got a panther burger and talked to a few of the locals. One of them game me some directions that turned out to be better than what I'd planned on. And the burger was pretty good.
Both parks I've stayed at have had swimming, few trails, free showers, water at your campsite, and lots of empty campsites. I think the fact that they're both on a lake means they're mostly for boating, and the boaters only come out on weekends.
It's weird to be camping and know I'm so close to Dallas. As I write, I'm looking at an orange night sky, with the occasional radio tower, and I can hear both a highway and an airplane. Tomorrow's going to be all urban navigation, which means slow going. I'm going to try to get up extra early to beat rush hour, but there's one major problem.
My solar charger won't transfer charge to my cell phone, which is now dead. The batteries have enough juice to power my camera and produce a flash, so the solar part is working. But the phone won't charge. Since it's my only alarm clock, I'll probably just have to wake up whenever. What's even more frustrating is that I have an outlet right at my campsite, but no plug-in charger. Ugh. Day 3 and already two equipment failures.
from Pedal for Potatoes