Saturday, August 30, 2008

Laredo Trip - Day 2

My job as B2B witness complete, I was now free to get on the road and proceed up to San Antonio to start a nice 3-day riding weekend with a rider friend from Kingwood, who would be meeting me along the way. I headed north on I-35, getting off at Pearsall to have a look at the World's Largest Peanut. I saw the peanut that Durant OK claims to be the World's Largest Peanut but have to say that Pearsall's peanut has Durant's peanut beat by a very large margin!

Then it was on to Poteet TX to get the world's largest strawberry. I remembered seeing on Streets & Trips that there was no good way to get to Poteet from Pearsall. I also remembered checking the GPS route against the S&T route, to make sure they were doing the same thing. But dang it! I sure was being directed onto what seemed like a most indirect route, and on some really tiny roads! This was no time to be doubting the GPS, as there didn't seem to be any alternate roads in any direction. I had to keep reminding myself of this, as I went for miles and miles of nothingness. But at least it was all a pleasant "nothingness."

Finally the little orange flag appeared on my GPS screen, letting me know I was coming into Poteet. The water tower was very easy to find, and I was able to park right at the base of it to get the photo. I was just one block off the main road, so only had to do a series of left turns to get back onto that road, but a rearview mirror check as I was pulling out confirmed that I had a town policeman on my tail. He stayed right with me all the way throught town. I rode 5 mph below the posted speed and, at each stop, I made sure I came to a complete stop, put my left foot down, and looked both ways before proceeding. He stayed with me all the way to the outskirts of town and, once I rode past the town line, he did a u-turn and headed the other way. Guess he thought I was a terrorist doing reconnaisance on their water tower or something.

I had a tiny town entered into my GPS - Verdi - but a quick check of the clock and I decided to skip this stop and head for my meeting location with my friend Keith. We would be meeting at Mission San Jose National Park in San Antonio. He'd never been there, and I wanted to get the national park stamp. My original plan was to visit all 4 of the missions located south of the downtown area, but it was so very hot, and I was hungry. After lunch I was eager to get moving, to catch a breeze, so we headed north into San Antonio in search of a couple of AMA Grand tour points.

The first one was easy, but the second stop - at the mall to get the large cowboy boots - presented a major problem. It was a busy feeder road for the mall and the attached parking garages and there was nowhere to pull over to get a decent photo. But with a little jockeying, I was able to turn the bike into a loading dock area, where I could get a partial side view of the boots.

Now we could get the heck out of the hot city and head north on US 281 toward Blanco, TX, our stop for the night. Boy, was 281 busy! I could see that San Antonio is growing north up this corridor, with new housing, strip malls, and traffic lights everywhere! Near Spring Branch, we could finally break free of the confines of city traffic. The landscape here is decidedly hilly and rocky and looking very much like Texas Hill country.

Our motel was located on 281 less than a mile north of the little downtown square that is Blanco. It was a small and very clean little mom & pop motorcourt type motel, the Swiss Lodge, and I was pleased with it's quiet location and very clean and pleasant rooms. We had a very nice walk into town, where we asked a local for a recommendation for dinner. His suggestions weren't very helpful but they did lead us to check out the "Bowling Club" cafe. Intrigued, we asked the staff about the "bowling club" part of it. Turns out it's 9-pin bowling, and he explained the basics of the game and let us take a peek in the back room where the lanes were. We went next door to a steakhouse and had a great dinner before our leisurely walk back to the motel.
Tomorrow: LBJ and hippo's

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