Sunday, July 11, 2010

Door Key Road

Door Key Ranch
Founded by John Willis Johnson. By 1902 Mr. Johnson had acquired over 90,000 acres of land in Tom Green County and surrounding counties. Mr. Johnson came to San Angelo in 1874 as a bufflalo hunter. In 1881 he bought some sheep, and from his profits in 1882, he went into the cattle business. The same year he was elected Sheriff of Tom Green County and had a reputation of being one of the few sheriffs who did not carry a gun.

The Door Key Road route probably should be called Dan's Route. Dan Waldron notified us of a "new" road that had just recently been paved (albeit chip seal) and had a few hills on it. A group of us decided to try Dan's Route (Door Key Road) on Saturday. Six brave individuals showed up. "Brave" because for the previous two days we had some very good rains, and the forecast was for more thunderstorms. Rapidly, the forecast changed, and as we arrived at Pugh Park in Christoval, some kids were already up and about and swinging into the Concho River.  

Mark Seals, Ty Johnson, Rick Ogan, Christine Jones, and Velma Ogan
Ready to go, everyone agreed to pose for me one more time.
From Pugh Park in Christoval we headed to highway 277. Three miles into the ride and
Mark had a flat tire.
Ty and Mark fixed this flat, one of the few times that Rick was able just to watch. Velma? Way down the road and not aware that the group had stopped.
Finally we were on Door Key Road. The sky was overcast and threatening, and the humidity was stifling for us Texans. 
Thinking ahead, Rick and Velma had dropped off a cooler on the side of the road about half way up Door Key. They had filled it with a variety of iced down drinks. Made a good rest stop.
Thanks to the drink refills, the buzzard in the upper right hand corner of the picture would have to wait  for another day.
Mark was going to have to turn around early to make an appointment, so I tried to catch him in an action shot just before he left the group.
The scenery was pleasant along the 14.5 mile road. The hills ranged from a three to five percent grade. Just enough for a good work out for us flatlanders.
As Christine and I approached the 14.25 mile mark, Ty, Velma, and Rick were under a shade tree waiting for us. They said they had already gone to the end and turned around. I wanted to see where the road ended so I took off for the very short distance to the end.
End of the road but not the end of the story.
I rejoined the group under the shade tree and everybody was refreshed by this time. Christine had polished off another bottle of liquid and Rick offered to carry the empty bottle in his "suitcase".
Not too far down the road, I heard Christine say, "There is a bug in my helmet!" I asked if she wanted to stop, and the answer was, "Yes, I can feel him crawling in my hair."
Shortly after the bug in the helmet incident, another distraction was off to the side of the road: long horn cattle in the pasture, mama, papa, baby.
The rancher obviously was building up his herd as the calf still had the sales tag in his ear.
Down the road was yet another distraction. Numerous millipedes were seemly migrating. As it turns out, in the spring and summer, millipedes sometimes migrate by the thousands, marching toward and into your house. No one knows for sure what causes these migrations. The best guess is that it's a combination of temperature and humidity. Millipedes and their kin like secluded damp areas where they can feed on decaying plant material. But too much or too little moisture in their environment can make them leave these areas in huge numbers. I had earlier mentioned our numerous rains from Hurricane Alex so the conditions were right for a mass migration.

Patiently waiting on me at the "Cooler Rest Stop" were Christine, Rick, Velma, and Ty. Does anyone wonder why not many of  the racer types do not participate in our group rides? Stopping to take a picture of a millipede is beyond their comprehension. Ty, Rick, Velma, and some others who frequent the group rides are the exception, but we will continue to work on others to put some laid back fun back into some of their rides.

The cooler was a brilliant idea. By this time the temperature had hit 95 degrees and the humidity felt the same. I think I drank three bottles of liquid on this stop and filled up one of my bottles for the rest of the ride.
Scene at the rest stop. Cactus in foreground, sun flowers behind, and the hills separated by a valley were great by the naked eye.

Time to move on. Besides its getting hot, the ride was relatively over with only about 14 miles left.

At the intersection of Door Key Road and Highway 277, Kevin and Becky Dierschke gave Christine some ice for her bottle. We had met Kevin and Becky on the way out and they passed us again as we were returning. They did not have to wait for someone to take pictures of bugs, cattle, or millipedes.

Kevin sharing his ice and water with Christine.

Refreshed, everyone was ready to finish the ride.


No comments:

Post a Comment