Sunday, November 11, 2012

Susan Peak Wind Tunnel

Susan Peak Group Ride
Saturday November 10, 2012
If the blog title did not tell the tale, the flags on the Rocking Chair ranch give the rest of the plot away. I think 21 mph wind from the south was the slowest predicted speed of the day. One person said that we were to have gusts up to 40 mph. 
Yet 12 riders showed up for the ride to the end of Susan Peak and back. Shown from the left: Eddie Trevino, John Dampier, Christine Lamberson (new to San Angelo and first time to ride with us), Dorothy Langdon, Rick Ogan, Tate Drysdale, and Karen Frambgen. Christine was conducting an experiment with the car, and Velma Ogan, Loyd Evans, Ricky Menchaca, and Liz Rappe had already started the ride.
I am still not able to ride so I was to SAG for the group. The experiment was conducted to see if a rider could safely draft off of the car. Here Liz Rappe was taking advantage of the car's blocking a cross wind.
Others just plowed through the wind and tried to draft off each other the best they could.
Christine had decided to start from the Rocking Chair ranch which cut off 6 miles of her ride. We left the riders who were drafting off of the car to allow Christine time to off-load her bike, air the tires, and just generally get ready to join the group.
 Even driving the car, we barely beat Velma up the hill. One by one, the riders rolled into the re-group area. 
Rocking Chair ranch was the first re-group area. As Christine Jones (middle, blue jersey) hadn't ridden yet, she was the only one still chilly.
Rocking Chair ranch marked the beginning of the hills on Susan Peak. At first there were the rollers, and then later in the ride there were some interesting inclines.
I thought my SAG services were finally going to be called into action. However, it was just a low tire which was rapidly remedied. I was carrying the pump so I was useful afterall.
Liz was just being supportive of the down time. It also gave her a break from the relentless wind.
Finally my SAG services were utilized. As part of the plan, if someone tired of fighting the wind, I would SAG them to the end so they could have a pleasant return with a tail wind. Dorothy and Christine L., rather than turning back, decided to ride to the end of the road and wait for the others. I was to come back and pick up anyone else who would like to turn a miserable ride into a pleasant one.
 We had stopped to talk with Eddie, Rick, Tate, and John as they were waiting for the group at the next re-group point. Early in the ride, some had discussed getting to this point and then turning back.
 Near the end of the road, some wild turkeys were crossing.
I did not get a count, but there were quite a few turkeys running for cover.
 I dropped Dorothy and Christine L. off at the end of the road and headed back to pick up others.
 Not far from the end of the road I met John and Tate (pictured) about to finish.
Next, to my surprise, I met up with Karen and Christine Jones. Surprise? There were a lot of riders who WERE between Karen and Christine. I learned that everyone else had enjoyed about all they could stand and turned back. So, I offered to take them to the end with the others already there. Karen took me up on the offer. 
Christine, being stubborn, wanted to keep riding. When she met the others returning, she would turn around and ride with them. Long ago, I learned that when she sets her mind to something, it is best just to say, "Yes, dear." 
 This is the crew who made it to the end of the road: John, Tate, Dorothy, Christine, and Karen.
And off they go beginning the fun part of the ride. 
 As everyone now had a 20+ mph wind to their backs, I could relax and enjoy the scenery.
 Many parts of the country will laugh at our "turning of the leaves", but we just don't have many trees in our pastures which actually have leaves that turn. Sumac,yes. Mesquite, no. Cedar, no. Live Oak, no.
 Christine and Karen hanging back from the pack as they were just going a little over 20 mph--slow for the wind that was pushing them.
 Whoops. Saw red again. Had to stop for a photo op.
 Which slowed me down enough that I missed Christine and Karen going up this hill.
Later I caught up to them as they were entering a little series of rollers.
 And then another good downhill. The two little dots at the middle of the bend are Christine and Karen.
 All the way through the ride I have talked about the wind. Finally I took a picture of the wind--or at least a demonstration of the wind. The grass stalks are bent way over.
 When one sees a sign with a truck on a downhill, it means a minimum of a 6% grade.
Now some of the hills on Susan Peak range from the 8% to 12% category. Fun to go down. 
 Near the end of the ride is Lipan Creek. From past experience, I know that turtles like to sit on the log and sun themselves. Once again this was true. As I approached, there were about 10 turtles on the log. As I was pointing the camera at them, nine saw me and slide into the water. The one heavy sleeper is still in the middle of the log.
Back on the flats, a cotton field near where we parked still had some cotton. Some of the fields that were "dry land farms" had yields so low that they were just plowed under. We wondered if this field was destined to that end.
The ride being over, Dorothy suggested that we eat lunch at Miss Hattie's.
And some of us did. Christine Lamberson and Karen Frambgen study the menu.
 What is special about dining at the infamous Miss Hattie's? Miss Hattie's was, for 50 years, the most notorious bawdy house in west Texas.
In 1898, Mr. and Mrs. Hatton moved to San Angelo and bought the building. When their marriage ended, Mr. Hatton received the downstairs and Mrs. Hatton got the upstairs of the building. He ran a dry-goods store and she opened a bordello.
Legend has it that there was a tunnel between the next door bank and Miss Hattie's. So, when the men came to town, they would frequent the popular bank, and while their wives shopped across town, the men would sneak over to Miss Hatties. (Historians say that the two buildings had connecting basements, but a tunnel makes a more interesting story). 
 Three of the ladies of the night still hang around. "Old timers" over the years have revealed information about some of the ladies at Miss Hattie's. For fun, let's imagine that the one on the right was "Miss Blue" who was so popular that she had the best room in the house--closest to the bathroom. (Miss Hattie's reportedly was among the first establishments to have running water, and Miss Hattie made the girls bathe). On the left is Miss Rosie who always wore pink. In the middle since she is in black, let's make her Miss Mabel who turned tricks to pay for her consumptive husband's medication. 
And speaking of three, one source speaks of three "Miss Hattie's" over the 50 year period of operations. The reign ended in 1946 when the Texas Rangers raided the establishment and boarded it up.
Miss Hattie's is now a muesum and the legend lives on.
Oh yes, the food was very good and hit the spot after a hard ride into the wind.

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