Austin to Bastrop, TX
This morning we spent some good quality time with our new friend, Katherine Ann. She showed us around Austin and took us to the awesome Barton Springs. Barton Springs is a very large spring that flows into the river and is extremely clean and clear. The city has built a swimming pool out of the spring which, according to Katherine, is a great place to swim and hang out in the hot Austin summers. If it were warmer, we would have jumped in too! We also visited Red Bud Island, which is just downstream of the city's hydroelectric dam. It is now a dog park and hiking area. Part of this little island is made from the old dam. After learning about the area and touring, we went to HEB to get groceries and returned to the house to begin to pack up. We ended up enjoying more good conversation at the house and left around 2:45 pm. We parted ways with Katherine Ann and her roomies and continued on down the road, happy to have met such cool, friendly and welcoming folks.
Outside of town the hills were much more gentle and rolling than they were in the hill country. There was a lot of farm country and we noticed that the soil has begun to turn to a rich black color. There are lots of farms and ranches in this area, especially cattle ranches. We have noticed new breeds we don't usually see, like Brahmans and Texas Longhorns. These breeds are short haired and better suited for hot weather than the Montana breeds. The roads were mixed, with some being very high traffic without shoulders, and others being quiet and relaxing.
We ended up getting into Bastrop in the dark. Riding through town was very nerve wracking due to the fast busy traffic and the road configuration. We were relieved to get to the Bastrop State Park, where we camped for the night. This park is one of the very few in Texas and is unique for its stand of Loblolly Pine, which is the westernmost Loblolly stand in the United States.