Ride Report - Austin to Corpus Christi
Me and my friend Matt recently rode from Austin to Corpus Christi. We had a great time, ate a lot of Mexican food and rode many miles. This post has some details about our trip that someone else bikepacking through Texas might find useful.
Skip to the <#tldr> at the bottom if you're not super interested in the details.
The weather was great and there was very little traffic. We had Breakfast tacos from a random taco truck before we actually got out of the city.
The ride that day was about 180km to Lake Calaveras. Our pace was a brisk 25kmph and the road quality was generally better than I expected for being so near to Austin and San Antonio.
Lake Calaveras turned out to be decent, but there's a coal power plant on the lake across from the camping + fishing area.
The morning was pretty cold and we took our time getting out. We made breakfast and coffee, chatted with some early morning fishermen, then got on the road around 8:30am. We were both a little anxious about this but only had 135km to go that day so it was ultimately fine.
My chain developed a stiff link the day before and I couldn't work it out. Apparently it shook loose the bolt from one of my jockey wheels and I just happened to stop and check it out while the bolt was entirely unthreaded and just resting in place holding the wheel.
The roads on day two were the best of the trip. They cut through a bunch of farm land, was nice and packed white dirt/rocks or empty pavement. Narrow but so little traffic that we really felt like we had the whole thing to ourselves. Our best time of this trip was spent on county roads and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farm-to-market_road
We ended the day at a hotel in George West, Texas. The wooded area we'd hoped to camp in turned out to be fenced off (like every other parcel of land in Texas).
Day Three aka "agro-tourism"
We managed to get an earlier start on our last (and shortest) day. The hotels clients were primarily oil workers, I think, that travelled in from other towns. That morning we made coffee outside while I noticed how most rooms had work boots left right outside their door. For some reason that reminded me of my dad.
If I recall correctly, we made a similar reroute near the start of the day to avoid another big road. Big roads are very common in Texas and require some effort to route around, but fortunately the smaller roads aren't too hard to find. Again, farm to market and county roads are the best.
This was easily the worst day of the trip thanks to (in no particular order) a) rain b) getting chased off what we thought was a public road but was actually an http://kinglandwater.com/properties/long-hollow-ranch/
Conclusion - would I recommend it?
I'm glad we made the trip, and I think it was good for me and Matt to have done it.
However, I wouldn't do a trip like this through Texas again. By "like this" I mean one with a route that isn't designed around campsites. This route worked well for getting from Austin to Corpus Christi, but there just aren't any real camping options besides Lake Calaveras. If I were to do it again then I'd make the trip longer to ensure I hit a state park each night to camp.
- /beautiful roads/
- /mostly friendly drivers/
- Nowhere to wild camp
- Don't try to camp in Texas with hammocks (it can work but it's dumb)
- No bike shops between Austin and Corpus Christi
- Find and reserve camp sites before you leave!
- Use https://freecampsites.net/ (states outside of Texas have a fair number of listings)