Mile 1366 Spirit of America – Day 27-28 Recap
After diverting our planned route to join the great volunteers and families at Houston’s first Walk for Hydrocephalus, we have been flying a little blind as we adjust and inject some flexibility into the cycling route we planned before leaving Tampa. Thanks to the warm hospitality we have encountered in our Texas travels the last couple of days, we have not been, quite literally, left out in the cold, as we work our way to San Antonio and back onto our planned bike trek northward.
We are meandering the Texas back roads and quickly gaining appreciation of the term "wide open spaces." We have encountered several quaint little towns filled with nostalgia from by gone eras.
We had a terrible time finding a hotel on Tuesday night. Even in very small towns, every room was occupied by people in town working, in some capacity, in the oil drilling industry, attending conferences related to oil drilling, or something else tied to oil. When they say oil is big business in Texas, now we understand, like everything else in Texas, when they say “big”, they mean “BIG.” We pressed on until we finally found a room at the Holiday Inn in Columbus. The room was over $100 and way outside our budget but with no options for camping and no other available rooms anywhere, we took it. The next morning, when manager, Melinda Duque, found out about our Ride for Hydrocephalus and that our “big oil” was raising awareness for hydrocephalus, she very generously helped us out with the bill…a lot. We have been touched by the generosity of both Holiday Inns and Choice Hotels. They all have wonderful managers and employees everywhere we go and they are both very civic-minded hotels, especially for such large chains.
The weather has improved and the ride was easier on Wednesday but we were not able to extend our ride beyond the reach of big, busy oil. “No room at the inn” has become our mantra. We were looking at making it an 80-mile day just to get to a campground for the night until Cindy and Tony Martinez stepped up to help. The Martinez’s run the Old Kasper House Bed and Breakfast in Shiner, Texas. Every available room on their property was booked as well but they generously offered for us to stay at their family homestead ranch. You will learn more about this adventure on our next post. Cindy and Tony, thank you so very much. You deserve Innkeeper of the year!
The Kasper House is a charming home was built in 1906 as the model home for local building contractor, city alderman, and cotton ginner, John F. Kasper and his wife, Mary. In 1986, this lovely Victorian-style home was converted into the bed and breakfast. There are now four other buildings on the Kasper House property, each with its own rich history and charming character. Shiner, Texas is off I-10 or US 90 between Houston and San Antonio. If you have the occasion to travel in Texas, I recommend making your way to Shiner and visiting with our wonderful new innkeeper friends rather than getting lost in the bustle of the surrounding big cities. The beautiful countryside and the warm Texas hospitality we have found on our Spirit of America Ride have been even more valuable than the oil in the ground.