When we were nearing Fredericksburg a couple of weeks ago, people kept telling us we were just in time for the wildflowers. Unfortunately, when you’re not traveling around the country on a bicycle, your concept of time is a little faster than someone who is, so what they really meant was, you’ll be just in time for the wildflowers if you hang around for a week or two. While we certainly did see more flowers than we had been seeing for the whole trip, we weren’t seeing the blankets of bluebonnets everyone was getting so excited about. Nonetheless, after miles and miles of flat desert, the one or two wildflowers amidst the lush rolling hills was the most beautiful landscape we had the pleasure to ride through…and that was before all the rain.
Just as we were entering the outskirts of Austin, we were hit by a storm, and it hit pretty hard. We were within a few miles from Ben’s cousin Patrick’s apartment so we didn’t bother to pull out our rain jackets, thinking we would get there before we got too soaked. Ha! The things you do (or don’t do) when you know you’re close. It didn’t take long before small reservoirs started collecting in our shoes.
As quick as it had started, the rain stopped, and looking back I think it was only because we had broken out of the rain cloud. Soon enough, the streets were dry and college students were walking around in shorts, cute summer dresses, and expensive sandals. We were still soaked. I felt like we had just ridden through a time warp.
However, it didn’t take long before the storm caught up with us; we spent the next two days drying off in various coffee shops and bookstores throughout the city.
After one glorious day of clear skies, we took a train up to Midlothian, just south of Dallas, where we stayed with Ben’s Aunt Laurie and Uncle Greg. When I left to go to California for my grad school interviews (Chapman and USD), the oak trees scattered around their property were just barely starting to put out some leaves. When I returned, the trees were bursting with new growth. Spring has arrived.
Eager to get back on the road, we quickly returned to Austin, back to the rain. We delayed our departure due to the forecasted “severe thunderstorms” that were supposed to drown the city, a prediction that only came true after what could have been a full day of riding. We woke up in the middle of the night to booming thunder and strobe-like lightning.
Apparently when it rains in Texas, it pours.
By morning, the worst of the storm was over. We were soon back on our saddles, thankful that the humidity had pretty much disappeared and that our anxious muscles were finally getting the use they had so patiently waited for the last few weeks. As city suburbs turned to rural farmland, we began to see the impact of the last week of heavy rain.
The world is so full of life, so full of color. And just like the butterflies, I can’t get enough.
I’m a sucker for wildflowers. That being said, these last couple days have been some of the best of our trip…and I cannot stop taking pictures!
Right now, we are staying with an ambitious and spunky woman (she built her own house, is an active member of Habitat for Humanity, owns a B&B, and is getting ready to drive around in her model A at a car show this weekend) who’s property is teeming with wildflowers. I took this as an opportunity to learn some of the Texas varietals and figured some of the other wildflower lovers out there (Mom, that’s you!) would enjoy seeing what the Texas version of an Indian Paintbrush looks like.
Of course, before I had the opportunity to post this, I discovered many more wildflowers that I was unable to identify, so not all will have names. But! If you know any of them, or know any nicknames to the ones I have posted, or would like to correct me, feel free to comment, I would love to know!
Texas Bluebonnet – relative of the Lupin and heavily planted on roadsides to prevent erosion. One of the most common flowers I’ve seen
Texas Paintbrush, aka Indian Paintbrush is semi parasitic and gets some of its nutrients by feeding off nearby roots from other plants, also one of the most commonly seen
Showy Primrose aka Amapola or Pink Evening Primrose
Prairie Spiderwort (bottom left corner) – leaves and flower are edible, but root is poisonous
Wild Blue Indigo
Texas Groundsel aka Texas Squaw-weed, Clasping Leaf Groundsel, Ragwort
Drummond’s Phlox – also planted to prevent erosion
Wine-cup aka Poppy Mallow
4. Obviously some kind of thistle