We spent the July 4th weekend in Smithville, Texas with family. As always, they graciously hosted us, fed us, and in general facilitated everyone having a wonderful time. I woke up early each day, and rode for a couple of hours before everyone else awakened. The first 2 days I rode Bastrop and Buescher State Parks, but on Independence Day, I took an easier spin around the Smithville area, taking time to enjoy the scenery and take a few photos.
After I stopped to shoot the sunrise, I turned the pedals about 30 times, and saw a field of sunflowers. Since we're on day 3 of the Tour de France, I felt obligated to stop again and take another photo. They're not quite the same height or density as the famous sunflowers that are often shown during the stages that are run in southern France, but they're still lovely.
I rode 15 miles out and turned around when the County Ranch Road I was riding turned to gravel. I intended to ride 20 miles, for 40 out and back, but I didn't want to risk flats or a spill, so I stopped short of the gravel. On the way back, I was chased by several determined dogs that must have been asleep when I passed the first time. This gave me an opportunity to involuntarily get my heart rate up and do some intervals, and luckily none were able to catch me.
I rode back through Smithville, and with the sun up a bit higher in the sky, I stopped to capture an image that reflects our country's independence: an American Legion hall, named in honor of Robert L. Steffen, with our flag flying in the breeze, the morning sun behind it. It made me feel proud to be able to ride through the American countryside, the "land of the free, and the home of the brave".