The picture below was the morning scene in Middlegate. We ate a very hearty breakfast at Middlegate Station and packed up. When we left it was sunny with some clouds and about 63 degrees temp. These conditions were not to last.
Soon a large thunderhead sailed overhead going our direction. The rain began and the temperature dropped to 40, and then the hail began to fall. The hail stones approached a half inch in diameter. Large enough to sting and make us glad we had helmets on. It hailed for about a half hour, covering the road and the surrounding desert. After that T-storm passed we had intermittent rain for the rest of the day. We climbed New Pass, a ten mile long grind. Then we dropped a couple hundred feet and ascended another pass, after which we had a glorious ten mile descent.
Afer this long downhill we faced the climb to Austin, but not before Belinda had a flat tire. As it was getting late Bill and John rode ahead to town to secure us motel rooms. Dave and Belinda fixed the flat tire but as we prepared to set out Dave discovered that his rear tire had gone flat. We were fixing that when a woman touring on a Vespa motor scooter stopped to ask if everything was ok. We told her it was and as she was going to stay in Austin we asked that if she saw our friends to tell them we had a second flat and not to worry. Well, at last we were able to get back on the road. We had not gone very far when the angel on the Vespa showed up again this time without her baggage. She had talked to Bill and John, we had rooms, and she took as many of our panniers as she could to lighten our load for the steep climb into town. Our road angel is named Starr. She is from South Carolina. She has toured all the way to California and is now on her way home. After we got established in our room, we all went out to dinner for a very nice evening.
Last, I just want to say that our motel, the Mountain Motel in Austin is very friendly to cyclists and pets. There accomodations are very nice and at a reasonable price.