The state that at any point in time has the right and ability to split into Four separate states.
The state that has an average speed limit of 80 mph, except at night when they have to lower to 70 mph... They have "hills" here that are more like Mini Mountains. Steaks that are bigger then my head. The list goes on, the point is this... Everything really is bigger in Texas.
we crossed into the central time zone shortly after crossing into texas. This was strange for a week or so. we were still so much closer to The west coast and yet we were closer in time to the east coast. It threw us off a bit with the sun setting so much later. When it did set though, the stars were incredible. So many camp spots blew my mind once night fell.
There was this one day where I got two Flats. This was unusual, In total, from start till today Vanessa and I have gotten 5 flats combined. NOT BAD!.... A guy I became friends with through work, his name is mike. He and his two friends rode from san diego to the east coast in 2005, they only took 2 days off and did the whole ride in just 44 days. but in those 44 days they got something like 78 flats between the three of them. Im sorry to tell you mike, but you guys were doing Something wrong! He was a good guy, gave me a bunch of helpful hints before leaving. but yeah, those two flats used our last two spare tubes, causing us to make sure we stoped at the next bicycle shop on route.
This next shop was in the town of Alpine, Tx. The name of it was "Bike Man". Here we met the owner and wrench worker, John. He was the bike man. There was a painting on the outside of a superman but it was with his face and it had a B on his chest!
Anyways, he helped us out. We bought four new tubes, Puncture protection tubes at his suggestion. Some real heavy duty stuff. He also gave us the heads up on the local natural foods store, and about a Hostel/art compound 30 miles down the road that let any cyclist spend the night free of charge. He reminded Vanessa and I of an Older Seamus. Seamus is our buddy and local bicycle mechanic shop owner in downtown San Diego. He helped us out a lot prior to this trip( www.thisisabikeshop.com )
so yeah, we went to that hostel. It was in the town of Marathon, Tx. A population of somewhere between 400-600 people in the entire town, And this amazing place is a part of it.
The outdoor Kitchen. attached to the Hostel House.
The wash room. Laundry/Toilets/showers.
A really inspiring place, And a free bed and roof to sleep under. On a night that rained no less!
The 5 or 6 people living and working there are "wwoof'ing" (world wide opportunities on organic farms) They are working for Room and board. There is an organic garden here but the main objective is to build this place that is sustainable and practice and experiment with different ways to do this. All the buildings are made from various recycled components. And everything is beautifully done really. Nothing is just what is needs to be, everything is turned into a piece of art.
The trains were a really big part of our trip through the south west. Everyday some times for days on end our Route followed along the same route of the train tracks. Sometimes we'd see amtrak trains but for the most part its freight trains. I really enjoyed this. Sure sometimes it was frustrating when we were camping (what felt like) only feet from the tracks and we'd be woken up multiple times in the night. But for the most part it was really nice. Everyday i'd see these huge trains fly by. I always try ed to read all the graffiti writing as it zipped by. And there was a lot of that. We'd also try and see if we could spot anyone that was getting a free ride. Never did.
Most of the rivers are marked on our map. When we ride we hardly ever go further the 20 miles without stopping for at least a few minutes. So when we see that a river will be up ahead we usually wait to take our break there. Eat an apple, Banana, Peanut butter snack, and watch the water go by. This here is one of the larger rivers we have crossed. Most of them are much smaller and we can walk right down to them from the road with our bikes, we've even been lucky enough to camp right by a few of them. That might not be ideal now a days with being on the east coast comes Humidity, humidity+More water= BUGS.
Somewhere along the line before hitting austin we camped at this campground that had a great tent area. we were tucked away from all the RV's deep into the woods. We met two guys there who were also traveling by bicycle. The one kid Kinda Dressed like a mix between a punk Rocker and a cowboy, I liked it...
We made a pretty great fire that night.
We have no digital pictures of our trip to austin at all. This trip happened a pretty funny way really.
We ended up heading into San Antonio Prior to Austin but then got stuck because of rain and had no way of getting to austin but did not want to be in san antonio. I went onto the rideshare section of Craigs list and found a listing from a women name Sarah who drives to work 5 days a week from san antonio to Austin and is always looking for someone to split the gas for the trip. After talking to her and deciding she wasn't a crazy psycho killer. We met the next morning and got a ride with our bikes and all in her ford explorer to austin, Tx!
we took two days off there, they city was cool, Its population is about half of san diegos but yet felt very crowded... I enjoyed the Bike Lanes. and the massive amount of other people who were riding bicycles. It was really nice to see a city that worked this way. where so many people were aware of the connivance and benefits to cycling instead of driving. And how the city helped make this happen.
Being in Austin wasnt everything we hoped for though really. Its just hard. When we enter a city of this sort, not knowing anyone or anything. We end up being viewed as tourist. and we aren't your average tourist who wants to hang out on 6th street and go to the shot bars. We want to experience each city and town the way the locals experience it. But how does one do that when you know no one. you don't! ahh whatever. we still had a really good time. We met some really really great people at the hostel. 3 other people, YOUNG PEOPLE traveling by bicycle! everyone we meet on the road is at least 20 years older then us. so this was great. we didn't just meet them in passing, we were able to sit all night, over drinks, and share our stories. We'll probably stay in touch with Will, He is also riding from CA-NY but going all the way south to New Orleans before heading north, so we'll be a bit ahead of him.
What I did like about Austin was the amount of grass and trees that were right there in the city itself. And that when we left town, we stooped about 10 miles away from the hostel and realized we were once again surrounded by country farms. no sign of city life. Its nice that people can live just 10 miles away and feel like they are in a different world.
Cows. They were everywhere, we saw some other farm animals also. Donkeys, horses, Sheep, Goats. Mostly cows though. We always say hi to the animals as we pass them. I often try and Moo at the cows in hopes that i'll make some sort of sense to them. sometimes i think i do. They often stand up and stare at us. Maybe my moo translates to ( stand up and stare at me.)
Many night time thunder storms!
we've been really lucky though. To this date we have only had that one day from san antonio where we felt we didn't want to ride because of the weather. It has rained, A LOT. but mostly at night and alot of those nights we've been able to find an over hang of sorts to set our tent up under. we have had a few motels though, like right now, im in one. The 6th one of the trip. we hate em, but they let us update with the Internet world and do laundry and shower and all of that.
Not often but at times we have gotten stuck. Not sure where we are going to sleep. Tired and thirsty with no water. destroyed tire with 60 miles to the nearest bicycle shop, the sun about to set and in the middle of no where... These things happen and have happened. But somehow it never lasts due to the goodness of the people we have met along the way. I have started to call them "Road Angels". Our first morning on the road set the pace and it has continued along the way. That first morning waking up away from san diego we met two really great people who invited us in for coffee and breakfast, which included mimosas. our visit to the hostel in Phoenix hardly dented our pockets because of the women working who only wanted to charge us half price. The TWO separate store owners we met in Texas who took it upon themselves to invite us to camp in a safe spot behind their store under an overhang rather then a not so great place down the road. And most Recently and older man named Dave and his Neighbors Mark, Willow, and Kyle.
In austin Vanessa and I both got brand New back Tires and new chains. (we were also given the travelers discount at that shop as well) and here we are not even a week later. We found this great spot to camp down by the river, we rested our bikes up against a pole and sat down to eat an orange. Only minutes later a loud "POW" vanessa's back tire exploded... Her bike was apparently sitting in a not so old fire pit. There was no sign of heat or anything when we put the bikes there, but there was apparently still some hot embers. completely melted through the tire and tube destroying them both. We were in the sticks. really nothing around, nearest bike shop was off route by 60 miles. With plans to hitch hike because we saw no other options, we headed down the road towards the nearest gas station. Along the way an older man waved us into his yard and offered us some cold water. This led to us talking, which led to him offering his front yard as a camp spot and a ride the next morning to the bicycle shop 60 miles away.
Dave is a retired navy worker. He mentioned many times of his Seven tours in Vietnam, And that he sleeps with a gun in his hand so we better not come inside at night because he'd kill us without thinking...
Meeting dave and having that offer to stay also led us to meet His neighbors, they came over after talking to dave and hearing our story. Mark told us they had a big tent set up in his backyard from when his son wanted to camp out the week before and that we should sleep in it. It really was a big tent. we thanked him and moved our sleeping bags into it. They had a big Bon fire going in their backyard and they then invited us into their house to eat dinner with them "sausage and potatoes". These people were so kind, So sooo different from us. a world away. In any other setting we would have never even talked. But we had dinner and talked about what they all did for work, how they just moved into this house and were fixing it up. they offered us some canned food for the road and mark gave me a whole roll of toilet paper haha. Things got really southern when after dinner the guys went out back to shoot some guns off into the fire.... true story.
Anyway, we got our ride the next day and were on our way, still got just as far as we planned to prior to the tire thing. Point is. We had a tire explode and sound like a gun shot and later that night there really were guns being shot... with some really amazing people. and im glad we had that happen to Vanessa's bike.
And then it happened, WE MADE IT OUT OF TEXAS. Were officially in Louisiana. The home of Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Po' Boys. which we ate within the first 48 hours in the state!
Brian Lynch asked me if the hype is real, and it is. So Sooo good. were going through a section of Louisiana that has a good mix of southern style home cooking and Cajun kitchen style cooking. MMMmmm. so yeah. those pictures are of the lunch Vanessa and I ate yesterday.
We spoke about headed north off our original route to take the Natchez Trace Parkway from Natchez Mississippi - Nashville, Tn.
Pretty sure we aren't going to do this. There is some really Terrible weather going on right now north of us in northern Alabama,Mississippi and Tennessee. So we really aren't in a rush to get up there.
With the Oil spills in the gulf right now that is completely out of control. and Tornado's with flooding and other terrible stuff going on to the north of us. We're in wild spot. A safe spot but wild.
Right now it is 94% humidity outside. with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. but supposed to clear up tomorrow.
From here we continue east and a bit further south to Mobil, Alabama then north up through Alabama, following the "underground railroad Route" thanks to Adventure cycling Association. If the weather stays this way, or maybe just for the heck of it we may take a train ride from a spot in mid Alabama to a spot in Virginia, Taking a chunk of riding out but overall saving us $ time and possibly our lives. The foot of rain Tenn. has gotten over the past 24 hours dosen't sound very exciting.
So for now here we are. Im sure our next week or so of riding will provide us with wet weather, hot humid weather, and probably a lot of roadside frogs. The stereotypes are real. They are everywhere down here.
This trip continues to surprise and inspire us. We miss our san diego friends very much, NY family and friends as well, but really SD because we both know we wont be seeing those people anytime soon. Hope you are all well. Love and miss you. Thank you for everything.
With best regards to everyone from coast to coast
NobadDays from Louisiana!