In honor of Louisiana, "The Pelican State", I set out to design a pelican t-shirt. In the process I designed four others.
This is how far I got on the pelican...
Originally Posted March 31, 2007
I wish I'd realized sooner that my bike shoes make a great pillow. With toes pointed together and slightly overlapped, they cradle my neck nicely. This is all quite pleasant unless they are severely stinky. Though it rained in torrents here today, I did not ride and my shoes did not get stinky. My bike still sits upside down next to the pink and white wall with the ceiling fan whirring above. The cot I've been afforded in my lay over is quite comfortable. Today's events included not getting my package, beginning the production of 40 some postcards, a viewing of Borat, and a trip to The Market Basket. Did you know they call grocery carts buggies here? I wonder if laundrymats are called washeterias here too. Also of note: my parent's 25th anniversary is tomorrow.
Clearly the bike repair technician at Capitol Cyclery in Lake Charles, LA was top notch. More than the techs that came before him, he looked at my whole situation and found the right long term solution for me. It wasn't the cheapest or the fastest solution, but I didn't have any more trouble with my rear wheel for the rest of the trip... or since then. I designed this shirt in honor of all of the great repair outfits, but I think it also applies to the medical profession and some really good salespeople. Does this resonate with you and the work you do?
Originally Posted March 30, 2007
Mike, Pat, Steven, and I took the trip into Lake Charles. My wheel was dealt with (a new one ordered). It arrives Tuesday. I spoke with 360 Cycleworks in Austin and they did put my old spokes on and they new better. They would probably argue that they told me this too but I didn't want to argue. I would never have had the old spokes put on if I knew that it would weaken the wheel. They'd never give me my $100 plus dollars I wasted there back. So now it's a new wheel and a 40 hole one to be exact. It's probably the wheel I should have started with. But if I'd done that, I wouldn't have gotten to spend the five days I will in Kinder hanging out with the Baptists. I'll catch up on my postcards and several phone calls I need to return. I'll be rested and ready for the last thousand miles. The Atlantic doesn't seem that far away now. Oh and the long awaited (one week) package of camera can be picked up here in Kinder tomorrow. Pictures should follow shortly.
Originally Posted March 29, 2007
Today I started to imagine a cycling version of the 12 days of Christmas for this trip.
9 flat tires
2 broken spokes
1 cracked rim
I wouldn't want to rush to fill in the blanks. Today I got my 9th flat tire. This time it was a tiny cresent shaped piece of metal. However, the shoulder on this road has been fairly decent. I was warned that it wasn't good, but I don't think most people have any idea what a good shoulder looks like. Not that I really expected it to, but Louisiana doesn't have Blue Bell icecream. It was decent icecream that is Texas made by the pint at a reasonable price of 2 for $3. I like that.
The real news of the day is that yet another spoke broke. The assistant principal here gave me a ride in to the baptist church. They thankfully are putting me up in "The White House" where their youth ministers live. This is the second broken spoke on that rear wheel that I just had the rim replaced on. Disappointed? yes. Showered? yes. I did not make it to Basile where my package of camera is waiting for me. I'm about 20 miles short.
9.7 ave - 19.3 max - 2093.6 odo - 5:02:12 time
Digging into the familiar
15 years ago I took the evening to relax digging into the familiar: changing a flat tire and cleaning my chain. Today I took comfort in mixing up some bread dough and tucking it into the refrigerator. I've always baked bread and been around people baking bread even from a very young age, but early pandemic I picked up a new book: Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. He really does have a way of baking bread that I find easier. Mostly this is because many of the recipes have you mix up the dough with an electric stand mixer one day and bake it off another. However, I found reading through the paragraphs a bit challenging to follow while actively mixing and baking. So I started writing simplified versions of the recipes. Here I've written up a recipe of my own that follows a basic process Reinhart uses, but with the flavors of my family's Swedish rye bread. And when I was working out this recipe, I didn't have any rye flour in my house and it still turned out great. Lots of compliments at Lent soup supper a couple weeks ago.
Pairs nicely with Beef Stew.
Originally Posted March 28, 2007
Starks - 37.37 miles
"Best Coffee in the Kingdom"
"Warning contents in cups may be real hot!!!!"
Google it. I did.
I said goodbye to Texas today. Texas in turn left me with the taste of a flat tire and a cockroach hotel in my mouth. But aside from these recent memories of Texas, I enjoyed the state. However, I am glad to be in Louisiana. I was starting to feel like I wasn't getting anywhere. Here in Starks, where gambling is legal and the swamps look like alligator habitat, I will sleep. No worries, I'm inside the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church and I'm 27 miles from the KKK capital of America. They had a rally in College Station about 200 miles from here about a decade ago. See what all the people who are stuck on the Adventure Cycling Association map are missing out on. My fist glass flat wasn't realized until I rolled into town. The good news is that I spent the evening relaxing by changing my tube and cleaning my chain. The bad news is that it is now 71 miles still until Basile. This is where a package is waiting for me patiently. We'll see if I make an early enough start tomorrow to make it by 4:00pm when the post office closes.
9.4 ave - 21 max - 3:57:26 time - 2042.3 odo
Today gas is $3.99 a gallon at Texaco in Nome, TX. In Port Orchard, WA at this 76 it is $4.95.
15 years ago at that Nome Texaco it was $2.41.
Originally Posted March 27, 2007
Beaumont - 60 miles
bottle the cracked white line
and the sliding shadows
drop in the sweet scent of the purple vine
and the water on my nose
cram in the soreness of my palms
and the numbness in my toes
snatch the deepness of the clouds
and the thunder quickly; it goes
bottle it all it won't happen again
but I guess it could who knows
Michael is going to quit smoking next week. After talking to me for half an hour he didn't even light up. His youngest has him wrapped around her finger and she gets on him every day about it. With the promise as he says he will "glory in your spunk," he drove off in his minivan.
Sitting at the Texaco with my feet apart to avoid the pain associated with chaffing, I decided to rest for a moment. My dyslexic cashier, Anitra, sold me a pint of raw honey for $1.79 instead of $7.19. When she told me the total of $3.21 I'd questioned if she'd gotten the honey in there. With an impatient careless air, she assured me she had. I'm not one to press. In Nome, TX unleaded is $2.41 9/10. I have no idea if that is good.
Originally Posted March 26, 2007
Dayton - 60.58 miles
Did I forget to put sunscreen on my arms? They're awfully red. In other news my parent's old camera should be arriving in Basile on Thursday. I'm excited. I've gotten really attached to photography on this trip. Additionally, I listened to classic rock while taking a bath. Now I'm listening to a station that boasts "The Mix" in the dining room of The First Baptist Church's "Blue House". Instead of letting me camp on their lawn, they let me stay in one of their houses. I spoke with Jeff and Teeny who tried to convince me to go on a kayaking expedition that I couldn't afford. Jeff said I could mow lawns while I'm riding the rest of the way to Florida. You have to hand it to him for his creativity. I was also extended a courtesy invite to take the Yukon River from Johnson's Crossing to Dawson or Whitehorse. I can't remember, but I'll be working anyway. Wisps of summer keep finding their way to me. Before I know it I'll be back in Sitka enjoying burrito day.
9.6 ave - 22.3 max - 1934.1 odo - 6:15:23 time
My perception of the world has changed in the last 15 years. I feel like it is less safe. Is it less safe? Or do I just know more? Is it possible for me to un-know the things I know? I have more questions than answers.
One poem I memorized on my bike tour was by Wendell Berry: The Peace of Wild Things. These few lines really stuck with me:
I come into the peace of wild things
Originally Posted March 25, 2007
Houston - 0 miles
Those of you that know me know that I like to take in a film from time to time. Aside from the Sitka Film Society selections that I try to attend, I shoot for films like Music and Lyrics. Since I'm stuck in the big city for the night, I thought I would take advantage of it and try to find a smidge of normalacy in my life. The bike has been cared for by the good folks at REI. They are everywhere. I drank an Orangina which seems to hail from somewhere in my past at the potbelly deli. How is Orangina pronounced? Can you get it at Trader Joes? These are the concerns that filled my mind after biking the several miles to the AMC. These are the kinds of concerns I should have.
At one point in time I was discussing with a dear friend our school's lack of heat situation and terribly unhealthy food. As usual I tried to find the positive focusing on the opportunity for students to advocate for change. Students did seem a bit fired up. But he pointed out that those are not things students should be worried about. They should be focusing on their studies and advocating for fair trade coffee in their spare time.
When you are touring your concerns are somewhat skewed. You wonder where you will sleep and what you will eat. They truth is: that's not something to dwell on either. All will be provided. This belief is quite contridictory to the sentiment that one gospel man in Oakhurst tried to instill in me. He said, "You know the world's not safe anymore right?" I quickly agreed because I didn't want a lecture. But really what do you believe? What kind of world do you want to believe you live in?
Does feeding a squirrel count as paying it forward? Not likely.
Originally Posted March 24, 2007
Houston - 26.06 miles
All is well that ends well. I am in Houston. This was not on the route. However, when I noticed the pinging of a broken spoke, plans had to be changed. With the help of my mother, I was able to call Tecky from the warmshowers list. He drove the 60 some miles up to Shepherd to get me. Since warm showers isn't about paying back your hosts directly, he deserves excellent warm shower hospitality in the future. His wife fed me tasty Indonesian leftovers with some brown flakes called fruit cake sprinkled on top. I was warned that the chicken was overcooked, but it was delicious. Tomorrow my wheel will get dropped off somewhere where it can get fixed. It's the same wheel I just had the rim replaced on.
7.5 ave - 24.8 max - 1873.5 odo - 3:27:35 time
You can get used to anything. Get used to good things.
Prior to my bike trip a friend gave me some very good advice regarding noises and sounds that my bike might start to make. He warned that if I didn't take immediate action when I heard something new, it would quickly fade into the background. Then bad things would happen because I didn't take care of it early on.
I've kept this advice in my pocket even after my bike trip. It easily applies to other home, appliance, and vehicle maintenance. But it can also apply to relationships, eating habits, and penmanship. The list really can go on.
A little story about something I've gotten used to... following the purchase of our home, we discovered that it basically needed to be rewired. We made some great progress before we moved in, but it wasn't complete. Little by little more work has been done when time and motivation have allowed.
Our bedroom hasn't had a working outlet or light for five years. We've totally gotten used to it and it rarely frustrates me. We have a nice stash of flashlights and book lights for task lighting. My husband has a magic desk (flashlights with dead batteries magically get refueled with fresh batteries). A bedroom is primarily for sleeping; an activity that requires very little light.
It will be amazing when we do energize our bedroom though. Getting that ceiling fan to work before the next heat wave would be especially awesome.
Originally Posted March 23, 2007
Coldspring - 62.12 miles
I'm tired. The detour to Huntsville to kill my clink was lined with pine forests. The state has transitioned and the roadkill of choice is now turtle and possum. The countryside over the last several days is what you imagine countryside to be like. Why I'm watching What Not To Wear, I'm not quite sure.
8.9 ave - 27.1 max -1847.5 odo - 6:54:20 time
Good News: We got the house vacuumed.
Bad News: I can't find the blender cup we are missing in the house.
Good News: I tried out my bluetooth remote shutter control for my iPhone camera. It allows me to start and stop video recording on a tripod outside my office window while I am inside.
Bad News: Said recordings are going to be very slow going. Meaning that I set the tripod up where I think the birds are going to visit. Then I wait for the birds to show up in my shot and I also have to press record. The iPhone has to stay "on" the whole time and one battery charge I might get one or two clips. Charge the phone. Rinse and repeat.
Good News: The weather was beautiful and warm today.
Originally Posted March 22, 2007
Richards - 40.24 miles
Good News: I'm on map 5 of 7.
Bad News: My bottom bracket or crank of something needs tightening. There is a click.
Good News: Snowflake Doughnuts gave me extra doughnuts.
Bad News: My camera has decided it doesn't want to take pictures anymore.
Good News: Amy and David have offered me their spare bedroom and a warm shower.
1785.4 odo - 4:28:15 time - 9.0 ave - 28.7 max
I remember spending a lot of time taking pictures of this Cecropia Moth. I must have been transfixed... or bored. It is a giant silk moth and the largest native moth in North America. In its adult moth form it only lives for a couple weeks because it lacks the ability to eat and digest food. The adults emerge from their cocoons after a bit of warm weather and this only happens once a year. So it is a pretty narrow window when you can actually see these beauties. They also tend to live in the eastern half of the continent... not so much in western Washington.
Originally Posted March 21, 2007
Independence - 30.86 miles
Feeling sticky with humidity and lack of shower, I rose to take pictures. The most interesting feature I've discovered on my camera is the light balance feature. today it featured a moth. Someone who knows moths should tell me more about it. Waiting for the RTC(Round Top Cafe)to open, I stopped at the new coffee shop. I chatted with someone who'd lost his home on the coast to Katrina. I learned that Katrina hadn't hit New Orleans, but a failure of the levies did. Course I'm sure all of you knew that. I think I'd decided to remain aloof to the news surrounding it. It was just another story of how the government had failed its people. I also learned that a father son team on bikes had passed through yesterday. And four days ago a very Australian man with a blue bike loaded down came through. One could only guess it was Jon. This is the first I've heard of him on the route. Then I went to wait the last half hour on the RTC porch with classics like "come on people now smile on your brother" coming from the dirty white speaker above my head. Steve commented that he's not allowed to change the radio station. Imagine listening to the same hundred tunes for years on end. The Royer team bustled about making the final preparations for opening. The chocolate pies arrived. Tara, the owner, offered me lunch. It was quite generous and I ordered the cafe burger and began flipping through the RTC book. Poor Tara has baby pictures in the book. She said the book needed updating. I quickly became full on fries, onions, and local color. I took the pie to go. I couldn't leave with out it. They ship it everywhere. Passing Memory Lane, I noticed it was a dead end. Let that be a lesson. But I suppose someone lives there. Shortly after Gay Hill I stopped to delight in the apple pie. It was as good as pie can ever be. I'm glad I waited. The birthplace of Texas came quickly and I stopped at the Independence Store. Apparently all the bikers stop here. They keep a log and Jon was here on the 18th. I feel like I'm following a ghost. For the cyclists that come through, they offer a spare-still working on moving out of- apartment. I took a cold shower and played solitaire while listening to the daily philosophical discussion of the watering hole.
9.2 ave - 30.2 max - 1745.1 odo - 3:20:26 time
Round Top - 18.49 miles
I quickly sped past the smallest Catholic church. I did not stop. I was on a mission. Today was the day of Round Top. For months I've heard constantly about the Round Top Cafe's pie. I arrived and it was closed. As a consolation prize, they offered me beer. I accepted and decided to wait until 11 the next morning. I better not be disappointed. In the meantime nothing much else is open in Round Top, the smallest (77) incorporated town ?in Texas?, on a Tuesday. I went to the library and uploaded pictures. I wrote a few postcards. I horned in on a cub scout meeting. In an essence, I've been bored. I want to get on the road, but I've already waited this long. Jeff Budd better not have built this pie up too big...
8.5 ave - 26.8 max - 1714.2 odo - 2:09:24 time
the wind and I decided to go different directions today
I've learned the hard way (repeatedly) that it is better to say things the nice way. Am I a polite person? Some would say yes... others would say no. I get feedback sometimes. Part of the problem is that I used to think honest meant telling the truth all the time. But when should you just not say anything? I've always had a much harder time with that. These nuances... these social customs often escape me.
In elementary school I told my Sunday school teacher that I didn't like his class and that I didn't want to go anymore. I have never really forgiven my mom for forcing me to apologize to my teacher for (in my opinion) telling the truth. I really ought to let her off the hook though. If this is my main grievance with her, then she did pretty good.
More recently, a friend of a friend was giving us a couch. While I was picking it up I noted something about the way she dressed. I meant it as a more of a nostalgic nod to a style of attire I used to adhere to... but it turns out her husband felt that it was a bit rude. I was oblivious.
I absolutely bothers me still that someone out there had a negative experience with me. Did you know that there are loads of people out there that just move on? They don't actually care if there are people that don't like them. I'm not trying to say that I want everyone to like me... but I'd really like things to be neutral at a minimum.
So I will not be going into politics and it is a miracle that I can even perform my day job (emotionally speaking). The only way I get away with that is by often going to excruciating lengths to manage expectations of customers. I give people more information than they are asking for. I try really hard to listen for when I might be taken a way I hadn't meant. It helps that I often have the same conversations over and over. Practice, practice, practice!
It is just a little hard to believe that some people don't have to work so hard to achieve the same results.
Originally Posted March 19, 2007
LaGrange - 41.15 mile
I imagined so many seemingly poetic things to write as I was riding. Something about clouds and wildflowers, but I can't remember now. The songs I sing while riding range from "Let's get it on" to "The Hallelujah Chorus". Howerver, usually it is a blessed Regina Spektor song stuck in my head. Bastrop and Buescher State Parks are worth the ride if you've never been and live in the Austin area. They are the home of the lost pines. They just don't know how they got there. A couple of local teens greeted me at First Presbyterian Church and pointed me in the direction of the parsonage. Unfortunatly Mrs. Lee has bronchitis and appologized for being antisocial, but I set up my tent hidden behind the building with the help of the two girls. I visited the house to get cleaned up and then ate and chatted with Walt. He was surprised I knew about the PCUSA, but I did just graduate from a PCUSA school. I've just been updating in the church office and I checked my google analytics account that Jake hooked me up with a couple weeks ago. That's right. I'm watching you. I'm particularly curious about the 6 visits from Europe and the hit from Bancalari. Just as I was done with my usual check in's on the nephew pics, the computer decided it had had enough for the day. Poor old computers. I should head to bed so that I can wake up in the morning. I remember what I was going to say now... "the wind and I decided to go in different directions today"
7.6 ave - 32.8 max - 1695.7 odo - 5:20:57 time
It is really impressive to have a collection of something so massive that you have to warn people about it before they come into your home. Nancy had a lot of stuffed bears. I described them as an arsenal lined up on her couch. This made me consider what kind of a war the teddy bears are fighting in. Teddy bears, stuffed animals, and the like fight to bring many comfort. It doesn't make any sense and it makes all the sense in the world. There are so many things and rituals I have in place that I draw comfort from... a favorite mug... a crocheted bunny my mom made me... a sunny spot to write...
I think my 21 year old self thought this Nancy to be a bit crazy... but I think she'd just figured out what she needed to make it through the day... and that's a good thing.
Originally Posted March 18, 2007
Bastrop - 37.78 miles
When I entered Nancy's apartment, she warned me about the bears. I was expecting large dogs. Instead her couch was lined with an arsenal of stuffed animals. I commented that she must not get many visitors. Her husband died five years ago and she spends most of her time at Bastrop United Pentecostal Church, where I met her. I rolled up to inquire about camping after traveling the 30 miles to Bastrop with Oscar. He took his last picture of us and rolled back via 71. I kept going and the youth were having a potato dinner fellowship after church. By the way Karen is just the sweetest 12 year old that I ever did meet and I hope she stays that way. Nancy was kind enough to invite me into her home and let me shower. I'm clean. I'm riding again. I haven't looked ahead to see where I'm going tomorrow.
4:17:47 time - 8.7 ave - 20 max - 1654.6 odo
I love making these themed tic tac toe pieces! The kids get really excited about it too and I try to keep the shapes relatively simple. Just an easy space saving way to enjoy the holidays! This time I used a couple Noodler's Inks: Green Marine and Rome Burning.
Originally Posted March 17, 2007
Austin: Day 4 - 14.36 mile
The pace of the city is fast and Oscar wanted me to see everything. One minute we were riding around Town Lake and the next we were waiting for the bats to emerge from Congress Bridge. We ate at a pizza place not called Vinny's with Ron Leon. He sells software. Everyone has a day job. Ron declined the invitation to ride to Bastrop with Oscar and I tomorrow. FOr this triathlete, it would be too much. We walked the streets taking in St. Patrick's Day color and Marvin Gaye cover bands. Let's get it on. Tired we wove through the stand still traffic with a breeze-like-flourish and chatted till Jenifer came home. It was midnight and we all needed to sleep. I quickly packed up my gear freshly reorganized with the help of more dividend purchased ditty bags from REI. It all packs a bit cleaner. It should load nicely on my clena bike with a fresh rim.
7.1 ave - 22.9 max - 1616.8 odo - 2:01:01 time
So... my art has taken a bit of a fast and loose vibe lately. Probably not a good thing... but I like my more "careful" work less. Now my friend Megan Biffert who heads up our Bremerton Urban Sketching group, does fantastic detailed drawings. She has a passion for sketching/drawing the Pacific Northwest and for helping others to bring their interest in art to life. Every time I see her she compliments my loose (non precise) style. "I could never do that," she says. I can say the same about hers... so fun how different styles develop and evolve over time.
Originally Posted March 16, 2007
Austin: Day 3 - 0 miles
Austin is littered with bands like Frightened Rabbit set up in bars, cafes, bookstores, and parks, trying to get discovered. SXSW has given the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah t-shirt wearing students of UT something to do over spring break. Suddenly its become ok for men to wear tight clothing again. Stopping by REI, I used my dividend to splurge on $19 sunglasses. Suddenly my eyesight has improved. As Oscar, Blue, and I hopped into the truck to deliver Jennifer's forgotten lunch, I was warned it was chilly. She's attending a personal development seminar and she was vocally not looking forward to it. She wanted to play with us. Maybe it's like brushing your teeth; you don't look forward to it, but you like the slick clean teeth.
After soaking up the local color of SXSW, I turned onto 30th. This is where the Hudson's live on seminary campus. They confided that they let themselves be somewhat confined to their tiny community and that they miss Sitka. Well of course they miss Sitka. They've had two Alaska Day parties. Billy, their jack-Russell and baby step to the coming baby, sat quietly next to me on the couch. With Alaska paraphernalia on the walls, they scoffed at the Austintonians who think they are kayaking in their Town Lake (don't tell them it's a river). It was good to reminisce about the naming of The Leak, the steam pouring out of Jeff's window, the countless maintenance repairs done with Keith's belt, what's his name the financial aid guy, and the heat. SJ is a special place. Those were good times. Eventually we faded and I hugged them good-bye. It was good to see Keith and Laura.
I think we've all learned a lot about taking selfies in the last 15 years...
Originally Posted March 15, 2007
Austin: Day 2 - 0 mile
Sometimes I think I spend too much time on the computer. So much of my life is on the screen. Jennifer thought my link to Wells Fargo was for a sponsor. I just bank there. The bulk of my day was spent cleaning and fixing up my bike. No one worked harder than John. I don't think I can remember my drive train being so clean and shiny. The rain hadn't been good for the gunk buildup or my shoes which spent and hour soaking in detergent-sudsy water. After removing my crappy fenders and ensuring the bike was polished to John-level satisfaction, we brought it to the bike shop he races for. At 360 Cycleworks they discovered a crack in my rear rim. It's all just part of the process. So Madeline is going for a sleepover and I should be able to pick her up on Saturday. In the meantime I'll be chillin in a free-spirit house in Old East Austin. Oscar, the triathlete in the video back on the Lost Maples post and his girlfriend, Jennifer, are putting me up in the front house with the claw foot tub. It's just a few blocks from down town and a few miles from the Hudson's where I'll visit tomorrow evening.
I was chatting with an unnamed friend yesterday about Texas. I already knew he doesn't like Texas. But I have some fond memories of Texas and I thought I would engage him on the topic. The complaints ranged the humid, hot, or humid and hot climate to country music. He's concerned by the way Texans have more pride in their Texas Pride than they have directly in Texas. He also noted that the vegetation is completely unfriendly because it is covered in thorns. This friend who-shalt-not-be-named was able to rattle all this off and more with great confidence and authority...I don't have the same way with words in discourse and thus he was unmoved by my notes about how Alpine, TX was a "cool town".
Originally Posted March 14, 2007
Austin - 25.47 miles
The misty day began with a flat tire as I pulled my bike out of the barn. That brings me up to seven for the trip. Six were thorns. After about twenty miles I rang John to make sure I wasn't going in the wrong direction. I was so he picked me up. He quickly expressed me to the shower and I joined his family (Lisa, Colby, Conner and Conner's friend) out to dinner. Following discussion regarding American Idol, we rolled back up their neatly paved driveway into the garage. With the wonders of digital recorders, we discovered Brandon - the back up singer - had been voted off. I also learned what happened to Jack after he was kidnapped on the island. John filled me in because I hadn't even known Jack had been kidnapped. I'm staying in Conner's room tonight. Painted a calm boyish blue, the walls and sheets are decorated in a "surf's up" theme. Tomorrow the bike will be well cared for.
29.2 max - 1602.4 odo - 2:34:34 time - 9.8 ave
"Would I taste like chicken?" I mused 15 years ago in a hypothetical scenario where I'm struck by lightning and cooked to a crisp.
Here's an easy chicken recipe that we keep in our rotation. We have some picky eaters. Thing One prefers to just eat rice with ketchup. Thing Two will additionally eat the meat. My husband won't eat any of the broccoli, but I will eat all of it and limit the rice. In the end we are all fed and that is good.
Originally Posted March 13, 2007
Wimberley - 30.45 miles
As the sky grumbled in surround sound quality, I contemplated the implications of becoming a fried bicycle stick. Apparently the path that the lightening travels through your body gets scrambled. I wonder if my kneecap would get to meet my nose. I'm sure it's not quite that dramatic. I remember I told Bill that I would will him something. But I don't remember what. Would I taste like chicken? Alas, I arrived in Blanco un-struck. "Why don't we get drunk and screw" plays at the Blanco Bowling Club Cafe. It was recommended by the book that Ann picked up at the Library for me to research.
Sherie came in to indulge in the guilty pleasure of a bacon cheeseburger with fries as she came back from the wildlife rescue. She'd passed me on a mission to save baby possums. Aside from her son who appraises real estate to pay for shoes, chai, and writing paraphernalia, there are ten animals in the unfinished eclectic house outside Wimberley. This is where I'm spending the night. Through the rain and thunder she drove us out here and they get top ratings for fluffy towls and the bathroom heat lamp. Sherie sat next to the bowl of croquet and pool balls as she enjoyed the Simpsons and American Idol on a new flat screen with rabbit ears. She opted for the LCD over plasma; she'd done the research. With any luck, I'll be in Austin tomorrow.
8.7 ave - 34.5 max - 1577 odo - 3:29:00 time - 15 mile truck ride
I've always loved some good weather. When I mean good, I mean: interesting, dramatic, and forceful. It is Saturday and the weather report as we approached the weekend called for large amounts of rain. My husband's work day up at the train park was even canceled in anticipation. As we started the day, the rain was slated to come in the afternoon and the blue skies made me optimistic. I even decided to put air in my bike tires and catch the foot ferry to Bremerton. This is actually really impressive because I was completely drained from a week of working, parenting, and being alive. I even considered staying home and gardening instead of being amongst people and sketching. In the end watching a submarine come into the shipyard, visiting with my sketching friends, and enjoying the fresh air on a bike was a good choice. I decided to do a couple quick sketches this time and I put them in this post for you.
I recently acquired The Secret World of Weather: How to Read Signs in Every Cloud, Breeze, Hill, Street, Plant, Animal, and Drewdrop by Tristan Gooley. It brings back a forgotten richness to the human experience. Taking some pointers from the book, I didn't put too much weight in the weather report. So when I got home (and recovered from cycling up 170 feet of elevation gain) I weeded my sunny garden and unloaded a yard of dirt. There was a point in the afternoon when the winds picked up from the south, clouds were looking more serious, and it rained some. The low pressure system did indeed move west across the Puget Sound. None of it slowed me down too much though. I hope that the more I read of this book, the more I'll understand my local weather patterns and how they actually impact my life.
Originally Posted March 12, 2007
Sisterdale - 36.28 miles
I had a fitful night dreaming that the Germans had occupied the states. We were held down ladders in compounds where we were supposed to be happy. They pretended nothing was wrong. Ah! but I knew better. At one point I was wandering around a market on a cell phone trying to get a hold of the underground while feeling like I was being watched. Maybe not the most pleasant way to start the day...
Then I talked with Lesa, the church secretary. She was surprised to see me. She let me check my email and blog. I'm still thrown off by the daylight savings change and I didn't leave town until around noon. Course I made a stop at a doughnut shop to get coffee and an apple fritter. That's fruit. It's good for you. I took my bi-monthly stab at a crossword that I wouldn't finish and avoided the sections of the paper that revolve around crime, war, and sports. So I really only worked on the puzzles and checked the weather. The low pressure system is in town and it's a thundering again tonight. After yesterday's rains the Guadeloupe is swollen. Two of my crossings were barricaded. I went anyway. The first was under a couple inches at the most. The second was more like 6 inches, but it wasn't moving. I was already wet. Then Ann and Nancy were walking picking up trash. What they didn't know when they started out was that they were picking me up too. They live east of Waring on a one lane road. They made fish they caught on the coast. A bunch of their family lives around here but they live elsewhere most of the time. This is a shared family vacation home.
3:45:27 time - 9.6 ave - 28.3 max - 1546.5 odo
In a previous life, I was a singer songwriter and I worked the open mic circuit in Sitka. I even once opened for Sean Hayes. I know. You're impressed. Well my poem about rain that you can read below reminded me that I wrote a song in 2005 called The Rain. Writing songs is not really a part of my life anymore. All that youthful angst that fueled my writing is gone... I imagine that I could find inspiration for songs still. I could write one about the school's struggle to effectively communicate parking/student pick up. Would you want to hear that?
Originally Posted March 11, 2007
Kerrville - 46.19 mile
Just because the time "sprang" forward an hour doesn't mean I lost any sleep. Since Jon went ahead, I've lost most of my traditional sense of time. I wake up when I want to or when I hear rain on my tent and wonder if everything is tucked under far enough. I walked over to see the triathletes of Austin. They greeted me with shaven legs, Ironman tattoos, and coffee. This was excellent coffee made by a marine transportation major. I didn't know such a thing existed. In the daylight I had to relearn what they all looked like without the cloak of darkness and beer. Johnny fed me and sent me off with plenty of accelerade packets and his office machine company card. Everyone has a day job.
droplets dribble on my nose
the road becomes a reflective pool
I love it when it rains
layers soaked through and through
familiar squish between my toes
I love it when it rains
babble begins to ice the street
riding against a river
I love it when it rains
a crying out within the dank
shivers flash lightning against the wall
I love it when it stops
I'm at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. I'm inside eating freshly baked peanut butter cookies and lean cuisine, listening to the rain. I'm glad I'm sheltered, considering the thunder and lightening that's picked up. My clothes are slowly drying on chairs here in the parlour. I've never known a church with a parlour. I'm not sure if I've been in a parlour. Instructed to keep the lights low so I wouldn't attract the police's attention, I'm sleeping on the couch. Perhaps the most adventurous part of this trip is never knowing where I'm going to sleep.
9.6 ave - 32.8 max - 1510.2 odo - 4:45:43 time
On my way to the Lost Maples State Natural Area I met a ton of triathletes just out riding the hills for fun. One such cyclist was Oscar Lainez who was later one of my hosts in Austin. I recall that it was nice being around people who shared an interest in cycling... but overall touring cyclist and racing cyclists have about as much in common has runners and through-hikers.
Originally Posted March 10, 2007
Lost Maples State Natural Area - 20.21 miles
I woke late today because I'd been up late uploading pictures. But it needed to be done. I ate my leftover pizza and rolled on down RR337. It wasn't long before I saw cyclists. Then there were more. One, Oscar, stopped to tell me that they were all from Austin and staying at Lost Maples. One motorcyclist flipped his visor sheild open to tell me that I was cheating. It was good humored, but sometimes motorcyclists need to shut up. I was walking my bike up the hillls. They call it hill country for a reason and it is extremely beautiful. Course the only pictures I took today were of a cave like formation on the edge of the road. I made it to Lost Maples and they were booked up. But I asked anyway and then lingered. Something opened up and by four I was hitting the showers. The humidity has increased. Then I napped. I was tired. THe twenty miles really took it out of me. At 7 I rose to see if I could find the group of 30 cyclists... how could they hide really? There they were, all skinny, making fun of the skinny guy. They were primarily triathletes. They do Iron Mans and things like that. One also liked to throw beers. The one that bounced off me as I noted I was heading off to bed, burst into a fizzy mess. I was amused. He was Candadian.
8.0 ave - 44.3 max - 1463.7 odo - 2:30:56 time
Reminded of the great memorization efforts I made in the hill country, I decided to to a bit of copywork. Copywork and memorization are great ways to get to know a poem better. I've had a giant book of unread Wendell Berry poems sitting on my shelf for a couple years. So lots of great material to work through. But tonight I decided to work on Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken that I referenced in the blog post below 15 years ago.
Reading it again now... I would guess that it is set in the fall because he references "a yellow wood" and then later "In leaves no step had trodden black." Traveling alone by foot with winter fast approaching makes me think of this poem differently. The choice of the road seems to carry more weight.
In advance of my bike tour I'd printed off a couple poems suggested by my english professor (if I correctly recall). I trimmed them up nicely eventually I pulled them out as a welcome distraction. This copywork provides a similar relaxing distraction only made better by a lovely journal that lays flat nicely and smoothly writing pen.
Sailor 1911L Wicked Witch of the West Fountain Pen Broad Nib
Diamine Seasons Greetings Ink
Life Noble Note Ruled A5 N39 Japanese Journal
Originally Posted March 09, 2007
Leakey - 41.24 miles
I began to memorize some Frost today. If you're traveling alone, you really need something like that to keep you sane. Otherwise I think about things that I shouldn't. Love, for example... Trust me, love is something that can make you crazy when you haven't spoken with anyone in the last 6 hours. The best you've gotten is a head nod or a steering wheel wave. But at least I can no longer call the countryside barren or endearing. Cedar bushes are prevalent and sucking up the ranchers' water. But in case you were ever going to ask, the descents are worth the climb. Those fleeting moments down curvy chutes are worth every minute spent going 2.5 mph walking my bike up the other side. And I take pictures. That breaks things up. I eat carrots too. If you want your faith in humankind restored, just take a bicycle trip. The hospitality I have been given tonight is characteristic of everyone I've met. I was eating my ice cream cone: waffle, one scoop mint chip, one scoop cookie dough. The First Baptist Church van drove by twice. Mark waved both times. So I rode to the church and inquired about their lawn. Would they let me inhabit a corner? Fist there was strawberry cake from the day care... turned my lips purple. I'm sleeping on the couch in the office after showering and eating at Vinny's. It's an excellent Italian place. For some reason people don't want me to eat peanut butter and jelly. Who wants to eat that and canned fruit all the time anyway?
9.1 ave - 32.7 max - 1443.5 odo - 4:31:45 time
This flood gauge was an indicator that I was moving out of arid West Texas and moving into Texas Hill Country. This marks what was a gradual transition on the trip from dry to wet. Texas Hill Country is a bit of a tourist area and a favorite spot for cyclists wanting to push themselves. I can remember pushing my bike up hills the first few days, but this is the only other area that I found myself hoofing it up the hills.
Originally Posted March 08, 2007
Jct CR334 and 55 - 32.10 miles
Don't tell and no pictures.
Those were my instructions regarding nudity and the hot tub. After fixing two flats this morning from yesterday's ramble through the woods, the wine and the water are a welcome sight. Here at Lazy Laguna Lodge, your room includes a tour of the pecan grove, the river, and the pig a neighbor just shot. They weren't expecting me, but then the map had a B+B marked at the intersection with 55. I had to investigate. There wasn't a sign, but David drove up and filled me in. They only really cater to the cyclists who use the ACA maps. It's the only place they advertise... wouldn't want too much business here. The ranch I'd been riding past and took pictures of is theirs. They knew exactly which bush had the pink flowers. I didn't quite make it to Camp Wood, but the smoked BBQ beef and chicken was phenomenal and you just cant pass up an authentic rifle toting ride around a ranch on a Ranger (suped up golf cart).
8.8 ave - 22.3 max - 1402.2 odo - 3:38:47 time
eating canned peaches
I wrote this little poem to go with my post from 15 years ago. That post is about my first day touring by myself. These days I am aware that I am more introvert than extrovert. So it is no surprise that I seemed rested, happy, and writing poems on my way to Brackettville. While Jon was a wonderful traveling companion, I found it stressful traveling with another person (any other person). Group decision making has never and will never be my favorite thing. And there were a lot of decisions to make all day, every day on a trip like this.
Originally Posted March 07, 2007
Brackettville - 35.33 miles
bead board bathroom
cap on a string
office shower ring
I took two showers today. I feel spoiled. I drank my paper towel filtered coffee, it was ginger nut good. Ann read about the other side of George Washington as I packed. As I put on my sunscreen, I really wondered who would be the next Australian top model. It was more amusing than learning about the woman who brought plastic surgery out of the closet. The day was warm as I pedaled past Laughlin Air Force base. I read the four historical markers while eating canned peaches. Jet engines ripped apart the sky above. I thought the silence might never heal. But here I sit next to a fire nestled amongst trees at Fort Clark Springs. Sean, Sue, and Linda found me at the post office. They have permanent lots for RV's here where turkeys and deer run rampant. Harley Davidson, a year old terrier, rambled around on rope, while Linda and Sean fed me spaghetti cooked on a Coleman. They like to eat out as much as possible. When turkeys weren't lurking a few feet away, there were white tails crossing the street or cardinals sitting in the tree. At six, the women of the RV circular go walking round and round. I met Mary. But most went out to eat for the night. Susan and Stan let me check my email, while half the residents gathered in cheap lawn chairs around a bustling fire. The group eventually fizzled out with the fire after exchanging news of the day. One man piped,"you're lucky you met me." Linda warned me not to be concerned about the sounds of deer and armadillo in the night and went off to bed.
9.2 ave - 1370.1 odo - 3:49:31 time