October 14, 2010
Started: Oct 14, 2010 7:14:23
Ride Time: 6:55:29
Stopped Time: 1:19:09
Distance: 95.79 miles
Average: 13.83 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 26.56 miles/h
Climb: 1630 feet
Rolled out at the crack of dawn this morning. The entire Indian family that runs the hotel where I stayed turned out to wave me off. With all of the hotels run by Indians across the rural US, you’d think maybe one or two would open an Indian restaurant to go with it. Man, I’d be all over that.
East Texas is the land of loose dogs: I was chased by eight before I even took off my cool-weather jersey this morning—though none after, oddly enough. Connection?
Apart from a few miles here and there, I spent almost the entire way on roads with exemplary pavement. That, and the walls of trees that shielded me from winds helped me speed along and knock out 70 miles in exactly five hours, which is a good clip when touring. At that point I was in Silsbee, which has an actual Italian restaurant where I stopped for lunch. Pasta is a staple food for cyclists, and it’s a little frustrating not to be able to find it more often.
I was also in the land of the logging trucks. The westbound riders I met in Sanderson had told me about riding on roads with no shoulders and having logging trucks blast past them with no clearance. I’m pretty sure I know which road they mean—I rode on it yesterday—and I must have gotten lucky, because the logging trucks I saw passed me with plenty of clearance. Maybe it’s the trike. At one point l saw a logging truck heading one way, and a flatbed truck stacked tall with new shipping pallets. Wish I could have gotten a picture of that. Later I saw the plant where the pallets came from, its yard covered to a depth of two stories with pallets.
After lunch, I pushed on another 25 miles on US90. The riding here was less pleasant, and the wind was hitting me full-strength, so it was slowed as well. But it brought me to the home of Jerry and Carol, my Warm Showers hosts. They have a working farm, mostly raising goats for milk and chickens for eggs, but they also have horses, a burro, cows, and guinea fowl. Their home seems to function as a social center, with friends dropping by unannounced at all hours.
I’ll be crossing into Louisiana tomorrow, but I felt like I was already in a different state today, and was momentarily surprised when I saw a TxDOT vehicle on the road. It occurred to me that it’s preposterous that West Texas, Central Texas, and East Texas are all the same state. They feel so different.