Monday, July 27, 2009

Atascocita, TX, to New Waverly, TX

Zipping Along On Day One. Kind Of Boring, Actually.

I got an early start at 6:30 AM, beating the heat, leaving
Atascocita, TX. I streamed through the neighborhoods, east on FM 1960 across the Lake Houston Bridge and over to 2100 North.

2100 strings North through piney woods. Lucky for me the morning was overcast. When the sun came out it was defeated by a continuous line of trees to my right.

On Plum Grove Road to Cleveland I was chased by these two vicious critters. Later some of their more enthusiastic and larger cousins would cause me to let the adrenaline kick up my pedaling a notch. No problem though... unless a chain were to break!

Plum Grove City Hall.
No marble statues here.

Classic Texas.

Cleveland, thirty easy and cool miles. In Cleveland I refilled water bottles and asked the gas station clerk where a good restaurant was. There happened to be a breakfast buffet next door. Outside a man had overheard me asking and insisted I take ten dollars for eating. I tried to explain that I had money but he insisted so I had an awesome free breakfast and the waitress got a nice tip.

One of many drink water and stretch the legs and feet breaks.

A new county!

Through the Sam Houston National Forest. I thought it would be a beautiful drive through unspoiled wilderness. Instead it was 30 miles of pine trees, hills, tons of houses and no stores or facilities. Who knew the National Forest was full of houses?

Richard had met me at the restaurant and suggested I take a vitamin pack with potassium for cramps. He had a brand new pack of them and actually went home for them, meeting me on 1725 in the woods to give them to me. Second very nice person to help me out.

One of the coolest rest spots I found. Trouble is when you take off your shoes and lie in the grass people tend to stop and ask if you are OK. It happened a couple of times with concerned motorists and I realized that you have to rest sitting up, lol!

"Think This Is Hot"
Actually, I do, hellishly so.
Soon after this I needed to refill my water. I knocked on the door of the only home without three dogs and a No Tresspassing sign. Mr. John Lewis filled my bottles with water AND ice! Nice man.
(BTW, a No Tresspassing sign salesman could make a fortune in these parts! And they take it seriously here. A few weeks ago some lunatic man and woman shot two people on thier land, and Texas law favors the landowner. Not in your house mind you, or stealing or threatening, they shot them just for trespassing in the woods!)

East Texas farms love fanciful mailboxes.

Another funny mailbox.

All that said, the first day went smooth and not so hard, but It left me wondering if this is really the way I want to see the world.
I had read 'The Long Ride' by Lloyd Sumner ( a great read) and it seemed fun and incredible. I took the MS 150 mile ride to Austin for charity before and had the time of my life. (With 10,000 other bicycle riders of course!)
But after 65 miles I am thinking that the overwhelming feeling I had on the road on a bike was not of accomplishment (I know I can ride, I have done it in the past), or of adventure, the main emotion was boredom.
I want to see things and stuff, and after 65 miles of pine trees, pine trees, pine trees, farm house, more pine trees, I am considering if maybe I should find a faster conveyance to the stuff that is cool?
After 8 hours on a bike I can be camping in the woods somewhere. After 8 hours on something motorized I can be in a museum or natural attraction.
What do you think?
If I change the ride please bear with me and continue along. I am still going to go around the world, and possibly the blog will be better with more interesting things because of the decision.

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Mark Monk July 27, 2009 at 2:03 PM  

I have to say that you're a braver soul than I to attempt to bicycle across the globe. I think if I were to traverse the U.S. (not even the world) I would choose a motorcycle a la "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance" (sorry can't underline) by Robt. Pirsig. For me, the rain on a motorcycle would be challenge enough and I would get to experience the road itself as he did.

I think you can do it. I love your pictures esp. the mailboxes. Have to love the bass mail.

Hey, in other biking news I heard that Lance Armstrong lost the Tour De France. That's the way the news reported it anyway. Actually, he came in third in the race after his retirement from the sport and the winner was 10 years younger than he. I'd like to lose half as well.

There is that possibility that you'll only come in third . . . . NAH.

Anonymous,  July 27, 2009 at 2:32 PM  

Hi there Tree Counter!!!
Joke aside, Alan, I'm for trying to stick with the original plan for a while longer. Not all days will be filled with Mona Lisas and Taj Mahals!
I truely enjoyed reading your blog today!
Give it a little more time before you decide to switch.
Hugs and be well,

Douglas July 27, 2009 at 2:42 PM  

It's all about the journey, isn't it? And this journey belongs to you. Will you later regret changing your method of travel? Then you shouldn't change it. The bicycle will be a much slower journey. You can still visit museums and natural attractions. It will just be longer intervals between those visits.

Regardless of your means of travel, I'll still follow along.

Yas July 27, 2009 at 2:50 PM  

Wow, it's like you're in an ashram or something - meditating in your own thoughts. It's just your first leg! The scenery will change. Just think of all the things to discover, the money you are saving, and all the weight you will lose! ha! Give it a couple more weeks before you make any changes. So far, I am impressed with the kindness of strangers. At a rate of 65 miles a day, I hope to see you in Nashville next April! (grin)

Alan July 27, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

As always, wise words, thanks. I have been asking my daughter to start my world trip with a USA road trip. We do have incredible things right here at home, and she has agreed, so we are going out by vehicle for 4 weeks or so. Unless we kill each other, lol.

Alan July 27, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

Mark - Thanks. Well, the biking wasn't so bad the first day, just a tad monotonous with no escape. I may tour via a vehicle instead. For a while. Maybe when the weather improves (meaning cools) I shall revert, it's all by ear.

Alan July 27, 2009 at 6:18 PM  

All good comments. But again, to clarify, several friends e-mailed about it being cooler up north or scenery changing. But that was not the real issue. It was more boredom and more of the same now.
It's all good though, I have the option of biking in smaller bites in more scenic (Meaning less known to me perhaps) areas. I can drive, or fly, or take the class 3 train, or buy a donkey, or maybe all.
Actually, for now, Lexi and I are going to tour the good ol' USA for a few weeks before I decide where to go next and when.
Maybe I shall try to travel by as many methods as possible too!

Melodie July 27, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

I think mixing it up is the way to go Alan. Don't give up on the bike completely as there are things you will see by bike that you would miss by car. I can certainly understand the monotony of biking especially when travelling alone. The great thing about this trip is that it's your trip and you can do it anyway you like. I loved todays blog and look forward to seeing where you are next.

Adorabibble July 28, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

if it makes ya happy...
I will enjoy it any way, more so it you are comfortable, hang in there buddy!

Mark July 29, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

I think whether you go by car or bike depends on your personality. For some, it's the getting there; for others, it's the going. I'm probably biased, but I like the going. Bicycling long distances IS boring, but one thing about it... you become very acquainted with yourself.

beth July 29, 2009 at 9:46 PM  

Listen Alan, I just did a road trip to Indiana and back (@ 12 hours each way straight through) and YES there is a lot of monotonous, seemingly same scenery along the way...and that was in a car! It was very tedious and if not for the company of 3 other people it would have gotten me down too. But see, that's the thing -this world is very big with vast stretches of sameness. It's the journey. I think you should stay with the bike. Although I must say I'm curious about how you would get to other continents with your bike.

When my boyfriend was 18 years old he hitchhiked from NY to Alaska and back. To this day, it is something he talks about with such passion. Not so much for where he went, but for how he went and who he met along the way. Alan, think of the lives you connected with today. Will that happen so much with a car?

Yes, I know you're not 18, and by god, I know bike travel can be grueling, but please don't throw your panniers in the trash just yet!

Okay, nuff said, off my rant now. I'm off base anyway - just wanted to live vicariously through your adventure. :)

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