Hills, floods and football — ah, Texas!

Riding Through the Heart of Texas

Four weeks of cycling the Southern Tier and we’re almost through Texas.  Moving from the desert into the green, rolling hill country has been a joy. For my Calgary friends, it’s like Springbank  x 1,000! This is Lance Armstrong country and the land of LBJ. Their tire tracks and footprints are evident everywhere.

Riding here in the Spring has meant seeing the trees turn green; the profusion of colorful wildflowers along the roadside; the motorcyclists like swarms of wasps; and the baby lambs trying out their wobbly legs for the first time. One ewe had triplets, all with black little faces, jumping around her. Another one was going for a walk while her baby chased her crying, “Ma-a-a-a! Ma-a-a-a-!” Just like their human counterparts at the Walmart on any Saturday morning.

Communication all in order

One of the learnings we had from riding cross country last year was that we had to find a better way of communicating between Myrna in the van and me on the bike. Although the stories of our regularly getting lost may have seemed amusing, they were very frustrating, and potentially dangerous.

The support team

This time, Myrna has set us up with US phones on a solid network, and an app that helps us keep track of one another. This has reduced the amount of foul language on the road, and prevented decapitation of one or the other of us. I usually get a 3-hour head start before I see the van coming up behind me — just in time for lunch! You can imagine how envious my fellow cyclists are.

Today is Myrna’s birthday, and her wish was for a day to please just rest! Happy Birthday, Myrna!

Catching up to The Womens Tour — at the Winery (where else?)

This is a popular time of year to ride the Southern Tier. I have already mentioned the Adventure Cycling group. On the route as well, are Jackie’s Women’s Tour and Bubba’s Pampered Pedallers. The women’s tour left San Diego a few days ahead of us, but I caught up to them (a couple of them, anyway), looking fresh, relaxed and enjoying a tasting at the Lost Maples Winery. I joined them for a sip or two –or three — and continued to the campground with a bottle of  2016 Pinot in my water bottle cage.

Diana from Washington, Jenny from Pennsylvania and “Texas Tom,” our host.

Texas Floods and Texas Food

The other constant in Springtime Texas is the flooding of the rivers. We were warned that we always need a Plan B route, because roads are often closed due to flooding. When I saw a border patrol guard waving at me from the side of the road, I thought maybe he recognized me from the APB sent out the week before, about a cyclist crossing the tunnel under the Interstate. But no, he was just giving me a friendly wave. And then he told be the river ahead was flooded about 20 miles ahead, but that I should be able to make it through. I sure hoped so –I’d hate to pedal all that way back!

Riding through the Nueces River as it streamed over the highway was just part of the adventure,  repeated again over the Guadeloupe.

water crossing
The water was actually quite deep and flowing very fast. 

And the food in Texas — yummy! Everyone knows about the Mexican, the barbecue and the steaks. But I discovered the Texas world of grocery shopping at HEB! “I think it stands for Howard E. Butts,” the girl at the checkout told me of the store that has everything. “People come here all the way from out of state to buy groceries here.” And now from Canada as well!

texas steaks
A Texas barbecue in waiting  

On the menu for Myrna’s birthday tonight — a big barbecued Texas steak, baked potato and salad, accompanied by fine Texas wine and finished with pecan pie!

Looking forward to seeing our friends in Houston this week, then it’s on to Louisiana!

Now get me back on my bike!


4 thoughts on “Hills, floods and football — ah, Texas!

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