Follow my journey through the southern tier of America on my bicycle through my blog.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 17 (16 riding): Total overall distance: 1201.62mi Total distance today: 67.47mi Total time: 5.27.50 Avg speed: 12.3mph Top speed: 21.0mph

Random thoughts of the day:
-Didn't think the first cowboy hat I would see would be on an old man in a beat up Corolla
-This place was definitely not in the brochure
-I wouldn't even take a tank through here
-Does carrying the bike through water while wearing sandals count as biking across the country?
-Where. Am. I?
-Great, another locked fence...I go up and goes around?
-Well it can't get worse at least...oh never mind
-I've never been so happy to see pavement!

Well today was fun...most definitely an adventure! I left the ACA maps after 20 miles and said bye to my three riding pals. I planned on using the maps on my Iphone for directions to get to John's apartment in The Woodlands, TX. The car option listed it as 88 miles away but it was only 66 miles away by foot. Strange, but I'll take 66 over 88 any day. I checked the whole map for walking and every turn had a street name so I wasn't too worried. A. There's no way the places I was had street names. B. I guess the Iphone doesn't factor in locked gates and no-trespassing signs when creating walking directions. However, by the time I realized I had to hop a fence and head into the abyss...the only other option was to double back 10 miles and then go 40 more...not happening. So I lifted the bike over the lowest part of the fence and headed off. The road leading away from the fence looked okay so I took off riding. It didn't take long for me to realize I was in for quite a trip. As you can tell from the pictures below, here is what followed over the next 8 or so miles:
1. I rode over grass and dirt paths made for ATV's, trucks, and maybe mountain bikes...not road bikes...and definitely not fully loaded road bikes.
2. I had to stop at least 20 times to see which creepy dark path to head down.
3. I finally reached an impassable point...a creek that had overflowed from the storm and flooded the path
4. Therefore, I switched from bike shoes to sandals, and carried the bike through about 20 feet of ankle-deep water.
5. I had to carry the bike 7 more times.
6. I had to walk the bike 1/4 mile because of large rocky paths that I couldn't ride over.
7. Right before I finally reached the end of the trail, I saw a truck driving towards me and stood off to the side of the path to chat with whoever was headed my way.
8. It turned out to be Keith and Mike who got quite a kick out of my story and couldn't believe I had made it all the way from the other side. We had a brief but nice conversation and I gave them a business card and headed towards fence #3...luckily not locked.
9. It was quite an adventure and a cool story...and it did save 20 miles!
10. It turned out to be a giant private hunting area of some sort, hence all of the seats and booths I saw up high along the paths.
11. Keith and Mike are the epitome of the kind of people I was hoping to meet along this trip. I had a great conversation with them and I figured that would be it. But a few hours later, just after I arrived safely to John's apartment, they gave me a call just to make sure I made it here safely. They were ready to offer me a ride to wherever I needed to go if I needed one. I can't thank these guys enough for taking time out of their day to talk to me and to actually care enough about someone they don't know to check up on them and make sure they're safe. I really appreciate that phone call and they said they were going to follow my trip, so thanks guys if you are reading this. It's amazing that there are good people still out there!

The rest of the ride went pretty smoothly with only a little confusion upon reaching The Woodlands and riding on some shoulder-less roads. Nothing I haven't dealt with already. John was nice enough to treat me to dinner, unbeknownst to me until the check arrived. I had been craving Outback Steakhouse...mainly for the bread. So I had 4 loaves of bread and a full rack of ribs myself. Plus a beer and a bunch of glasses of water. Slightly disgusting really but I think I impressed the waitress Amanda...or grossed her out haha.
After that I met some people John knew who are going to follow my progress and one guy, Mike, who is going to look into sponsoring me by putting a sticker on my helmet...we'll see.
All in all a good, fun day and I'm looking forward to an off day and night tomorrow.
One possible negative though, I have to take my bike to a bike shop tomorrow to get the de-railer checked. Ricky pointed out that it was bent towards the wheel and if I down-shift just a couple (which could happen on the big hills coming up), I could destroy the wheel and chain. I think that's worth looking into while I'm near a bike shop rather than broken in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully it's not too bad or too expensive if it needs to be replaced or fixed :/


  1. The proverbial "fork" in the road. How did you choose?

  2. oooh, after reading about your hairy adventure in the hunting preserve I am a nervous wreck, and I'm not even your Mom! Please, stay with the bike maps! Nerves aside, I am very impressed with your progress and so glad that you are enjoying your adventures and the folks you are meeting. You can write a book (or a major short story) from this experience.


  3. Somehow my IPhone always knew where I was, otherwise I would've never gotten out! A book may have to be looked into, and to think, I'm not even halfway done yet!!