Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kingston, NM to Silver City, NM. 37 miles, 2,361 miles total.

I got up and starting packing my stuff by 6:00 am. That's very early for me! Larry offered to take me up to the toop of the 8,227 ft summit of Emory Pass as long as we do it early. He needed to be back in time to start working on his Pump House with a few of the local contractors that would be doing some of the work. It would have taken my all day to ride the short distance to the summit, I'm sure.

It was very cold and little windy at the top of the summit, but it was all down hill for the next several miles, and being so early, there wasn't very much traffic at all. I had a great moring of riding.

About 20 miles before the town of Silver City, a woman named Pat stopped to offer me a ride. She past me going the other way shortly before, and wondered if I needed a ride. There were a few hills, and I also felt like I wasn't making my goal for miles, so I decided to accept the ride.

Pat has signed up as a "Warm Shower's Host", so we had a very nice chat as she drove me to Silver City. She took me all the way to the Library. I really appreciated getting the ride.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Derry, NM to Kingston, NM. 41 miles, 2324 miles total.

I had a very nice breakfast at a local hang-out / meeting spot in Arrey, NM. It was fun to hear the local buzz and to talk to some of the farmers. There are a wide variety of crops in the area, but pecans are really popular. One farmer gave me a large bag of pecans (no, not more weight to carry in my trailer!)

The food was very good, and it was a great day for riding. The weather has been nice and sunny, cool in the mornings but not too hot in the afternoons.

It was a gradual up hill ride to the town of Hillsboro. This was a very interesting town, with a lot of little shops and a great post office. However, EVERYTNING in the town closes at 3:00 pm, and I didn't get there intil about 4:00, so I didn't really get to see in any of the shops.

I decided to keep on riding, and just at the edge of town, I caught a ride from Larry Brooks. He was headed to his property in Kingston. Normally, I don't like to ask for a ride, but I knew that there were a lot of big hills ahead of me, and my left knee was hurting a little. He gave me a 9 mile ride to Kingston.

At his property, he's building a 12' x 12' pump house with staw bales. I helped him unload his materials, then we drove around the small town, meeting some of the residents there. It was a great place to stay. I put my tent up next to his 5th wheel. Thanks for lift, Larry!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

La Mesilla, NM to Derry, NM. 49 miles, 2283 miles total.

I got a late start today, and I had very strong head winds all afternoon, so it was difficult to get very far. I wanted to make 55 miles today, but I fell short of my goal. It was a warm day, but not too hot. It's been several days now since there has been any rain. That's good.

I got stung in my left leg by something ... not sure what it was because it was under my kwaki shorts, but the stinger was still there. It hurt for about 2 hours or so! My left knee is also giving me some pain, so I'm trying to take it easy when I can.

In addition to the late start, I ate an early breakfast, which I don't usually do. I prefer to wait later in the day for my first meal. The service was slow, and I felt like I wasted a lot of time, but I wasn't sure what kind of restaurants there would be on the next section of the trail.

I also stopped in Hatch to go to a library. I got there late in the afternoon, and the library was just about to close, so I didn't really get a chance to update the blog, just answer a few e-mails and check the weather report.

Monday, March 24, 2008

El Paso, TX to La Mesilla, NM. 63 miles, 2234 miles total.

I haven't said this in a while, so I'll do it now. Welcome to all the new visitors to my blog. I hope you are enjoying my journey as much as I'm enjoying the experience. Please know that everyone is welcome to come to my celebration party in Sisters, Oregon during the Christmas Holiday, roughly Dec. 20, 2008 to Jan. 3, 2009. I'm planning on renting a big house near Sisters, and it will be a great time of sharing and laughing and celebrating.

There are a couple of options for getting there ... fly into Redmond, Oregon (it's about 30 minutes from there to Redmond, and I'll run a shuttle for anyone that needs it), fly into Portland, Oregon (PDX) and rent a car (I'd say that it would take about 4 hours depending on road conditions to drive from Portland to Sisters), or if you prefer, just drive to Oregon and come experience great skiing, hiking, mountain viewing, eating, shopping, and anything else that you may like to do. The housing is free and so is the food and beverages, so start making plans now!

Now about Monday ... I spent the night at Jesus's house in El Paso. He slept in, so we skipped breakfast. I got a nice early start at 7:30 am. It was an easy ride through El Paso, even though it's a big city. I had a bike lane most of the way. At about 10:00 am, I stopped for a Mexican breakfast, and it was good. The tempature is cool, but it's sunny, and I know it will be warm by this afternoon.

I had a flat tire just as I entered New Mexico. Seems to be my standard greeting to a new state. Same thing happened as I entered Texas. I can't really believe that I finally made it to "The Other Side of Texas" (if I do write a book about this adventure, I think that's the title I'll use ... on a bike, you are always trying to get to the other side of Texas!) A pair of bike riders were out for an afternoon ride, Fred and Sandy, so they stopped and helped me to fix my flat tire. Thanks for the help and the CO2. The tire is still doing just fine!

There was a large nursery with tons of beautiful flowers and shrubs. I enjoyed talking to one of the employes for a while. It was a nice break in the middle of the afternoon.

I made it to a little town of Mesilla and camped in a very nice RV Park. It gave me a chance to do my laundry and take a nice shower. I was getting low on socks, so I knew it was time to do some washing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008 Easter Sunday

Seirra Blanca, TX to El Paso, TX. 77 miles, 2171 miles total.

I woke up at 1:00 a.m. with very strong winds blowing the tent from side to side. I knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep with all the wind, so I packed up as best I could and started on my way. There was a full moon out, and very little traffic, so it really wasn't too bad to be riding at night. After about 10 miles, I came to truck stop. I stayed in the lobby / TV lounge until the restaurant opened at 6:00 a.m. It was still windy and cold out, but after a nice breakfast, I started riding again. The route left the interstate at the truck stop and headed on a very narrow road. The up-side was that there wasn't any traffic at all!

After a short ride, I met a couple from Belgium ... Rita and Harry. They've traveled all over the world! They were very interesting, and their English was very good. They were also traveling East to Florida.

When I got closer to El Paso, I decided to call Jesus, the guy I met in Valentine, Texas. He said I could stay at his house when I was in El Paso. Some of his kids were staying with their grandparents for Spring Break, and his wife and son had traveled to San Antonio, so he was all alone. We went for a great Mexican Dinner at a very nice market called "Ranch Market". His Dad also stopped by, so it was a very nice time there. We also did a short driving tour of El Paso at night. It was really something to see all the night lights from the border town (Mexico).

I'll get an early start in the morning ... Jesus has to leave for work at 7:30 a.m.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Van Horn, TX to Seirra Blanca, TX. 43 miles, 2094 miles total.

Not as far as I would have liked to go today, but this will have to do. I met Mark (stumpknocker) and Cynthia (Mrs. Gorp) heading from California to Florida. Mark had already started hiking the Appalachian Trail (along the East Coast), when he left the trail to do a coast to coast bike ride. He'll go back where he left off after he gets to Florida, as I understand what he said. I enjoyed talking to them.

Next, I met Mark from Germany. He had so many funny stories to tell. We had a nice time talking, and it gave me a nice break from the wind and the riding. Mark has spent a lot of time on the road, heading East. He spent almost 3 weeks in Silver City. I would have enjoyed spending more time with him listening to his adventure, but I really had to say Good Bye and get back on the road. Who knowns, maybe someday Mark and I will meet again. I'd enjoy going to Europe to do some riding!

I camped near Interstate 10 near a rest area. The sign said "NO TENTS", so I went about 500 yards away, up a dirt road. There was some heavy equipment in a clearing, so I set up my tent there. The equipment provide a bit of a sound break from the freeway, and the train tracks were far enough away that the trains didn't bother me too much. I know they won't be working this weekend, so it shouldn't be a problem to be camped near the road equipment.

Friday, March 21, 2008 Good Friday

Marfa, TX to Van Horn, TX. 70 miles, 2051 miles total.

I wanted to get up early, but it was just too hard to roll out of bed! I finally got up and on the road at 8:45 a.m. It was a great day for riding ... no hills, warm yet not too hot. Can't get 2nd gear to work right, so I have to jump from 1st gear to 3rd gear. Bummer!

I talked to Phillip, a motorcycle rider from AZ. He's a video photographer, and he had some great stories to share. I would have enjoyed talking to him more, but I needed to get going again.

In the town of Valentine, TX, I met Jesus from El Paso and Chris and her son, Tom from Albuquerque. I thought there would be more to see there, but they didn't even have a store or a restaurant, so I kept on going.

I arrived in Van Horn at about 8:30 p.m. It was still light because the time changed today ... I'm now in Mountain Time Zone. I went to the Cattle Company restaurant for a nice T-Bone steak for dinner, then paid $8 to camp at an RV Park. They had nice showers. I'm glad I didn't stay at the KOA ... they wanted $22, and I would have needed to ride about 2 miles back. It was another late start ... got on the road at 9:00 a.m.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alpine, TX to Marfa, TX. 36 miles, 1981 miles total.

I camped along side the road in some tall shrubs. The traffic was light, so I slept fairly well. A small herd of cattle came to the edge of the fence, hoping that I had something good to eat. No luck!

My bike is working a little better, thanks to a $70 repair job in Alpine. Got a late start after the bike shop work and a stop at the Alpine Library to up-date the blog. The guy at the bakery (also a long distance bike rider) gave me a bag of doughnuts (Bread and Breakfast Bakery ... great place for food!) I liked the town of Alpine, and enjoyed the evening at James and Julie's house, sharing photos and catching up with Matthais and Neele.

Here's Matthais with his new cowboy hat.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Marathon, TX to Alpine, TX. 31 miles, 1945 miles total.

The RV Park in Marathon had a great little cafe that only sells breakfast, so I had great french toast and enjoyed talking with some of the locals that like to eat there. I packed up my trailer, took a quick shower, and started to head out, only to find that one of my trailer tires went flat again. My pump wasn't working very well, so Don and Margaret helped me with their tire pump. They had a really nice RV, and we talked for almost an hour. They were very nice. I hope I get to see them again!

It was a pleasant day of riding, even though it started out at 30 degrees. It warmed up to about 75 degrees in the afternoon, and the wind was very light. I wanted to get to the bike shop in town before 5:00 pm, so I had to keep at it since I got a late start. That's where I met Matthais ... he rode by with a big cowboy hat on! I went to watch him play ultimate frisbee, and then later a small group of us went to a German Restaurant for a nice dinner.

They were staying with James and Julie, a host on the Warm web site, so I went with them to their house to share some photos of the Pacific Crest Trail. James had hikes the Washington State portion of the PCT two years ago. It was great to see his photos, and I'm really looking forward to being on my hike in just a few weeks now!

Alpine is a very nice town, and I'd like to come back again and spend some time here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Long Fellow, TX to Marathon, Tx. 33 Miles, 1914 miles total.

Too windy to ride today. The wind was blowing me across the highway. Even walking was difficult, as the wind was taking my breath away, it was so strong. It was cold, too.

After about 5 miles of riding and walking, a Texas DOT work truck circled back and stopped to ask if I needed a ride to Marathon. I wasn't going to take it, but I didn't want to walk 30 miles, either, so I decided it would be a good idea to take them up on their offer.

The town was completely booked due to it being Spring Break, but there was some spaces at the RV Park for tents, so I decided to stay there. I Gage Hotel rented rooms for about $150 per night, but even they were full. Besides, that's too much for my budget! I paid $10 for my tent site, and that included a warm shower and a nice fireplace in the courtyard where a small handful of us sat and talked for a couple of hours in the evening. I also had time to fix a flat tire, sew a button back on my shorts, and to repair my broken tent pole. Duct tape can fix anything!

The wind died down by sunset, however, the tempature dropped down to 30 degrees overnight. I was a little cool at times, but not too bad. It should be a good ride to Alpine. About 30 miles with just a few hills.

Catching up with Photos

It's been a while since I've been at a library where I can actually add photos. Rather than going back and editing prior postings, I'll just add some of photos here.

First, I want to show some of the photos of the P.E.T. project that worked on with Ken in San Antonio. I was so impressed with the operation and the work they are doing to make these three wheeled, all-terrain Personal Energy Transportors (or wheelchairs) for people without legs in Mexico and Africa. Ken and I spent a Satruday with a lot of other volunteers cutting wood and steel, painting, routing, sanding, drilling and assembling these PETs at a workshop at an airport.

The PET has a hand-crank on the steering column that allows the rider to use their hands to power the unit from place to place.

I hope you'll take the time to visit their website at and consider making a donation directly to Joe Srubar and his organization. Right now, they are especially in need of a new wood cutting bandsaw. The one they have is on its last leg, so please consider helping them out to get a new one.

This shows the shop area where the wood and steel are cut to size, painted, drilled and assembled.

This is a worthwhiled organization doing some terrific work in San Antonio.

I also visited the Alamo and the River Walk area. It was really nice there, and I had a great time with Ken and Karen. Thanks again for hosting me at your beautiful home!

The sunsets in this part of Texas are incredible.

In Langtry, I met two different Boy Scout Troops that were on their way to Big Bend National Park to go on Canoe Trips.

This photo was taken from my tent while I was camped along US 90. It was the beauty before the big storm. In the night, 40+ mph winds broke my tent pole in two.

This is where I camped in Marathon, TX. It was a very nice RV park, and it was reasonable, too.

I don't know why I'm so surprised, but 7 different times on my trip, I've met people in two different places, often far apart from each other. You may remember the two German riders traveling from Miami to San Francisco: Matthais and Neele. I camped with them in Louisiana, and we rode into Texas together. Well, I met them again, just by chance, here in Alpine, Texas! What a shock. I thought they'd be a long ways ahead of me, but they spent some time in Austin, Texas (and I didn't go there), and they also did some hiking in Big Bend National Park (I didn't do that one, either).

We are going to try and connect one more time, where their route will cross the Pacific Crest Trail in California some time in Mid-May.

Well, it's about time for me to get back on the trail. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Holiday with your families. May God Bless you on your journey, just as I'm being blessed by the things I'm seeing and the people that I come in contact with.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008. St. Patrick's Day

Sanderson, TX to Long Fellows, TX. 26 miles, 1881 miles total.

When I woke up at the motel, I still wasn't feeling all that great, so I decided that it would be a good idea to just stay in Sanderson one more night. I also had a lot of things that I could do in town, like get some laundry done and up-date my blog. I also wrote several post cards and mailed some things that I was wanting to mail. The laundry mat was located at the RV park about 1 mile away.

When I got back to the motel, though, they told me that they were already booked full for the night and that I could not stay. There was another motel, but I figured that if I had to pack everything up, I might as well just get on my bike and start riding. I skipped breakfast, and I still wasn't feeling all that great, but off I went, into the Sunset! It was almost 12:30 pm by the time I got on the road.

It's a lot cooler today, but I don't think it will rain tonight. There's a slight chance of rain in the forecast. We'll see what happens. It didn't take long to make it 26 miles, even though it was slightly up hill the whole way. I'm camped along side the road again, but the traffic is light, so I don't think traffic noise will keep me awake. According to the map, I'm about 30 miles from Marathon, TX, so I should make it there by tomorrow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 Palm Sunday

Dryden, TX to Sanderson, TX. 35 miles. 1855 miles total. Another very hot and dry day, about 97 degrees. The hot day took its toll on me today. My face is a little sunburnt (even with sunscreen). I'm not sure if it is the heat or maybe something that I ate, but I'm not feeling very good.

About 5 miles before Sanderson, I stopped at a picnic area and took a short nap. It was nice to get out of the sun, as these picnic areas all have covered tables. I rolled out my sleeping pad and layed there in the shade. After I woke up, I decided that I needed to press on.

I found a motel in Sanderson early in the afternoon and decided to go ahead and stay there for the night. The shower and a nice early bedtime did me good.

At about 9:30 pm, I woke up and decided to go across the street to a market/gas station and buy some chicken for dinner. That and a Sprite helped me to feel a little better.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Comstock, TX to Dryden, TX. 56 miles. 1820 miles total. Very hot and dry. Some hills, but mostly flat.

I met two different Boy Scout Troops from the San Antonio Area at Langtry. They were on their Spring Break, and were headed for Big Bend National Park to camp and go on a canoe adventure. I sure would have liked to have joined them. Making the detour through Big Bend would add about 200 miles to my bike trek, though, so I'll continue on my way. Their trip sure sounds like fun. I hope the weather holds for them. I'm sure I'll be back this way again someday, and I'll be sure to make the time to go and visit there.

I camped along side the road tonight, but I hope there won't be too much traffic overnight. US 90 seems to be a fairly good road. Mostly 2 lanes with a wide shoulder on each side. The shoulder is a little rough, so when there isn't any traffic, I can move over and ride just to the left of the fog line, and it's usually nice and smooth there. When I see traffic coming, I move back into the shoulder lane until it passes.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Del Rio, TX to Comstock, TX. 37 miles, 1764 miles total.

I crossed into Acuna, Mexico today, the border town across from Del Rio. It was a busy place, with people going off to work, going to school, etc. It was dirty, and a lot of building were empty, so things looked very run down. I was glad that I went, but even more glad when I crossed back into the USA.

Vernon Tuck from Smithville, TX had a great suggestion for me. He told me to contact the AA in Del Rio, and find someone there to be my guide. "They'll know where to go and where to avoid, and you'll see more than just the bars!" he said.

After I got back to Del Rio, I stopped at a bike shop and had some more work done to my bike. They did a great job of fixing my trailer hitch so it doesn't rock back and forth all the time like it was before. The only problem, I'm still having issues with my rear brake, and now my rear shifter is also out of sync. I still need to have another bike shop take a look at it. It will be El Paso before I get to a town with a bike shop again.

It was very hot today. 95 degrees or so. I'm camped at the Rodeo Grounds in Comstock. The sheriff was very nice to let me stay there.

The Border Patrol will likely be by here sometime in the night. I'm ready. If I continue at 55 miles per day, I'll arrive in San Diego by April 7, 2008.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Camp Wood, TX to Del Rio, TX. 86 miles! 1727 miles total.

The day started out damp, but not cold. That was a nice break. The hills wwere not so bad today, either. I didn't have to walk once!

I made it to Brackettville, TX and stopped at the library. It actually got really hot in the afternoon, maybe about 90 or so.

I stopped at a roadside picnic area (Texas has a lot of these, which is nice, but they don't have any restrooms at them!) I decided to fix my dinner on my alcohol stove for two reasons. I've been carrying this heavy can of chili, and I'd like to do more cooking rather than doing so much eating in restaurants. After dinner, I pressed on again.

I made it to Del Rio at about 10:00 pm. It wasn't so bad riding after dark because I have really good lights on the front and the back of my bike and trailer. There's less traffic at night, and cars/trucks can actually see me from further back than they can during the day (because of my lights). It's also cooler in the evening.

I stayed at a little motel, and the price was actually very good ($31). It was clean and safe, but the bed was a little hard. The shower worked, and they had plenty of warm water!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Utopia, TX to Camp Wood, TX. 43 miles, 1641 miles total.

Nice and warm, sunny and a few cool breezes. Today was dominated with lots of big hills. Some were very tall and long grades that I had to walk up. My trailer is just too heavy to pull when the grade is steep.

The weight of my trailer continues to be an issue. With all my gear, even in my lowest gear, the trailer seems to rock back and forth. This causes my rear tire to go out of alignment, and sometimes my rear brake will rub against the rim. I've had to disconnect my rear brake, so when I'm going 30 mph down the steep hills, all I have to stop is my front brake and my feet! (ala Flintstone style!) There were a few curves marked 10 to 20 mph, so you just hang on and go for it! Part of the day, the road was under construction, so there were parts that were just gravel. That makes for some fun riding.

It started to cloud up this evening. I'm not sure if its going to rain or not, but I've had 3 nice, sunny days in a row, so I wouldn't be surprised if it rained tomorrow. It's about time for another storm.

It's still about 80 miles to Del Rio, so I should be there by Friday evening. I decided to stay at a motel in Camp Wood, just in case it rains during the night.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bandera, TX to Utopia, TX. 35 miles, 1598 miles total.

It was a nice, sunny morning, but I had a very hard time dragging myself out of my sleeping bag today! Yesterday, being my first day in several to ride, took its toll on me. I'm not sure how far I'll get with such a late start. By the time I got everything packed up and took a shower, it was 10:30 am.

I called Mike Tuck, Vernon's newphew in Kerrville. We had a nice chat, and I was sorry that I didn't make it there to meet him face to face. I'll save that for another trip.

Stopped in a very small town called Tarpley, TX for lunch at a small store. They were very nice there, and very interested in my trip.

I finally found Utopia! It's a great small town in Texas! And for the very first time on my entire trip, I cooked my dinner on my stove. It's about time, don't you think? I fixed a can of Beef Stew and also had some peaches. Great, easy dinner. I should cook my dinner more often. It's a ton cheaper than eating out all the time.

I'm turning in early tonight as the sun is setting. I"m going to try to be on the road by 7:30 am tomorrow. I got too late a start today. I'd like to make 55 miles again, as I'm behind on my mileage average. There is a place I can camp in Campwood, TX.

For the past day or so, I haven't had any cell service, which is odd. Most of the time, even on some of the back country roads, I've had cell service.

I camped next to a small stream, and also near the road. I hope it's not too noisy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

San Antonio, TX to Bandera, TX. 38 miles, 1563 miles total.

After a great time staying with Ken and Karen McGinnis, it was finally time to say "Good Bye" and get back on the road again. It rained when I left, and for several more hours!

I rode to Helotes, TX, and stopped at the Soler's Tri Sports Bike Shop and up-dated my blog on their MAC for a couple of hours while it rained really hard! It finally became apparent that it wasn't going to let up, so if I was going to make any progress today, I just had to put on my rain suit and ride in the rain. The afternoon wasn't too bad, and soon the sun came out and started to dry things out a bit.

The section of Texas West of San Antonio is known as Hill Country, and sure enough, there are hills! Low, gentle hills, but hills none the less. I walked up a few, and I also found that Highway 16 is NOT very bike friendly. There was a shoulder for a lot of the way, but often, especially on a long grade, the shoulder went away. I had to walk right on the edge of the land up 3 or 4 hills with heavier traffic than I like. It will be nice to be back on route.

I've decided NOT to go to Kerrville. I'll head West and get back on the route sooner.

I arrived in Bandera, TX at 7:30 pm and with the time change, it was still light out. I camped at a nice RV Park near a river for $15 (including use of the shower house.) I ate dinner at a place called the Old Spanish Trail, where they have saddles for bar stools. My Rib Eye steak was great!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Zero Day, again! San Antonio, TX, 1525 miles total.

First, an important note to everyone that I've given my Blog Address to in the last couple of days. Welcome to my blog! It was noted that my e-mail address is wrong on the card. The correct e-mail address is "", but you can also reach me by posting a comment here on the blog site. Another good way to reach me is to send a text message to my cell phone at (503) 602-8771.

Ken and I went to church today. It was a good service. The pastor asked if I was related to Harry Emerson Fosdick. I was happy to report "yes"!

The sermon was a good one. I enjoyed it.

Back at Ken and Karen's house, I started getting ready for my departure early on Monday. I set up my tent, organized my bag, and cleaned up a few things. I wasn't able to make my load any lighter, but I think I'm ready for an early start. It's been such a nice time here, I doubt I'll want to leave. I'm sure that our paths will cross again, though, for Ken and Karen will be heading out West in a few months for a visit. I invited them to join me on the Pacific Crest Trail or to come to Sisters, Oregon in December.

Karen returned home from her Retreat a little past noon. I made Grilled Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches for lunch, and then we sat around and just relaxed! I enjoyed it. We also looked at the maps some more. Ken and Karen have traveled the roads I'm heading for many time before, so they had a lot of suggestions for me. I was glad to accept their seasoned advice!

Then, we headed to the Helotes Country Store for a Great Texas BBQ Dinner. There was a band playing Western music, and a lot of people were dancing. It was fun there. Willie Nelson lives nearby, and is reported to drop in from time to time. We didn't see him, but the lead singer sounded a lot like Willie (maybe even better!). It was all good! It will be a sad departure tomorrow, but I'm starting to feel anxious to be back out on the rode again. There's a forecast for rain and cooler weather, but I'm ready for that.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Another Zero Day, but I'm not complaining! Still in San Antonio, TX.

We went to Helotes Bike Shop to pick up my bike. I was very surprised that it only cost $30, and it is working great now. My rear tire isn't rubbing against my trailer any more, so that's a good thing.

Ken had arranged to go to a near by airport where P.E.T. of San Antonio has a workshop. This neat organization builds "Personal Energy Transport" vehicles for disabled individuals that live in countries like Mexico and Africa where traditional wheelchairs just don't work. We spent the morning, cutting boards, drilling holes, and painting the parts that make up these devices. What a great organization, and it was fun to have the opportunity to work there. You can find out more at The local contact is Joe Srubar, and I was very impressed with this organization. They are in need of a new band saw, for the one they have is not working very well. They are also looking for a new location closer to San Antonio for their shop. This is a very worthwhile project doing a very important job for disabled people in Mexico.

This is the shop where the P.E.T.s are made.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Government Canyon State Management Area. Ken and Karen volunteer at this park as well, and Ken took his bike for a 5.2 mile ride on the trails. I spent the time relaxing and studying my maps for the route that I will take when I leave here on Monday. It was a great day.

Back at the house, Ken and I enjoyed a gathering on the front porch of one of his neighbors, then we went home and enjoyed a nice pizza dinner.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Zero Day in San Antonio, TX. My first true zero day on this trip! My bike in still in the shop.

The day started with Ken at the Del Webb Club House for a Men's Breakfast. There was a good turnout, and the local Fire Chief and several of his paid and volunteer staff where there as well. The food was great, and Ken introduced me to several of his neighbors. I enjoyed the experience.

Then, I went to the Alamo with Ken while Karen stayed home to get ready for a Woman's Retreat with several members of her church. They were headed to Comfort, TX for the weekend.

I had a very nice time touring in San Antonio. The Alamo was smaller than I thought it would be, and it was surrounded by lots of tall buildings and hotels in the downtown area.

The RiverWalk area near the Alamo was also very interesting to visit. It was warm and sunny, and it was a great day to be a tourist in San Antonio. I took a lot of pictures, but I'm having some problems up-loading them, so I'll add them later. Along the river are all kinds of sidewalk cafe shops, t-shirt shops, and hotels. They have these small boats that you can ride on, and there are sidewalks on both sides so you can easily walk along the river.

Next, I took a city bus out to the San Jose Mission. The have an old church there, and the mission grounds are a lot like they were in the 1800's when they were built. From the San Jose Mission, I hiked about 6 miles back to downtown to the Alamo.

I also went to the Central Library to check my e-mail.

Back at the Del Webb Country Club, Ken took me to a special event being hosted by a local group of doctors that are building a new hospital in the area. They had very good Mexican food and drinks. Ken introduced me to several more of his friends and neighbors. I had fun showing off my "biker" tan on my hands. It was a fun evening.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Martindale, TX to New Braunfels, TX. 30 miles, 1525 miles total.

It was very cold today, and it was raining to start out, very windy with head winds and cross winds, thunder and lightening. Some of the cross winds were so strong that they blew me and the bike from side to side.

I rode from Martindale to Zorn, TX and stopped for lunch in a fun country store / restaurant. It was hard to get going again, but I knew that I had to. I pressed on to New Braunfels, TX. I was able to reach Ken McGinnis by phone, and he said that he would bring his truck and pick me up at about 3:00 p.m. I kept riding until a very strong gust of wind started to blow me off the road, so I waited at a Shell Gas Station. Not too long later, Ken arrived. It was about 40 miles back to his house just West of San Antonio. There was a very hard shower right as he arrived.

On our way to his house, we stopped in Helotes, TX at Hank's bike shop. My bike really needed to be tuned up, as the rear shifter was not staying in gear, and it was starting to affect my pedaling, especially on the up-hill sections.

Ken and Karen prepared a wonderful BBQ Pork Dinner, and Deirdre also joined us. It was a terrific evening, and I slept very well in their beautiful house. They have invited me to stay with them for a few days, so I'll do some site seeing in San Antonio while I wait for my bike work to be finished. I'm due for a rest, and I can't think of any place I'd rather be right now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Smithville, TX to Martindale, TX. 50 miles, 1495 miles total.

While stopped at a gas station, I started to talk with David Blake from the Post Office. He invited me to stay at his house for the night, so I followed him about 3 or 4 blocks to his house. Good thing, too, because it rained in the night. Not too hard, but it should be a lot cooler today.

We had a great conversation in the evening before I turned in for the night, and David woke up early and prepared a delightful breakfast. He even called in to his office to let them know that he was going to be a little late getting to work. It helped me get off to a good start. Good thing, too, as it was raining.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

La Grange, TX to Smithville, TX. 31 miles, 1445 total.

I had a great time staying with Vernon and Olidia Tuck in Smithville, TX. They have a beautiful ranch located on a quite road between two large state parks. Their guest house wasn't fancy, but it was very comfortable, and Olidia was an incredible cook!

They have this cute puppy called "Little Blue". The puppy wouldn't stay still long enough for me to take his picture. I had a wonderful time there.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

Burton, TX to La Grange, TX. 29 miles, 1,413 miles total. Not too bad, considering that I didn't leave Burton until almost 4:00 pm! The rain finally stopped, and it started to dry out a little, but the wind was still blowing stong and it was now cold, maybe even 45 to 50 degrees. I wanted to make some progress towards San Antonio, and ended up riding until almost 9:45 pm, making it to a Best Western Inn in La Grange. I don't mind riding at night, since I have great flashing tail lights and two white lights in front: one that flashes and a head lamp that I keep on solid so I can see the roadway.

Riding at night, in some ways, might be safer than riding in the daylight. For one thing, there's a lot less traffic. Another great factor is that driver's both coming from behind and coming in the opposite direction can see me from a long ways away. The down side is that if there is going to be a drunk driver, I'd guess there's a high percentage of them that drive after dark. All in all, If felt very safe, but also very cold, riding last night. I was glad to make up the lost mileage due to the rain, though.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Washington, TX to Burton, TX. 35 miles, 1,385 miles total.

I didn't get started until about 10:00 a.m., so I knew I wasn't going to get in a full day's ride. It was a pleasant day, but wind was a factor, as I had a very strong cross wind all day that tended to slow me down. There were also a number of small hills, and that also keeps the pace a little slower than on flat ground.

It really started to look stormy when I reached Burton, so even though it wasn't late yet, I decided I should start to look for some cover. It was a good thing, too! During the night, it was very strong winds, thunder, lightening, and heavy rain. I had found a nice cover to build my tent under, but there were a few times when I thought my whole tent, with me in it, would blow over to the next county! I didn't even get out of my sleeping bag until 10:00 am the next morning, as it was still raining hard and the wind was still blowing.

Burton is a very nice little town, and it has a lot of old buildings. They don't have a public library, but a local real estate office let me use their computer to check my e-mail. There was also a museum showing very interesting facts about a cotton gin located in this town. I enjoyed the video they showed, and was very surprised when two of the volunteers from the Washington Celebration recognized me. I'm telling you, it's a very small world! They live in San Antonio, and they invited me to come and spend a day or two at their place outside of San Antonio. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Alamo, the River Walk, and the Mission tour, so I'll detour from the Southern Tier Route and head into San Antonio to see what's there. It should be a great place to visit.

Here are some shots of Burton. The first shot is the train station.

This is the cotton gin, where the cotton farmers would bring their cotton to be cleaned (remove the cotton seeds), and packed into 500 lbs. bundles for shipping on the train.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Navasota, TX to Washington, TX. 7 miles, 1,350 miles total. I call today a zero day, even though I did ride 7 miles to get to the State Park in the very small town of Washington. They had a big celebration going on there, with lots of food venders, visitors, reenactments of the Texas Army, museum tours, and more. One of the Texas Army members was Private Bruce from North of Dallas, Texas: This shot is of the commander, John Martin and Doc, next to their tent: This shows another angle of the camp they had set up: In a small building next to their camp area, was a kitchen building where they made a wonderful dinner on Saturday Night, including a spit roasted turkey, baked beans, t-bone steaks, corn on the cob, and a lot more! Great food, and since they were all so interested in my trip, they insisted that I stay and eat dinner with them. I had a wonderful time there, and enjoyed it so much that I think I'd like to join a similar group when I get home to Oregon in October.

The Texas Army members all had muskets and riffles, and about once per hour, would do a demonstration of firing their weapons. It was really exciting to see all the different activities going on. I camped near their camp for the night, and ate breakfast with them the next morning. I even made some dutch oven bisquits with Oregon Grown strawberry jam and a cheese cake with Oregon Cherries the night before. It was a great event, and I was so lucky to have seen it all! Here's a photo of another soilder, called a Buffalo Fighter, showing some of his weapons: I'm hoping that Bruce and his wife will come to Sisters, Oregon in December for my "End of the Journey" celebration. It's going to be a fun time in Sisters!

Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 - Leap Day

Anderson, TX to Navasota, TX. 13 miles, 1,343 total miles.

My extra day! I forgot that this was leap year, so I get a bonus day that I had not counted on. Sorry to all you salary workers ... you get to donate a day to the company! (More work, same pay)

First for the bad news. I went to the post office first thing. This was my last published "Mail Drop", and at all the failed attempts to get my mail earlier, I knew this was going to be the place where I would find all my mail. NOT TRUE. Nothing had arrived. The post office has failed me! So, to all you kind souls that tried your best to send me mail, it didn't work. It's just too difficult to predict where I'll be a week from now. So, after the post office holds General Delivery mail for 30 days, they send it back to the sender. I don't really know where the two letters are right now, but sooner or later, you'll get it returned, I'm sure.

Now for the mission I have for today: get a new battery and charger for my Canon camera, as my battery had finally died and I can't take any more photos. I had an easy ride to Navasota, TX and I found a nice place to camp in a city park just outside of town. Left the bike there and proceeded to catch a ride to College Station, about 25 miles away (off route). There's a lot of stores there, such as Best Buy, Circuit City, etc., so I'm sure to find what I need there. It was a pretty easy trip, waiting near the Highway 6 on-ramp, two men in a truck stopped and offered me a ride right to Best Buy, which was very close to where they were going.

College Station is also home to Texas A & M University, and the President Bush Library is located there. I didn't take the time to visit either of these, but I could see them from the road I was on. It was a nice, mid-sized town. One that I would enjoy visiting again if I was in a car or a motorhome.

The trip back to Navasota was even easier. You'll remember Justin, the guy back in Anderson buying cheeseburgers. He drove by, noticed that it was me in my bright yellow jacket, and stopped to offer me a ride. I didn't recognize him right off, being he was in work clothes and wearing sun glasses, but he knew right away that it was me. It's a very small world, and God was taking care of me! Justin wasn't going all the way to Navasota, but where he left me, it only took about 10 minutes for another very nice driver, a man in a truck headed home to Houston, to stop and take me the rest of the way back to Navasota.

The local Parks Department in Navasota was having a fund-raising garage sale to raise money for a skate park. I enjoyed talking to the Park's Department workers and others there, and they told me about the City's RV park, very close to where I had left my bike. The RV Park has showers, and for people on a bike, camping in a tent, there's NO CHARGE to stay at the RV Park! Free is a very good price.

Another camper at the RV Park told me about a celebration taking place this weekend in the small town of Washington, TX, to mark Texas Independence Day, March 1st, so I think I'll go there in the morning and see what's there.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008

Coldsprings, TX to Anderson, TX. 55 miles - 1330 miles total.

It was a great morning, with warm weather for riding. The route went through the Sam Houston National Forest, and it was beautiful there. It reminded me a lot of Central Oregon, except there are no mountains to speak of ... not yet, anyway.

I ate an early dinner in Richards, TX. A guy by the name of Larry Ogletree runs a small BBQ diner just outside of town, and it was very good food. I was the only customer, so Larry and I had a nice chat about my ride.

The postmaster in Richards encouraged me to continue on to Anderson, and he told me that the post office there opens early, so I decided to go for it. He also told me about a nice restaurant next to the Post Office that offers great home cooked meals, so I'll give it a try in the morning.

I camped near the Courthouse, and it was very windy. I could hear the flags blowing in the wind all night long. It was warm durning the night ... maybe about 60 degrees or so. Almost too warm.

At the town gas station, they also sell food, and I couldn't pass up buying a cheeseburger. A guy by the name of Justin was there buying three cheeseburgers to take home to his family. We had a nice chat as we were waiting for our food.

Wednesday Feb. 27, 2008

Kountze, TX to Coldsprings, TX. 67 miles - 1275 miles total.

I had a lazy day today. Stopped for a 40 minute break (also known as a nap!) in the morning ... I just couldn't get going. It was a sunny day, but it stayed cool.

In the early evening, I saw a sign advertising a drama production at a local church in Coldsprings, called "Glory and Fire". It started at 7:00 pm, and by my estimation, I thought I could make it, so I headed off. Sure enough, I got there about 6:55 pm. It was a very good show, and there were a lot of people that turned out for it, especially younger people.

The church allowed me to camp in back of the church, so that was nice. I didn't have to ride very far after the production!

Here's my sign for the day. Only in Texas!

Why do they go to the trouble of having this sign made up and installed? Wouldn't it be just as easy to PAINT THE CENTER STRIPE? And here's the funny part: every time I see this sign, there's ALWAYS been a center stripe! I guess they forget to take down the sign after the stripe painter comes through.

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008

Merryville, LA to Kountze, TX. 67 miles, 1208 miles total.

After a great night at the Museum in Merryville with Mathais and Neele (from Germany), we got an early start at 7:30 am and headed for Texas. It didn't take long to get to the border.

Since my two German friends are much faster riders than me, we said our "good-byes" and off they went. Not too long later, I had my second flat tire on this trip. Not too bad, considering that I've gone over 1,000 miles. It was my rear tire on the bike, and it didn't take me very long to fix it.

Later, I came to a river that must be very popular for riding in a canoe. There were about 6 or 7 different out-fitters that rent canoes during the summer season. I've never seen so many canoes all in one place. I'm sure that on a busy day, it's possible to walk from one side of the river to the other without getting wet!

The wind for the day was a tail wind, so that helps, especially on the hills. My trailer is so heavy, I sure wish I could un-load some more of the "stuff" I'm carrying! It got cold in the evening, so I decided to stay at a Super 8 Motel for the night. It was a good decision.

Here's my "Sign for the day":