Outside my hotel a sign says: “A crisis is a failure to contemplate.”
Well, in Texas I failed to contemplate a number of times. But I made the best of it!
Here’s a little soundtrack for this post from my favorite Charlie Daniels Album Nightrider.
Immediately after crossing the border into Texas I saw more pelicans than I did the entire time I was in the pelican state.
I hopped on another ferry which took me into Galveston.
The coast here in Galveston was much more accommodating to the beach goer than the coast in Louisiana. But the water still looked kind of nasty to me.
I camped at Galveston Island State Park. In the two sites next to me was a Boy Scout troop. They treated me to dinner. Tacos. When it started raining at 3 in the morning, I could tell by the screams and giggles next door that these scouts were not living up to their motto. They were definitely not prepared.
Galveston was pretty much wiped out by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Very few damaged structures remain. Most of the homes along the beach are brand new.
There are a few interesting exceptions.
I had to ride through La Grange, you know, because of ZZ Top!
This is the old county jail.
I was mad at myself for not seeing Eels when they played in NYC this past winter. While in New Orleans I saw them on the marquee at House of Blues to play 4 days after I left. I decided to check their tour dates and found out that their first show back in the States after a European tour was in Austin the day I arrived! Yippeeee! They played at an outdoor venue at Stubbs BBQ.
After the show I checked out the bar scene on 6th street. It’s pretty wild. This bar specialized in Beer Pong.
I spent the rest of my evening listening to more great music. This was a blues bar and that lady in the center could belt out some tunes!
The day I left Austin I looked death in the face and said, “Go fuck yourself!” On a 70 mph road 100 miles north of Austin, 3 deer charged out in tandem before me. The first one darted right in front of me. I missed it by inches as it passed. I could see the second one in my rear view mirror leaping over the back of the bike. And the third one right behind the second. It was amazing, surreal and frightening!
Frazzled by that harrowing event, I wearily made my way to San Angelo State Park to camp for the night. This is the boat ramp leading to what should be a lake. It’s all dried up!
Later that night I was chasing a porcupine in the dark and tripped over a cactus! Here is the porcupine. It’s tough to get a photo from this angle because the porcupine’s defense is to hit you with his rear so he tries to keep his back to you. Luckily they are slow so I kept trying to run ahead of him until I finally got the shot I wanted. In doing so I tripped over a cactus like the one below.
Those are some large needles. So my immediate thought when it went through my shoe was that there was another porcupine. In the background you can see the shelter were I hung my hammock and slept that night.
My friend Gid gave me a couple face masks to try out. They are designed for bicyclists and skiers to keep the sun from burning their face. I am happy to say they work at 75 mph too. The skull mask was a bit too large for my face, but the other one fit snug. Since my chin is already protected by whiskers it was perfect. Not only that, I wore it through a vicious storm and it protected my face from those stinging drops.
This sign is still here, but that arrow now points to a vacant lot.
The sign below wasn’t kidding. I tried to avoid this storm by heading north on route 18 out of Fort Stockton, but it caught me. At one point it was a complete whiteout but I kept plowing through. It was scary but invigorating. In fact I quite enjoyed it! The landscape was getting boring and the heat was killer, so the storm got me all pumped up!
After conquering the mighty storm I found myself in Pecos, Texas.
This is a recreation of Judge Roy Bean’s Saloon where he would conduct trials. He called himself the Law West of the Pecos and he called the saloon The Jersey Lilly.
Orla is a forgotten little town between Pecos and the New Mexico border.
Fare ye well Texas. You tried me and I passed!