Day 29, March 29, 2011, Tuesday Total Mileage 1238, Today 60 miles

Another cool, misty day, though today turned into actual rain; it warmed up by the afternoon… I was in my real bike clothes this afternoon.  I was in the middle of nowhere and hey, these legs have gone a thousand miles… might just show them off to the cattle!

Before baring my legs I stoped at Washington-on-the-Brazos Texas State Historic Site, it was pretty cool, though I didn't get to see all of it.  There's this other site that has some interactive stuff -- Ariel check this out: TexasIndependence.

Going for 60-miles again today, the temperature, the wind, etc were great.. then at 45 miles Ssssss, another flat! Same tire, that back tire has had more than its share of problems in the last few days!  Again the knight in a Subaru shows up, trades off bikes and I am off to finish 60 miles today!  Boy, it sure is great having my own private pit-crew; standing ready to help anytime, anywhere!!

We stayed at Yegua Creek Campground on the Corps of Engineer's Lake Somerville.

Shannan I thought of you when I passed through this town.  Looks like the kind of place just begging for a group of “like-minded” people to live.  Maybe some artist, some professionals that can work from the Internet; cause Richard, TX is pretty far from anywhere…


My niece, Ariel competed in the regional writing contest and her school won third place! So she and her team will be going to the state competion in May.

David took this picture just for Ariel!!  It's a shunk.


Day 28, March 28, 2011, Monday total Mileage 1178, Today 50 miles

It was Foggy/Misty, temperatures in the mid-60’s a bit chilly getting started but there were enough hills to keep me warm. I had the most wonderful afternoon, riding through the Sam Huston US Forest, just the way I like it surrounded by trees and very few people/cars.  David was kind enough to drive back so we could spend the night at Stubblefield Campground inside the Forest.
Day 28 Camp

I was doing really well riding today, head for 60-miles and then POP!  A spoke broke, while I was pushing up hill (standing up in high/medium gears).   My knight in shining armor or Subaru (David) came to my rescue and swept me off to a bike shop in College Station, TX.  Where Andrew did a nice job replacing two spokes in my rear tire, he also adjusted my front derailleur/shifter; I really appreciated that on the hills.

American Moon Moth,
 several were hanging out at
the US Forest Service Sam Huston District Office

This was someones front yard, covered in Blue Bells

Day 27, March 27, 2011, Sunday Total Mileage 1128, Today 60 miles

Spent last night at the Red Cloud RV Park, Silsbee, TX nice, friendly, clean and WiFi.  The Honkie Tonk (the real name) next door was a bit loud at closing time, it was Saturday night! 

Saw another two couples self-contained headed east, one set was from Montreal, Canda riding a tandem bike and pulling a trailer.
A little taste of the scenery

David was the gracious host and cooked dinner for Bob and Loni, from Day 26. used the tablecloth and good plates!  Dinner was nice and it was fun getting to know Bob and Loni better. We both spent the night in the same place, Rock’n E RV Park; we used the pavilion to cook in, eat serve dinner, and to update blogs. 


Day 26 March 26, 2011, Friday Total Mileage: 1026, Today 50 miles

Broke 1000 miles today!  Thanks Mark R. for reminding me of this important milestone. Mark also shared with me earlier in the planning stages that “this ride can restore your faith in humanity” he is right!
I met a Father-Daughter Self Supported Team (Bob and Loni) headed West to California, then North along the Pacific Coastal Route.  I had a nice conversation with them between Kirbyville, TX and Buna, Tx helped us all forget about the strong headwind.  Very inspiring check out their blog at DoctorBobsBikeBlog.Blogspot.com  It was great to converse with people who had been experience the same things I have and compare notes and exchange advise.
Texas has wind also!
David suggested that I use his bike after lunch today.  I hate to admit it the road bike did seem to go faster in the wind.  With David's road bike, I was able to keep up with Bob and Loni (although they are carrying 50 lbs of camping gear, etc.) and I continued at a good clip (no odometer, etc. to really say if I went faster) not as comfortable as my hybrid, but fun to switch out.

Tonight, David and I almost adopted a dog.  He was running around kind of confused and seemed lost.  So David, the dog guy that he is made friends with him.  We were not able to find out who he belonged to or contact the dog warden (open Mon - Fri).  I could see that David wanted "Salibee" to warm the seat next to him on this trip.  He looked like a purebreed bloodhound and not much more than a year only and was very friendily.   By 9:30 pm I was convinced we would have to set the tent up for him.  But with a can of tuna and a quick get away in the car and we were not longer responsible.  David went back by this morning and saw that Salibee was still in the area and we are sure someone better equiped will take care of him and get him back to his owner.
More flower pictures - trying not to duplicate too many... there are just so many flowers blooming.


Day 25 March 25, 2011, Friday Total Mileage: 976, Today 60 miles

Crossed into Texas today and went 60 miles! 

We got an early start; the wind was calm this morning; I made 35 miles before lunch break in DeRidder, LA. Where David bought me a chocolate milk shake at Ms Burger’s hamburger stand. Then the wind picked up or shifted to the side and/or head on, which slowed me down considerably in the afternoon.

I was in Merryville, LA by 2:00pm with 53 miles, no cell service and no charge on the phone and the GPS had a low battery reading… the Texas line was 7 miles away.  I could not reach David who was having a problem with the car checked out; I would be exceeding our normal stopping point by 10 miles… What to do?  I went for it!  (I did stop to buy some sidewalk chalk and wrote a note to David on the side of the road, as we’d discussed at lunch, after we’d had no service during the morning)  The message was, DS + JS  2 TX  ß  DS; completely understandable to me!

Spent the night on the Back Forty Bow Park, it was the campgrounds of my memory, but it has flush toilets in a nice, clean bathroom facility.  Barb runs the place, as well as, takes care of her horses; she really is industrious.  We met Oreo (a black and white mix-breed) and Annie, the orphan (small black Terrier, like Toto in the Wizard of Oz).  Oreo is the lover and Annie a bit standoffish.

David took this nice photo!

Every Town has one and DeRidder LA does too


Day 24 - March 24, 2011, Thursday - Chuck Wagon Report #3

We are at the Coushatta Casino & Resort, near Kinder, Louisiana (oh no, I am starting to sound like this* famous travel blog).  Today was another Rest Day.  We stayed at a nice Day's Inn.  We slept in and checked out a little late, we even had the maids standing around outside our door waiting for us to vacate (they were nice about though).  After doing the laundry and washing the car we came here, where (unlike those other travelers who are self-contained) we paid to camp at the Casino's RV Park.  We spent the afternoon lounging around the pool, reading, blogging and doing taxes.  Then we enjoyed a meal of local cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

This section of Louisiana is known as the Cajun Prairie.  And like the American western prairie, it is miles and miles of farm fields.

Except these are Crawfish fields (although they also double as Rice fields, or is it the other way around).  The fields are enclosed by low dikes, flooded, and seeded with adult Crawfish in the spring.  In late Summer, the fields are drained, so the Crawfish burrow into the mud and reproduce.  In the fall the fields are flooded again, and the Crawfish come out of the burrows.  Between fall and spring the Crawfish are trapped.

 They use these customized small boats.

We have been stopping at local restaurants sampling Crawfish Étouffé, Shrimp and Crawfish Gumbo, Catfish, and trying to find the elusive Boiled Crawfish.  It seems the places we stop never seem to have Boiled Crawfish.  We have seen places (and small roadside stands) that do, but it is never near mealtime.  I fear we will pass out of the Cajun Prairie without sampling this delicacy, like we passed out of Alabama without sampling Boiled Peanuts.

Speaking of rare delicacies, how many of y'all broke down and fixed Macaroni and Cheese with Chocolate Milk just to see what it tasted like?  I know from the comments many of y'all expressed an interest.

*Which is the inspiration for this blog.  And these experienced travelers provided us with many tips for living on the road.


Day 23, March 23, 2011, Wednesday Total Mileage: 916, Today 41 miles

So apparently it can get worse…
That flag was new this morning!

I was looking so sexy and only Melaine stopped to help
OR I was very lucky today; only one flat tire and one dog bite.

+Because of the flat-tire I met a wonderful woman, Melaine R. she and her husband operate an agriculture implements and tack shop in Valle Platte, LA.  She was one of the most gracious women I’ve met.  We had a nice conversation while we waited for David to bring new tube of patch adhesive – reminder to self: buy a new tube every year or at least for big trips.
Melaine & Jo Ann
+The dog bit down on my shoe; glad I had my leather, lug-soled bike shoes on!!  The dog only had three legs, did I mentioned it was WINDY again.

Spent the night again at Chicot Louisiana State Park, Ville Platte, LA. 

Day 22, March 22, 2011, Tuesday Total Mileage: 875, Today 45 miles

All I can say is that it was WINDY !  Twenty miles per hour average wind speed on a Coastal Prairie – get it! 

But as they say, a bad day cycling is still better than a good day in the office! 
There was a horse under that saddle, but it got blown away!! No not really, but the wind was blowing hard enough to make this saddle hold steady on the East side of the signpost.

Day 21 - March 21, 2011, Monday - Total Mileage: 830, Today 52 miles

Only 3-miles into this morning’s ride and I am invincible!!!  I crossed the Morganza Spillway bridge – with only a few log trucks, oversized construction trucks and one redneck in a red truck all the other traffic was courteous or un-notable. 
Morganza Spllway is a 2-lane, 1-mle long dam/bridge with posted speed of 55 mph, no shoulder to ride on and every ten-feet there’s a metal expansion grates. These clop or clatter every time a vehicle rolls over them, at points it sounded like a herd of wild horses overtaking me!  I was screaming from the adrenaline rush – I ain’t afraid of no truck (to the tune of Ghostbusters). By the end of the bridge, when from right behind me the red pickup blew his horn I said something to him, like you can’t scare me anymore – I’ve crossed the Morganza Spillway!

Then at about 30 miles, I crossed over the Atchafalaya River in Simmesport, LA another long narrow, high-level bridge, better in that it had a shoulder, littered with all kinds of debris and I could see the river below.  My top speed for the day was coming off this bridge about 20 mph.

The "Wiseman at the ferry" had mentioned these to points, but my experience sure makes this gentleman seem so much wiser…

We spent the night at Chicot Louisiana State Park, Ville Platte, LA.  It was a lovely spot, we walked around the camp area and met a couple from Ontario, Canada; they’d been in the area for a couple of weeks and were head back home – to the cold weather.

(No pictures posted due to technical difficulties)


Day 20 – March 20, 2011 – Sunday Total Mileage 778, Today 52 Miles

Happy first day of Spring!  It sure is spring here in the south…  Here's what I saw first thing this morning, as the car's tailgate popped...  fresh air, placid water, ducks floating on the pond, soft fog floating in the air, camp slowly waking.

And across the pond, a couple of people packing to set off cycling East, having been on the road for six-weeks coming from San Diego.  Jenny and Andy, from New York, brother and sister on the route together.  They've done a few long-distance rides in the past and wondered "what would it be like to just keep going?"  Well they are finding out now!  Good luck and good riding!

This was our campsite last night...

I noticed a lot of smells today, wisteria, onion or garlic, fresh cut grass and kind of extraordinary to me I noticed perfume or/and hair spray scent... it was Sunday morning and there were many cars going by with people "dressed" for church.  I could even smell a church when I went by... it smelled like perfume or hair spray.  Apparently I have become more sensitive to some odors.  I saw a broad-wing hawk, a kingfisher (bird), a deer ran across the road 10-feet in front of me, a turkey flying away across a clear-cut forest and a copperhead snake (dead).

Felt like a Queen at lunch in Jackson, LA

Glencoe Plantation - Located 6 mi. north of Jackson on Highway 68. Said to be one of the finest examples of Queen Anne architecture, this home was first built in 1870. The home burned and was rebuilt, exactly as the original, in 1903. It is listed on the National Register.

Crossed the Mississippi River today, still in Louisiana.  

That's us on the ferry!


I met a "Southern Gentleman" in line for the ferry.  He was really the Wiseman of LA!  He mentioned a great campground in Morganza, LA, he told me to be careful about a couple of bridges up the route and just some general good advice.  Thank you!!


Day 19 – March 19, 2011 – Saturday Total Mileage 726, Today 59 Miles

Oh, man!  What a long day.   While David was off looking for a campground, I made the push for my 50-miles and had no cell phone service to contact him once I had finished.  So I continued up the road in search of service… for nine-miles!  David found me, by staying on my route… our plan for no service or separation is to stay on route and get to a waypoint on our GPSs and wait.
House in Franklintonville LA
Making Hay already!