Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Sat Oct 26, 2019

Day 42

Round Top to Navasota


The front that moved in 24 hours ago still seems to be presenting itself. I poked my head out of the door a few minutes ago and I will need to dress warm and also dress for wind today. I haven’t been paying particular attention to the weather. When you are cycling, you learn to take what you get. It seems kind of pointless to look it up on your cell phone because you’re going to be in it anyway.

After two days of cycling solo, I’ve realized it is different than cycling in a group. Of course you have to be more self-reliant. But there are some subtle differences as well. When I’m out there on the road, I’m not thinking about who is in front of me or who is behind me. Should I catch up? Am I going to slow? I simply don’t have those thoughts any more. Likewise, at the end of the day I don’t worry about arriving at the days destination too early or too late, when I get there now, it tends to be the perfect time and the perfect place. It may not be where I thought it was going to be when I started the day. What do I think about all day long while I’m riding? That’s a good question. Some people can’t be alone. Those people probably aren’t going to go cycling in the first place. Some people can handle being alone, but they need a distraction, so they listen to music. Listening to music while cycling has never been my thing. I guess you would say that I am simply alone with my thoughts. That’s ok, every once in awhile I actually have one. Sometimes I don’t have any thoughts at all because the shoulder is so narrow and the traffic so heavy that just holding a safe line pretty much takes all the concentration and effort that I can give it. Add wind to that situation and you are pushing the limits of my mental capacity. As my friend Terry says, “I’m just a hard working 81 IQ.” You probably shouldn’t be on the road on days like yesterday unless you are an 82 or above. Somehow I survived. When people ask me about the hazards of road travel by bicycle, particularly whether or not that scares me, I tell them the amount of fear you feel on the road is proportional to your IQ. An 81 is perfectly suited for road cycling.

End of the day

My goal today was the town of Navasota. Even though I am now riding solo, I’m still following the original itinerary laid out by the Trail Boss back in San Diego. That had us in St. Augustine in 66 days. If I keep on the itinerary, I will be there in 68 days because of my two extra rest days in Austin. I’m not sure I will keep to that. If I’m inspired to take an extra day here or there, I’ll do that. Reaching Navasota today meant covering an extra 10 miles since I cut yesterday’s destination short by that much. I reached Navasota easily. Good weather makes a huge difference when it comes to riding results. I’m stopping to take more pictures now. I’m going to really appreciate that when I look back on this experience.

Update on the new saddle. Today it felt great. I’m not really sure why one day it feels terrible and the next day it feels great. I hope to figure this out before I get to St. Augustine…

I rode ten miles this morning before I found a nice breakfast spot. It was an absolutely charming small town cafe. You can’t count on cafes in small towns being open every day, but since today is Saturday, I figured I’d have good luck, and I did. The cafe was called the “Blue Willow.” There is a theme going on here, at least the last two days. I seem to be attracted to things with the word “blue” in the name. I looked over the menu and decided to give biscuits and gravy a shot. That is not a typical breakfast choice for me, but I had an urge to try it in this place. So I ordered it and dedicated the experience I was about to have to my sister and my brother-in-law. The breakfast came and it was delicious. Not at all what I expected either! The gravy was meatless but very tasty, with just a hint of sage. A very tiny hint. The biscuit was somewhere between fluffy and scone like. I was taken aback at first, then started to appreciate what was going on. The sweetness of the biscuit and the savory but meatless gravy were perfectly paired. Yes there was meat on the side, and I ate all of it. But this particular version of biscuits and gravy was presented without meat as a component of the gravy. To say that the gravy was better than my brother-in-law’s, or the biscuit was better than my sister’s would put me in grave danger of being disowned. Suffice it to say it was very different from their version, and very good.

Lunch was at an old, I would say almost historic, gas station/grocery store. I purchased a chicken salad sandwich and a can of Bud. I ate them outside. A fellow on a Triumph pulled in and we had a nice chat. I asked him how far he was coming from and he said “ten miles away.” He told me I needed to have the hamburger there, but by then it was too late. He is also a cyclist, so we had a good conversation about equipment. He has been considering tubeless tires, so I got him all spun-up on that. I also introduced him to the Schwalbe G-One tires that I’m running. These are brilliant tires, fast and comfortable, I think that is a difficult combination to pull off.

I’m traveling at my own pace now. I feel much more relaxed than before. Henceforth my travels by bicycle will be solo or in the company of close personal friends rather than a group of strangers.

By mid-day, the previous front had cleared completely. I was able to shed layers and enjoy an almost perfect afternoon. The sky was blue. The sun was out. There was still a slight breeze and the temperature was brisk, but that made for good cycling. When I got to Navasota I couldn’t find the RV Park I intended to stay in, so I checked into the Navasota Inn instead. This place is a great value. I got cleaned up and took a late afternoon nap. That is the first one of those I have had in… about… 43 days.

I got some great photos today for Instagram. I should be in Louisiana by Wednesday.

Miles: 54

I’m now in East Texas farm country, the hills have become manageable.