Amaurotic Ambition

Just another WordPress.com site

Where is the Atlantic Coast?

leave a comment »

Problems Encountered-  The most significant problem I have experience thus far was in Louisiana.  Because of the Mississippi River flooding and the lack of information regarding road closures I was forced to travel off route.  I left the route in DeRidder, LA  and traveled to Lake Charles, LA. (47 miles). This allowed me to board a Greyhound Bus to Jacksonville, FL. My decision was based solely on my own personal safety!

Random Acts of Kindness- I have been the recipient of many random acts of kindness.  These random acts of kindness have kept me going by raising my spirit and moral.  Usually, these events are born in the small rural communities I’ve traveled through; however, I don’t want to leave out the folks who live in the urban communities who continue to cheer me on either.  I receive emails and words of encouragement and I want all to know that it means so much to me.  Traveling solo for long distances on mostly farm roads and rural settings can lead to loneliness and even some frustration.  I offer my sincere thanks to all who have posted, commented, emailed, phoned, and even those who have just followed my posts.  My dear friend Donnie Durden called me while I was on the Greyhound Bus to inform me that my trip was not just for me but for all those who wished to do the same.  I’ve known Donnie since the seventh grade and I was glad to hear that he may join me on part of the trip.  Donnie you know you are always welcome.

Where am I going now- Well, I started the Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route starting in Jacksonville, FL. so I am heading in a northerly direction towards Bangor, ME.  Along the Coast I have a few people that I really want to see and a wedding that I must attend in Cape Cod.  I’m hoping that I won’t have to take another Greyhound bus but if that’s what it takes, that’s exactly what I will do.  No way I miss this wedding!

I’m supposed to be riding along the Atlantic Coastline but I’m in Folkston, GA. I do not see a coastline, there are no seagulls or breaking waves.  I am much closer to the Okefenokee Swamp!  Slowly but surely I make my way. Closer and closer I get to the Atlantic Coast!  The time has arrived to pick up my pace.

Homeless and hunger- There has been little time for me to begin YouTube videos that document the homeless and hungry.  The main obstacle has been the routes that I’ve been following that are mostly farm roads that avoid urban environments. There may be homeless persons in the rural environment but they have been invisible to me.  Most all of the rural communities do have a food pantry which provide food for the hungry.  I want to talk more about what I’ve learned about the rural communities at a later date.

Homeless Veterans-  If you happen to find a Veteran who is homeless the Veterans Administration has a telephone number that will provide assistance.  The number is: 877.424.3838

Environment- The glaciers are melting, record setting tornadoes, hurricanes, polar melting, and a majority of real scientists say global warming (climate change) is happening.  Unfortunately, there are some who don’t believe and many of them are the old, the crusty, the greedy, and the corporate owned legislative branch of our government that refuse to do what is good for the people, future generations, and our environment.  Remember that our environment encompasses everything around us.  Without natural resources there will be no economy!  Post your thoughts on our environment!!!!

Donations- I will be looking for potential sponsors at a later date.  Anyone can make donations by simply accessing my PayPal account at http://enviroignorance.blogspot.com/

Advertisements

Written by James J. Pond

May 25, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Greyhound Bus: Lake Charles, LA – Jacksonville, FL

leave a comment »

05.15.11 2:50 PM– Thanks to some quick thinking from Linda Ramirez my ride from the Bicycle Superstore to the Greyhound bus station was without any glitches. I boarded the bus and started thinking about all the nice people I had met in Lake Charles. I don’t know how I managed to connect with so many nice people in such a very short period of time (less than 24 hours).

05.16.11 8:50 AM- I arrived at the Greyhound Bus Station in Jacksonville, FL. I have to say that the Greyhound experience was anything but enjoyable. It makes me wonder what people from other parts of the world must think about our mass transportation. It was only by luck that for most of the trip I had the pleasure of sitting next to Maria Cristina Carrasquilla who is from Columbia and working on her PhD at the University of Florida (Gainesville). As for Greyhound buses in the future… I will definitely try to avoid that experience at whatever cost. My friend picked me up at the bus station and we had breakfast out before returning to her apartment.

05.17.11 Assisted my friend in moving + Bicycle Repairs

05.18.11 Assisted my friend in moving + Bicycle Repairs

05.19.11 Met with my friend and her friends at Jacksonville Beach and enjoyed sun and small talk. Afterwards, we traveled a short distance to pick-up my bicycle and my friend dropped me off at the Comfort Inn Jacksonville Beach, FL. Miles: 00 Smile

05.20.11 Comfort Inn Jacksonville Beach, FL. Miles: 00 Smile

05.21.11 Jacksonville Beach, FL. to Yulee, FL. Miles: 39.5

05.22.11 Yulee, FL. to Folkston, GA Miles: 58

05.23.11 Folkston, GA. 00 Miles Smile

05.24.11 Folkston, GA. 00 Miles Smile

05.25.11 Folkston, GA  00 Miles

05.26.11 Folkston, GA. to Patterson, GA Miles: 56- This is a remote area with campgrounds and lodging closures throughout the 56 mile route. My plan is to arrange a place to stay with the locals in Patterson; however, if I can find shelter earlier than Patterson I will take it. The towns that I will be traveling through are: Atkinson (population unknown), Hortense (population unknown), and Patterson (population 627). In the event that no shelter can be located I will not have time to travel much longer before sunset. Additional information will be provided via email to key persons e.g. local police, sheriff, and other potential resources. My phone service will likely have a signal (thank you t-mobile) so I may call using pay phone or borrowed phone. Wish me luck!

Photographs for this portion will be uploaded at earliest convenience.

Written by James J. Pond

May 24, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Posted in Journal Entry

Journal Entry: 05.03.11- 05.14.11

leave a comment »

05.03.11 Richards, TX to Pumpkin, TX. Miles: 36-   A really nice breeze and clear skies made my trip from Richards, TX. @ Checkpoint Harley to Pumpkin, TX.  Some of my travel was through Sam Houston National Forest and the cool breeze and tall pines made this ride all the more enjoyable.  I pulled into the Ranger Station not long after I had crossed the bridge spanning Lake Conroe.  I signed the log at the ranger station. The personnel were kind and I was glad they let me fill my water bottles  I stopped for lunch in New Waverly in a little restaurant called the Waverly House.

05.04.11 Pumpkin, TX to Coldspring, TX. Miles: 10- This was a short ride to set up for a long trip. I stayed at the San Jacinto Inn (no internet available).  I still have not really identified a good pace for myself.  I spoke with a local sheriff about crime Coldspring.  It was no surprise that methamphetamines were a big problem in the area.  During 2006 I discovered that Wisconsin was experiencing the problem; however, according to the sheriff in Coldspring the criminals are now using mobile labs.  This technique makes it much more difficult for local law enforcement officers to make an arrest.

05.05.11 Coldspring, TX to Shepherd, TX Miles: 15- As I entered Shepherd I stopped by City Hall to learn something about shelter for the evening since there are no campsites.  I had the ladies laughing so hard they couldn’t answer the incoming calls.  One of the local students told me that she would be marching in this years Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.  I ended up staying at the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites [no military discount and I believe its name has changed]. The rate was reasonable room was above average.  The next morning I made my way to Happy Days Restaurant for some breakfast.  One of the regulars ended up paying for my breakfast and it was only after he left that the waitress notified me.  I have found that many people are really interested in my journey and random acts of kindness seem to be a common event in these parts of Texas.

05.06.11 Shepherd, TX to Kountze, TX Miles: 49- This is my high mileage to date! There were no campgrounds available in Kountze so I checked into the Super 8 Motel [military discount]. The staff was very nice and the room rate was reasonable.  I spent two days at the Super 8 because I needed to!

05.07.11 Kountze, TX Miles: 00- I took a day off and relaxed.

05.08.11 Kountze, TX to Silsbee, TX Miles: 9.5- Short day to set up a reasonable mileage to cross the Texas boarder and into Merryville, LA.  I still need to gradually increase the daily miles I make because the area is somewhat remote and I don’t want to find myself riding in the darkness and turning into some animals steak.  In Silsbee there was a campground but locals told me that it usually has very loud parties.  I chose to stay at the Pinewood Inn [no military discount] room was less than average and staff was missing in action.

05.09.11 Silsbee, TX to Merryville, LA Miles: 55- I managed to gain some confidence during this trip and completed my longest single day mileage!  It was a long day and I managed meet the nice people at the Merryville Historical Society who provided a tent site, shower, and bathroom.  The Historical Society does not require donations but will accept donations.  I didn’t see anyone from the Historical Society after the first night.  I’m going to have to mail my donation to Merryville City Hall.  I spent four nights in Merryville and much of the time I was trying to get information on the flooding along the Mississippi River.

05.10.11 Merryville, LA Miles: 00

05.11.11 Merryville, LA Miles: 00

05.12.11 Merryville, LA Miles: 00 Merryville, LA Miles: 00 Leaving Merryville tomorrow morning with a plan to board a Greyhound Bus to Jacksonville, FL on 05.15.11

05.13.11 Merryville, LA to DeRidder, LA Miles: 22- Checked into the Skippers Inn after searching several other alternatives.  I managed to find a barber for a great haircut and tomorrow I intend go Lake Charles, LA to avoid any flooding that may exist in the vicinity of St. Francisville.016011012

05.14.11 DeRidder, LA to Lake Charles, LA Miles: 49- Got a great start in the morning and enjoyed the cool breeze and great road all the way south to Lake Charles.  I had to be at the Greyhound Bus Station before 2:50 PM when the bus was scheduled to depart. When I approached Moss Bluff there was bridge that was just not safe for me to cross (Calcasieu River) with my trailer.  I doubled back to a parking lot and found a beautiful red truck and the owner arranged transportation over the bridge and the rest of the way to the Greyhound Bus.  Unfortunately, there was a problem at Greyhound.  The bus driver would not allow my bicycle onto the bus without it being broken down and packed on a bus.

018020
I had to get my money back on the ticket I had purchased and find shelter to ensure that I could get on the bus the next day.  I contacted a bicycle shop about a mile away who told me that his shop could make it happen. It seemed that everything was in place but I found out that my High School Sweetheart, Linda Ramirez managed to arrange for someone to pick me up at the bicycle shop and deliver me and my equipment to the Greyhound Bus Station!  She managed to accomplish this by searching Facebook for anyone in Lake Charles, LA.  I scoffed at the idea as she was explaining what she had done.  Not five minutes later someone called me to confirm that my need for a ride was real. The ride happened!

I went to the mall and bought a two pairs of socks.  As I walked back to the hotel I discovered “My Place American Pub” and decided to have an ice cold beer. Next to me were a couple of great guys who had worked as contractors on the BP Oil Spill Cleanup…..

023024028 028
The couple pictured with me paid for everything including my hotel room.  I have to say thanks to all of the folks who helped me enjoy a great evening filled with some fun and laughs.  I especially want to thank all for the memory and random acts of kindness!

Written by James J. Pond

May 24, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Posted in Journal Entry

When Will They Ever Learn!

leave a comment »

012I woke up this morning  at around 5:00 AM.  It is now my third night in Merryville, LA.  For the past couple of days I have been trying to gain enough information regarding the flooding along the Mississippi River to make an intelligent decision to continue eastbound.

The Adventure Cycling route map through Louisiana has me traveling alongside some of the winding, bending, Mississippi River until I reach St. Francisville, LA and cross the mighty Mississippi River by bridge.  To complicate my decision making process even further, is the fact that I have no clue of the Louisiana All The Worlds A Stage! My tent and quarters.

spillway system.  What I do know is that the Army Corp of Engineers has announced that the Morganza spillway will likely open its gate.  Should the Morganza spillway open it would be the first time 1973 and would reportedly send a torrent into the Atchafalaya River and threaten a 100-mile stretch all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

I wonder why there is so little information regarding road closures.  It would seem logical that officials could predict which roads would be closed and how long before those roads would be available for travel.  It could be displayed on the internet for crying out loud.  I have read that officials in Louisiana were frustrated that so many people were calling and panicking.  Well you won’t convince me that Louisiana has learned very much about contingency planning and communications.  People panic when officials fail to do their job!

In the mean time, I will continue my quest for information.  It looks as though my best option is to bicycle 47 miles to Lake Charles, LA and then take a bus to St. Augustine, FL.

Written by James J. Pond

May 12, 2011 at 1:44 AM

Posted in Journal Entry

Traveling Long Distance on Bicycle

leave a comment »

I almost lost my pants somewhere on farm road 1293 between Thicket, TX and Kountze, TX.  I’m loosing weight measurably but not by any scale.  The locals are calling me the gangster bicyclist because my pants are sliding down to the lower portion of my buttocks!  One thing is certain is that there is much more to bicycling along these Texas routes than weight loss.

When I left Navasota, TX. I was 381.5 miles from St. Francisville, Louisiana.  Today I am just over 270 miles from St. Francisville and just before I reach that goal I will be crossing the Mississippi River.  Readers who have been following my journey may recall my amazing 11 day stay at Checkpoint Harley in Richards, TX with Ernie and Doris, which really has been the highlight of my trip thus far.  There have been other random acts of kindness along the way though.  As I left Shepherd, TX. I stopped for some breakfast at a local restaurant called Happy Days.  I ordered a big breakfast: two eggs, bacon, pancakes, and a side of hash browns.  Everyone inquired about my journey but one man named Clay secretly paid for my breakfast.  The waitress let me know only after Clay had left so I made sure to leave Clay a thank you note.  The waitress assured me that Clay stops by every day for breakfast and she would deliver the note to Clay personally.  There sure a allot of nice folks in this neck of the woods.

There is also an evil dark side that looms around these parts.  I spoke with a sheriff in Cold Springs, TX. who told me that methamphetamine (meth) labs were springing up all over this rural landscape.  During our conversation he mentioned that there are now mobile meth labs that makes it a little more difficult for law enforcement officers to catch these types of criminals.

Bicycling affords everyone a great opportunity to travel long distances on a relatively small budget. Obviously, the majority of people will not dismiss the comfort and convenience of their own automobile for a bicycle, especially when longer distances are involved.  But you may wish to try sometime. What I want to share with you now is how I have continued peddling through some of my own frustrations.  Yes, I have become frustrated along my trip from Kyle, TX. to Kountze, TX. a distance of approximately 269 miles.

My daily routine has me traveling along Texas farm roads that for the most part, requires me to resupply at gas station convenience stores (inconvenient stores).  These stores cost more and have little foods that are actually nutritious.  Select carefully and don’t forget to check the best by date on the package.

The first thing I would recommend for anyone thinking about touring the United States is to start by training.  The first thing I did wrong was train for a designated mileage goal.  In Dallas, TX it is relatively flat when compared to the terrain of the Texas hill country.  Because I failed to reach my daily mileage goal  I became very frustrated right out of the gate.  I discovered that my inner thought processes were beginning to talk to me negatively.  As I began peddling up these steep hills over and over again the negative thoughts became more intense.  I’m calling this phenominen the seven phases that lead to failure:

  1. This is impossible.
  2. I’m an idiot for embarking on this journey.
  3. I’m not in good enough shape or I’m to old.
  4. I should just turn back.
  5. I could get hurt.
  6. It’s hot, it’s to cold, it’s raining. I’m lonely!  Why didn’t I find someone to ride with?
  7. I should just quit.

So anyone embarking on a long distance bicycle trip should train on a variety of terrain.  Is it o.k. to just start bicycling?  I’d have to say yes, but in all honesty you will have to fight off those seven phases that lead to failure along the way.  How have I fought off those phases thus far?  Whether or not I was camping or lodging for one day or several I always managed to listen to the advice from other bikers, adjust my strategies, and get back on my bike peddling.

Here are some things I say to myself and even out loud as a rebuttal to the seven phases that lead to failure:

  • When you think it’s impossible say to yourself, “I can do it!”
  • When you feel that you should never have started your journey remember how excited you were on the first day.
  • When you feel as though you’re not in good shape or to old yell loudly, “I’m getting stronger!”
  • If you start to think about turning back set a take a break or set a new shorter goal.  Remember everyday is another day closer to your goal.
  • If you are worrying about getting hurt take time to make sure you are practicing safe bicycling procedures for own safety and think seriously about your personal safety at all times.  If you get hurt be sure to take action immediately. Don’t let your thoughts convince yourself that you may get hurt.  Think about your safety not just for yourself, but for others too. I learned a long time ago that survival is not based on ones physical ability.  Survival always depends upon ones mental state. You have to believe that you are going to survive no matter what! I will post more on safety later.
  • If the elements or loneliness begin try to convince yourself to quit remember that these conditions are ever-changing.  I stayed two extra days at one of my breaks because it may have rained.  The only thing it did was cause me unnecessary worry and two more days not bicycling.  If loneliness is an issue what I’ve found is to take a lunch break and talk to the guy or gal next to you.  Remember, having a partner poses its own special problems as well, especially if you cannot see eye-to-eye on some of the very basics.
  • I’ve thought about turning back several times for many different reasons. How did I resolve these thoughts? First, I thought about how much I’ve wanted to do this for myself.  The dream!  And I also thought about the people who have been supporting my dream.  For me, these were the ways that I have eliminated the seven phases leading to failure so far.  If you feel that this was not enough read over the prior six phases.  I wish all good luck, good health, and to your own success whatever that may be.

– James J. Pond

Written by James J. Pond

May 8, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Journal Entry: 04.21.11–05.03.11

with 2 comments

04.21.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 20 – I checked out of the Best Western Inn and into the Checkpoint Harley which took me through the towns of Anderson and finally Richards, TX.  I had heard about Checkpoint Harley from some other bicyclists and knew that they had camping and lodging available.  The route along State Hwy 90 and County road 149 was a relief from the ups and downs that I encountered from my start in Kyle, TX.  I completed the 20 miles to Richards, TX in a relatively short period of time.

About two miles away from Checkpoint Harley I met Doris who stopped her truck on the road to see if I was headed to Checkpoint Harley.  She explained that an emergency had taken place  at the ranch but offered to relieve me of some of the weight on my bicycle.  I gladly threw my trailer bag into the back of her truck and she departed swiftly.  Later I discovered that she had rescued some baby birds that had nested in their barn.

When I arrived at Checkpoint Harley Doris had already removed my heavy bag from her truck and taken it inside. A little bit later I met the team of Ernie and Doris (husband and wife) and discussed the camping rate which was $16.00 a night for camping and $30.00 for lodging.  I let them know that I intended to stay at the ranch for 9 days and Ernie was excited.  My first night was spent on the kitchen floor but the next morning it was announced that I should move to one of their lodges at the $16.00 rate.  I was surprised and extremely grateful.

072
My room is the white door on left. Center door is common kitchen.

The room has a bed, a heater, air conditioning, a sink, and a small refrigerator.  In the picture above you are unable to view the second room because the men’s outhouse is blocking it.  Between the two outhouses you can see a portion of the men and women’s separate showers.  The outhouses are clean and both connected to septic tanks that eliminates any noxious odors.  The kitchen area has a large refrigerator, stove/oven, sink, pots, pans, microwave, and utensils.  In short, it’s almost like home but surrounded with wide open spaces. And since it is a ranch you’ll notice that there are plenty of cattle.

“Checkpoint Harley provided me with learning opportunities!”
-James J. Pond

Ernie and Doris built there own field of dreams and people are indeed coming.  My bicycle journey had placed me smack dab in the middle of their dream.  I became visually stimulated by all of the life that surrounded me: hummingbirds, bluebirds, chickens, bulls, donkeys, geese, horses, cows, goats, guineas, bobcats, coyotes, and more.  On day two I wanted to work and learn more about this lifestyle!  Ernie and Doris took me under their wing and let me- a mere bicycling city slicker participate in their world.  I can assure you it wasn’t as easy as one might expect.

Ernie is now retired from the U.S. Army as a paramedic.  He served in Somalia and Desert Storm and although he can sometimes come across as hard around the edges, deep down inside he possess a soft heart.  Doris was born and raised in Germany and the two met while Ernie was stationed in Heidelberg.  The couple married and have no children except their pets and livestock.  When they showed me their wedding announcement and photographs it was obvious to me that they were still very much in love.

010053
Ernie and Doris sharing a brief moment together.      Doris during her early childhood in Germany.

Doris manages well and works even harder. The morning starts early as she makes breakfast and lunch for Ernie.  Ernie makes a short commute to work and at the days end returns to the ranch and works some more.  While Ernie is at work Doris tends to the needs of the ranch often long into the night. Both are diligent in their efforts.

Ernie is well respected in his community. The first time I rode with him into town to pick up supplies his people skills became obvious.  Everyone greeted him with smiles and he always managed to get folks laughing.  We had traveled to the Navasota, TX. John Deere store to pick up a ton of feed for the cattle.  Ernie in his typical fashion approached the counter and told the young man behind the counter that the last time he had been in the store for feed two bags of feed had been replaced by two bags of concrete.  Ernie had caught the young man off guard and the store manager, along with others were beginning to gather around.  After an eruption of laughter the store manager reminded the young man (the owners son) that they did not sell concrete in the store.  The owners son replied “Oh great, I will never hear the end of this story from my dad”.

What did I do at Checkpoint Harley?  Well I helped move and store a ton of those bags of feed, stacked some bails of hey in the barn, bottle fed a longhorn calf, helped build a platform to store more hay, assisted with moving cattle, attended a cattle auction, and met two wonderful people on a ranch that I will never forget.  Ernie will be the first to say that I just got in the way (likely true) and he has tagged me an “Obama lover” (among other things) but most of all I have laughed with him and enjoyed exchanging verbal blows. Doris has taught me much about the hard work and long hours. She has read about Temple Grandin before the movie was ever produced. She respects the cattle and likewise, the cattle respect her.  She can move her cattle easily because of the respect she has shown the cattle.

011 018
Longhorn calf feeding.                                           Doris escorting Longhorn calf to barn.
Ernie takes his cattle to veterinarians for inoculations, tags, and fly relief.  He is permitted to complete the shots on his own and that saves his ranch a little extra money.  He grew up on a ranch and it is apparent that he is very knowledgeable at what he does.

016 045
Ernie prepares inoculation. He is fast + thorough.            It takes only seconds.
058047
He may be old but he always cleans up his mess.                  Fresh tag inserted.
I learned that working on a ranch requires dedication and long hours of relatively hard work.  There is something to do every day.  The animals must be fed and taken care of especially during the drought conditions that have been self evident since I’ve been traveling these parts.  I sure hope that rain will come soon.

I will always remember when a bull and cow found their way out of the pen.  It was sort of scary because if they had run into the road an automobile may have collided with one of the animals.  Ernie had me running in one direction while he ran in another.  There was a moment when the bull approached me and wondering what I would do I looked up and Ernie was chatting with his friend.  He realized that that the situation was contained but I could see him grinning and I’d almost bet he was saying something like. “that city slicker doesn’t know that the bull and cow will always run to where the other cows are”.  That is what cattle do and that was a good learning experience.  It was an exciting time for this city slicker.

I have to say that Ernie and Doris made my stay here so enjoyable.  I love them both.  I have to post another picture of Doris, a peacock we found on a county road, and Ernie as he tags a cow. Or was that a bull?

052020006

Written by James J. Pond

May 3, 2011 at 6:41 AM

Posted in Journal Entry

Journal Entry: 04.09.11–04.20.11

leave a comment »

04.08.11 Irving, TX Miles: 000 – Packed up the last two boxes bound for storage.  My son drove into Irving and treated me to a Subway sandwich.  Thanks Jim for taking the time to help out.  I know you work long days and it meant allot to me that you offered your time and support for my journey.  It was good to see Jim and he helped out by delivering the boxes to storage.  Meanwhile, Linda came back to her place from a full days work and we took off for Kyle, TX. We arrived at the motel during the wee hours of the night (morning).  We were tired.  Linda drove the whole way there!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING GOOGLE MAPS BICYCLE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: CLICK HERE!

04.09.11 Kyle, TX Miles: 40 – I tried to manipulate the weight between my saddle bags and the bike trailer. This became a source of stress as I became frustrated from my own procrastination.  Yes, I waited to the last minute.  Once that was resolved we took a ride to the local bicycle shop and picked up some last minute items for the bike.  Afterwards we ate a late breakfast at Pisces that hit the spot.  After some final touches in the CVS parking lot it was time to get the show on the road.  Linda followed behind me and we stopped to say our good-byes. Little did I know that she went ahead of me and surprise me twice as I was peddling myself up and down the hills.  I can’t say enough about the love I have for my son, my daughter, my sister, and my lifelong High School sweetheart Linda whom I was recently reunited with. I miss you all.

Note: It is over 210 miles to Austin, TX from Irving, TX.  Kyle is located south of Austin  (click here for details).

My goal was 50 miles to Bastrop State Park; however, I underestimated the Texas Hill Country, and found myself lagging behind.  It seemed like every turn I made the strong winds were blowing directly in my face.  I still managed to keep going.  When I arrived in Lockhart, TX I rode right through the square.  The winds had   really picked up and there were thousands of honeybees swarming around me.  I drove through the swarm of bees wishing them well and I didn’t receive any stings. I stopped for a Subway sandwich in Lockhart and talked briefly with some locals.  From Lockhart I rode thirteen miles passing Bateman, TX.  I knew that my pace had slowed down and as I looked towards the west the sun was telling me that darkness was rapidly approaching.

When I arrived at Red Rock (State Road 20 and 225) I stopped at a Citgo service station and asked the cashier if she knew of any places where I could pitch a tent she said no; however, she pointed me in the direction of the Grace Baptist Church.  It was maybe a quarter-mile downhill cruise to the front door.  I looked around and found a welcome sign on a door that read “FEEL FREE TO COME IN AND ASK QUESTIONS”.  So I did!

04.10.11 Red Rock, TX Miles: 00 Attended service at Grace Baptist Church (1 Corinthians 3). I had not attended church in a very long time and I sat with a small small group who provided me with a King James version of the bible.  Since I have used the American Standard version in the past the King James version was a little tricky.  Anyone can view my photographs by clicking here!

04.11.11 Departed from Red Rock, TX Miles: 15 The Pastor of Grace Baptist Church asked if I would like to join himself and one of the contractors to a local lunch.  After lunch I returned to the church and assisted in the transfer of a new air conditioner from the truck and to the platform where it now sits.  The church has a new air conditioner! The trip to Bastrop State Park was not without incident as I left my wallet at the grocery store.  I actually peddled two to four more miles than the reported mileage.  I set up my camp in the dark because of my wallet mistake. For a description of the route from Red Rock, TX to Bastrop State Park click here!

04.12.11 Bastrop State Park, TX Miles: 00 Camping State Park personnel are outstanding! I purchased a Texas State Park pass which allows me discounts on fees and camping.  It’s a great way to support our State Parks!

04.13.11 Bastrop State Park, TX Miles: 00 Camping, bicyling, and photography.

04.14.11 Bastrop State Park, TX Miles: 00 Departed Bastrop State Park for La Grange, TX.

04.15.11 La Grange, TX Miles: 39 Oak Motel Despite my late start I felt pretty good today.  The hills were very steep and on two hills I had to walk the bike up the hill about 20 yards. Walking the bike with saddle bags and a trailer is much more difficult than peddling.  I stopped in Winchester at Murphy’s Steakhouse and ate the very best Ribeye I have ever sank my teeth into. For a description of the route from Bastrop State Park to La Grange, TX click here! Next Destination Navasoto, TX

04.16.11 Gay Hill, TX Miles: 40 Well the sun was setting and I had to act fast.  I called the Mariposa Ranch Bed & Breakfast and discovered that the only room available was $190.00 a night. Well over my budget.  Whoever answered the phone was kind enough to let me sleep on the floor in a trailer home without water or lighting.  The air conditioning and heater did work!  I was extremely grateful and left early the next morning.  I’m always impressed by the display of generosity and compassion for others.  I literally would have had to find somewhere to pitch a tent and there are allot of no trespassing signs around here.  It says allot about the Mariposa Ranch and when I’m done with my journey I will return to the ranch for a stay.  I failed to make it to Navasota but I am alive!   For a description of the route from La Grange to Gay Hill click here! Next Destination Navasoto, TX

Note: I was weak and not feeling well after early morning departure from the Mariposa Ranch.  I had to stop in Independence, TX at a small grocery store for several hours.

04.17.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 32 Best Western Inn Still a little weak and don’t really know why.  I’m hoping a good night sleep will help.  

04.18.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 00 Best Western Inn After eating a Cliff Bar last night I became ill again. I believe that because of the heat some ingredients in the bar may have become rancid.  The last time I had eaten a Cliff Bar was at the Mariposa Ranch.  All of my Cliff bars have been discarded.

04.19.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 00 Best Western Inn I discovered today that my video camera power cord has vanished.  This is very disappointing but I have found a source of supply.

04.20.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 00 Best Western Inn My stay here was needed as I managed to recover and get better organized.  This should make my travel a little bit easier.  If you happen to pass through the area you must stop by the Corner Café.  Oh yea.  The replacement part was shipped out overnight.  I received it at around 11:45. Unfortunately it was the wrong part.

Links to towns I’ve passed through:  Towns I’ve passed through in Texas: Kyle, Uhland, Lockhart, Bateman, Red Rock, Bastrop, Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park, Winchester, La Grange, Rutersville, Oldenburg, Warrenton, Round Top, Burton, Longpoint, Gay Hill, Independence, William Penn, Washington, Navasota

Written by James J. Pond

April 3, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Posted in Uncategorized