Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day Sixty-five, 090504 - Fulshear, TX

Day Sixty-five, Date Monday, May 4, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:26
Distance for the Day: 76.91 miles From La Grange To Fulshear, TX
Accumulated Trip Distance: 2826.2 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 524’/297’, Highest: 528’ Accumulated: 1171’
Speeds: Avg: 10.3 mph, Max: 29.6 mph
Weather: Partly cloudy, cool, humid
Expenditures: $25

Woke up at 6:15am. Oh, last night, while eating the first half of my Subway sandwich, I noticed, even in the dark, that a bug dropped in next to it. I pulled it out, and hoped there weren’t any others that I might have missed. (I don’t worry too much about eating bugs. You probably already know it, but we undoubtedly eat a lot of bugs and other things we’d rather not contemplate in our food, so I don’t worry about it, and just chew away!) Anyways, I figured out this morning that it was a small sow bug (aka, “pill” bug), and that they were all over the place. I noticed quite a few of them on my trike, and spent a fair bit of time finding them, and picking them off, especially on my mesh seat cover. They were hard to get out of that, as it’s at least an inch thick, and they could crawl down into the interstices of the mesh and be quite difficult to extract, without smushing them, which I definitely didn’t want to do. After spending a fair bit of time extracting the problematic pill bugs, I was ready to leave at 7:00am. The temperature was a bit chilly at 62°, which was fine with me, having been a bit warmer the last several days than I liked. I started down Hwy 77, and stopped at a mini mart to get a hot coco, Danish, and supplies ($17), and to check the route for the day on StreetAtlas. Oops! I made a mistake, and was lucky to catch it early. I wasn’t supposed to be on Hwy 77 at all; I was supposed to still be on Hwy 71 (they crossed in La Grange, and last night, while searching for a stealth camp in the failing light, I took a wrong turn). I backtracked back to La Grange, found Hwy 71, and followed it out of town, which was actually yet *another* mistake! I should have taken Hwy 102 to Eagle Lake. Hwy 71 was a bit longer of a route, but I was already far enough along it that to go back to La Grange and take the right route, well, it wouldn’t have gained me anything. So, I kept going down Hwy 71, only this time, it turned out to be a “disaster!” I was riding along, when I heard my coin purse fall out of my fanny pack. Demitol. At least I heard it, and didn’t leave it behind. I went back to pick it up, when all of a sudden, a deadly Emerald Imperial Viper slithered out of the grass, and bit me on the hand! (See the picture!!) Well, of course, there’s no such thing as a deadly Emerald Imperial Viper, but there *was* this cool rubber snake lying on the side of the road, and it had the word, “Imperial,” embossed on its underside. Originally, it gave me a little bit of a start as I passed it by, but mostly knew it couldn’t have been real, because it was motionless, even when I approached it. After passing it, I slowed down more and more, the evil little wheels in my head spinning slowly as they considered: what could be done with this opportunity? After about a hundred yards, I stopped completely, put the trike in ‘park,’ and walked back to retrieve the rubber snake. I brought it back to the trike, and staged the photo, which I’ll bet gave YOU a bit of a fright, maybe, unless you might have thought, “how could he have taken a picture of a snake biting his hand?” Eh? Huh? Huh? ;-) A bit later, as I often do while riding on the long, ,monotonous roads, I ruminated and came to the conclusion that mistakes sometimes afford us opportunities that we may not have had, otherwise, such as firefly sightings and rubber snakes. Rather than get too wrapped-up in trying to avoid mistakes, maybe sometimes it’s okay to let them happen, and *see* what happens. Of course, you wouldn’t necessarily want to have this philosophy in areas such as any form of aviation, or bio-warfare research. But in the more ordinary and mundane actions we take every day, sometimes mistakes can be a good thing.

Gee, yesterday and today, I noticed my knees getting painful partway through the day, like about after more than 40 or 50 miles. Maybe I rested too long in Austin, and this was part of the process to getting them back into daily riding shape, again. Fortunately, I found that resting them for 15 or 20 minutes would make them good to go again for at least another 10 – 15 miles, before needing another short rest. Hopefully, they’ll get so they can last a bit longer. Before Austin, I could go pretty much all day before they’d even start to complain. I entered Eagle Lake at 1pm, got a fruit drink at the mini mart ($1.50), and verified the next route on my way toward Houston. I made Wallis at 3:30pm and stopped in the mini-mart there to get more Gatorade and a Cherry Dr. Pepper (good combo – yum!) ($7) I called Lisa L back in Oakland, a former co-worker who called a few weeks earlier about the job openings at UC. I kept meaning to call her back, but I kept forgetting, and stuff would happen, and I just never got around to it until today, and she was out of the office. Oh, well – I’m kind of busy right now, anyways. Stopped in at Simonton at 5pm, and bought a couple of apples, bananas, and an ice cream sandwich.
I pulled into the little town of Fulshear, about 36 miles east of Houston, and actually found and asked permission this time of the pastor, there, to hang my hammock at their church’s BBQ port in the back lot (she said that was fine). There was a big dog in the neighbor’s yard, which barked a few times, but after that, accepted my presence and went back to his doggy bed. It was dark, now, but there was lots of bright area-lights, so I had no problem with visibility. Got a few mosquito bites while setting up, and this time properly set up my new hammock’s mosquito netting. The night was quite warm and humid, so I only slept on top of my sleeping bag, and that was fine. I wouldn’t have even used the sleeping bag, but was afraid mosquitoes would bite me *through* the the relatively thin material of the hammock, so used the bag as a barrier. One of the items I got at the Austin REI was some bug bite itch relief medicine. I tried it out, and it seemed to work “okay.”

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