The Great State of TEXAS!

Texas pride.
Yep, we've made it halfway through our three month trip to Texas. As the true Texan of the team, I can tell you: Everything is bigger in Texas (or at least comes in extremes). The roads are bigger. The cars are bigger. The trucks are bigger. The egos are bigger. The pride is bigger. The sky is bigger. The flags are bigger. The dogs are bigger (or smaller if it's a Chihuahua). The cattle ranches are bigger. The meals are bigger. The malls are bigger. Our daily milage is bigger. Our time in the state is longer.

This is sometimes, but not always, better. In relation to bicycling, bigger roads often give more room for bicycles, which is really nice when we can take our own lane or have a super-wide shoulder. Unfortunately, bigger roads often mean more car and truck traffic, rather than bicycles, and higher speed limits. So we take what we can get but weren't completely satisfied as the vehicle traffic zoomed by us at 70+ mph yesterday, even though we had plenty of space on the side. It's still nerve-racking.

In Frisco on Thursday morning we were treated to a complimentary midway bike tune-up - including new chains for Derek (Jeanie's ride), Newbie (Chelsea's ride), and Bugscuttle Flea (Steph's ride) - at Richardson Bike Mart. Thanks again to Joel from the Shawnee Trail Cycling Club and the great mechanics who helped us out. Our bikes moved much smoother after the much-needed surgery.

Bike surgery
Thanks Richardson Bike Mart!
That afternoon we met with some cyclists from a menagerie of clubs in the Dallas Metroplex area in Lewisville. Ken Mason from the Texas Flyers (and his own social riding group) helped to round up the crew and planned a route that toured us on some of the nicest roads in the area. Others who joined us were from the Plano Cycling Club and the Pathfinders Fun Cycling. Thanks for the fresh coffee from Mark Solow!

Betsy Thomas and her fluffy kitten!
The Thomas' sleepy dog.
DFW Metroplex cyclists
Mark Solow and Roxy - Chcck out your soon-to-be rig, Kappy (my dog at home)

We spent the night in the Metroplex at our cousin's Phil and Betsy Thomas' house in the northern part of the city, where we were treated to a delicious dinner, hot tub time, and comfy beds. With our energy recharged and our "pantry" restocked, we braced ourselves for a battle through the Friday morning Dallas traffic and our longest mileage day yet. An early start got us out of the city with surprisingly little traffic trouble, although we only saw 2 other potential bike commuters. Warren Casteel from Bike DFW tried to help us with a safe route out of the city (thanks!), but we still had a few dirt roads and a headwind from the south the whole rest of the day. Despite everything, we covered 117 miles, finishing at a busy spring break campground at Fairfield Lake State Park. Even though we arrived after dark and left early the next morning, we were still happy to observe many kids and adults riding all around the campground on bikes. Definitely an example of a very safe route.

Scary Dallas is over. Phew.

Beautiful Bluebonnets. Texas state flower.
Maybe we could have found better quality road surface, but they sure were scenie!
Low water crossing. Life on the road is always exciting.
Another flat. Please hold out one more week tires!
Team RASR to turtle rescue. Mission accomplished.
Saturday was long day number 2, with over 100 miles planned again to make College Station by dark. We impressed ourselves at making the mileage Friday, but to hit a century two days in a row was another daunting challenge. We started into the ever-persistent headwind and warm, sticky weather with the best intentions. Sometimes the best intentions aren't enough. At lunch time, with spirits low after a long morning battling the increasing headwinds, our team captain (Jeanie) had her hands full trying to pump us up. We each came up with one reason we liked the headwind that we could concentrate on the rest of the afternoon: it blows our hair out of our face, the wildflowers are beautiful blowing in the wind, it dilutes toots, and it cools us off. With positive thoughts and more turns driving the support vehicle, we made it into College Station - you guessed it - just as the sun was setting. As we pulled into the driveway of our next hosts the Carlton's home, dinner was warm, ready, and waiting for us. After we got some food in our bellies and cleaned the thick grim off ourselves, we went back into College Station to celebrate St. Patrick's day. Thanks to Rachel (and her parents) for the tips on the town and a refresher on what college life is all about.

Jeanie is a dachshund magnet! Her dog Dash in spirit, across the country.
Oreo-eating competition. 
More like RASR stop sign, for our daily ice cream.
Texas A&M football stadium. Like I said, everything is bigger in Texas.
Long enough blog for you? Did you make it to the end? Good work - I almost didn't. Thanks to the Carltons for letting us spend our day off at their beautiful home here in College Station, resting up for a short but super busy week as we hit three more Texas cities by next weekend: Houston (Tuesday), Austin (Thursday), and San Antonio (Friday/next weekend). We're looking forward to the second half of our journey!

This blog is brought to you by a true Texan, Chelsea.

1 comment:

  1. Written like a true native Texan. And also ridden like a true Texan. What is a few high-speed SUVs passing you a few feet away at 70 mph?
    BTW, that is not Dash in the photo of the east Texas highway. I just heard her bark in the kitchen, so I know she is still in DC.
    See y'all in San Antonio!