Jeremiah Watt Cycling around God's Creation

long distance bicycle touring

Posts tagged ‘texas’

Blog54-Pietown and enchanted skies

image

Caught in the frozen sunlight of an early morning in New Mexico.

You are joining the Jeremiah Watt travel blog as he cycles round the surface of Gods creation on his Round the World (RTW) bicycle tour. I cannot take credit for this being a solo tour, my son Pine Watt joined me for the first 4 most arduous months. Then our Russian friend Vladimir Kolchetkov and his wife Gaia encouraged us abundantly, as did many fans, family and friends thru prayer. My older brother joined me now on 2 separate occassions, first for a stretch thru Italy and France, then for a second stretch from House NM which lies along the Texas stateline out thru the enchanted state of New Mexico. Jeremiah, on his RTW steed Shirley Surly, and my brother took to the icy air and roads of eastern New Mexico leaving thru a window between winter storms. Pietown was calling me after 37 or more years, and surely we could find that enchanted cloud cover that New Mexico is known for if only we rode west.

image

The remains of yet another RTW cyclist along an obscure New Mexico road.

image

Left to right, Nita of Toaster House, Oscar and Jeremiah in Pie Town.

image

A passionate Christian fellow who really understood the meaning of Christs Blessings.

Armed with a huge bag of oatmeal cookies made by Niels daughter, Kendra. We pointed our loaded Surly Long Haul Trucker touring cycles to the west off what is locally known as the cap, and headed for Santa Rosa for the day. Atop the cap, the skies were lead grey, and heavy with pending snow and ice. But dropping approx. 700 feet off the rocky rim of the canyon lead us into a warm micro-climate where winter layers of clothing were soon being shed. Down thru rim rock country with its red sand and waving yellow grass we passed over the miles and ridges that harbor the tiny town of Santa Rosa which lies on I-40 to the east of Tucumcari NM. Arriving somewhat pooped because the last 20 miles or so had a stiff headwind challenging our every pedal stroke. The scarlet and crimson skies of sunset had left us before the twinkling lights of town greeted us, leaving little opportunity to find a good place to set up our tents. Yes, we opted for a room and a restaurant meal this night.

image

image

image

The following morning would see Niel up early, followed by Jeremiah in a far less eager fashion savoring the warm bed instead of the Brroks saddle which awaited him. But leave we did, in good time and headed south now towards Vaughn NM. the road climbs slightly out of town across a Rio Negra river and hits a series of high grass strewn plateaus. Each of which have to be climbed to be enjoyed, then plunge down again to conquer the next which waits in turn. The  wind was howling out of the west, hitting us more or less on a diagonal at about 2o,clock position. Once again in typical plains fashion, Gaia or mother nature, would be there trying with all her might to defeat us from attaining Vaughn by days end. With all that said, we pretty much rode that piece of road like a time-trial course, arriving at almost noon in Vaughn. The aire was thick with ice crystals, my mustache hung with icy stalagtites, a testimony to pending winter conditions. The visibility was down to a mere 100-150 yards and we worried more about being hit riding than freezing to death. We found an open gas station at Vaughn, and for 2 hours I stood outside with a handmade sign reading “FREE GAS”……..teeth chattering, knees knocking, I waited patiently for someone to offer a ride so we could get ahead of the storm…..and I buy them gas for a ride. After all that time we had no ride, and 2 people offered me money to buy gas. Once again, we opted to get a room as the weather predictions were for worsening weather thru the night.

image

image

image

Left Vaughn a little late, we allowed the ice to melt off the road and the sky to turn blue. It was like a skating rink till about 8.30 that morning. We headed west again on Hwy60, with a slight breeze in our face and very cool air. At times it hurt around the sinuses and cheek bones, but a warming New Mexico sun soon prevailed and by Encino those layers were getting peeled off. The sky was studded with puffy cloud, azure color as a surround. The countryside turned into rolling grass covered hills, golden in the afternoon sun. Windmills and cattle have been added as ornamentation. We had found it!  Thee ubiquitous land of enchantment so often mentioned in novels, captured on canvas, in the iambic pentameter of poetry. We rolled out from under cold grey skies and into a postcard scene welcoming our enjoyment and exploration. Spent the night camped alongside a fence line, enjoyed a crystal clear sky inwhich God had hung a brilliant full moon that bathed the sleeping hills in a silvery nightcoat.

image

image

image

The following mornings dialogue was one of comparing aches, pains and constant laments about that danged wind getting to us, blowing my mustache back over my eyes making it hard to see. Brother Niel, spent his time playing “eye spy something red” and would compare that new found brilliant red to his now very sore posterior. In general, we were caught in a “bitching fest”!! God, he sure has a away of drawing light to those moments when we are riding thankless instead of spirit filled and spirit lead………what the heck is that moving junk pile out on the horizon brother? Not sure, guess we will figure it out when we get closer…………..looks wierd though. Sure enough as we drew closer to the roaming junkpile, a car pulled alongside it and SOMETHING was passed thru the car window.  WE TWO BITCHERS, were about too get soundly spanked for our total lack of faith in whom we Pray too. The car it turns out, just passed a bag of food over to a MAN who pedaled the roaming junk pile. Yes, a Christian fellow, not pushing his belief, simply extolling the blessings he has expirienced thru riding by faith. How each day, cold, wet, miserable, overly hot or overly difficult, had in its own way a blessing to be observed and thankfull for, something we two had clearly lost sight of.  He explained his Christian stand with simple language, not the academic elequence of one trained in the semenary…….rather it was the vernacular used by a simple man who simply believed by faith and a witness too how God pours out his blessings to those who seek him daily. We knew then that we had been shown face to face, the faithfull versus those whose faith required seeing mountains move to be satisfied with its being. Our messenger lifted his arms to heaven, spoke these words in earnest ” I am yours Father, I surrender unto you”, lowered his arms and rode on his way too the east. We rode west, not mindfull of traffic nor wind, nor even the sprawling countryside, each of us was reflecting on our own walk with Christ and our failings in having that strength of FAITH. Forgive us Father, we will try harder tomorrow.

image

image

image

Mountaiair, was our stop for an early lunch. Conversation began immediatly, we found a seat next to the long established Mountainair senate meeting. They being a local historian, a truck driver, a retired gardner and a mechanic who ten years ago dropped his wrenches for a lounge chair and the front porch. Thomas, the most vocal of the gathered congress, moved over to better hear the conversation as Niel and I ate our breakfast. About that time, a well dressed cowboy with starched jeans and a leather jacket steps into the cafe……turning to face me where I sat……it was like an old west movie, as he walked the hardwood floor I was moving slowly towards my sawed off shotgun under the table as Niel moved deftly for the colt strapped to his hip……time ticked like a slow moving train……the stranger squared up facing our table and opened his coat at the waist reveling a silver trophy buckle……”Is your name Jeremiah Watt” he asked. In a throat chocked with fear, I answered in a high squeeky voice…… “yes”……..and waited for the proverbial “crap to hit the rotary oscillator”. Instead, a broad smile spread across his face and he stuck his hand out to say hello, and told us the folks at Cool Horse over in Canyon had told him that we would be coming thru that way. Scott, joined our table and added to the conversation over our last cup of coffee before we would head on west. Abo pass was waiti g for us and we departed, leaving new freinds behind and a really nice little town…..Mountainair.

image

image

Climb, pedal, climb, and breath……that occupied our mind for the next 15 or so miles as we made our way past the Abo Ruins, and on towards the pass taking its name from those same ancient ruins. Topping out at nearly 7000 feet, we could see the valley below us spread like a table cloth at a banquet. For miles across the Rio Grande river valley to the sno capped mountains that shore up its western flank. We allowed our bikes to gather and gain whatever speed they wanted since it was a clean and simple downhill run for several miles. Exiting the protection of the hills and trees allowed us to now feel the strength of the wind blowing thru the river valley, it was substancial at times and at others soft and muted. The sun bore down and began the slow frying process that is a a part of New Mexico sunshine. By the time we reached our turn to the south towards Socorro, we were pooped and wondering where we would camp…….no trees to speak of…….limited river access due to fences………we would be forced to ride interstate down to Socorro, yuk. We talked for a while in the shade of the overpass, and discussed just how much further we wanted to ride and what we would tolerate for a camp site. Okay, planning is done, lets get pedaling and see what we find. Up we go, around the curve of the onramp to the Interstate, maybe 500 yards from our planning stop……..and there is a blue campground sign……..GOD provided! Dont be fooled folks, since the very first day of this trip, I have not stayed in a camp ground because there was simply not one around at the end of the day…….GOD, just slapped one down RIGHT at the place we would need one. We pulled in, pitched our tents, washed clothes and had a simple meal and conversatkon till it was time to turn in for the night.

image

image

Jim-Bob had been having a flat tire battle for the last 2 weeks. Always on a hind, and always in the same place! Try as I may, searching thru my tire and liner each time, I could not find the cause……frustrating as all get out. We began this morning ride to Socorro in sort of a dual fashion. Since we both actually had a flat. After that, we sprinted to Socorro, Jeremiah arrived with a flat as well as left with a flat. We had 2 goals in mind for our stop in Socorro, fix the flat and find the cause, and Shirley Surly had developed a serious clunk in the crNk arms as they revolved around, meaning that it needed tightening with special tools or replacing. An Electric Horse, and its happy go lucky 68 year old owner, made every effort to solve both. The constant flats we found were caused by 2 small staples poking thru on the inside wall of my much loved Schwalbe tires. The sloppy crank however was not to be fixed so easily. At least. not in Socorro.

image

image

We left the central New Mexico town of Socorro about 2 hours after we arrived, headed up hill to the west on State Highway 60. As soon as you cross the Rio Grande River whichsplits the state down the middle, you are headed up hill all the way to the Continental Divide over near the states western edge. We had our work cut out for us, and knew full well it would be a leg burner for the rest of the day. We campedthatnight behind an old stone wall in an abandoned gas station that sat at the foot of an imposing mountain. Protected from the wind, we enjoyed a colorful display of Gods work on the western sunset, conversation revolved around family, dreams and aspirations and how sore Uncle Niels butt was. He knew at this point that he was in trouble.

image

image

image

Early the nextmorning, the guy with the sorest butt rolled out and kicked started the day. With gloved hands and covered heads, we began our approach to Magdalena NM. Once the largest cattle shipping yard along the southern rail line, and now a dusty,quiet little retirement town. We arrived in Magdalena with huge spread between just 2 riders. Jeremiah found the local hangout cafe, and waited for older brother to heard his bike and sore posterior into the town square some 35 minutes later……but make it he did. Breakfast was vreat at the M&M Cafe which sits at the southeast corner of the old Magdalena Inn. We sat with a local writer Steve Modio and his wife, who had also been over to Mongolia twice while working on a book about Khazack eaglers. A chello player Joel Becktell, who lived local but played with orchestras all over the world. While the meal was superb, it was the conversation with the group that will always make it memorable. Reluctantly we had to roll out and make our way to Datil, our next town along a sparcely populated ribbon of ashphalt. Only 29 miles separates us from this task, and it would prove the undoing of my worthy partner. Just one too many hills, and just 5 miles an hour too much wind it seemed. It would take us 6 hours to cover that distance…….every drop of gatorade was poured down to ease the posterior pain…….every cookie was eaten in an effort to forget that which lies ahead……more road, morehills and yes more pain as your reward. Datil, would be the final resting place for my traveling companion, my brother had had enough, he would be going home from here.

image

image

We spent that night with noted New Mexico race horse breeder and trainer, former world ranked bull rider, a short guy with a giant size appetite for life at 76, Mr. Dick Wellborn. The following morning, jeremiah and his bicycle Shirley Surly would depart further west with tear rimmed eyes, while brother Niel would take one of Dicks pickups and head for Socorro and rendevous with his daugbter Kendra. Jim-Bob pedalled west into taller pine trees and rolling mesa type cou try. Next stop is Pie Town. This post mentions Pie Town in its title and for thjs reason. Some 36 years ago, 6 young fellas were attending saddle mKing school in Amarillo Texas, Jeremiah Watt, Bill Watt, Darby Adams, Troy West, Danny West and lastly Don Bartrum of Apache Creek NM. It was Don who first planted those seeds of curiosity with regard to Pie Town and thier famous PIES. Now, all these years later, the onlything that kept me pedaling towards that spot on the map was those famous PIES. All the way around the world, I have been craving a simple piece of pie and with no luck, I would solve that here. First however, I had to conquer the Continental Divide, then on into my destination for lunch. An outdoor museum of antique windmills had me pulled over to take some pictures…….all of this lies at the east side of a very tiny town…….as I am shooting a lady drives up and introduces herselfas the official Pie Town greeter…….my name is Nita, and I run the Toaster House (famous to hikers around the world, quite literally, donations are accepted to support it) the house is open to all who hike road or trails in the area. “Are you here for pie today” she asks? Yes, indeed I am…….well, follow me then and she zips off over the horizon to a small cafe. Nita, and I, as well as a Mexican National name Oscar, sat and had dinner. Excellent hanburgeres cooked up by Harley riding chef Tim. We then had 3 pieces of shared pie, blackberry, blueberry, and NewMexico Apple which has green chilies in it. All were excellent, I assure you.

image

image

Jeremiah left Pie Town, satisfied that after all these many years, Pie Town was indeed just as Don Bartrum had described……..”jist a tiny place that makes darn good pies in a place you would not expect”. Quimado, my next stop, some 30 miles distant. The spanish name means “burnt”, and the names origins are derived from a tiny settlement that the Indians burned to the ground back in the late 1880,s. Rebuilt, some 3 miles further west, and as lone local told me, its closer to a fire hydrant now as well. Jeremiah and his Surly would arrive in Quimado at about 4.15 to the ringing of his phone, somewhat of a shocker. I had no signal since back in Mountainair. Answered the phone, caught snippets of conversation, and just hung up since none of it made sense. Had supper at Largo Cafe, looked around town and bedded down. I knew I was in a little trouble with my bike, the cranks were much sloppier and chain jump was becoming an issue.

image

image

The following morning, a beautiful blue sky would greet me, coffee at the Largo along with eggs and bacon. Then hit the cranks for Springerville Arizona, about 47 miles away. Big rolling hills, covered in grass and sandy soil, sparce pinion pine tree cover is sprinkled here and there. The hills are bigger thru this section, mesas are taller, the sun is warmer. I ride into Springerville about 1.15 or so, find my local bike repair man Jay at The Sweat Shop, and have him do the much needed repairs to my steed Shirley Surly.

image

Blog52-Galloping across the Lone Star State

image

image

image

Texas greeted Jeremiah and his RTW-round the world effort with a freshened breeze out of the south, a blazing winter sun shimmering on the black paint of Shirley Surly, the steed used for this cycling journey. Waco, now lay in my rearview mirror. A days rest in Waco adds just enough freshness too the legs to give rise to optimisim about riding out this battle to the end, concluding in California. More specifically to end at home in Coalinga, California.

image

image

For several days, Jeremiah would be riding west by northwest under a blazing southern winter sun. Somedays pushing the temps up well into the 80’s, burning and baking all exposed skin surfaces to a wilted wrinkled “Boston Baked Bean” look. Especially the top of my now almost hairless head, poochy maggies that hurt and I had watery effluent trickling down behind my ears for several days as the blisters broke and leaked. Not to worry, as God made us a heck of a lot more durable than the average person thinks is possible these days. Simple, stopped and bought a hat at the first gas station selling hats….cured but for the itchy scabs.

image

image

Jeremiah and Shirley Surly, put in some longer than planned for days while on this west Texas leg of the journey. My timeline was built on approx. 50 mile days on the loaded tour around the world. But here, in Texas, I have ridden mostly over 65 mile days, several 80 plus days and my second from last day arriving into Lubbock was 105 miles. There are several reasons why this may happen. For one, in some places there is no reason to stop……there just aint a town nor gas station to make a stop for. Also the days are getting longer so Jeremiah can ride later into the evening hours before darkness forces him off the road. If I were to quit at the 50 mile mark, somedays I would be done at noon…….and then what do I do for the rest of the day? Right, I agree fully, just keep pedaling is the best idea. As my friend Cleve Redding said…..”just shutup and ride”. Thats clear and concise……I just our President can learn a lesson in this.

image

image

Along about the tiny scrub brush covered town of Evant, I got the heads up that there was a bit&spur maker there that I should have stopped and visited. Big Problem, I always ask around any and all small towns…..”hey, are there any folks in town or around who do interesting work, like make bits and spurs, maybe make saddles or do leather work, heck anything western”. To which the gas station employee purses his lips, cocks an eyebrow, maybe grips thier chin with a left hand to add to the theatrics of “giving heavy thought” ……..and says ” well Blanche Wormwood over on Filmore does needle point……but that would be the only artist that I can think of”!!!!  And so, armed with this knowledge I rode on another 10-12 miles past Evant and camped on the side of the road……..getting up the next morning to ride on only to find out that when I took the picture of my bike beside the EVANT sign that I was only 200 yards from bit&spurmaker Brian Mauneys front doorstep. Sorry Brian, I would have loved to had a visit……my advice to you……you need to tell the guy at the gas station that you also do needle point.

image

image

Some 38 or so years ago, Jeremiah attended saddlemaking school in Amarillo Texas. One of the fellow students in my class year, a fellow who hails from Abilene, Niel Overton…….still building saddles much the same as am I. We had a chance to get together for breakfast in Sweetwater Texas, tell old stories, find out whats happening in each others lives since then. All fun, and great to see Niel again. Another event that happened during my time going to school in Texas, was attending an invitational roping in the tiny west Texas town of Post. The last time that Jeremiah was in this town, was to watch the match roping between World Champion All Around Cowboy, Phil Lyne and the new up-and-comer that being Roy Cooper. Along with many runs of steer trippers and other calfropers, its was a spectacular weekend of roping that has always stuck with me. I rolled into Post about 6.30 after all these years,  and the sun had set withdarkness invading the streets and alleys, I needed to camp soon…..but needed food worse. Ate at Hollies Drive-Inn, had a great burger and fries……..solved my camping problem by walking right across the streetand sleeping in the little band-stand pavilillion in the town park…….just as simple as that. For breakfast, I rode thru the town of 3500 until I spotted a cafe and all the trucks in front proving it was popular, by accident I had found a good one, Geroges BBQ and Cafe. So, as it ends up. Let a man with brown hairy legs and rubber pants walk thru a cafe full of cowboys with hats tipped back and spurs on thier boots…..a fight broke out…….LOL, jist kidding. Conversation broke out. I think I could have plugged a canon barrel with thier eyes as they swelled to size when I told them I was a saddle maker and also a bit and spurmaker. This was a hard one for them to believe, but in the end with the telling of tales, mentioning my name and what we make it came to pass that they believed, and that we all had more in common rather than nothing in common.

image

image

image

For Jeremiah, the little town of Santa Anna held him for several hours longer than expected. At the south end of town is a fellow who does resaw work. Turning old mesquite and oak stumps into beautiful lumber. What had once been bridge support beams or tongue and groove bridge decking, is resawn and turned into gorgeous flooring for trendy New York or Atlanta night clubs, restaurants and chic apartments. Upscale recycle with an incredible new face, birthed out out of discarded remains of Americas industrialization.

image

image

image

Breakfast in Santa Anna, would happen at an old-time coffeeshop. The sort that seems all to rare these days, yet at one time the icon of that slower small town lifestyle that had us leaving the city to enjoy it. Ranchers with spurs yet on thier boots surround one table, the talk of cattle or feed prices occupies thier time. At yet another table its the morning ” coffee klatch” among the few struggling businesses who still hold onto the small town lifestyle, thier conversation seems to revolve around issues more political which affect thier business life. Off to the far corner you have the octogenarions, long since retired, and since 1951 have been thru the years starting everyday with at least coffee at the local coffee shop………this day, no different than any since this morning pilgrimage began. Only that at this table, any and allthings are talked about, its the NO holds barred table and houses the sage amongst sage patrons…..so be careful should you pull up a chair to join thier ranks.

image

image

Newspaper journalist, photographer and insurance salesman hears about my own journey as I speak with another cafe patron……and before I know it I am rolling down the street for an interview with Tex Wright. Now pushing past mid 70’s, Tex is still very active at all those things that interest him. An avid landscape photographer, Tex spends idle time shooting the west Texas region and giving his images to local hospitals. Some serious medical issues dont seem to be a hindrance to Tex, maybe his Doctor…..but not Tex. I am well instructed on the ways of survival in the west Texas desert before I am allowed to depart.

image

BLESSED, while riding thru Goldthwaite. Tragedy is averted. Upon leaving a store in this small Texas town, Jeremiah drops his wallet unknowingly and rides on in search of Peabodys Diner. Found the diner, but also found it was shutdown and for sale…….a passerby recommends that I head up the street to the Wagon Wheel Cafe. In I go, happy as can be on a beautifully warm sunny day, going to eat a nice meal in a cafe. Jeremiah spots a fellow sporting a well waxed mustache, not a common sight here in Texas…..something more common to say Elko County, Nevada.

image

Mr. G.L.Daniels is my conversation partner for the next 1/2 hour or so. We talk about all things pertaining to the west,cowboys, ranching and waxed mustaches………….(“anybody mention losing a wallet” sounds a small voice within the din that is eating diners.) The time has come, I need to move on and put somemore miles in on Shirley Surly. Jeremiah gets his bill and heads for the cash register only to have the shock wave of dread rip thru your mind when you realize somehow you have misplaced your wallet. As I am trying to explain to the cashier that somehow I have misplaced my wallet, and at the same time do a vain mental search of my most recent wallet memory…..off to my right a yound lady mentions that someone from the Newspaper next door asked about a wallet maybe 45 minutes ago. News too me, and yet she did walk in and ask the patrons about’a lost wallet. Jeremiah runs…..yes, runs nextdoor and inquires about the wallet……….finding out it has been handed over to the Sheriff…….right over in that building as she points it out to me. Jeremiah does his best impression of Usian Bolts as he sprints for the Sherriffs Office. As I walk into the fortified alcove awaiting you once thru the front door…..I can already see my black nylon wallet containing my whole life, laying on the desk. After describing what should have been in the wallet, it is handed back over to me. Absolutely everything in the wallet is intact, cash, euros, credit cards…..everything. my continued faith in the protection offered us thru faith and Prayer is fortified. And my faith in human good and kindness is restored. If the entire world is not good…….then at least I know that Goldthwaite is for sure.

image

image

Cycling north by west thru Texas and its arid western desert, with its scrub brush, cactus and rolling hills is taking me ever closer to Lubbock and a chance to visit my niece Kipty Watt, a student at Texas Tech getting her degree in Animal Nutrition. It will be good for the soul to be able to stop and visit actual family for a change. From Lubbock I will be headed further north towards House NM to visit yet another niece, but before that I leave for 4 days of business taking me out of Texas and into another state for that time. If all works out, I should be mounted up and riding towards Clovis NM by late Saturday or for sure Sunday departure. In the meantime, I pray for safe roads, good weather and blessings on all those who follow not only my blog but Christs word on living our lives……and yes, that includes you Bill at the Jerky Store.

image

image

Blog51-from piney woods to the plains

image

From the Piney woods to the plains, leaving the middle of Louisianna at Monroe and riding out into Texas. Thats where Jeremiah is with his RTW around Gods Creation on Shirley Surly, his metal steed that transports him across the southern USA. Shirley my Surly is running along very smoothly now, with that new back wheel, each day Jeremiah runs on into the 70 and 80 miles, far further than what he has set as an average.

image

image

image

From Monroe too the west, Jeremiah rode alot of little backroads, which puts in place too see alot of tiny US towns that have been all but forgotten, thier citizens and the stores they used to operate. For me it has been a little disheartening on the one hand, but also a certain sense of pride is shown by those who cling to thier meager but satisfying lives in rural America. Logging of the ocean of Pines that cover western Louisianna is a primary employer, followed by the semi’s that haul them in both tree and chip form. Meanwhile, Jeremiah spends his day dodging truck bumpers, mirrors and those blasted rumble strips that border most roads

image

image

image

“Excuse me sir…….I’am going to need to see some ID”. Briefly I thought I had rode i to a third world country…..but here I was in Saline LA…..minding my own business and talking to Curtis bout life. “It wont take but a minute…..I,ll just run it to be sure”. While that was going on, and to a certain extent before the Sherrif arrived, the conversation around me to the left was from 5 or so gals from the Saline Retirement Center…..and Curtis who is the town drunk. When the Sherriff showed up, one gal suggested that they get backinside before the Sherriff decides to check them out. Curtis, well he was relaxed….drunks are like that. A second Sherriff showed up, gun on his hip and his ready for action quick draw tactile gloves…..his hand ever looming over the pistol at his hip. It didnt really un-nerve me, having a steely will and  ram-rod spine and all……plus I had the confidence that comes with wearing “Depends”.

image

image

image

“Were going to need to see your California Card says the Sherriff”……..what kind,a card I say somewhat astonished and now a tad (Canadian metric measurement for a little bit)…..I have never even heard of that sort of Card. Well says the Sherriff….”we need to see more ID”. Sir, with all due respect, you have all the ID that I carry….my Passport…..it has gotten me thru a whole host of countries, what,s wrong here. About this time, one of the retired gals, Jeanne was her name…..walks up and hands me a note and 20 dollar bill…..she wanted to wish me well and bless my trip…..i tried to insist that I didnt need her money but she would not have that. Upon taking the money, right there in front of the Sherriff, that sure made them all the more suspicious of my being on the streets of Saline. An hour and a half of the most bizarre background check that I have been thru. I have all kind of respect for law enforcement, but I really felt like this was a bit obsured and completely without merit or need.

image

image

image

image

My days were rodden mostly under cloud cover, minor rain on a few evenings and the rest of the time was simply spent pedaling. Thru small town after small town. Stopped at many of the little “ruff around the edges” gas station stores and had coffee with owners and employees alike. In doing so, I found we shared a love and belief in Christ…..a love of country…….and about half the time I found they loved Barry. Proof, that coffee will not cure all things. Walked thru many little antique, vintage stores. Not that I wanted to buy anything, just needed to give the butt a rest.

image

image

image

On  clear blue sky day, Jeremiah and “Shirley Surly” rode across the river at Logansport and entered Texas. For me, it was another milestone moment, because with Texas rolling by under German rubber…..Jeremiah is officially OUT WEST folks. Never mind what some academician from some Ivy League think tank says about where the west begins.  We Cowboys know where the west begins…….Texas.

image

image

image

Texas rolled by fairly easily, not without it,s due sweat and sore legs, but just knowing that more and More Texas was rolling up behind me each day was all the incentive needed to pedal for home, for my incredible wife, my kids and my work obligations. Along about Mexia, I was to meetup with a talented engraver and friend….Jerry Gant. Should be easy right……Jeremiah on a loaded bicycle…….and Jerry, driving a 1976 deep purple Malibu rolling on 24″wheels and low profiles, bumpin tunes on 20,000 watt Blapunkt stereo…..with a rollin whip like that…..how could we miss each other. But we certainly did miss each other on a 2 lane road. Sorry Jerry.

image

image

image

Waco. Rolled into town, me, singing a Bob Wills tune and happy to be meeting up with an old friend Deahl Rooks. Some 25 or more years ago, Deahl was a student in one of my engraving classes. I had not seen him since, talked thru FB, but not in person. When we first met, we were both comllete heathens with no need for Faith. Today we both enjoy having Christ in our lives and homes and relationships. My friend has found his calling in life, in adopting children and offering a loving home to 17 that had none. May God Bless you richly Deahl & Patty, you bolster my own belief with you astounding walk with Christ.
Good night and may God bless America and YOU.

image

image

image

%d bloggers like this: