COLDSPRING, Texas — A friend, neighbor and bike-riding buddy in Fort Worth, Erik Hansen, drove down to Austin last weekend to ride one day with our transcontinental bicycle caravan.
We had spent three nights in Austin — a little more than halfway in our 3,160-mile journey from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. So when we resumed the trip Sunday morning, Erik and I set off with the group from the Rodeway Inn near the University of Texas campus to ride about 50 miles to that day’s destination, Bastrop State Park.
Here’s Erik’s take on the day’s ride and our trip:
I had a great time and it was really an eye-opener for me to experience an “easy” day for you!
When the storms hit Fort Worth around 10 p.m. Sunday night, I shuddered thinking about you in your one-man tent in Bastrop.
I am now convinced that your cross-country ride is not as much a physical accomplishment as a psychological one.
As I was going through my morning routine, I thought of the luxuries that I had at my disposal, including running warm water, dry towels, plenty of lighting for my shave, refrigerated food/drink, etc., etc., etc. Then I drove through the rain showers to Dallas in my heated and dry car. I think physically I could do what you’re doing but not mentally! My hat is off to you and your tenacious compadres!
Fortunately, you’re now on the downhill slope and in less than four weeks, you’ll be back in Fort Worth.
Please say hi to the rest of your group. It was a pleasure to meet all of them and I wish you all tailwind and no rain.
Another perspective came from a truck driver who was delivering soft drinks and beer to a general store in Independence, Texas, on Tuesday as a group of us stopped for a break. He asked me where we were riding to and where we started. When I told him we had started in San Diego and were headed to Florida, he shook his head and said:
“Man, I have a friend who rode his bike from Dallas to Little Rock, Ark. That’s a long haul in a truck. I told him he was out of his mind. But, man, you’re way far gone.”
Wednesday’s ride from Navasota to Coldspring was fairly typical in terms of distance — 68.62 miles over rolling terrain as we headed toward a crossing of the Sabine River into Louisiana on Friday.
Cloudy skies threatened rain throughout the day, but the rain held off until late afternoon. By that time, I had reached our destination at the Double Lake Recreation Area just south of Coldspring and had time to dry out my tent, which had been packed wet on Wednesday morning because of heavy overnight dew.
We had expected to camp at Double Lake, but instead are sleeping inside a lodge with a stone fireplace, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Some have set up their tents inside the large wooden building, but I’ll roll out my pads and sleep on the floor. The main thing is that, at least for tonight, we’re all warm and dry. But heavy rain is expected on Thursday during the 75-mile ride to Silsbee.