I have now made it into AUSTIN, TX.
This is the approximate halfway point of my journey, and the point at which my planning becomes hazy. So this is where it gets fun, starting with how to get out of the busy city roads without getting my self killed later today.
Getting here has proved a little more eventful than I had anticipated. Let me explain:
After fixing my bike; changing the tubes and switching my tires so the newer was on the back, finally leaving CHILDRESS around 1 PM. I was about an hour into riding for the day, just getting into the flow, when... I HIT A NAIL. Completely destroying the new tire I had just moved to the rear.
Having a sizable hole in the new tire, and not having another spare... it was a problem I would not be able to fix roadside on my own. But I did not have to wait long before, a very nice lady by the name of Carol, picked me up and gave me a ride to a tire shop in the nearby town of QUANAH. where, the guys in the shop patched the tire (free of charge) and I was able to make it into the town of Crowell as the sun set.
Upon reaching Crowell, I tried to find someone to ask where I might be able to put up a tent, which proved to be fairly difficult. At 6PM, the town was a ghost town. Police department closed, sheriff's office closed... and not a soul on the road. I finally spotted a state trooper car, who informed me of a place near by could set up for the night and advised getting there as early as possible, as aggressive wild hogs had been a problem in the evenings recently.
I made it to the park on the outside of the town.. set up camp and was into my evening routine; when I heard noises that told me some of these wild hogs were my neighbors. The bush right next to my tent happened to be full of wild hogs. But, thankfully other than keeping me up a bit with their loud squeals the night was uneventful and I was able to get an early start. Leaving before 8AM.
I was ticking along for an hour or so at a nice pace of around 30km/hr, thinking today was going to be a great day......
Few minutes later...PSHHH, the patch blew...flat again. Still no spare. Time to improvise. Off come the bags and the back wheel to start on a make shift fix.Lucky for me at this point some highway workers pulled over... because I had no idea HOW exactly I was going to make a patc,h only that it needed to be done. But, with the help of the guys, we managed to make a poorman's patch using a piece of hard plastic to line the tire and good ol' duct tape. I managed to make it another 15mile or so bumping down the road over the tape on that. however, it didn't last and again I was out of comission for the day at the side of the road. The local Deputy Sherriff picked me up and hauled me into the tire shop in the town of SEYMOUR, TX. Here I was informed that they could put a reinforced patch on my tire, but it probably wouldn't get me 50 miles (the distance to the next town).
Not wanting to end up stuck on the side of the road helpless (yet AGAIN!!). I decided to get some spare tires and tubes ordered and mailed to me where I was so that next time the unfortunate happened I would be prepared! so there I was, stationary in Seymour for two days waiting for my gear to arrive. The first night of which I stayed in my tent in the local park where some local joy riding teenagers came and kept me company for a little while. Mid-way through the following day, as I was sitting by my tent not wanting to leave all my gear unattended in the park; a police officer ( I don't know of what rank... nor do all of these rankings that exist down here meen anything to me. police is police is police no matter what of the seemingly endless titles they may hold). Well anyways, this kind police officer informed me that they had a program for financial assistance and would be willing to pay for a nights stay in a motel while I waited for my stuff. (Mostly I think he just wanted the crazy Canadian on a bike out of the city park.) I willingly accepted and loaded my gear into his truck for a ride to the motel. It is one thing to stay in a city park over night but to sit in one beside your tent all day... makes you FEEL a bit like you really are a crazy person.
The next morning I finally got my tires and spare gear around 9AM. I swung by the tire shop to say thanks and let them know I got sorted. And was glad I did so, the man who ran the shop gave a donation to help with my costs and it wasn't until I looked at it later that I realized just how generous he had been... the bill he gave me was marked $100!!.. That will feed me for over a week! Thank you kind sir.
The day continued on to be a good one. I made about 125km into JACKSBORO where I found a great little place to camp next to a lake, had my lunch bought for me, and was donated another $20 on top of the $100. Great first day back on the road after a few days stationary and few very stressful days of questioning my mission before that!
The next few days would continue in this high and low fashion, with high headwinds, many more hills than anticipated and hot weather making it hard to make much progress, followed by more newspaper interviews and extremely kind strangers letting me into their homes or helping me in someway...making me remember why it is I am doing this crazy trip after days of questioning whether all my stress is worth it.(Of course I know it is, but sometimes it is hard to see that after long periods of one hard day after another and long periods in which no one is donating to the cause I am trying so hard to make happen).
I finally reached Austin on the 22nd. (with a little help from my new friend Lewis, who, after meeting me in Hamilton earlier in the day, found me on the road in LAMPASAS. He informed me he was there to give me a ride into Austin, as we had been talking about how I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to deal with getting through the busy roads of Austin.)
So with a little help I made it into the city where I saw a familiar face for the first time since I have been on the road! I stayed with Dustin ( a friend from the island), who took me around Austin on his bike (of the motorized variety), showing me the sights and getting some logistical things done before I left town again on the 24th.
Getting out of the city was... interesting. I pushed my bike only a block before deciding there was no way I was going to get out of the city alive on only pedal power. As I was sat at a gas station calling a cab a lady overheard me and told me she would take me where I needed to go for $40 instead of the minimum of $80 the taxi company had quoted...Of course I accepted and had to apologize to the taxi driver who pulled up as we were loading my bike onto her roof... oops!
So, I am now out of Austin and on my way to the Mexican border. I will be crossing at either Brownsville or Mc Allen within the week where I will catch a bus through the most Northerly regions of the country to get out of the dangerous border areas before getting back on the bike.
Some very interesting things have happened since I left AUSTIN, but they will have to wait until the next update as I need to get back on the road.
PLEASE KEEP DOING EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO CONTINUE TO SPREAD THE WORD AND HELP WITH THE EFFORTS TO MAKE THE LEARNING CENTER ON LITTLE CORN A REALITY! I am doing the best I can (talking to media,etc.) but there are not enough hours in the day to devote to fundraising at the same time as trying to pedal 100km a day. I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET TO GET THE FUNDS RAISED TO GET THIS THING STARTED WHEN I REACH.
|this man has been on a bike for 7yrs, travels with fairies controlled by god and is heading to the mountains for shelter for the winter??|
|a dog that followed me for 10 miles, named him stalker as he was stalking the cars and biting the tires... sadly I would be surprised if he is still alive|