Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ride Days 39 - 41

I spent the night at Independence after day 38. There was a store there in town and the owners were very bike friendly and helpful. I told him about my bad day with flats and he offered to let me stay in their yard for the night. So I did and got a good night of sleep. The next morning I had high hope of getting almost all the way across Texas but my bike had other ideas. I got another flat tire near New Waverly and I had no more patches or new tubes. The ACA map said there was a bike store 12 miles off route up in Huntsville. I called the shop and they told me I had an hour and a half to get there before they closed. SO I pumped up my flat and took off at a fast pace to make it 12 miles in that time frame. The road sucked. TX75 North and there were no shoulders, heavy traffic in both directions, lots of hills oh and don't forget the giant logging trucks. I had a terrifying ride but I made it the 12 miles to Huntsville only to find that it was another 5 or 6 miles to his shop on the other side of town. I got to the shop right at 4pm. He was a nice retired music teacher that ran a bike shop for a hobby. He had tubes and helped me change my tire. We talked about riding and he clearly did a lot of riding in the past but now was having health issues that kept him from riding. I enjoyed his sense of humor and his good nature. I left the shop and right away noticed that I forgot something in his shop. I turned around and went back but he was already gone. I found a place to camp in an RV park in town and had a good talk with the owner of the RV park. He enjoyed hearing about my ride. In the morning I went over to the bike shop only to find out that he did not open until 12 noon. I had to kill three hours in Huntsville. I rode around Sam Houston University and went to the Sam Houston museum. They were ok but I just was not into it. At noon I was back at the shop and he opened right on time. There was another couple waiting for him to open also and we talked for a bit. They used to offer warm showers to bikers but had a few bad experiences so they no longer do it. They have young kids in the house and it just did not work out. They still wanted to help out though. They offered me a ride back to New Waverly in their truck. I accepted the ride because the road was so dangerous. They dropped me off in New Waverly about 1:30 in the afternoon and I started to ride. My ride did not go well. I started to have more flats. This time I very carefully checked the tire for goat heads or nails or whatever was causing all the flats but I found nothing. I was frustrated and tired. I got up and running again with a patch which within 10 miles was again flat. This time I examined the tire with a flashlight and cleaned my glasses well before I started. First I marked where the flat was very precisely on the tire. I saw nothing there. SO I bent the tire backwards and folded it. I saw a little glint of light. I dug down with my needlenose pliers where I saw the slight glint of reflection and I found a very thin small wire embedded into the tire. I pulled it out and then went over the entire tire like that and found two more wires. I put the tube back in and started to inflate the tire and my pump blew up. I was swearing just a tad when that happened. I was four or five miles from the nearest source of air and my tire only had thirty pounds in it. I took the chance and rode very carefully until I came to a small general store about 5 miles away. They had a pump for sale. It was a piece of junk. My bike tires inflate to 95 pounds and once past thirty this pump just could not get the job done. I asked a bunch of people where I could find a tire shop or an auto mechanic and someone told me there was a motorcycle shop about a mile down the road. I went down there and they pumped me up to a full pressure. I hit the road again. It was getting late by now. Close to 7:30 I stopped at Dolen and asked a church if I could sleep in their yard. They were happy to help me out. They were very nice and we talked a bit. I was very tired from the long ride and the problems. I put up my tent and went straight to sleep. In the morning I left before it was light. My tires were holding for me. I rode and rode and rode on straight flat roads in conditions that were misty, foggy, and with high humidity. I was sweating profusely again but I was making about 17 mph which is very good. By 9:30 I was fifty miles up the route. I met a couple out on a fifty mile loop ride at a store and we talked for a while. They were nice and friendly people. Then we all hit the road again. I made it 95 miles today before I stopped and checked into a hotel for the night. Texas ends in 10 more miles. I considered going across the state line but there is no place to stay over there and it is all swamp land for the first part of the route. The hotel in Texas just sounded better to me. Did my laundry and am relaxing now all clean and in an air conditioned room. Time to catch up on my sleep soon after I finish my wifi stuff. Tomorrow is Texas in my rearview mirror and hello to Louisiana.