Sorry, about the lack of photographs today. I set something incorrectly on my camera and most of my photographs were unrecoverable. The one I’m most disappointed about was taken when I crossed over the Sabine River and into Texas early this morning. Well known Texan Eva Longoria met me on the bridge and personally welcomed me to the state with a very passionate embrace. But, like I said, the camera wasn’t working so you’re just going to have to trust me on this.
It rained last night and as a result it took me a bit of time to get going this morning as I had to dry out the tarp, pad and bivy sack, and wipe down the bike. I rode into De Ridder and stopped at a McDonalds for breakfast and to use their WiFi for my last post. At around 11am, I finally got started for the day.
Riding through Beauregard Parish, I could feel a change. The landscape was drier and filled mainly with pines. In several places, there were thousands of FEMA trailers lined in rows to the horizon, all staged for the next hurricane. Most of the traffic on this road (Hwy 190) consisted of logging trucks stacked with pines or trucks filled with pine chips heading for the Boise Pulp Mill. You could smell it miles before it came into view. After winding through Merryville, I crossed the river and there was Eva waiting for me. It’s really great how they treat visitors in the Lone Star state.
The difference in roadways is quite apparent when going from Louisiana to Texas. I’ve written enough about the former, but when you hit Texas, the roads are smooth, with wide shoulders and almost no trash. It makes one wonder about the amount of highway funding each state is getting and how it gets used.
As I approached Kirbyville, I came upon some road construction. A flagman signaled to me to stop and said: “Son, you look like you need a break and this is a good excuse.” He asked what I was doing and when I explained my route, he stuck out his hand and said: “Well, sir, my name is Joe. Welcome to Texas!” Then he reached into his waistband and pulled out his handgun to show me. (Ok. Maybe I’m making up this last part.) Joe informed me that Don and Jan were both a few miles ahead of me. Over the next hour, I caught up with them and Don and I rode the last 35 miles together into Silsbee.
When we arrived at the campground, we met another biker, Ben (a grandfather of two) who is riding a recumbent and pulling a trailer. He started in San Diego and is on his way home to North Carolina.
Over a BBQ dinner, we compared notes about what is ahead for each of us. Sharing information about places to stay, roadway conditions and alternative routes is incredibly helpful.