February 14, 2016 – Cloudy, 70 degrees
Miles Today: 75
Miles to Date: 11,792
States to Date: 28
My cycling Sunday began with a carb fest at my motel: oatmeal, raisin bran, sweet buns, and a machine that poops out pancakes. I definitely prefer the flip waffle maker, but I gave the pancakes a try. That breakfast fueled me over fifty miles through low-lying swamp,; cattle, goat and Brahmin ranches, rolling hills, and East Texas forests beneath dramatic clouds.
About fifty miles north of Houston I came up against exurban development. The prices of custom built home advertisements illustrated that this is pretty high rent part of the metropolis. But I still found plenty of down home Texas. I took a break among a group of guys with loud, revved muscle cars, mostly Mustangs. They drag raced down a Farm-to-Market road. I was surprised they were spinning cars along public pavement on a Sunday afternoon, though I appreciated that they picked a length of super smooth blacktop. I imagine their fun ended soon after I passed, as the Sheriff I saw heading their way after I left was zooming their way mighty fast.
I approached The Woodlands in time for a writing break, where I encountered my first open carry cowboy in Texas. His piece was rather modest, but a McDonald’s doesn’t require the same firepower as a saloon.
The Woodlands is a 1970’s era planned community that emphasizes the natural environment to the point of confusion. It’s also huge. For almost ten miles, loblolly pines dominate every winding road and serpentine bike path. Commercial signs are tiny, houses and apartments are hidden. I got where I needed to be by luck more than compass. Everything in this parcel of former swamp looks pretty much the same