We made it to Houston after one short day and one very long day. It went like this:
Leave Austin after three weeks of not riding bikes with gear and feel good about ourselves for not hurting too much. Stop in Bastrop, a town thirty miles outside of Austin. Talk, briefly with a train kid (freight train hopping young person) in a walmart parking lot. Stop in at walmart. Meet a small group of train kids after coming out. Then meet more train kids, including one guy named Zach that loves both of the states we hail from (Iowa & Michigan). Kid is also not the most appropriate title for him since he was in his mid-thirties, but the mentality is similar. Waste too much time in town and lose daylight.
Choose to find a place to hang our hammocks in the state park and plan on leaving the following morning. Get gently rained on several times throughout the night, get very little sleep.
Wake up because the state park police are telling us to. Head out politely. Pay way too much money for the hospitality (author’s opinion, not actual official rate description). Meet a couple that are also riding across the country and also stayed the night in the park. Ride with them for about ten miles or so then take a break to charge our phones. Commit to riding over a hundred miles in one day in a text message before mentally committing to oneself. Ride. Ride all day through pain and heat and dozens of overpasses that nag at our knees.
Feel like passing out, but continue riding because there is a home at the end of the ride. A home with a shower, a meal, and friends. Arrive at the edge of a large suburb at night and realize there isn’t much safety in riding the shoulderless roads. Stop at a gas station to ask someone for a ride closer to the place (desperate move). Have a man pull out his wallet as a means to get rid of us quickly and then recommend we keep going because he was a cyclist once and he knows what we are going through. Ignore this response and ask a few more people. Get nothing. Ride on the roads with no shoulders. Get to that home with the shower and the meal and the friends. Feel better instantly. Forgive the guy with the wallet. Forgive the other strangers. Forget the state park and it’s big policemen and it’s high prices. Eat too much. Laugh at bad photos taken by a new friend. Go to sleep.
Day 3, (not a riding day)
Wake up to breakfast being made for us by Haley, our friend that we made in Austin. Reminisce a bit. Get ready for the day. Head out to see the city everyone told us not to go see. Take the tour from a local and hear about what goes on that isn’t motorists and oil companies.
Lunch it up at a restaurant called Brazil that was filled with what one could only assume were the most attractive and interesting people in the area. Meet up with Valerie, Haley’s mom and our new friend.
Go to a museum to see the King Tut exhibit, paid for by Valerie.
Go out to eat at this restaurant that is at the top of a medical building in the medical district of Houston, paid for by Valerie. Eat and drink five star ish while laughing at just about anything.
Step out onto the balcony of the top-floor restaurant and, if you are Haley, spit over the edge.
Walk back in, eat dessert, if you are Caleb you don’t because you are going to die from everything else you’ve consumed. Head to Target for supplies. Drop Haley off so she can go see Hunger Games on opening night. Ride around with Valerie for a little while and blast ODB amongst other tunes that fill up the last hours of the night with more joy. Arrive at the McMichaels’. Go to sleep.
Wake up. Blog. Hear about how the Hunger Games premier was when Haley and her friend, Summer, come back. Receive an invite to hang out with Summer later that night. Blog. Eat. Do nothing. Ride on shoulderless, overcrowded streets for a few miles to Summer’s. Eat chips. Go buy the new GoPro. Come back and eat dinner. Get beaten at Settlers of Catan by our new friend Summer. Ride home through the fog with no cars on the roads that don’t have any shoulders.